First, let me say, I can't believe there have been 50 Superbowls, following the merger of the AFL and NFL.
Second, let me say that the spread sure has changed a lot over the past two weeks. Right after the conference championship games, the spread shown on Yahoo Sports opened at Carolina by 4. If I had made my pick then, I would have taken Carolina -4 for sure. [Other initials spreads were as low as -3.5; see below].
The Super Bowl 50 line is on the move and it's moving. After opening up as 4.5-point favorites, the Carolina Panthers are now [EE: as of Feb 4th, the date of this article] 5.5-point favorites to beat the Denver Broncos. ...
It shouldn't be a tremendous surprise: nearly 80 percent of the public money is currently on the Panthers when it comes to against-the-spread bets.
Most sportsbooks detailed a huge initial rush of money on the Broncos when the line opened with the Panthers as 5.5-point favorites, causing the number to head back down, as low as 4 points.
What followed was significant money on Carolina, with very little action on the Broncos.
"I can't remember a more one-sided betting Super Bowl," William Hill US's director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN.
As a result, books are moving the line higher and higher, although it stands to reason the Panthers might max out giving 6 points.
According to some earlier articles, the spread from some books went as high as Carolina by 6.5 points. But it looks as if the betting is settling down at Carolina by 5.5 points. From SB*Nation,
The Denver defense is amazingly good. Well, so is the Carolina defense (though mistakes by Arizona made them look even better in the conference championship game.
At the same time, Newton and Manning are both superb quarterbacks, albeit with quite different qualities and abilities. I've noticed that some pretty knowledgeable people are picking Denver plus the points (see this).
But I'm picking Carolina minus 5.5
That and steak and a veggie tray and some cider.
I went 2 - 2 last weekend, which is a whole lot better than 0 - 4 the previous weekend.
The spread on Sunday's games hasn't budged all week (not yet, anyway) according to Yahoo Sports.
For what it's worth, my granddaughter's partner agrees with these picks.
[Note: this post was written Friday afternoon. I may update it if there are any substantive changes that I hear about before game times]
After having gone 0-4 with my NFL picks last weekend, I thought I'd take another shot this weekend. The spreads I'm using are from the Yahoo Sports application on my iPhone.
As my friends have learned, if you want to make money gambling on sports, the best strategy is to bet against my picks.
Here are my picks for the NFL playoff games today and tomorrow [the spreads shown on Yahoo Sports are in brackets]:
King Banaian (aka Sparky) and I have known each other for about 25 years, ever since the early days of rec.sport.baseball. We finally met up at an economics convention a few years after meeting online, and then we had a chance to meet face-to-face again several years ago as I was driving through St. Cloud Minnesota.
King is a very bright guy with an amazing, quick mind. I've appeared in numerous podcasts with him in the past as well as exchanged blog posts and citations with him over the past decade.
He has asked me to appear on his radio programme this morning. He says he wants to talk about curling because I used to write a blog (with the late Alan Adamson) about curling. But he also says the half-hour conversation could go anywhere. I'm fine with that. I trust him.
You can listen anywhere via the internet:
Go to the homepage of the station http://www.twincitiesbusinessradio.com/ and you will see a Listen Live button near the top-center third of the page. Opens a new window with a player, runs a 15-second ad first.
He says the programmes are also available as podcasts, and so I'll post the link as soon as I get the precise link.
That's less than two hours from now! OMG!!!!
We don't get no respect.
I noticed this morning that in the sports section of the NYTimes, the three items did not include a story about the Trono Blue Jays staving off elimination in baseball's American League Division Championship. There was nothing about Estrada and the bullpen pitching a gem, nor about the otherwise-slumping Tulo hitting a three-run homerun.
Nothing in that email digest.
Maybe it's because the NYTimes, like Harold Reynolds, thinks Canadians don't play a lot of baseball and hence can't catch. No foolin. From CBC:
The comments are fun. I especially like the one allegedly from Larry Walker:
Maybe Harold Reynolds had this Instagram video in mind?
