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Archive of posts filed under the Sports category.

Bill James does model checking

Regular readers will know that Bill James was one of my inspirations for becoming a statistician. I happened to be browsing through the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract the other day and came across this passage on Glenn Hubbard, who he ranks as the 88th best second baseman of all time: Total Baseball has Glenn […]

“Kasparov To Face Caruana, Nakamura, So In Ultimate Blitz Challenge”

E. J. pointed me to this announcement: For the first time since his retirement in 2005 Garry Kasparov will play chess against some of the best players on the planet. The 13th world champion agreed to meet the top three finishers of the 2016 U.S. Championship in a blitz tournament. That turned out to be […]

64 Shades of Gray: The subtle effect of chessboard images on foreign policy polarization

Brian Nosek pointed me to this 2013 paper by Theodora Zarkadi and Simone Schnall, “‘Black and White’ thinking: Visual contrast polarizes moral judgment,” which begins: Recent research has emphasized the role of intuitive processes in morality by documenting the link between affect and moral judgment. The present research tested whether incidental visual cues without any […]

DG XXXVII: Lumosity fined $2 million for deceiving customers about its “brain training” programs

Paul Alper writes: Because you went to MIT and are a chess enthusiast, you probably know a lot more about Claude Shannon than I do. However, did you know that as intellectually brilliant as he was, he died of “after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease”? I bring up this factoid because it sort of […]

Bayesian Umpires: The coolest sports-statistics idea since the hot hand!

Hiro Minato points us to this recent article by Guy Molyneux: Baseball fans have long known, or at least suspected, that umpires call balls and strikes differently as the count changes. At 0-2, it seems that almost any taken pitch that is not right down the middle will be called a ball, while at 3-0 […]

For Opening Day

From John Lardner: A young ex-paratrooper visited Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, one day, and addressed some language, as ball fans will, to Mr. Leo Durocher, the Brooklyn manager, himself the most polite and clean-tongued gentleman in the national pastime when his mouth is shut, which is a hypothetical situation. I should really stop here because this […]

Scientific explanation of Panther defeat!

Roy’s comment on our recent post inspires me to reveal the true explanation underlying the Carolina team’s shocking Super Bowl loss. The Panthers were primed during the previous week with elderly-themed words such as “bingo” and “Manning.” As well-established research has demonstrated, this caused Cam and the gang to move more slowly, hence all the […]

Stan’s Super Bowl prediction: Broncos 24, Panthers 13

We ran the data through our model, not just the data from the past season but from the past 17 seasons (that’s what we could easily access) with a Gaussian process model to allow team abilities to vary over time. Because we’re modeling individual game outcomes, our model automatically controls for imbalances such as Carolina’s […]

Jim Albert’s Baseball Blog

Jim Albert has a baseball blog: Baseball with R I sent a link internally to people I knew were into baseball, to which Andrew replied, “I agree that it’s cool that he doesn’t just talk, he has code.” (No kidding—the latest post as of writing this was on an R package to compute value above […]

Baltimore Orioles Hackathon coming soon!

Kevin Tenenbaum writes: I wanted to let you know about a hackathon that we will be hosting at Camden Yards on February 5th, 2016. This event is a great opportunity for your students to use their statistics, data science and computer science expertise to find novel solutions to problems that Major League Baseball teams deal […]

Monty Got a Raw Hand

Now nonsense isn’t new to me . . . check out this new paper by Josh Miller and Adam Sanjurjo.

Definitely got nothing to do with chess IV

Paul Alper points us to this in-depth article by Steven Brill on the topic of Alex Gorsky, the pharma executive who notoriously marketed a dangerous drug and hid the evidence of its dangers. The headline was a bit of a cheat, though. The story is fascinating from a statistical perspective but it has no chess […]

Fun media requests

Lots of time I get asked who I think will win the election. This time we have something different: On Dec 8, 2015, at 2:59 AM, ** wrote: Hello Mr Gelman, I am writing you on behalf of ** Online Media **. We are a special service that finds the best experts to answer the […]

Garry is 50 years old. He is a chess player who is also active in a political movement.

You all know about Linda, that now-retired bank teller who back in the 1970s was active in the feminist movement. Even if she never had any formal political experience before this activity, Linda might well have had a talent for politics. Garry is in the opposite situation: he’s had several political opportunities since his rise […]

Stop screaming already: Exaggeration of effects of fan distraction in NCAA basketball

John Ezekowitz writes: I have been reading your work on published effect sizes, and I thought you might be interested in this example, which is of small consequence but grates me as a basketball and data fan. Kevin Quealy and Justin Wolfers published an analysis in The NYT on fans’ effectiveness in causing road teams […]

Are you ready for some smashmouth FOOTBALL?

Kickoff This story started for me three years ago with a pre-election article by Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier entitled, “Will Ohio State’s football team decide who wins the White House?.” Cowen and Grier wrote: Economists Andrew Healy, Neil Malhotra, and Cecilia Mo . . . examined whether the outcomes of college football games on […]

You won’t be able to stop staring at this original Hot Hand preprint

To continue with our basketball theme, here’s the preprint of the original hot hand paper, “Misperception of Chance Processes in Basketball,” by Amos Tversky, Robert Vallone, and Thomas Gilovich, from 1985 or so. I remember when it was floating around and everybody was talking about it. When discussing the hot hand with Josh Miller the […]

Hi-tech hoops: Characterizing the spatial structure of defensive skill in professional basketball

Joshua Vogelstein points me to this article by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn, and Kirk Goldsberry and writes: For some reason, I feel like you’d care about this article, and the resulting discussion on your blog would be fun. Hey—label your lines directly! Cool! Ummm . . . no. No. Really, really, really, really […]

Super-topical NBA post!!!

Paul Alper writes: Now that his team has won the NBA Championship, I am surprised that you have not commented on Curry and his mouthguard. The link is from May 8, 2015. Notice that mouthguard out is mouthguard chewed! From the article: Curry says his mouthguard routines are completely random, but apparently he’s now well […]

3 postdoc opportunities you can’t miss—here in our group at Columbia! Apply NOW, don’t miss out!

Hey, just once, the Buzzfeed-style hype is appropriate. We have 3 amazing postdoc opportunities here, and you need to apply NOW. Here’s the deal: we’re working on some amazing projects. You know about Stan and associated exciting projects in computational statistics. There’s the virtual database query, which is the way I like to describe our […]