• Birnbaum: Bill James Website & “Cursed” Teams

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Today, Phil Birnbaum writes about Bill James’ new method of determining a team’s chances to win the World Series. (Hat tip to BaseballThinkFactory.org.) Click here to see what Phil has to say on this.

    I wonder how this theory ties into the Nate Silver and Dayn Perry theory? Now, that would be an interesting study as well.

    Comments on Birnbaum: Bill James Website & “Cursed” Teams

    1. MJ
      February 27th, 2008 | 3:17 pm

      Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see how this is valuable scholarship. If you use James’s method on the night before the playoffs begin in order to try and figure out which team has the best chance of winning the World Series, you’re still running up into two problems: 1) the playoffs still seem like a crapshoot, no matter what the results of the study say, and 2) it shouldn’t be that surprising to find out that the team with the best record would have the best chance of winning the World Series. That’s why the 83-win Cardinals (2006) were such a surprise…

      I don’t mean to sound ungrateful because I know James is one of the big reasons why blogs like this even exist and why we talk about such cool topics…but I don’t think this particular piece by James really adds that much. If I’m wrong, I’d love to hear why.

    2. February 27th, 2008 | 7:54 pm

      I dunno – maybe what James is saying here is that it’s not really a flip of the coin crapshoot that some like to paint the post-season to be?

    3. MJ
      February 27th, 2008 | 9:09 pm

      I dunno – maybe what James is saying here is that it’s not really a flip of the coin crapshoot that some like to paint the post-season to be?
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      Then why did the 2003 Marlins or 2006 Cardinals win the World Series? Based on his analysis, those weren’t the likely or expected outcomes.

      And if it’s NOT the coinflip/crapshoot, then the study is not really anything more than a statement of the obvious: if the team with the best record in the regular season wins the World Series, it would be a naturally-expected result.

    4. February 27th, 2008 | 11:07 pm

      ~~Then why did the 2003 Marlins or 2006 Cardinals win the World Series?~~

      It’s not a 100% prediction tool. Note, as the feature on Phil’s site said: Of the teams which were estimated to have a 40 to 50% chance to win the World Championship, 48% actually did.

    5. MJ
      February 28th, 2008 | 8:35 am

      It’s not a 100% prediction tool. Note, as the feature on Phil’s site said: Of the teams which were estimated to have a 40 to 50% chance to win the World Championship, 48% actually did.
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      I know, I get that. But I’m not seeing why anyone would care. Bill James has done a lot of good in his life with respect to advancing baseball scholarship. I just don’t think this is an example of anything more than a funny mathematical way of stating the obvious.

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