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View Full Version : HE SAID WHAT? (Propellerhead Sees the Light)


jabrch
10-31-2005, 06:32 PM
http://catfishstew.baseballtoaster.com/archives/281108.html (http://catfishstew.baseballtoaster.com/archives/281108.html)



Lessons Learned From The White Sox
2005-10-26 23:16
by Ken Arneson
When I saw the White Sox in spring training (http://catfishstew.baseballtoaster.com/archives/159562.html) this year, they looked like a real impressive team to me. They hit well, and fielded well. I had a sense that day, a feeling in my gut, that the White Sox were going to be trouble for the American League, a really hard team to beat.



I didn't remember many Oakland psycophants saying this before the season. I certainly don't recall a sabermetrics guy like Arneson saying it.


But the logical side of my brain, the one that reads sabermetric blogs and books like Baseball Prospectus, kept saying that no, this is an illusion: the White Sox are mediocre. Like a poor simpleton, I believed it. I picked the White Sox to be a .500 team. I fell for the misguided propaganda of the rationalists, and let their ineffective "logic" affect my decision making.



Rationalists? Those aren't rationalists - they are people who too much believe in their own lies to try and work to analyze something that flies in the face of their hypothesises


Well, no more. Thanks to Kenny Williams, Ozzie Guillen and their squad, I have now learned my lesson. Logic may lead to truth, yes, truth is nothing but a bunch of non-committal probablistic hedges. What's the use in that? Your instincts, your guts, lead to something far more effective: truthiness (http://www.comedycentral.com/sitewide/media_player/play.jhtml?itemId=24039).



DING DING DING - I have a lot of respect for a sabermetrics guy who can recognize the limitations of that philosophy


Now some of you may subscribe to Rick Peterson's adage, "In God we trust, all others must have data." But I say, Rick Peterson is wrong. The data didn't predict the White Sox.



DING DING DING


You may reply, "Ken, you just don't get it." And then I go, "No, you don't get it." And then you're all, "No, you don't get it." And then I just go, "No way, dude, that simply isn't truthy."
Ha! Gotcha there.

He's right - he really is. He got em.

I do get it. I am an it getter. I know data. I am a data knower. I speak SQL, the lingua franca of data, fluently. I have helped build database queries for telecom monopolies and nuclear power plants, for police departments and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States. Indeed, I might as well come right out and admit it: I am a querier. Some of my best friends are queriers. I have worked and played intimately with the founders and designers of some of the world's most widely used (http://www.sybase.com/about_sybase/history) database (http://www.ingres.com/) query (http://www.postgresql.org/) engines (http://www-306.ibm.com/software/data/cloudscape/). I hang with some of the queriest people on the planet. But do any of these people have a World Series ring? Simply put: no.
OMG - this is great stuff. Can I buy your newsletter Ken? I too am a statistician. I have an economics degree, and MBA, spend time doing operations management consulting, have done time and engineering studies, etc. I understand statistics. Like you Ken, I don't have a WS ring. I do, however, watch enough baseball to know this. I can predict, with 6 Sigma accuracy, the efficiency of a process or with even greater accuracy of the operations of a particular piece of machinery, but I can not predict what a baseball player or team will do over the course of any period of time that is in the future.



As the season wore on, I came to learn my lesson. Over time, instead of telling the facts to you, I began, like the best of analysts (http://daily411.blogspot.com/2005/10/review-colbert-report.html), to feel the news at you (http://catfishstew.baseballtoaster.com/archives/259484.html). In the end, I used no logic at all for my playoff predictions, and ended up correctly picking the White Sox (http://catfishstew.baseballtoaster.com/archives/269663.html) to be champions.



Acutally, you did use logic. You used the logic of WATCHING the game. Of seeing teams execute. Of seeing the game played right. Of seeing top tier pitching, gold glove calibre defense, effective and timely power hitting, and, believe it or not, you saw the merit of "small ball" at the right time. That's why you picked the Sox to win the series.


It's very difficult to change. Sometimes your rational mind just tries to take over, trying to make you make sense. But that's not the real you talking, that's your logic addiction. But you can overcome it. I did. You just need to take it one day at a time. If you just wake up every morning and confront your rationality, saying, "today, I'm not going to let you win," you can turn your life around. It's up to you.

Go with your gut. Don't trust the data. Data isn't cool. Data doesn't rule.


This is an amazing piece of writing. Even if some of it is sarcastic or tongue in cheek, he is right.


Data is dead. Truthiness is king. Long live the king!


Data is not dead. Data is important. Data comes in many forms - including spreadsheets, but also including visual observations. Data tells us, above all, what HAPPENED. Now the skill, is to intepret data. Hopefully you, and many others, learned that ALL data needs to be taken into account, even that data that doesn't conveniently fit into a given spreadsheet/model.

Ol' No. 2
10-31-2005, 07:10 PM
Say Halleluja, brothers!!!

Dan Mega
10-31-2005, 07:22 PM
Another quality post!

