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Archive of posts filed under the Sports category.

High five: “Now if it is from 2010, I think we can make all sorts of assumptions about the statistical methods without even looking.”

Eric Tassone writes: Have you seen this? “Suns Tracking High Fives to Measure Team Camaraderie.” Key passage:

Why you can’t simply estimate the hot hand using regression

Jacob Schumaker writes: Reformed political scientist, now software engineer here. Re: the hot hand fallacy fallacy from Miller and Sanjurjo, has anyone discussed why a basic regression doesn’t solve this? If they have I haven’t seen it. The idea is just that there are other ways of measuring the hot hand. When I think of […]

If you want to know about basketball, who ya gonna trust, a mountain of p-values . . . or that poseur Phil Jackson??

Someone points me with amusement to this published article from 2012: Beliefs About the “Hot Hand” in Basketball Across the Adult Life Span Alan Castel, Aimee Drolet Rossi, and Shannon McGillivray University of California, Los Angeles Many people believe in streaks. In basketball, belief in the “hot hand” occurs when people think a player is […]

Why I think the top batting average will be higher than .311: Over-pooling of point predictions in Bayesian inference

In a post from 22 May 2017 entitled, “Who is Going to Win the Batting Crown?”, Jim Albert writes: At this point in the season, folks are interested in extreme stats and want to predict final season measures. On the morning of Saturday May 20, here are the leading batting averages: Justin Turner .379 Ryan […]

Baseball, apple pie, and Stan

Ben sends along these two baseball job ads that mention experience with Stan as a preferred qualification: St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Development Analyst Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Research and Development Analyst

Does racquetball save lives?

Asher Meir points to this news report and writes: 8e5 people in study, about half reported exercising, about half not. About 10% died overall. So overall death rate difference of 28% is pretty remarkable. It means about 3500 deaths instead of 4500 for a similar sample size. But when you compare the rate of heart […]

Further evidence that creativity and innovation are stimulated by college sports: Evidence from a big regression

Kevin Lewis sent along this paper from the Creativity Research Journal: Further Evidence that Creativity and Innovation are Inhibited by Conservative Thinking: Analyses of the 2016 Presidential Election The investigation replicated and extended previous research showing a negative relationship between conservatism and creative accomplishment. Conservatism was estimated, as in previous research, from voting patterns. The […]

Chess records page

Chess records page (no, not on the first page, or the second page, or the third page, of a google search of *chess records*). There’s lots of good stuff here, enough to fill much of a book if you so desire. As we’ve discussed, chess games are in the public domain so if you take […]

Will Stanton hit 61 home runs this season?

[edit: Juho Kokkala corrected my homework. Thanks! I updated the post. Also see some further elaboration in my reply to Andrew’s comment. As Andrew likes to say …] So far, Giancarlo Stanton has hit 56 home runs in 555 at bats over 149 games. Miami has 10 games left to play. What’s the chance he’ll […]

As if the 2010s never happened

E. J. writes: I’m sure I’m not the first to send you this beauty. Actually, E. J., you’re the only one who sent me this! It’s a news article, “Can the fear of death instantly make you a better athlete?”, reporting on a psychology experiment: For the first study, 31 male undergraduates who liked basketball […]

SCANDAL: Florida State University football players held to the same low standards as George Mason University statistics faculty

Paul Alper points us to this news report: As the Florida State University football team was marching to a national title in the fall of 2013, the school was investigating allegations of academic favoritism involving a half-dozen of its leading players . . . The inquiry, previously unreported, stemmed from a complaint by a teaching […]

Chris Moore, Guy Molyneux, Etan Green, and David Daniels on Bayesian umpires

Kevin Lewis points us to a paper by Etan Green and David Daniels, who conclude that “decisions of [baseball] umpires reflect an accurate, probabilistic, and state-specific understanding of their rational expectations—as well as an ability to integrate those prior beliefs in a manner that approximates Bayes rule.” This is similar to what was found in […]

Publish your raw data and your speculations, then let other people do the analysis: track and field edition

There seems to be an expectation in science that the people who gather a dataset should also be the ones who analyze it. But often that doesn’t make sense: what it takes to gather relevant data has little to do with what it takes to perform a reasonable analysis. Indeed, the imperatives of analysis can […]

I don’t like discrete models (hot hand in baseball edition)

Bill Jefferys points us to this article, “Baseball’s ‘Hot Hand’ Is Real,” in which Rob Arthur and Greg Matthews analyze a year of pitch-by-pitch data from Major League Baseball. There are some good things in their analysis, and I think a lot can be learned from these data using what Arthur and Matthews did, so […]

PPNAS again: If it hadn’t been for the jet lag, would Junior have banged out 756 HRs in his career?

In an email with subject line, “Difference between “significant” and “not significant”: baseball edition?”, Greg Distelhorst writes: I think it’s important to improve statistical practice in the social sciences. I also care about baseball. In this PNAS article, Table 1 and the discussion of differences between east vs. west and home vs. away effects do […]

His concern is that the authors don’t control for the position of games within a season.

Chris Glynn wrote last year: I read your blog post about middle brow literature and PPNAS the other day. Today, a friend forwarded me this article in The Atlantic that (in my opinion) is another example of what you’ve recently been talking about. The research in question is focused on Major League Baseball and the […]

The upcoming NBA hackathon: You’ll never guess the top 10 topics . . .

Jason Rosenfeld writes: We’re hosting our second annual NBA Hackathon this September. This year, there will be two tracks, basketball analytics and business analytics. Prizes include a trip to NBA All-Star 2018 in Los Angeles and a lunch with NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver. Any help spreading the word among your students and beyond is greatly […]

A collection of quotes from William James that all could’ve come from . . . Bill James!

From a few years ago, some quotes from the classic psychologist that fit within the worldview of the classic sabermetrician: Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain. A great many people think they are thinking […]

Using Stan for week-by-week updating of estimated soccer team abilites

Milad Kharratzadeh shares this analysis of the English Premier League during last year’s famous season. He fit a Bayesian model using Stan, and the R markdown file is here. The analysis has three interesting features: 1. Team ability is allowed to continuously vary throughout the season; thus, once the season is over, you can see […]

Molyneux expresses skepticism on hot hand

image Guy Molyneux writes: I saw your latest post on the hot hand too late to contribute to the discussion there. While I don’t disagree with your critique of Gilovich and his reluctance to acknowledge past errors, I do think you underestimate the power of the evidence against a meaningful hot hand effect in sports. […]