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Dan Fox 

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08-04

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8

The BP Wayback Machine: Beautiful Theories and Ugly Facts
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Dan Fox

04-28

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3

The BP Wayback Machine: The Myth of the Golden Age
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Dan Fox

04-17

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Schrodinger's Bat: Opus 100
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Dan Fox

04-10

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Schrodinger's Bat: Defense and Pitch Classification
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Dan Fox

04-03

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Schrodinger's Bat: Reminiscing with SFR, the Sequel
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Dan Fox

03-27

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Schrodinger's Bat: Reminiscing with SFR
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Dan Fox

03-20

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Schrodinger's Bat: Clearing the Decks
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Dan Fox

03-13

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Schrodinger's Bat: Spring Fling
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Dan Fox

03-06

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Schrodinger's Bat: Hitters v. Clemens
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Dan Fox

02-25

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Schrodinger's Bat: What Would Bacon Do?
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Dan Fox

02-21

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Schrodinger's Bat: Flashing Leather Down on the Farm
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Dan Fox

02-14

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Schrodinger's Bat: Wrapping it Up
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Dan Fox

02-07

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Schrodinger's Bat: The Toughest of Them All?
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Dan Fox

01-31

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Schrodinger's Bat: Back to the Drawing Board
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Dan Fox

01-30

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Player Profile: James Shields
by
Marc Normandin and Dan Fox

01-24

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Schrodinger's Bat: Simple Fielding Runs Version 1.0
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Dan Fox

01-17

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Schrodinger's Bat: For the Sake of Completeness
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Dan Fox

01-10

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Schrodinger's Bat: Getting Shifty
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Dan Fox

12-20

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Schrodinger's Bat: The Issue of the Day, and Ranging into the Outfield
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Dan Fox

12-13

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Schrodinger's Bat: Inching Along
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Dan Fox

12-06

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Schrodinger's Bat: Defense and Alphabet Soup
by
Dan Fox

11-29

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Schrodinger's Bat: Always Increasing
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Dan Fox

11-15

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Schrodinger's Bat: Minor League Baserunning Awards
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Dan Fox

11-08

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Schrodinger's Bat: The Biggest Booms and Busts?
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Dan Fox

11-01

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Schrodinger's Bat: My First Full Season
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Dan Fox

10-25

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Schrodinger's Bat: Free Stuff and the Men in Blue
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Dan Fox

10-18

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Schrodinger's Bat: The Baserunning Edition
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Dan Fox

10-11

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Schrodinger's Bat: On Atmosphere, Probability, and Prediction
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Dan Fox

10-04

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Schrodinger's Bat: A Rocky Mountain Retrospective
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Dan Fox

09-27

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Schrodinger's Bat: A Mailbag Double Play
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Dan Fox

09-20

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Schrodinger's Bat: Taking Advantage
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Dan Fox

09-13

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Schrodinger's Bat: The Return of the Fish Eye
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Dan Fox

09-06

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Schrodinger's Bat: Wily Mo Redux
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Dan Fox

08-30

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Schrodinger's Bat: Tilting the Playing Field
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Dan Fox

08-23

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Schrodinger's Bat: Visualizing Pitches
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Dan Fox

08-16

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Schrodinger's Bat: Putting the Pedal to the Metal
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Dan Fox

08-02

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Schrodinger's Bat: Interview With a Physicist
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Dan Fox

07-26

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Schrodinger's Bat: Calling the Balls and Strikes
by
Dan Fox

07-19

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Schrodinger's Bat: Dropping One Down, Part Two
by
Dan Fox

07-12

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Schrodinger's Bat: Dropping One Down
by
Dan Fox

07-05

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Schrodinger's Bat: Searching for the Gyroball
by
Dan Fox

06-28

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Schrodinger's Bat: Playing Favorites
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Dan Fox

06-21

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Schrodinger's Bat: Gameday Meets the Knuckleball
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Dan Fox

