Sunday diversion / baseball and Camus, seriously

but first, a more diverting diversion
It is better the older you are, I think. (How often do you get to say that?) Posnanski tracks major league baseball player quality by birth year.

heavier stuff, but a diversion for me
Part II is from Steven Rubio, this Thinker Guy, developing a theme about baseball that I find useful in looking at the residential real estate market in Manhattan (no joke): that statistics (facts) exist, in part, to permit questions to be asked, and that Conventional Wisdom deserves to be tested by facts. Like all good baseball nerds, the Thinker Guy starts his baseball analysis with an homage to Bill James. (My collection of Bill James Baseball Abstracts must still be in a box somewhere, there should be at least 7 from the 1980s.)

Some insights, as he works his way into Albert Camus (the Camus stuff is recommended only for Camus nerds; sorry):

The primary point is always that it’s not just about baseball; it’s about a way to see the world. I can’t tell that story without a digression.


Baseball supplies the statistics; analysts like James ask the questions; but computers make the process of analyzing much easier. The computer is a tool, just as statistics are only data. If you don’t have a question that needs to be answered, tools and data won’t be worth much.

This aside about a movie I have not seen (but a movement I am well familiar with) hits a nice grace note:

Much of this is behind the recent Hollywood hit Moneyball. The film, like the book on which it is based, gets many things right. But its portrait of the old school is harsh in unrealistic ways, falling victim to the stereotypes of the most extreme thinkers of the new paradigm. In fact, success comes in part from a useful blending of all sides, with old school and new bringing their particular talents to the table. Conflict makes for a better movie, though. When Brad Pitt is playing the exemplar of the new way, the old guys don’t stand a chance.

h/t Jonathan Bernstein on The Plum Line

If it is 60+ degrees, it must be time soon for baseball, no?

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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