I have always thought a hobby was supposed to be fun. It was supposed to be something to pass your time and make you forget the everyday grind. Not something that necessarily made you think, but perhaps something mindless. With all that in mind statistical analysis was never something I thought would fit into the category of a hobby, until now……..
The Book-Playing the Percentages in Baseball
By:Tom Tango, Mitchell Lichtman and Andrew Dolphin -2007
Books like this I have never really given a chance. I always thought they were strictly the authors interpretation on any given situation, backed by their own derived numbers. Being that the main purpose of this blog was to explore new avenues of reading and share my thoughts with you, I figured I would give this one a shot.
What I found was a book of incredible analysis. The authors analyze every conceivable scenario within the game and give you every possible outcome. It uses numbers and graphs to show what the best and most probable outcome may be in any given situation. If you are not a numbers person some of this book may be over your head, but with a little understanding of their methods you can gain a lot of knowledge.
Honestly on a book like this, I found some of the explanations dry. I do not think it had anything to do with the authors writing style. I feel it all has to do with the nature of what you are reading about. Honestly there are only so many ways to make statistical analysis interesting, even to the most hard-core fan.
In the new era of Sabermetrics a book like this is important. It gives the casual reader a chance to see how numbers are effecting the thought processes on the field. It also gives fans who sit on their couches an opportunity to second guess the strategies playing out in front of them on the TV. The Book also has some sort of validity to the lower leagues and teachers of the next generation of ball players. Those coaches can generate a stronger knowledge of the game and the moves they can make to better prepare their players for the future.
I struggled with this book a bit, mostly because of my personal dislike of statistical analysis. As stated above this book is a quality tool that could help people both in the game, and watching it from home. So I would recommend it for anyone who has an interest in this topic.
You can get this book from the friendly folks at Potomac Books