A video posted by Dan O'Toole (@fs1otoole) on Oct 11, 2015 at 7:20pm PDT
The first and only major league baseball game that my dad ever took me to was in the summer of 1952, the New York Yankers visiting the Detroit Tigers. It was a Saturday afternoon game, July 26th.
Mickey Mantle hit a grand slam home run in the first inning. I'd swear it went way back and up in straight-away centre field, but the information from Baseball Reference says it went to left field. If so, it must have been to the upper deck. I remember people around us groaning and oohing and ahhhing all at the same time. And I seem to recall a sort of resigned look on my dad's face.
After that, Detroit pitcher Ted Gray settled down and allowed only two more Yanker runs the rest of the game. Meanwhile the Tigers hit pretty well and managed to tie up the game by the bottom of the 8th inning.
Neither team scored in the 9th or 10th innings. Detroit had a chance to win it in the bottom of the 10th. The bases were loaded with 2 out and slugger Walt Dropo at the plate, but to the dismay of everyone around us, he fouled out to the shortstop to end the inning.
Ted Gray continued pitching for the Tigers and put the Yankers down 1-2-3 in the top of the 11th. I guess pitchers did things like that back then.
In the bottom of the 11th after Groth grounded out, Mapes walked and then Ginsberg doubled, but Mapes couldn't score to end the game. With runners at 2nd and 3rd, the Yanks issued an intentional pass to Kolloway, presumably to set up a force out at home or maybe a double play. I remember my dad (who must not have had a lot of baseball knowledge, which now surprises me) saying, "Why are they walking him? He's not very good."
Ted Gray was due up next, but the Tigers decided he'd had enough and sent Steve (Bud) Souchock to the plate. He hit a long fly ball that barely cleared the LF fence. Grand Slam!
Even if it hadn't been a home run, the Tigers would have scored, but it was SO exciting to be there, to see the home team (sort of -- I grew up in Michigan and was an early Tiger fan) win. I know my dad was really excited, too.
What a great memory, all spurred by some discussions on FB of Virgil Trucks' pitching two no-hitters for Detroit that season.
Digression: Detroit was horrible that season, winning only 50 and losing over 100 games. Aside from winning the two no-hitters he pitched, Trucks went 3-17 in his remaining decisions.
I refuse to support mediocrity and failure in professional sports. I sneer that some people actually think it is somehow desirable to be a "die-hard fan" and spend good money supporting teams that don't win.*
But now that the Trono Blue Jays have started winning so much, I've jumped on the bandwagon. Sure, we watch games (and even visit Rogers Centre Hotel) even when the Jays aren't doing so well, but we watch more games now, and we watch them longer. Also we have bought more stuff with the BJ logo, including shirts for several granddaughters and now this:
We had gone out to try to find an inexpensive folding balcony chair, but then we saw this. It has an insulated pocket on the left arm and drink holder on the right. And the Trono BJ logo! We were hooked.
* From the perspective of stockholders, I see little reason for the Trono Maple Laughs to try to win if they can spend less money on talent and still have so many die-hard fans.
In early August, when Ms Eclectic and I visited the Rogers Centre and watched the Trono Blue Jays defeat the Minnesota Twins, we were delighted that the Blue Jays were finally vying for a play-off spot, albeit the last of two wildcard positions.
Now look where they are: Leading the AL East Division and likely to clinch that spot today. And they are leading the entire American League with a game and a half lead over the Kansas City Royals, which (if they remain #1) will give them home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Wow. What a change from a mediocre .500 record. The new additions to the team plus the remarkable improvements of some already on the team really seem to have made a difference.
The Toronto Star thinks so. Here's today's editorial cartoon:
Everyone in SW Ontario (and maybe Canada) is touting Josh Donaldson, 3B for the Trono BJs, for AL MVP. I love watching him play, and he is clearly a very strong contender.
But Mike Trout, CF for the California Angels, has been very good, too. Here is a comparison of the stats (as of Monday evening) that might be relevant:
OPS (on base percentage plus slugging average), all positions:
Trout is first in the AL at .983
Donaldson is third at .951
Both OPSs are excellent, but a 32-point differential is fairly substantial.
