• Smart Baseball

  • The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball
  • By: Keith Law
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 04-25-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (196 ratings)
  • Whispersync for Voice-ready

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Publisher's Summary

Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law's iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport.
For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players' and teams' potential and success. But in the past 15 years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement - sabermetrics - has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the old way - a combination of outdated numbers and gut instinct - is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run by people, not by numbers.
In this informative and provocative book, the renowned ESPN analyst and senior baseball writer demolishes a century's worth of accepted wisdom, making the definitive case against the long-established view. Armed with concrete examples from different eras of baseball history, logic, a little math, and lively commentary, he shows how the allegiance to these numbers - dating back to the beginning of the professional game - is firmly rooted not in accuracy or success but in baseball's irrational adherence to tradition.
While Law gores sacred cows, from clutch performers to RBIs to the infamous save rule, he also demystifies sabermetrics, explaining what these "new" numbers really are and why they're vital. He also considers the game's future, examining how teams are using data, from PhDs to sophisticated statistical databases, to build future rosters - changes that will transform baseball and all of professional sports.
©2017 Meadow Party LLC (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Buretto on 11-01-17

Strips the game of every ounce of soul and beauty

If you love the game of baseball, give this a pass. To be fair, it gives some interesting analytical insights, as far as they go. But it goes too far. The incessant negativity is off-putting. The author is annoyingly condescending to anyone who disagrees with the new, enlightened sabermetrics, referring to them as idiots and luddites. Suffice it to say, he's very selective on what data he considers objective and what is highly context dependant. Moreover, the presentation is dull, and the attempts at humor fall flat. If I had to hear about Joey Bag'o'Donuts one more time, I would've ripped my earbuds out.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Daniel Norman on 05-06-17

Great intro for rookies, nice brush up for vets.

I've followed Keith's work for a long time, this book doesn't disappoint. It's got all the snark you're used to along with a bit of humor and a ton of knowledge. While there wasn't a lot of knew information for someone who follows baseball and sabermetrics it's still essential reading because it looks at how statistics have taken over the game and driven out the old, illogical ways of the past. You'll learn a bit about sabermetrics and a lot about the state of the game itself. Great read, thanks Keith!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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