Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rethinking the Blog with Dave Zirin and Friends, My First Online Poll

Last Thursday I went to a talk by sports writer and political activist Dave Zirin who blogs at the Edge of Sports.  He stated that reliance on statistics, as in the film Moneyball, was one of the things that was ruining sports (money, racism, and sexism are among the other things).  He quoted someone he heard in Brazil: "Statistics are like a manquini (speedo). They show a lot but they cover up the most important part."  Naturally I took issue with what he said and had to ask him more as I have written many posts on sports and statistics (see related posts below).  Stats can help you to see patterns that are not easy to see with the naked eye.  Depending on the question at hand, you may not need to see what is under that manquini.

Me and Dave Zirin
During the question and answer phase I first asked him about whether the NFL had a socialistic system with respect to it's teams with revenue sharing and the salary cap (as I did in my post on Super Bowl XLV).  He agreed that is was smart business relative to major league baseball but it is socialism for them but not for anyone else.  Afterwards I asked him about his comment he stated that he liked statistics but an over-reliance in them detracts from the human story.  I agree that looking at numbers alone can be dry and I always try to supplement them with the human side.  I discussed these issues in the post Sports Stats Boring? linked below.

I prefer to let numbers determine which way the blog goes as people are numbers.  Everything is numbers.  I had a conversation today with some friends who suggested a name change for this blog.  They said that CSI without Dead Bodies requires too much explanation for people to get the premise of the blog.  Also the TV show is not as popular now as it was when the blog was launched (the show is still in the top 20 of the Nielsen ratings with Ted Danson and Elizabeth Shue as the stars along with it's spinoff CSI:NY).       

As a statistician I believe that numbers should drive my decision, like the movie Moneyball.  For the first time I am going to poll my visitors.   On the right you can vote.  In the interest of scientific integrity I ask that you vote only once.  Changing the blog title is easy but I can only change the title of the Facebook page once.  Voting remains open until March 15.  


**Related Posts**

Sports Stats Boring?

Draft Logic

Super Bowl XLV: A Battle of Champions Who Couldn't Compete Now Without a Salary Cap

What Shaq can teach us about Climate Change

POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - (But Doesn't Ask Why)