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August 2, 2007 12:00 am
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
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 Read the full article... 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."
— , in anticipation of his recent visit to Wrigley Field Willy Taveras Read the full article... 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 on June 20 Roger Clemens th. The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe. 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."
-- pitcher Red Sox , answering a reporter's question during his first press conference after arriving in Fort Myers for spring training. Daisuke Matsuzaka Read the full article... 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 written by Alan Schwarz, where he reported a study on racial bias in the officiating of NBA Games. But as New York Times article 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. Read the full article...
Dan continues his series using pitch data by examining the case of Tim Wakefield. 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 Read the full article... 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 Read the full article... Further adventures in pitch-by-pitch data.
"All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
-- Ernest Rutherford (1871 - 1937) Read the full article... 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 Read the full article... 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 Read the full article...