Showing posts with category "mlb"

Optimizing Isn't Easy Even for Belichick

Long time followers of TSE know that I have an ongoing interest in decision making in sports and how it may relate to decision making in broader contexts.   In an effort to deal with high levels of complexity, many managers in sports appear to adopt managing templates from other successful managers rather than attempting to decide on the spot regarding the optimality of a decision.  Maybe this is a way of condensing complexity or a risk averse reaction to possible criticism of unorthodox moves.   Some managers, however, such as Bill Belichick or Jim Harbaugh, seem less bound by a template […]

May 12, 2020
tags
NFL; decision making; statistics

Fans Care about PED Use -- Sometimes

What spurred the public's negative view of the use of PEDs?  Why have MLB and pro cycling received much more attention than the NFL?  Some would say fans don’t care, even in the MLB and cycing cases, that it’s really just a media-generated series of events.  No doubt, media writers and talking heads can get worked up over things that create yawns among most fans.  In the case of the steroid stories, their long-lasting legs suggests that they resonate with the sporting public to some extent. The MLB Hall of Fame voting  supplies the explanation -- not the details but […]

May 12, 2020
tags
cycling

Southern Finance Association CFP

Jason Berkowitz, Assistant Professor of Finance at St. John's, is putting together a proposal for a session or two at this year's Southern Finance Association Meeting in Key West, Fl (a location that, to this northerner enduring another honest to goodness blizzard, sounds really, really appealing).  Here's the skinny on what Jason is looking for. Hello everyone, I am reaching out to you all as I would like to organize a sports betting session (possible two) at the Southern Finance Association Annual Meeting in Key West, Florida from November 19-22.  If you have a paper you would like to present please e-mail me your […]

May 12, 2020
tags
Uncategorized

MLB Umps: Evaluated but not Incentivized

The egregiously poor call against in the Yankees-Orioles game when Mark Texeira slid into first base throws attention back on to several issues with MLB umpiring: 1. Umps utilize "models" to assist or determine their decisions.   On tag plays, how early the ball arrives matters in addition to (and sometimes independent of) the actual tag.  At first base, it's a foot hitting the bag and sound of ball hitting the glove model.   On average, these models cut down on errors, but they can fall prey to big mistakes, especially when something falls outside the scope of the model like a […]

May 12, 2020
tags
MLB

Anthony Rizzo's Call Up: Was the Timing a Good Signal for Cubs Fans?

The man that many consider the Cubs top prospect, slugging first baseman Anthony Rizzo, made his Cubs debut Tuesday against the Mets.  Prior to that, he had spent the entire season tearing up Pacific Coast League pitching while playing for the Iowa Cubs. Rizzo looked like he had little to prove by spending more time in the minor leagues, but the Cubs' brass still kept him in Iowa to begin the season even as the parent Cubbies struggled to score runs.   Why? Part of the reason may have been a question of what to do with him.  Bryan LaHair […]

May 12, 2020
tags
arbitration

Management by Discrete Jumps, Not Increments?

Tom Verducci of SI.com hammers the  management of pitching in MLB, particularly the role of "closers," in "With More Closers Breaking Down, It's Time to Rethink the Modern Bullpen." In spite of extensive medical/training resources devoted to them, relievers (and starting pitchers) are pitching less and less but breaking down more and more.  The piece includes a variety of data describing these trends to which Verducci adds: It's not just that they break down; Wilson, Soria, Madson, Bailey and Farnsworth will earn $30.2 million combined this year, whether they pitch or not. It's that paying a guy $12.5 million to […]

May 12, 2020
tags
MLB

"The Economic Impact of Cardinals Postseason on St. Louis is Unclear"

I'll admit right out of the box that I was excited, as only a sports economist can be, when I read the headline to this post which is the headline to this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article written by Matthew Hathaway (link via Chad Venable).  Matthew gets right to the chase:  spending on Cardinal games is not necessarily an inflow of money into an economy.  At least a portion of it would have been spent elsewhere in the city. A long Cardinals run of postseason baseball is good for business, right? The local chamber of commerce predicts it will pump millions of […]

May 12, 2020
tags
baseball

The Honeymoon is Already Over in Gwinnett

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. A consultant’s study used by county officials to justify spending $64 million on the stadium said Gwinnett’s demographics and economy made it “one of the strongest markets in the country to support a minor league baseball team.” Conventions, Sports & Leisure International estimated the team would average 6,000 to 6,500 fans a game after an initial “honeymoon” period in which attendance might be higher. In 2009 the team drew an average of 5,858 fans a game – up from 4,455 the previous year when the team played in Richmond, Va. But the average […]

May 12, 2020
tags
attendance

The World is Not Enough

Ryan Jazayerli at Grantland offers a thorough and insightful survey of the demise of the Astros in "Rock Bottom in H-Town." Many turns to the story -- hiring of Larry Dierker, an early Sabermetric advocate, the build-up of the minor league system, 14 straight winning seasons, a trip to the World Series, and now a season headed toward near record number of losses for a non-franchise team and with little in the way of help on the roster or minor league system.  My current interest lies in the depletion of minor league players and cash to pursue veterans in the […]

May 12, 2020
tags
Major League Baseball

Hypotheticals under Arguably Better Systems

The Australian Football League (AFL) finals series (or playoffs in the US/Canadian lingo) kicks off this weekend, with betting markets indicating that the field of eight is more open than in most recent years. At the business end of the season, it is always worth considering how things would be different under alternative systems used to rank teams at the conclusion of the home-and-away (regular) season. One possibility here is if the AFL used a ‘bonus points' system analogous to that used in some Rugby (Union) competitions (see an earlier post). Niven Winchester (MIT) and I estimated a theoretical bonus point […]

May 12, 2020
tags
Australian Football League

How Much v. How Well -- Michael Jordan as "6th Man"?

In 1968, Gates Brown hit .450 as a pinch hitter and .370 in total with an OPS of 1.12.  Yet, Brown did not register in the year end MVP voting.  His AL record 107 pinch hits did not garner in Hall of Fame ballots in his name.  Neither did they for Lenny Harris whose 207 career pinch hits leads the majors.  Why not?  These contributions, while noteworthy and taking place often in pressure-packed situations, reflect a small number of contributions relative to full-time position players. Yet, Mariano Rivera's will certainly enter Cooperstown.  He also finished second, third (3 times), and […]

May 12, 2020
tags
Major League Baseball

Predicting Rory

Journalists like to tell stories.  They mix in some analysis into their stories, but as more garnish than main course.  After Rory McIlroy's bad Sunday at the Masters in April, it was all about "the collapse."  A Golf.com article captures the emotional angst angle dominating the post-Masters' coverage: It's because the expectations were so high, and the stakes so huge. History shows that players who cough up big leads in big tournaments often don't get another chance,  their  psyche permanently shattered by thoughts of what might have been. For two months, McIlroy could not escape the "collapse" questions -- probably […]

May 12, 2020
tags
golf