There aren't any good readily available stats on defence at the MLB site. Here are two that are available, but since they play different positions, the comparison is with others at the same position: Fielding percentage and Range Factor.
Trout is tied for 1st in fielding percentage among AL centre-fielders. He has made noerrors. However, he is only 4th of 11 in Range Factor.
Donaldson is only 8th of 12 in fielding percentage for third basemen in the AL. However, he is 2nd in Range Factor.
These stats are consistent with what I have seen: Donaldson makes a lot of plays, many of them electrifying. He gets to more balls and makes more plays than most 3B.
Trout is no slouch in the field, though (I'm thinking, for instance, of the HR he stole last night, going high over the CF wall). He likely isn't quite as good defensively, but it's close.
As an unabashed BJ fan, I'd love to see Donaldson win the MVP. But unless things change substantially over the last 7 games of the season, I think BJ fans had better be prepared for some disappointment here. Trout will likely win the award.
About 25 years ago, I wrote a column "In Praise of Fairweather Fans". Unfortunately, I can no longer find it; otherwise I would just link to it.
With the way the Trono Blue Jays are playing these days, Blue Jay fans are coming out of the woodwork. Like many fans, I love watching their games when they win. And when they are losing, I start checking to see what else is on tv or start spending more time on the internet or (gasp!) reading a book.
We are Jays fans, but we are certainly anything but die-hard fans. We watch more, and we buy more memorabilia for our children, grandchildren, and great grandchild when the Jays are winning.
Actually, I don't have all that much respect for die-hard fans. I see no reason to support mediocrity or worse. I think all fans should be fairweather fans. [Dare I say, unlike Trono Maple Laugh Leaf fans who seem to keep going to Leaf games no matter what!].
Furthermore, die-hard fans owe a huge vote of thanks to the bandwagon jumpers. We are the ones who provide the big incentive for teams to get better; we are the ones who provide the big incentive for teams to win. Without us, the teams would have markedly diminished incentive to improve, to win.
I see very little value in being loyal to a team. If they don't produce, there is no good reason to support them. I feel the same way about nearly all producers of goods and services: if they don't produce high quality goods and services at reasonable prices, I'm less interested in patronizing them. If I were a loyal fan or loyal customer, they don't have to pay attention to me.
With these thoughts in mind, I was thrilled to see this sign outside one of our favourite restaurants, The Blu Duby, yesterday:
I love their honesty and I love their implied understanding of the basic economics tenet, "People respond to incentives."
Last week, Ms Eclectic and I were at the SkyDome Rogers Centre Marriott Renaissance Hotel to watch a couple of Trono Blue Jays baseball games. Less than an hour after the final game of the homestand, hundreds of employees began the all-night-and-longer process of transforming the field from a baseball stadium into a football stadium for the Sunday evening CFL game between the Trono Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
One crew started separating all the seams in the artificial turf so it could be removed.
I had no idea that was what they were doing since I didn't realize they use different turf for football vs baseball at Rogers Centre.
Another crew began using bucket loaders to remove the dirt from the base cutouts.
They had some pretty nifty machinery for rolling up sections of the turf.
All the black lines you can see are the black stuff that sprays up when a ball hits the turf during a baseball game, and it is all swept/vacuumed up. We noticed none of it sprays up during a football game.
In these photos, you can see the empty metal spools onto which the turf is rolled. You can also see the rolls of turf, which were moved individually to some area under the left-centrefield seats.
In the photo below we now see some groups of seats. These later became field/ground-level seating for the football configuration.
The green paint on the concrete shows where the movable permanent stadium seats will be aligned, and you can even see the tracks the seating sections are moved along.
I had trouble sleeping all night because I found watching the conversion so fascinating.
I'm not sure how well these photos show the stairway directly behind homeplate. The stadium seating splits right in the middle of that stairway and is swung around to the sides to form better sightlines with football seating.
If you look carefully at the pitching mound in the photo below, you can see it is about 5 feet or so below the surface of the turf. There is a hydraulic mechanism that raises and lowers the mound.
