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Does Anyone Else Here Think Sabermetrics is a Sham?

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  • #91
    Originally posted by Ubiquitous
    Wow I missed those posts by digglahhh. It isn't baseball but the government didn't pony up because they didn't want to spend the money not because they were hoping some disaster would come along and force them to spend ten times that amount. Human beings have been doing that for generations. The ants and the grasshopper? We are shortsighted by nature.

    As for foriegners knowing are ways better then us, well thats bunk. Generally speaking foriegners are just more cynical about our ways but that doesn't mean they are well informed. They go looking for the worst parts of our ways and then hold them up as if that is all we do and all we are capable of. It isn't true and it isn't that simple and clear cut.

    I have sat in the Amsterdam airport while foriegners bash and stereotype America and americans. The funniest time or most bizarre moment came when a Canadian was telling three Brits how rude, inconsiderate, and oblivious Americans are to others and their surroundings. I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and ask him just what he thinks he was doing at that moment that was any different then his stereotype? But then I would just be another rude American. I've talked with a german who had the audacity to chastise me and America on our race relations! I've had a Brit scold me for our foriegn relations. I've had a frenchmen mock our government for its inefficiency.
    The irony.
    Johnson and now Goligoski gone.
    I hope that's all.

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    • #92
      Originally posted by iPod
      If you think the president's economic advisers said not to shore up the levies in New Orleans because it would help the economy to let them burst and then rebuild the city... well, I just don't know what to tell you. No economist thinks that environmental disasters are good for the economy. Farm subsidies are very much part of the US's economic policy, but no economist is going to tell you that subsidies are good for the economy. On the contrary, it's quite obvious to anyone that's taken an economics class that subsidies have a negatively warping effect on the market. They exist nonetheless because small rural states are full of farmers that are decisive on that issue; a politician's stance on subsidies will affect how they vote for him, because it really affects their wellbeing. We, on the other hand, are indecisive on the issue of subsidies, because we really don't care about them one way or the other. That's how politics works, as I'm sure you agree, but it's wrong to say that politicians do what they do because that's what the economic community tells them to do.
      I can't speak for digglahhh, but I do hold a similar view, so I'll offer a possible explanation. It's not as though politicians wait and hope for disasters. That's a strawman. But the occurance of a disaster is more acceptable to certain factions and to certain interests than spending the money to prevent the disaster, which may or may not ever occur.

      The way we tend to look at economics is a bit narrow. There are different interests at stake in any economy. We are constantly fed the notion that what's good for business is good for "the economy" which is only true if you happen to have a vital stake in the profits of a certain business. The health of the economy depends on our standards, which depend on our priorities. What's good for your personal economic well-being is to live beneath your means, saving money, avoiding debt. If everyone actually lived like this, it would be disastrous for "the economy" as defined by the business world.

      The point is (to get back to baseball) that for every yin, there is yang. For a dollar earned is a dollar spent. A run scored is a run allowed. There is a very broad context to consider, and it is far too easy to use a measure (like a price index), whether simple or complex, to define "the economy" - just as it is far too easy to use a measure (like VORP) to define "the value" of a player.
      Last edited by Twinskoop; 11-09-2005, 08:20 AM.

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      • #93
        That makes no sense. So you are saying a politician will not spend a billion dollars to prevent something in the hopes that he can spend 20 billion dollars someday down the road on a disaster? You say its a strawman but that is what you are arguing for. Disasters are not good for the economy because most of the money goes down the drain not pumped into the economy. A good chunk of the money is used on resources that are spent fighting the disaster and are never recouped. Most areas take years and years to recover from a disaster and sometimes they never do. Yet these are the areas where most of the money is spent yet it somehow doesn't help the economy. Sept 11th didn't help New York's economy.

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        • #94
          I forgot to mention this. The money spent on disasters isn't additional money its replacemeny money. For example lets say a local area has one million dollars pass through its economy every day. A disaster hits and now non-disaster money passsing through that economy falls to $10,000 a day. Disaster money comes along and pumps $700,000 dollars into the economy. But that doesn't mean 1.7 million is going through that area. It means that 710,000 is being put through that area. On top of that most of that most money is emergency money which isn't as efficient as the normal economic dollar. In otherwords that 700,000 isn't strengthening the economy but keeping it alive in the short term.

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          • #95
            U, you are missing the forest for the trees here, and my point entirely. The point is, a disaster is good for some - namely, those who make a living cleaning it up (and those who make a living making things and selling things that clean it up). In the same way, war is costly - for some - because for whoever is contracted to supply for it, it is profitable. Whether a certain event or action is labeled good or bad (or profitable or unprofitable) depends on perspective, and whether you're doing the buying or the selling.

            Note - this does not mean that politicians make a conscious effort to allow disasters so some can profit from it, as you imply in interpreting my meaning. It simply means that certain outcomes are more acceptable to different groups. For many politicians, especially those from areas that aren't directly affected by the disaster at hand, it is much more acceptable to not spend the money to prevent a disaster before it occurs - because certain constituents in certain districts will call that a "waste," as long as it's not their assets that are being covered. Because how do we know the disaster will occur? And how do we know the extent to which preventative measures were effective?

            Consequence reflects policy, policy reflects priorities, priorities reflect values.

