If you’re following the election, you’ve probably noticed a shooting war involving Nate Silver, whom sportswriting lost to politics back in 2008. The issue at stake is similar to the one sportswriters slogged through around the time of Moneyball — namely, how much faith you should put in stats and how much in your lying eyes.
I’m not reopening that can of worms. I’m opening a new can of worms. Since the dawn of the BCS, one of the favorite targets of BCS critics has been the computers. The computer rankings, critics say, are junk. They’re tools of the BCS. There’s a mountain of evidence that this is right. But what I fear is that criticism of specific BCS computer rankings is starting to shade into more generalized statistics-bashing. College football is close to declaring war on math.
The baseball season is a long and lonely road. To preserve his sanity, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter keeps a diary. These are excerpts from The Captain's private journal.
Wednesday, April 18: vs. Minnesota
April baseball is always a little rough. The spring training rust isn't totally gone, and nobody's really ready to perform at their optimal level, but everything still counts. Yeah, I'm hitting .378 coming into the game and .389 after according to Scotty the ball boy — his name is actually Brian, but come on, he's Scotty — but that's not what I care about, so I had that kid scrub my locker with a Stay-at-Home Barbie Swiffer for telling me my batting average. I only pay attention to stats that begin and end with a capital W. And don't tell me there's some new nerd stat like WxRFSW or something like that. I'll make you circle every "Hatteberg" in Moneyball. (I'm not even kidding.)
Jonah Keri talks to SB Nation's Rob Neyer about the potential playoff collapses of the Braves and Red Sox. Plus, they break down the varying opinions of the sports movie everyone is talking about, Moneyball.