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Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games…

– tekijä: Tobias J. Moskowitz, L. Jon Wertheim

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
248782,313 (3.82)5
University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran sportswriter L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports, and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won and lost. Drawing from Moskowitz's original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of games in all sports, and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships; the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations; the unintended consequences of referees' tendencies in every sport to "swallow the whistle," and more.--From publisher description.… (lisätietoja)
  1. 10
    Freakonomics : outoustalous (tekijä: Steven D. Levitt) (browner56)
    browner56: Economists use the tools of the "dismal science"--both traditional and behavioral--to explain the pressing issues of the day, such as drug crime, school quality, and the home field advantage in football games.
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Freakonomics x sports (here's the irony) steroids. This book was delicious for a stat-geek like me. Much of this stuff I had long suspected, but now I have a book to back me up. There's a Gladwellian underlying theme here, but the authors do one better. Where Gladwell peppers a narrative with unsupported-by-research anecdotes, they make claims that they back up with an overwhelming pile of fascinating statistics. Greak dork fun. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
I am a fan of some sports but not all. However, if you are interested in any sport, this book is worth a look. After I got the gist of the book (a few chapters in) I admit I skipped to the sections that featured my favorite sports. The ideas posited are engaging and I found myself nodding along with the "usual wisdom," then dropping my jaw when the statistics blew the wisdom out of the water. Definitely Freakonomics for the sports set and that's an ok thing. ( )
  Brainannex | Oct 25, 2013 |
I heard the authors on an NPR interview and gave this book a shot. It follows the same model as Freakonomics except focusing solely on sports. There are some interesting tidbits in here as they dug through lots of data to give the reader some unexpected twists on conventional wisdom. As a casual sports fan, it was pretty good. For me, the subject matter kept my rating a little lower. In addition, the NPR interview was pretty thorough so the book just filled in some details.
  walterqchocobo | Apr 8, 2013 |
Scorecasting is a statistic-junkie’s heaven on Earth - converted into hardcover book form. Scorecasting, co-authored by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim, is an amazing journey through the world of sports. It focuses on the hidden influences behind the scenes, and how games are won and lost because of them. It covers topics from all sports, including baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball, and football. Moskowitz and Wertheim finally decipher sports fan's largest questions, such as how Tiger Woods is human just like us, including his golfing (laughter inset). Also, is defense really more important than offense? What’s really is driving sports teams’ home field advantages? Hint: part of it is the fans, but not in the way you think! These questions, along with a heap of other intriguing topics, are answered in Scorecasting.

One aspect of this book that I really I enjoyed was the theme depicted by Moskowitz and Wertheim. The main theme in Scorecasting states there are many influences impacting how sports are played and won. Both co-authors described many different impacts, advantages, and disadvantages, and put them into multiple situations. For example, to explain home field advantage, Tobias and L. Jon explained the home field advantage in all leagues, sports, and situations, which helped me to better understand the topic. This in turn helped thicken the theme of Scorecasting, a tool Moskowitz and Wertheim used to their advantage.

Another part of Scorecasting I thought was helpful was the amount of graphs and charts used to help explain the different statistics and topics. An exceptional amount of line, bar, and circle graphs were used, as well as many tables with informative stats oozing from them all. Also among the representations was a strike zone plot, compiling the average strike zones in different count situations and displaying them intertwined with the defined MLB zone. Going back on graphs, they are used as visuals to help us readers better comprehend the numbers we have in front of us. An example of a graph would be in the “There’s No I InTeam” chapter, where Moskowitz and Wertheim created a line graph showing an average NBA team’s chances of postseason success with 0, 1, 2, or 3 superstars on their squad. The vast array of graphs, plots, and charts doesn’t seem like much as you’re reading, but they make a huge difference in your understanding of the concept and statistics at hand.

One final thing I appreciate is the amount of experts that worked with these skilled authors, as well as the amount of research that must have went into Scorecasting. Many sports figures, professors, and statistical geniuses contributed to this book, as shown in the incredible amount of stats and resolutions to the questions asked. Adding to the stats, Wertheim and Moskowitz added their sense of humor, making this book much more appealing to the reader.Overall, the vast majority of their work put into this book paid off in dividends.

In conclusion, I would rate Scorecasting at 4.5 out of 5 stars. The book turned out to be a referee’s nightmare, as shown in many chapters. The hidden influences shown were amazing, which I found to be depicted as the theme of the book. The graphs, charts, research and experts’ opinions were great tools and strategies put into Scorecasting, that really helped it come alive. Overall, I would recommend Scorecasting to any average or super sports fan, wanting to answer their questions about the outcomes of their favorite teams’ games. ( )
  ctmsrybo | Jan 27, 2012 |
“Everyone knows” there is such a thing as the “home field advantage,” but just why does it exist? Additionally, “everyone knows” that “defense wins championships,” – we have Michael Jordan’s word for that—but does it? And of course, “everyone knows” the importance of “momentum” in sports - everyone but the authors and a handful of “quants” (quantitative analysts) from the University of Chicago. Moskowitz, Professor of Finance at Chicago, along with author and Senior "Sports Illustrated" writer L. John Wertheim, set out to test some universally accepted adages about various sports.

