Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Official scoring in baseball

Statistics can sometimes be arbitrary as it is up to the official scorer to make a decision on certain things. For example, sometimes it is difficult to tell if a batted ball should be counted as a hit or an error by the fielder. Here is a story of the Chicago White Sox shortsop calling up official scorers to complain.

Story of White Sox Cabrera calling the official scorer

From a sports betting perspective, it makes me wonder about the accuracy of the data that sports bettors rely on. Not only is there some randomness in the official scorer's judgments, but there is also randomness in umpire calls (balls and strikes and on the basepaths as well), managerial decisions and other randomness. To me, a story like this is a reminder not to count on past statistics as if they are completely written in stone. They may have become that way with a little push from randomness. And there may be enough pushes in the same direction to make past statistics possibly misleading. The tough part is how to figure out when they can be misleading, and when you can count on them.