28 September 2011

Second annual Red Sox mathematical elimination post

Could anyone have predicted this? Sure there was the online scuttlebutt that the team was playing badly and in free fall and wasn't going to make it. But really, is there the technology to look at what happened this season and foresee the events of this evening?

I think events like this, where the narrative of a team in free fall seems to hold true in spite of the mathematical evidence of apparent streaks being nothing but random variation, cause people to question the merit of good solid statistical analysis of baseball. It isn't fair to lash out at these people, because quite frankly, the metrics we have do a more poor job explaining what happened than the narrative does.

But I think that just means that those who are really interested in understanding how baseball works need not question their course, but merely their tools and their explanations. We all need to look harder and explain better.

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