06-14

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Schrodinger's Bat: The Science and Art of Building a Better Pitcher Profile
by
Dan Fox

06-07

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Schrodinger's Bat: Gameday Triple Play
by
Dan Fox

05-31

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Schrodinger's Bat: Physics on Display
by
Dan Fox

05-24

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Schrodinger's Bat: Batter Versus Pitcher, Gameday Style
by
Dan Fox

05-17

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Schrodinger's Bat: Organized Common Sense
by
Dan Fox

05-10

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Schrodinger's Bat: Phil Hughes, Pitch by Pitch
by
Dan Fox

05-03

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Schrodinger's Bat: Hummingbirds and Sloths
by
Dan Fox

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August 2, 2007 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: Interview With a Physicist

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Dan Fox

Extending his own interest in the physics of baseball, Dan sits down with a lauded physicist and baseball fan to discuss the topic.

"I think physicists are the Peter Pans of the human race. They never grow up and they keep their curiosity." - Nobel Prize winner Isidor Isaac Rabi

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A look umpire tendencies to see how much human error plays a role in calling pitches.

"I never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes."
-- Leo Durocher


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Having documented Willy Taveras' special talents bunting for base hits, Dan turns to the strategy involved.

"The grass has always been tall here. I love it."
Willy Taveras, in anticipation of his recent visit to Wrigley Field


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Willy Taveras' run at a bunting record has Dan pondering the when, why, and how often as far as bunting for base hits.

"He just pointed at the ball. That's all he could do."
Willy Taveras, commenting on his bunt single against the Yankees' Roger Clemens on June 20th.


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Is it there, or isn't it? Dan dives into Dice-K's data to find out.

"Hmm. How should I answer that question? I knew this question was coming today. And I was preparing some optional answers for this particular question. Should I say, 'I have that ball?' Or I could say, 'Which particular ball are you referring to?' Or 'Which ball are you calling a gyroball?' Overall, if I have the chance, I will pitch that ball."
--Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, answering a reporter's question during his first press conference after arriving in Fort Myers for spring training.


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Parsing the data can help us address questions of bias among umpires in calling balls and strikes.

Bias in sports officiating isn't a topic to be taken lightly, and one need only recall the recent furor over a New York Times article written by Alan Schwarz, where he reported a study on racial bias in the officiating of NBA Games. But as discussed in this space a month ago, PITCHf/x data does give us a limited window into asking questions about how players are treated by umpires; today, we'll continue trekking through this new world and see what we can learn about pitchers, hitters, and the umpires who like them, like Ron Luciano with Rod Carew.

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Dan continues his series using pitch data by examining the case of Tim Wakefield.

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Popping the hood on King Felix as a demonstration of what's possible with PITCHf/x data

"Hell, yeah, I want to throw that pitch. They don't let me, though. They tell me I'm too young, that it's bad for my elbow. I told them I want to throw it."
--Felix Hernandez talking about his slider before the 2006 season


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How different ballparks affect velocity, whether pitchers use the fastball more early in games, and the challenge of quantifying plate discipline.

"Plate discipline though is difficult to measure. Good plate discipline can mean swinging at the first pitch, fouling off the fifth, taking the tenth; it's about hitting when it's possible to do so and walking when not. If it's possible to hit, a walk is a relative failure. Ultimately though, because information as to just how many juicy pitches players swing at and how many unhittable ones they take is non-existent, though walks are an imperfect measure, they will have to do."
--John Hill writing for The Cub Reporter weblog in 2005


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Further adventures in pitch-by-pitch data.

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
--Ernest Rutherford (1871 - 1937)


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Evaluating the strike zone, the umpires, and some large-scale issues with a tremendous new tool.

"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
--Lewis Carroll (1832 - 1898), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, said by the King to the White Rabbit


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Dan reviews J.C. Bradbury's new book.

"[Economics] is a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind, a technique of thinking which helps its possessor to draw correct conclusions."
--John Maynard Keynes, as quoted in the introduction to J.C. Bradbury's The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed


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