As the sun was rising, the dugouts and pitching mound had been removed and filled in, and most of the outside turf had been removed. The dugouts are just sitting at the bottom of the photo. This photo (below) shows the seam in the stairway where the field-level seats divide.
In this next photo, seats down the first-base line (left side of the photo) have been slid over toward the football configuration. It is almost in position; the final position is shown by the green paint on the concrete.
Right near where the visitors' dugout had moved, there's a small(ish) white vehicle. It's the sweeper/vacuum that sweeps up all the black particles and other debris left on the concrete.
This next photo shows the dugouts waiting to be moved, the turf rollers working on the centre square of turf, and the seats along the 3rd base line rotated to the football configuration.
The yellow vehicle at the bottom of the photo has a long projection at the front, making it look xiphias-like. The folks driving those units (there were some orange ones, too) have good aim and insert the pole into the spools of turf to move the turf.
Here is another view, below, showing both sections of the seating moved to the sides, making way for the endzone seating.
Also, the roof is partially closed, and all the base cutouts have been filled in and covered.
And they are starting to move the football turf into location. It took them forever to get it located properly which, when you think about it, makes sense --- that first piece must be put down in exactly the right place so that all the others line up properly, too.
Finally, they began to unroll the first roll of football turf. But unfortunately then we had to check out to catch our train back to London.
Overall, what a neat thing to watch.
And then, after the football game, they had to do it all over again in reverse to get the field ready for the next Blue Jays home game on Tuesday evening. What a lot of work! What a costly setup. But it was oh, so intriguing.
Note: I was tempted to title this post "Overnight Sensation".
Back in the days of rec.sport.baseball, Gary Huckabay advocated the use of cameras and computers to call balls and strikes for baseball games. He knew the technology could do it, but also knew it would take some time to be accepted.
Now it will be tried in an independent baseball league for a couple of games on an experimental basis. Yea!
According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Pacifics will use an automated computer system to call balls and strikes later this month in the first human umpire-less games in professional baseball history. The team plans to use the technology on July 28 and 29 against the Vallejo Admirals.
The system is called PitchFX, and utilizes a multitude of camera angles to calculate pitch speed and trajectory. All 30 MLB stadiums are already equipped with PitchFX, and it is used to evaluate umpires as well as for analytics purposes.
I must say that after watching the pitch tracker for the past several years and seeing how many incorrect calls are made, I welcome this development. May it please happen in my lifetime!
Eventually, I expect the sport will use computerized voices to call balls and strikes and not rely on someone to relay the computer results. I can also imagine that a similar scheme can be put in place to assess whether a batter holds up on checked swings. However,
As my umpire friend Jim Cressman says, though, who will sweep off home plate?
Joe Maddon is currently the manager of the Chicago Cubs. Previously, he managed the Tampa Bay Rays. Besides enjoying baseball, he and I have something else in common.
From an interview with Baseball Prospectus,
DL: You majored in economics in college. What role do economics play in the baseball world of Joe Maddon?
JM: Honestly, I was not a very good student. With economics, "ubiquitous" was probably my favorite term. I guess that the number-crunching is something I liked. I've always been into that. I've always like analyzing statistical information, even before it was fashionable. When I was back in the minor leagues, as a roving hitting instructor back in the mid- to late '80s, I probably had a more simplistic perspective, but nevertheless I saw the value in it. But my economics days at Lafayette College were probably a case of having to declare a major more than anything.
Like Joe Maddon, I was an economics major and I was not a very good student (as an undergrad). I liked number-crunching at an intuitive level then, too. But I did fail a math course and get Ds in two different economics courses. I don't know about him, but I was lucky I didn't fail out.
He just made an amazing catch in today's game, diving into about the 3rd row of the crowd to catch a pop foul. Check out these images from this site:
Two weeks ago, the baseball world was outraged that so many players from the Kansas City Royals were millions of votes ahead in the voting for the All-Star game.
Well, I just voted 105 times (35 times from each of my 3 email addresses). And there wasn't a single player from Kansas City on my ballots.
