"" Writer's Wanderings: Crazy Baseball Statistics

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Crazy Baseball Statistics

We watched the Indians win over the Detroit Tigers last night at the Jake. Normally I don't watch all the statistics and biographical notes they post as each player comes to bat but last night, my eyes wandered to the scoreboard as Travis Hafner came up to bat. A blurb appeared next to his batting stats. It was another statistic. He has hit the most career home runs for a player from North Dakota second only to Darin Erstad.

And I need to know this because...???

Where do they come up with all this stuff? I can understand batting averages, ERAs, etc. but do I need to know how a player compares to other players from their home state? I spent a little time at Google and found that the Elias Sports Bureau is the official statistician for MLB as well as most other sports venues. Once they get the stats down, all sorts of available software can quickly scan them and put them together in any sort of comparision you'd like.

Did you know about the O-zone factor? Me neither. It is data that measures a team's success at scoring runners from second or third base as well as it's success at preventing the opposing team from doing the same thing. Is this what I've been destroying by not giving up my aerosol hairspray?

I'm waiting for the next statistic to go something like this: "Now here is the only left-handed batter with six toes who has astigmatism in the right eye and has hit five times against a pitcher who is right-handed, less that six feet tall, missing a toe on the left foot, and has a hangnail. He hits one into center field. A way back. Waaaaay back! That ball is outta here!"


Anonymous said...

*lol* Oh my gosh, I've thought the same thing before! Like, how many factors can you stack together to come up with a statistic before it just gets ridiculous?! I'd like to see that software in action, though--my husband is a huge Angels fan, so we watch those games all the time, and I'm always amazed at how quickly the commentators will come up with those totally random stats. Must be a heck of a search engine on that thing! :)

Mark said...

Hey, don't knock if you haven't tried it. A lot of the raw data is available with time, the sports bureaus just have 1 big HUGE database with lots and lots and lots of data, so "super" programmers /like me/ can spit out any combination you can think of.

And if you think O Zone is strange, try VARP, RC/27, WHIP, Win Shares, OW%, etc.

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