            What does this have to do with SABR? I forgot... I think it was something about context, interpretation of data, the fluid (as opposed to static) nature of the game, and not looking at the game as if each instance is played in a vacuum. Or something.

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            • #96
              Originally posted by Twinskoop
              U, you are missing the forest for the trees here, and my point entirely. The point is, a disaster is good for some - namely, those who make a living cleaning it up (and those who make a living making things and selling things that clean it up). In the same way, war is costly - for some - because for whoever is contracted to supply for it, it is profitable.
              Excellent point, and I don't know why people are having a hard time getting it.
              How about this...our president wants to make sure that his buddies make money and doesn't care about the overall economy or the country. And his buddies are in defense, oil, and disaster recovery.
              Is that it in a nutshell?
              "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

              Comment


              • #97
                Originally posted by hellborn
                Excellent point, and I don't know why people are having a hard time getting it.
                How about this...our president wants to make sure that his buddies make money and doesn't care about the overall economy or the country. And his buddies are in defense, oil, and disaster recovery.
                Is that it in a nutshell?
                Maybe. I don't know. I don't really want to get into the partisan politics here, because I'm afraid that might obscure the underlying idea - that truly understanding economics and policy requires perspective; and perspective is subjective.

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                • #98
                  Guys...let's keep the discussion on baseball and leave the politics out of it. If you want to make an illustration, pick a different example.
                  "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                  "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                  "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                  "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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                  • #99
                    this used to be a good thread discussing the value of statistics in evaluating history and personnel in baseball

                    Comment


                    • The analogy is legitimate - economics is a vital part of baseball, and goes hand-in-hand with SABR arguments (why so many people confuse SABR with moneyball). Baseball is the most free market in sports. The original point was that stat analysis, while it may have the appearance of objectivity, is not objective. That is true in economics, and in baseball. The value of a player, the value of a policy, the cost of a disaster, none exist existentially in a vacuum.

                      A dollar spent by one is a dollar earned by another. A run scored by one is a run allowed by another.

                      I personally tried to keep the politics out. There are always some conclusions some are going to draw. The basic point is that it is very easy to overvalue SABR-metric analysis, and overstate its objectivity. It's a valuable tool - but there are lots of valuable tools.

                      The other point is that it's just plain silly to try to mix and match specific measures that describe specific occurrences and specific skills and try to come up with a panacea-ic, overarching "value" measure.

                      Comment


                      • I'm not missing your point, your point is wrong thats all. The original statement was that disasters are good for the economy. Well as a whole they are not. Yes some company or another will recieve more money then they would have before the disaster but many many other companies and the economy as a whole will take a hit.

                        You are looking at a tree and saying how wonderful and healthy that tree is. I am looking at the entire forest and seeing how unhealthy overall the forest is, despite the prosperity of that one particular tree.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Ubiquitous
                          I'm not missing your point, your point is wrong thats all. The original statement was that disasters are good for the economy. Well as a whole they are not. Yes some company or another will recieve more money then they would have before the disaster but many many other companies and the economy as a whole will take a hit.

                          You are looking at a tree and saying how wonderful and healthy that tree is. I am looking at the entire forest and seeing how unhealthy overall the forest is, despite the prosperity of that one particular tree.
                          No, you are definitely missing the point. I didn't make the "original statement," but you are misattributing Digglahhh's point as well (as far as I can tell). We are certainly not saying that disasters are good for the economy. You need to understand that first and foremost. And it is undeniable that disasters are economically good for some. That is the point - the value of something is not an existential and objective truth - it depends on perspective.

                          Saying disasters are good for the economy is like saying that Cristian Guzman is good for a baseball team.

                          Comment


                          • This is what started it all,
                            Numbers are never objective. The ancient Greek Pythagoreans and Monists prove that long before baseball was even conceived. To provide a gratuitous example, the Exxon Valdez spills and creates all sorts of destruction. We are forced to commission U.S. clean-up services. That leads to increased GDP. Now, the numbers say drunken captains of oil ships are good for the economy- you do the math.
                            and it isn't true. the numbers don't say that. The numbers don't say that drunken captains are good for the economy. Nor did digglaahh say that drunken captains are good for a very select group of companies. He wasn't making a very narrow observation like you claimed, he was making a very broad generalized assertion to try and proove his notion that numbers are never objective.

                            I am talking about the economy as a whole and you keep telling me his point was certain segments. I don't see it, that maybe your point but I don't see it as his.

                            Comment


                            • Sorry, I've been absent for a while due to, of all ironies, a big project at work involving massive amounts of PBP data. But you guys seem to be doing fine without me.

                              Look, it is this simple- if you have an opinion you feel is valid, you will find what data supports it, or create the data if you need to. There is nothing wrong with that, but some may be working just as hard to prove that their alternative view is correct. That's cool; we call that progress, free thinking and the marketplace of ideas.

                              Now, the irony of all ironies is that I'm the one who urges my friends and colleagues to give more effort to understanding and evaluating more SABR methods of evaluation...
                              THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                              In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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                              • I'd just like to say that I know I don't speak for the whole community that is sabermetrics, but as I've learned more about the laws of probability and the workigns of the game, I've changed where I stand many times and am not working specifically toward proving I'm right about anything...we're not all self-interested single-minded sabermetricians with tunnel vision and the desire to fabricate data as diglahhh suggests.

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