Saturday, July 16, 2005
So many choices...
Monday, July 11, 2005
My sentiments exactly...
Sunday, July 10, 2005
From my comments on FJT
Yeah, I listened to Gubizca for a few minutes yesterday as well. It was amazing, a stream of callers who all seem to get their sports news exclusively from Plaschke columns. There’s this one caller, Patricia, who calls every week. All she wants is heart…a whole team of nothing but Darrin Erstad and Paul Loduca. And, Hee Seop Choi is the worst defender ever (not something I necessarily disagree with) but where were these people when Shawn Green was sucking at first base last year? Talking about his heart, of course, and how he’d sacrificed for the team…the team that was paying $15 million per year to GIDP. Whatever.
This is a lost year. And, even if I wanted to, I don’t have much energy left to defend Depodesta. But these idiots just piss me off more. If they succeed in getting what they want, chiefly, running Depo out of town and hiring Steve Phillips (or some other retread loser) I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch the Dodgers…
Even more so after today's game.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Chris Berman and Stuart Scott
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Underestimating the fog
[Update]: After reading the article, I have a couple of comments. I guess, it's obvious, but we always need reminding that you can't prove the non-existence of something. With continued effort, you just make it more and more unlikely. This is how I feel about clutch hitting. It's not impossible that it exists, but I think it's unlikely. The main reason why this debate is still going is that people intuitively beleive in clutch hitting. If they didn't, this would have ended long ago. I see no reason (although I don't have any hard data for this) to trust mass intution. Not only that, but I feel that in order to suggest that something which is not supported by hard data be true it should at least make sense in terms of how we understand the world. Other people have gone through this before, so I won't do it here, but there is no good theory that would explain why clutch hitting should exist. I compare this to my own non-baseball pet peeve, homeopathy. There is no data that suggests that it works appreciably better than a placebo, yet many people swear by it. Again, we can't prove a negative. However, for homeopathy to work as it is described, it would have to break the fundamental laws of thermodynamics. As such, I don't beleive that it works, even though there's no way to absolutely prove it. I feel the same way about clutch hitting, regardless of what Bill James says now.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I guess I just don't get it. I think Moneyball has been one of the most misinterpreted works in recent memory. This is partly due to the sensational way in which it was written, but that's also why it was a best seller. As far as I can tell, there are two things that it says that Beane has done. One is to actively search for market inneficiencies and exploit them (something done naturally by all successful small market clubs), which seems kind of obvious. The second thing, and by far the most interesting, is applying the scientific method to baseball. It basically says two things, future performance can be predicted based upon past performance, and that performance can be measured quantitatively. He suggests that these quantifiable measures of performance are more reliable than any other measures, which is what has pissed off so many scout types. On base percentage just happened to be one example. Whether or not it is the best example, the only example, or one that has been used exclusively by the A's is kind of a silly discussion, mostly revolving around the way in which Moneyball was written.
The difference between 'statheads' and 'scouts,' in this debate seems to be based on whether or not they think the scientific method is valid, and this is what makes the debate so ridiculously idiotic.
I guess Levitt's point is that people have taken Moneyball as gospel, without questioning any of its conclusions. That may be true. It may even be true that many of the conclusions in Moneyball are flat-out wrong, but that doesn't negate the underlying superiority of the approach. Sometimes you get lousy results due to bad experimental design, bad data, or bad luck, but that doesn't mean the methodology is wrong, it just means it needs to be corrected and we need to try again. I think the real lesson in Moneyball, and Billy Beane/Bill James et. al real contribution to baseball has been the application of the scientific method and that is undeniably good.