The authors applied the analytical tools of microeconomics and modern motivational psychology to the enormous amount of data that are now available. Their conclusions are sometimes startling, usually counterintuitive, and almost always interesting. Moreover, sports coaches have been paying attention to their findings. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban quipped, “if this book had been written years ago I could have just handed it to the NBA rather than getting fined all those times!” The authors have been approached by teams in both the NFL and the NBA about possible consulting relationships.

What they accomplished, along with others at the University of Chicago, came from taking new approaches to investigate old beliefs.

For example, they found that the home field advantage is easy to measure. Home teams win the majority of games in virtually all sports in the United States, Europe, Australia, and international competition. But why? The authors discovered that some of the home team advantage in professional basketball and college football could be attributed to scheduling. In the NBA, for example, teams that travel frequently must play games on consecutive days in different cities. Home teams not only are not tired from traveling, but they also get more rest between games. Nevertheless, scheduling could account for only about one third to one fourth of the advantage, and could not account for any advantage in any of the other sports studied.

The authors found that the home team advantage was very great in professional basketball and soccer, not so big in major league baseball, and very small in N.F.L. football. It turns out that the referees in basketball and soccer have the power to affect the outcomes of those games to a greater extent than the officials in football or baseball because they must make many highly judgmental decisions. The authors determined that calls like “charging” in basketball (a very judgmental call) are awarded very disproportionately to the home teams in the final minutes of close games. In soccer, the referees consistently awarded longer “extra time” at the end of close games when the home team was behind by one goal, and much shorter “extra time” when the home team was ahead by one goal.

Even in professional football, where the advantage has never been that great, the advantage has eroded since the introduction of “instant replay,” which allows spectators the ability to scrutinize the officials’ decisions.

Major league baseball presented the authors with a gold mine of statistical data. Television has allowed the leagues to determine the correctness of the calls of balls and strikes on every pitch thrown over the last decade. It turns out that umpires are very good at what they do, being correct in more that 86% of their calls. However, when they do err, they err disproportionately in favor of the home team.

Moskowitz and Wertheim measured another bias in umpiring errors in calling balls and strikes. Umpires are more likely to call a pitch a ball even though it was actually in the strike zone when the batter already has two strikes against him. Conversely, they are more likely to call an errant pitch a strike when the pitcher has already thrown three balls. Thus, by avoiding walks and called third strikes, they seem to want the hitters to determine their fate by swinging rather than passively taking the pitch.

The authors speculate that the bias they measured is not deliberate, at least not in many cases. They look to research in modern motivational psychology to see that all people have an innate desire to please and to conform. As the size of the crowd increases, the chances of the official making a “homer” call also increases.

The authors, being from Chicago, also speculated on why the Chicago Cubs have had such a long history of losing. They concluded that the Cubs have less of an economic incentive to win than any other team in baseball. The Cub fans are just plain loyal, in stark contrast to the fans of their cross-town rivals, the White Sox. Cubs’ attendance does not vary much whether they are winning or losing. The Cubs are able to charge higher ticket prices than the White Sox, no matter which team has the better record. The authors attribute this greater fan loyalty to decisions made long ago by P.K. Wrigley, then owner of the Cubs, when he decided the fans should have a pleasant experience in a beautiful ballpark, win or lose. The authors also found that the attendance at Cubs games was more influenced by the price of beer in the stadium than by any other factor they measured! In effect, Cubs games are big outdoor picnics with plenty of cheap beer; White Sox games (and those of most other major league teams) are sporting contests, the success in which greatly influences the home team’s profits. The Cubs make money (they are the third most valuable major league franchise even though they are one of the least successful on the field) as long as they don’t charge too much for beer.

In another intriguing quantitative analysis, the authors determined that defense wins only about as many championships as does offense, Michael Jordan’s assertions notwithstanding. Borrowing from the research of Amos Tversky, another business school “quant” (from Stanford), they concluded that there is no such thing as "momentum" in sports. Recent success in winning games or (in basketball) shooting baskets is not nearly as good a predictor of success as success over a longer period, such as an entire season.

They also concluded that fear of a bad result often overpowers the desire to obtain a good result. For example, football coaches nearly always punt on fourth down even though statistically, their chances of winning the game greatly improve if they “go for it.” Coaches who are more secure in their jobs, like Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, are much more likely to gamble on fourth down than their peers.

In listening to the authors (this was an audiobook), I was reminded of my experiences in courses in economics, finance, and antitrust law at the University of Chicago. Using similar quantitative and analytical techniques, my professors demolished many preconceived notions and popularly held myths about society, the economy, and the world. However, the popular myths remain largely intact, in spite of the data. Perhaps that’s a subject for another book!

Evaluation: This collection of essays, reminiscent of Freakonomics or the entertaining writings of Malcolm Gladwell, is a pleasant read for any sports fan and a must read for any media sports pundit.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Oct 8, 2011 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

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Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Tobias J. Moskowitzensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetcalculated
Wertheim, L. Jonpäätekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)

University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran sportswriter L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports, and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won and lost. Drawing from Moskowitz's original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of games in all sports, and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships; the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations; the unintended consequences of referees' tendencies in every sport to "swallow the whistle," and more.--From publisher description.

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