And it turns out that Trono 3B Josh Donaldson is now within only 33K votes of being the #1 3B player on the ballot. He has a good chance of being voted in. The other BJ who should be voted onto the team is Russell Martin at Catcher.
"Behavior in many complex and seemingly intractable strategic settings can be understood more clearly by working out what each party in the game will choose to do if they realize that the other parties will be solving the same problem. This insight has helped us understand behavior as diverse as military conflicts, price setting by competing firms and penalty kicking in soccer."
It isn't new. This approach underlay the Cournot equilibrium nearly two centuries ago and the Edgeworth disequilibria long before the extensions that developed with John Nash et al.
The important thing in applying the technique to penalty kicks in soccer is the collection of lots of data and analyzing the snot out of it. A refined analysis generally leads to the use of optimally proportioned mixed strategies. Some of the research in these areas is intriguing, even fun.
I find it amusing and amazing that I, a non-mathematical, intuitive game-theorist economist, strongly and confidently agree with this quotation but there are some in this survey who don't.
I think there's a good chance someone or several someones from the Patriots, possibly including Tom Brady, knew and/or had something to do with the low pressure in some of the footballs used by the Patriots during the 2014-15 NFL season and playoffs.
But a good chance is not a very high standard.
Further, I'm not sure that the standard of proof for civil litigation (preponderance of the evidence? balancing of the probabilities? it depends on who you talk to) would find against the Patriots. It might, though.
That doesn't mean that by some standard, such as "more likely than not" the NFL erred in their finding. It's just a question of what standard should be used.
As I wrote over a decade ago, the appropriate standard of proof for different institutions and different legal environments requires an understanding of confidence intervals, Type I errors, and Type II errors.
With the weakest standard of proof, call it the "more likely than not" standard, we are willing to tolerate a higher probability of "convictions" (that's not really what they always are) of innocent people in order to make sure that there is a higher probability of punishing those who actually do commit an offense. We don't tolerate such a low standard of proof in criminal cases, not wanting to punish someone who is probably innocent. (see my piece on cruel and unusual punishment)
But in internal disputes (like the NFL and the Patriots) presumably the standard of proof for offenses and punishments is set out in franchise agreements and player contracts. Given the Patriots' response, and given the analysis by Russ Roberts, I really doubt if anyone involved with the Patriots is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. At the same time, I think there's a chance someone involved with the Patriots did something.
And if all it takes for the NFL to levy fines and punishments is a low standard of proof to the tune of "Palmer thinks there's a good chance someone did something wrong," then while the fines and punishments may be reduced, they will not necessarily be rescinded completely.
Note: I have only a two-week law degree and so I'm quite open to refinements to the above from my lawyer friends.
Before you comment, please read the entire article. It's long, it's detailed, and it raises some serious doubts about the NFL's position. From the conclusion,
Because the NFL had little or no experience with measuring psi in the heat (or cold) of a championship game, it is not surprising that the initial readings, from either gauge brought by Walt Anderson, suggested that the Patriots had been cheating. But a careful review of the measurements should have led them to conclude that the entire process of measuring and complying with the psi regulation was much more complicated than had been previously understood. ...
Instead, the NFL decided to tarnish the reputation of a future Hall-of-Famer who some would argue is the greatest player in the history of the NFL. That player is known to even the casual fan as a very intense competitor. I would not be surprised if under the pressure of an impending championship game, he encouraged or allowed staffers to break a rule. It’s a shame that the hard evidence that would make that conclusion definitive is not provided by the Wells Report.
Eric mentioned in the comments to this post that the Yankees have had a female radio announcer for over a decade. We get many of the Yankee telecasts here in London, Ontario, but not their radiocasts.
Eric then sent me this link, providing the biographies of the Yankee broadcasters.
An award winning journalist, Suzyn Waldman joins John Sterling in the radio booth as the Yankees' color commentator on WCBS-AM radio in 2005, becoming the first woman to hold a full-time position as a Major League broadcaster. Waldman has spent the greater part of two decades overcoming all the obstacles that go along with being a female sports broadcaster, and has risen to the top of her profession. ...
