Oct 9, 2007

gnats and stats

I'm always raging about sports wagering, and Mark Lamster only encourages my vituperation.
The more scientifically inclined will search their spreadsheets, study their data points, and review their equations to determine exactly what happened to this team, and where it was deficient. (Hint: the starting pitching.) I'm all for that kind of analysis, don't get me wrong. I read Baseball Prospectus, and I know my VORP from my WARP. But modeling has its limits. The last time I checked, there's no stat that predicts Pitching Effectiveness During a Gnat Attack. Baseball is a game of the happy, and sometimes unhappy, accident. The postseason will always be something of a crapshoot. Teams can improve their odds with intelligent oversight, but they will always be subject to the vagaries of fate.
And that's why you don't bet on sports.

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