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The Evolution of Data and Statistics in Baseball

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While former New York Yankees pitcher Goose Gossage unleashed his tirade on the deterioration of the unwritten rules of baseball and nerds ruining the sport about halfway through my writing of the paper, sentiments like his were inspiration for my

While former New York Yankees pitcher Goose Gossage unleashed his tirade on the deterioration of the unwritten rules of baseball and nerds ruining the sport about halfway through my writing of the paper, sentiments like his were inspiration for my topic: the evolution of statistics and data in baseball. By telling the story of how baseball data and statistics have evolved, my goal was to also demonstrate how they have been intertwined since the beginning—which would essentially mean that nerds have always been ruining the sport (if you subscribe to that kind of thought).

In the quest to showcase this, it was necessary to document how baseball prospers from numbers and numbers prosper from baseball. The relationship between the two is mutualistic. Furthermore, an all-encompassing historical look at how data and statistics in baseball have matured was a critical portion of the paper. With a metric such as batting average going from a radical new measure that posed a threat to the status quo, to a fiercely cherished statistic that was suddenly being unseated by advanced analytics, it shows the creation of new and destruction of old has been incessant. Innovators like Pete Palmer, Dick Cramer and Bill James played a large role in this process in the 1980s. Computers aided their effort and when paired with the Internet, unleashed the ability to crunch data to an even larger sector of the population. The unveiling of Statcast at the commencement of the 2015 season showed just how much potential there is for measuring previously unquantifiable baseball acts.

Essentially, there will always be people who mourn the presence of data and statistics in baseball. Despite this, the evolution story indicates baseball and numbers will be intertwined into the future, likely to an even greater extent than ever before, as technology and new philosophies become increasingly integrated into front offices and clubhouses.

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2016-05

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Panic at the Elbow: High school baseball's Tommy John surgery epidemic

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Panic at the Elbow: High School Baseball's Tommy John Surgery Epidemic reflects on the history of Tommy John surgery, examines the scale of the current epidemic, explores its underlying causes and ultimately recommends steps that parents and players can take to avoid such overuse injuries. Link to documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31xvOCN_tqk

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2016-05

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Soccer and Coverage by American Sports Media

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This study utilized a literature review and an analysis of Google Trends and Google News data in order to investigate the coverage that American men’s soccer gets from the media compared to that given to other major American sports. The

This study utilized a literature review and an analysis of Google Trends and Google News data in order to investigate the coverage that American men’s soccer gets from the media compared to that given to other major American sports. The literature review called upon a variety of peer-reviewed, scholarly entries, as well as journalistic articles and stories, to holistically argue that soccer receives short-sighted coverage from the American media. This section discusses topics such as import substitution, stardom, and American exceptionalism. The Google analysis consisted of 30 specific comparisons in which one American soccer player was compared to another athlete playing in one of America’s major sports leagues. These comparisons allowed for concrete measurements in the difference in popularity and coverage between soccer players and their counterparts. Overall, both the literature review and Google analysis yielded firm and significant evidence that the American media’s coverage of soccer is lopsided, and that they do play a role in the sport’s difficulty to become popular in the American mainstream.

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2021-05

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A Study of Win Expectancy Estimators in Major League Baseball

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In recent years, advanced metrics have dominated the game of Major League Baseball. One such metric, the Pythagorean Win-Loss Formula, is commonly used by fans, reporters, analysts and teams alike to use a team’s runs scored and runs allowed to

In recent years, advanced metrics have dominated the game of Major League Baseball. One such metric, the Pythagorean Win-Loss Formula, is commonly used by fans, reporters, analysts and teams alike to use a team’s runs scored and runs allowed to estimate their expected winning percentage. However, this method is not perfect, and shows notable room for improvement. One such area that could be improved is its ability to be affected drastically by a single blowout game, a game in which one team significantly outscores their opponent.<br/>We hypothesize that meaningless runs scored in blowouts are harming the predictive power of Pythagorean Win-Loss and similar win expectancy statistics such as the Linear Formula for Baseball and BaseRuns. We developed a win probability-based cutoff approach that tallied the score of each game once a certain win probability threshold was passed, effectively removing those meaningless runs from a team’s season-long runs scored and runs allowed totals. These truncated totals were then inserted into the Pythagorean Win-Loss and Linear Formulas and tested against the base models.<br/>The preliminary results show that, while certain runs are more meaningful than others depending on the situation in which they are scored, the base models more accurately predicted future record than our truncated versions. For now, there is not enough evidence to either confirm or reject our hypothesis. In this paper, we suggest several potential improvement strategies for the results.<br/>At the end, we address how these results speak to the importance of responsibility and restraint when using advanced statistics within reporting.

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2021-05