Waldman's life and struggles have been the subject of hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, and chapters in books, including the "MacMillan Book of Baseball Stories," "You Go Girl" and "That's Outside My Boat" both by Charlie Jones and Kim Doran. She has been profiled on the Today Show, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, ABC's 20/20 and NBC's Dateline.
But check out her other interests: economics and theatre! Sportscasting, baseball, economics, and theatre: a perfect combination! But I haven't been able to ascertain her views on sabremetrics yet.
A native Bostonian, with a degree in Economics from Boston's prestigious Simmons College, Suzyn spent 15 years on the Broadway Musical Stage, and is proudest of her two years starring opposite Richard Kiley in "Man of La Mancha."
Why are there no women in the broadcast booths for Major League Baseball? There are many who could do the job, and do it better than some of the talking heads that are there now. [See this].
Back when I did radio play-by-play for the AA London Tigers, I worked with many different people as co-announcers. Despite my strongly worded suggestions to the station manager that we find women to co-broadcast in the booth, it never happened.
Women doing play-by-play; women doing commentary and analysis. I see no reason why it shouldn't and won't, eventually, happen.
There are two women whose names come to mind immediately for me.
Christina Kahrl. Christina was also a regular on rec.sport.baseball. She and I corresponded a couple of times back then, and we are Facebook friends. I have no doubt she could do the job well. From the website cited above, "Her credentials: Want someone who can tell a good anecdote but also understands sabermetrics? Karhl, a co-founder of the analytical website Baseball Prospectus and an ESPN writer/editor, would be a good catch. She’s also a vocal transgender activist and has spoken about how baseball eased her transition."
Sadly, I'm not sure it will happen anytime soon. For one reason, most viewers/listeners seem disinclined to pay attention to solid numerical analysis. And for another reason, I cannot see most viewers/listeners overcoming the unfortunately deeply ingrained sex biases in sports and sportscasting.
In a recent posting, I argued that OPS [On-base-percentage Plus Slugging-average] is an excellent comparatively easy and comparatively good statistic to use for assessing the performance of batters in baseball.
For the same reasons, I think OOPS [Opponents' OPS] is a comparatively easy and comparatively good statistic for assessing baseball pitchers. The statistic is readily available via the MLB website, and it measures how well a pitcher avoids letting batters reach base and how well the pitcher avoids letting opposing batters hit for power.
I have noticed that baseball sportscasters are moving toward telling us about opponents' batting average [which tell us nothing about walks given up nor about extra-base hits] or about WHIP, which is Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched [which is a bizarre measure telling us nothing more than (and really not as much as ) "Opponents' On-Base-Percentage].
Maybe in another ten years' time they will start using OOPS as well as OPS.
May I live to see the day.
Last night we watched the opening Major League Baseball game of the 2015 season. Right away I noticed that ESPN showed OPS for all the batters.
OPS is "On base percentage" Plus "Slugging Average". It is a pretty decent measure of how well a batter avoids making outs and how well the batter hits for power (i.e. extra bases). Like all index numbers, it isn't perfect. But it is probably the best comparatively simple measure of a batter's performance, and likely the best comparatively simple measure of a batter's ability.
OPS emerged (as I recall) during the many discussions and debates on the old internet newsgroup: rec.sport.baseball. The discussions there were heated and illuminating and likely formed a basis for much of what came to be known as "Moneyball". It was a thrill to be a part of them.
I tried to use the measure, OPS, back in the 1990s when I was doing some baseball sportscasting, but had to fight nearly everyone along the way. It is refreshing and pleasing to see this simple concept finally being so well-accepted within the mainstream sports media.
Thank you, ESPN.
I know I have a very good life, so take this for the small grain of whatever that it's worth.
We sign my gubmnt pension cheque over to the cable company every month ... or so it seems .... to subscribe to every possible sports channel available.
So what do we get?
Four different channels showing the Yankeres baseball game and only one showing the Tigers-Rays game; but at least we have the option because we paid for the extra channels.
Worse though is that TSN has four different channels showing curling from the Men's World Championship. All four of them are showing a replay of yesterday's game between Canada and Italy. Not one -- not one frickn TSN channel -- is showing the current tie-breaker being played between the US and Finland.