SouthSide_HitMen
10-31-2005, 07:29 PM
Here is some data they can chew on:

Chicago White Sox 110 - 64 World Champs

Boston Red Sox 95 - 70 Swept by "72 win" team. Little Theo - He Gone!

Oakland A's 88 - 74 - Another year, another failure to advance.

Los Angeles Dodgers 71 - 91 - 4 games ahead of Tampa and 7 behind Cubs. Another Beane GM bites the dust.

Hiney Birds change your ways or become road kill.

buehrle4cy05
10-31-2005, 07:49 PM
These recent threads by jabrch are skyrocketing him on my list of best posters.:)

minastirith67
10-31-2005, 08:20 PM
Not that it really matters, but why is this thread in 'What's the Score?' instead of 'Talking Baseball'? The guy converted, for pete's sake!

TornLabrum
10-31-2005, 08:46 PM
http://catfishstew.baseballtoaster.com/archives/281108.html (http://catfishstew.baseballtoaster.com/archives/281108.html)



I didn't remember many Oakland psycophants saying this before the season. I certainly don't recall a sabermetrics guy like Arneson saying it.


Rationalists? Those aren't rationalists - they are people who too much believe in their own lies to try and work to analyze something that flies in the face of their hypothesises


DING DING DING - I have a lot of respect for a sabermetrics guy who can recognize the limitations of that philosophy


DING DING DING



He's right - he really is. He got em.

But do any of these people have a World Series ring? Simply put: no.
OMG - this is great stuff. Can I buy your newsletter Ken? I too am a statistician. I have an economics degree, and MBA, spend time doing operations management consulting, have done time and engineering studies, etc. I understand statistics. Like you Ken, I don't have a WS ring. I do, however, watch enough baseball to know this. I can predict, with 6 Sigma accuracy, the efficiency of a process or with even greater accuracy of the operations of a particular piece of machinery, but I can not predict what a baseball player or team will do over the course of any period of time that is in the future.



Acutally, you did use logic. You used the logic of WATCHING the game. Of seeing teams execute. Of seeing the game played right. Of seeing top tier pitching, gold glove calibre defense, effective and timely power hitting, and, believe it or not, you saw the merit of "small ball" at the right time. That's why you picked the Sox to win the series.


This is an amazing piece of writing. Even if some of it is sarcastic or tongue in cheek, he is right.



Data is not dead. Data is important. Data comes in many forms - including spreadsheets, but also including visual observations. Data tells us, above all, what HAPPENED. Now the skill, is to intepret data. Hopefully you, and many others, learned that ALL data needs to be taken into account, even that data that doesn't conveniently fit into a given spreadsheet/model.

In our science classes we teach, "If the hypothesis doesn't work, you try a new one." Apparently damn few of the propellorheads were paying attention to this little detail.

Tragg
10-31-2005, 09:25 PM
In our science classes we teach, "If the hypothesis doesn't work, you try a new one." Apparently damn few of the propellorheads were paying attention to this little detail.

I was always taught, if your hypothesis doesn't work, blame it on the luck factor.

FarWestChicago
10-31-2005, 09:35 PM
In our science classes we teach, "If the hypothesis doesn't work, you try a new one." Apparently damn few of the propellorheads were paying attention to this little detail.And that's why calling it pseudoscience is even giving it too much credit.

Daver
10-31-2005, 09:55 PM
Jabrch, I, and a few others have been blowing holes in propellorhead theories for at least three years here, and one of them finally got it.

I still can't believe it.

Flight #24
10-31-2005, 09:56 PM
In our science classes we teach, "If the hypothesis doesn't work, you try a new one." Apparently damn few of the propellorheads were paying attention to this little detail.

What are you talking about? Their models predict their estimated standings with 100% accuracy! Not their fault MLB uses things like "Actual Scores" to do their totals!

1951Campbell
10-31-2005, 10:02 PM
The propellerheads need to admit that their brand of analysis is better suited to settling historic baseball questions (those classic "would ya rather have Ted Williams or Willie Mays") than for predicting the future. Their so freaking annoying because they say that they can predict the future, and when the future up and bites them in the ass, they say things like "well, the eyes deceive."

jabrch
11-01-2005, 12:33 AM
Jabrch, I, and a few others have been blowing holes in propellorhead theories for at least three years here, and one of them finally got it.

I still can't believe it.

It has been hard work Daver - but one by one they will start to see the light. I have to admit I am hoping the Red Sox replace Theo with Depodesta. I'd love to see if he can screw up a second franchise with a huge payroll in short order. My guess - if they do sign him to GM, his first move will be to replace Millar with Hee Sop Choi. Then I will laugh my a$$ off.

jabrch
11-01-2005, 12:34 AM
The propellerheads need to admit that their brand of analysis is better suited to settling historic baseball questions (those classic "would ya rather have Ted Williams or Willie Mays") than for predicting the future."

DING DING DING