Friday, October 14, 2005

Sabernomics = Economics + Baseball

In honor of wasting an entire day watching the Braves lose an 18-inning playoff game to end the NLDS last weekend, here is a post about baseball for this weekend:

You know those times when a group is sitting around talking about a baseball player or a baseball game you are watching and there is always that one guy who always knows waaay too many stats off the top of his head (like stats you didn't know existed, while you are just trying to watch the game without knowing Andruw Jones' ratio of 7th inning walks to 3rd inning groundouts)? Well, the consummate "that guy" has a blog called Sabernomics where they apply economic research and reasoning to following baseball, and much of it is pretty interesting, though of course still dorky (what in economics isn't?).

One interesting post I have read there is a recent post on a report that home run hitting has not really increased in the past few decades and therefore is not the product of steriods. Instead, the author claims that it is just that we had 3 ridiculous home run hitters come at the same time (Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa).

Another even more interesting post (it's long, but worth reading if you are a Braves fan) is about research confirming the positive effect that Leo Mazzone has on the performance of Braves' pitchers.


Rebecca said...

The baseball blog was interesting but the article "Deja Vu, All Over Again" (I like the Yogi Berra reference) bothered me. He was so down on the Braves for losing in the post season again, but I think it's pretty amazing that they even got to the post season considering Andruw Jones was sometimes the oldest player on the field. I watched all 6 hours of that game and was, admittedly, really annoyed, but now that I think about it, they had a pretty awesome season... Well, that's my plug for the Braves. I don't think this counts as a valuable economics comment but I needed to vent(I'm not going to lie. I'm like "that guy")

Anonymous said...

Not to say that the home run hitting guy is wrong (because if you look at his whole article the math he uses to prove his theory is way above my head), but I think if anyone actually took that much time they could find some sort of distribution to prove their point. His argument that home run hitting has not gone up recently would be hard for even current players to agree with. Baseball has shifted to a game of power and that is a pretty well known fact. I think the guy who said on the other blog that homeruns per game has increased by over 25% recently has a much more valid argument. I'm not going to debate whether or not steroids have played a major role in this increase, but lets just say trying to say that homeruns in the majors have stayed the same since around the 50s is not a very strong argument.
Brian Berkowitz

Anonymous said...

It is completely possible that homeruns haven't actually increased. I do think we have been paying more attention to the all mighty homerun now that we are coming off of the homerun race and now that Bonds is close to breaking the all time record. Look at this past season. Andruw Jones led the majors with 51 HRs, A.Rod was next with 48. Nothing like the 73 Bonds hit. Im suprised he doesn't have a yearly total of HRs listed.


Anonymous said...

We all know that there is that one person that is full of statistics because in actuality they REALLY ARE interesting. The thing that sets it apart is that when there is a certain player who has incredible statistics like 73 homeruns in a season, it is completely shattering the statistics that have been told and repeated for over fifty years about homeruns.

People will do anything it takes to be remembered as a great baseball player or homerun hitter, which includes taking steroids to become the best homerun hitter in history. It is all to be great and to achieve statistics above and beyond the statistics of Hall of Famers like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.

Paul Moustoukas

Anonymous said...

Even though home runs in baseball as a whole have stayed in the same range, it still doesn’t mean that individual players didn’t take steroids. It’s certainly possible that Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa were simply 3 “Babe Ruths” that happened at the same time, but the guy’s argument isn’t helped by how strongly Bonds and McGwire were linked to the BALCO case. McGwire even admitted to using androstenedione, and he didn’t really help his case when he refused to say anything at the Congress hearings about steroids. And the evidence has continued to pile up more and more against Bonds. It’s not a certainty that all 3 guys used steroids in their big years, but it is a possibility.

Ravi Bhatia

Brian Zabell said...

Getting the record of home runs with steroids isn't getting the record of home runs.

It's the record of hitting home runs with steroids.