Saturday, September 28, 2013

This Blog Was Founded on Statistical Ignorance, Dammit!

The label "statistical ignorance" is the ninth-most-used label on this blog, but only two of its 46 uses are after 2009.  I long for the good old days when our posts were often smarmily pointing out numerical fallacies in baseball analysis and not just Larry B bitching about pop sportswriters who write about movies and shit. But now that I'm out of the regular job world and into the grad student life, maybe I will find some time to bring "statistical ignorance" back.  Or maybe I'll just sit back and watch Larry wage his war against The Sports Guy.  

Anyways, I somehow ended up on this article: "5 Reasons Steroids Were Never the Real Problem in Baseball", by someone named Adam Tod Brown, and read it.  The whole article isn't really very interesting; it takes some sensible and some foolish angles on steroids, but overall it's nothing new.  But there was one spectacular goof, which I had to post about:

#3. Pitcher Is the Position With the Most Performance-Enhancing-Drug Suspensions

It's also important to note that of the 43 players suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs since 2005, 15 of them were pitchers. The next closest position was outfielder with 13, but that blanket term actually covers three positions on the field (left, right, and center fielder), so even then it's not really as close as it seems.

Oh!  Thanks for pointing out that outfield is a blanket term that actually covers three positions on the field!  It's a good thing you cleared that up, Mr. Brown.  But now that you mention it, gosh, maybe pitcher is the position with the most performance-enhancing drug suspension because pitcher is the position with the most players.  

In fact, the 35% pitcher ratio of pitchers suspendees to overall suspendees is actually lower than one might expect.  I'm too lazy to figure out exactly what percentage of MLB players are pitchers, but if you figure most teams carry 11 or so pitchers out of 25 roster slots, you'd expect a roughly 44% ratio.  Now this is hardly a large sample, and who knows how many cheaters evaded the testing... but this is the kind of article that suggests Adam Tod Brown needs to be beaten with a sock full of quarters.


Bronco Billy B said...

So why is the blog called Fire Jay Mariotti and not Superfluities of Statistics?

Anonymous said...

Dagnamit! I long fer the good ol' days when us bloggers wuz bloggin' about writers who was writin' about how they longed fer the good ol' days before these new-fangled statistics came along! Why, bloggers these days are bloggin' into Sampod Galaxy Droids and these new fangled "Tablit" computers right out in the broad daylight and Moneyball is some slick Hollywood movie starring a golden haired glory boy!! In my day all the best bloggin' wuz about WAR and VORP done from a Hot Pocket stained keyboard down in dear ol' ma's deep-dark basement and that's the way we liked it! Now get outta my basement!

Chris W said...

I love how someone can write a "5 reasons steroids were never the problem in baseball" and not even hint at a knowledge of the fact that most of the inflated power numbers of the late-90's and early-2000's came not from steroids but from the same sorts of things that inflate or deflate power numbers throughout history (i.e. ball composition, strike zone, park effects)

Probably because Cracked has become a garbage website lately

Chris W said...

Also, Pitcher as a position for the purposes of the Cracked article means "Non-hitters" and thus pitchers account for a lot FEWER steroids incriminations than "hitters" do

pnoles said...

dan-bob making the rest of us mastheaders look downright lazy....thanks a lot.