Category: Sports

Begin with a data set, preferably one in which many people are interested. Let’s say, World Series results from 1903 to the present. Now ask a question about the data, one that should be easy to answer with a highly simplified model. Our question will be: have World Series teams, historically, been evenly matched? Our […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted January 4, 2007 @ 9:34 PM | Baseball

Five years ago, after the 1999 season, a fellow fantasy league baseball owner and I fell into an argument about Roger Clemens. Clemens was 37 years old. In 1998 he had a brilliant season with Toronto, winning the pitching triple crown — ERA, wins, and strikeouts — and his fifth Cy Young Award. In 1999, […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted February 21, 2004 @ 11:44 AM | Baseball,Heuristic

Congratulations, to begin with, to all Red Sox and Cubs fans, who burnished their reputations as lovable losers, with their teams both snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in dramatic fashion. There is a lesson for them in the plight of the Rangers fan. For decades New York Rangers fans had to endure the […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted October 17, 2003 @ 6:21 PM | Philosophy,Sports

I have avoided writing about Kobe Bryant until now, and promise to do so forevermore, because I find it hard to understand how anyone, except a deeply interested party like a Laker fan, could possibly have a dog in this fight. In one corner is the superstar modern athlete, the closest thing one finds today […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted August 17, 2003 @ 11:06 PM | Sports

Niceness counts, your mother used to tell you, and so it does, for you and me. When you are one of the best in the world at what you do, niceness stops counting. I am reminded of this by the sportswriters’ treatment of Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds is one of the greatest hitters who ever […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted June 20, 2003 @ 5:07 PM | Baseball,Philosophy,Sports

I just finished Michael Lewis’s terrific book about Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager who consistently fields a great team with one of the lowest payrolls in the major leagues. The A’s are baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s particular albatross. Selig harps on the need for more baseball socialism (“revenue-sharing”) because of the alleged “inability […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted June 2, 2003 @ 12:46 PM | Baseball

It requires a certain type of mind to excite itself over “fragments of fragments,” but the normally sober baseball analyst Rob Neyer exults giddily over them in his column the other day. The question at issue is how lucky the 2002 Detroit Tigers were. On the one hand, they lost 106 games. On the other, […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted April 30, 2003 @ 7:31 PM | Baseball,Business,Philosophy


It’s been a while since I’ve thrown a sop to my baseball-oriented readers and the season is under way, so I’m gonna make it up to you with a new statistic, because the one thing baseball suffers from is not enough statistics. I was trying to explain the game to an Icelandic friend of mine […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted April 22, 2003 @ 7:50 PM | Baseball

Last night the Washington Wizards lost a key game in the playoff race in which Michael Jordan left with an injury, and the Post’s headline was: “Wizards lose Air, ground.” Would you get that in the Times? You would not.

Aaron Haspel | Posted March 6, 2003 @ 10:28 PM | Sports

I thought you only got to do this when your team won.

Aaron Haspel | Posted January 27, 2003 @ 12:55 PM | Culture,Sports