The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed Paperback – Feb 26 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Subjecting recent baseball debates to plentiful regression analyses, Kennesaw State economist Bradbury gamely fuses our national pastime and the "dismal science" somewhat in the spirit of Steven Levitt (Freakonomics), Michael Lewis (Moneyball) and Bill James (Baseball Between the Numbers). Like the latter, Bradbury offers a front-office perspective on labor (that's the players), salaries, managerial influence, steroids, market size and the like. Like a scrappy role player, Bradbury's enthusiasm is evident (he's a Braves supporter); he offers a chapter on managers' ability to work the umps ("it appears that most managers don't seem to have any real impact in arguing balls and strikes") and investigates top pitching coach Leo Mazzone's contributions. A blogger at his Web site sabernomics.com (a play on the acronym SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research), Bradbury, while not forging new ground, shines in the closing chapters, in which he convincingly bucks the conventional wisdom that Major League Baseball behaves like a monopoly. While the numbers crunched are more of the Financial Times than the box score kind, the issues the book deals with are those discussed in many a barroom. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Bradbury would be the first guy to tell you that baseball fans are the most statistically minded sports fans out there. And he should know: he is an economics professor and a baseball addict (and a popular blogger, too). Here, he tackles some of the game's most cherished truisms and controversies. Is being left-handed really a disadvantage for a catcher? What role, really, do steroids play in being a home-run king? (You may be surprised at the answer.) How can we effectively evaluate a player's value to his team? Ball fans may be shocked at how relevant economics is to their favorite game, and economists may find an exciting new application for their specialty. Like John Allen Paulos, author of such "popular math" books as A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper (1995), Bradbury writes with a smooth, accessible style and makes the tricky game of numbers seem both straightforward and exciting. Like Bill James' Abstracts (2003), this volume could become essential reading for baseball fans. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I enjoyed this book and I recommend it to baseball fans that are not afraid of charts, numbers and economic concepts. I would be the first in line to buy his second book if Bradbury expands his economic analysis and writing into other sports.
Some of his economic observations are interesting, those where he really studies the game and statistics. I, for one, can find other, more rewarding but boring books to give me a Saturday afternoon snooze. And Bradbury should stick to his statistical analysis of the game (where he excels), not the policy points (where he only debates under the ruse of economic theories).
That sounds kind of dry, but the author is a better writer than I am, so the book is quite interesting. The first section I found particularly convincing, as it applies principles of economics to identifying why the DH promotes more hit batsmen, why there are almost no lefty catchers, and the over-ratedness of the protection afforded by the on deck hitter. Latter chapters discuss how baseball differs from a true monopoly, and how this has worked to the benefit of the fans.
In the Epilogue, the author writes that he considered calling this book, "An Economist Ruins Baseball", which I'm glad he didn't. That would have done a disservice to this book. Very interesting book to the general baseball fan, and not just a number cruncher book. Probably the best baseball book I have read since MoneyBall.
In this book Dr. Bradbury a professor of economics and a baseball fan looks at baseball through the eyes and science of economics. The result is some surprising findings in all kinds of areas such as the use of steroids, scouting practices, establishing a real value (as opposed to salaries) for players, why are there no left handed catchers, does location in a big city or small city make any difference.
To the baseball fan, the results of his analysis are going to be very interesting. To the more statistical minded, the approach to solving different kinds of problems is somethat could be used in a wide variety of situations where economics theory could provide insight not otherwise visible.
All in all, an easy to read book that brings economics theories to light with clarity and understanding.