Whatever happened with the footballs in the Colts-Economists* game, the explanation is far from clear. From the NYTimes:
...[S]ome academic and research physicists now concede that they made a crucial error in their initial calculations, using an equation called the ideal gas law.When that error is corrected, the amount of deflation predicted in moving from room temperature to a 50-degree field is roughly doubled.
When the football controversy arose, a number of physicists cited the ideal gas law, which many of them taught in introductory courses. But applying the equation to real situations can be surprisingly deceptive. When a gauge indicates that the ball contains 12.5 p.s.i. — the minimum allowed by the N.F.L. — the actual pressure is more than twice that amount because the surrounding pressure of the atmosphere must be considered. [EE Digression: so much for the complaint about economists' misusing models with unrealistic assumptions; it happens everywhere and this example cries out for more caution in all fields.]
This roughly doubles how much a dip in temperature can lower the pressure. During a phone conversation, even Tegmark, the M.I.T. professor, initially used the lower value until recognizing the mistake. “I stand corrected,” he said...
There are still questions about why the Colts balls were NOT deflated. But the explanations offered in this article at least raise some important questions about whether the Economists cheated.
Let me re-emphasize the methodological point made in my above digression: We all use unrealistic assumptions to simplify analysis, no matter what field we are in. Understanding when which assumptions matter is part of the sophistication required for using the models.
*Note: I refer to the New England football team as "The Economists" because at one time a number of years ago, their coach, Bill Belichick, said that having been an economics major had helped him understand resource allocation and constrained choice better as coach.
No, I'm not going to write about sports bras, thongs, long shorts, tight shorts, or whatever. This piece is a comment on the increasing use of neon yellow by top players.
Have you noticed how many top tennis players these days are wearing neon yellow as part of their outfits? Some players still do some original designs, though, and many players have not made the switch.
Ms Eclectic disagrees with my own perception that more players are wearing some neon yellow during their matches. She pointed out that not one of the six players we were watching at the time I made the observation was wearing neon yellow; nevertheless both Federer and Raonic had been wearing neon yellow in their matches; and so had Serena Williams and Azarenka (time for a foundation grant to study this!).
The reason they wear neon yellow (I surmise) has nothing to do with fashion trends. Rather it is for the same reason that some baseball pitchers try to keep some white undershirt sleeves showing.
Having some clothing the colour of the ball might make it a mite more difficult for one's opponent to pick up the ball when it is coming at them. I expect the neon yellow wristbands do an especially effective job with this.
Having outfits the same colour as the tennis ball surely affects how one's opponent(s) sees the ball coming at him/her/them.
What surprises me is that more of the players are not wearing neon yellow outfits. The fact that they do not suggests that this ploy yields marginal benefits at best. But with so many of the top players moving to neon yellow distractive clothing, I expect more will follow.
The extreme: tennis apparel with blue backgrounds and neon yellow circles roughly the size of tennis balls. I haven't seen this yet, though.
When I lived in Regina, Saskatchewan, one of the things that struck me was how much it was like Lincoln, Nebraska, in one important aspect: fan and city-wide enthusiam for the local football team. Both cities are quite far from any other city that offers one of the four major-league professional sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL) and football in both cities attracts fans from the entire state/province.
My first few game days in Regina, over four years ago, reminded me very much of what it was like driving through Lincoln, NB, on game day: People were dressed in team colours, and it wasn't just some of the fans going to the game. It was ALL of the fans going to the game and many who weren't. In Lincoln, there is a sea of red and white on game day; in Regina, it is a sea a green.
And this map from the NYTimes confirms my impression about Lincoln. The people in Nebraska (and Alabama as well, it turns out) reallylike NCAA football [the map is fascinating. It's worth a look]. That same devotion/fanaticism/support is what I see on game days in Regina, too.
Ok, I'm not hearing the beeps during the NLCS, so why was it there during the ALCS?
And another question: why are we not seeing the pitch-tracker (computerized graphic showing where pitches were relative to the strike zones) during the league championship series?