I just finished reading an analytic breakdown of various commonly held sports beliefs. The book is called Scorecasting. It’s by two professors at University of Chicago.
I found the book to be very interesting and challenging. But some of their conclusions don’t really seem to be based on the data that they found. For example, they analyzed over a million called balls and strikes as viewed by the camera system that mlb has in place at the ballparks. They concluded that major league umpires have a high strike zone!
They also reviewed the 2003 Florida Marlins and said that one would be hard pressed to name any all star types on that team (How about Pudge Rodriguez? Former ALL STAR GAME MVP Jeff Conine??.. those were guys who were currently all stars at the time… but they also had… all star and world series mvps Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell; Louis Castillo I believe was a gold glove 2nd baseman… Ugi Urbina. Derick Lee (gold glove)…then in the outfield we had Miguel Cabrera… not a bad list of stars!)
On the other hand, while watching the World Series this year, I found that Scorecasting was right on as far as how the home team’s plate umpires called balls and strikes. Fascinating stuff…