Q: Can you tell us about a time when you thought numbers were misleading and why?
A: I would say generally that baseball statistics are always trying to mislead you, and that it is a constant battle not to be misled by them. ... We haven't figured out anything yet. A hundred years from now, we won't have begun to have the game figured out. ...
Q: Can you tell us a time when you did an analysis and expected one thing, but the numbers told you something radically different?
A: Well, it happens every day. My "debunking" of the importance of stolen bases came from extended efforts to prove the importance of stolen bases, all of which failed. ...
Q: Has looking at the numbers prevented you from actually just enjoying a summer day at the ballpark? Have we all forgotten the randomness of human ballplayers? By reducing players to just their numbers can we lose sight of the intangibles such as teamwork, friendships, and desire.
A: Does looking at pretty women prevent one from experiencing love? Life is complicated. Your efforts to compartmentalize it are lame and useless.
April 3, 2008
Freakonomics and Bill James
Last week, Stephen J. Dubner of the Freakonomics blog solicited questions for Bill James. He answered a lot of them and, as always, his answers are both witty and thought-provoking.
by allan at 10:00 AM