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Measurability and Derek Jeter February 26, 2009

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Economics.
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Skip Sauer at The Sports Economist had an interesting post about Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier’s lack of traditional stats and Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s belief in him regardless. Morey’s use of an adjusted plus-minus stat to justify hiring Battier is reminiscent of Billy Beane’s attention to on-base percentage in building the Oakland As as detailed in Moneyball.

What I take from Sauer’s post is that plus-minus is a surrogate variable for ability to be a team player. That opens the broader question of what can be measured and whether nonmeasurable statistics are ever useful in building a team.

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Rock Has a Diminishing Marginal Product of Labor February 3, 2009

Posted by tomflesher in Economics.
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From Yahoo’s List of the Day:

8) There were too many people on the stage. After five members in a band most rock ‘n’ roll groups get noticeably worse with each additional member. Van Morrison is the exception to this rule and Bruce has skirted it by employing top notch guys like Miami Steve and Nils Lofgren. However, he had at least six guitar players onstage. All playing the same parts. Add on the horn section and we’re talking chaos.

And, what happens when musicians are crowded out? Bad things. Especially for Clarence Clemons.

2) He sticks poor Clarence on COWBELL. For “Glory Days,” suddenly Clarence is shuttled off his beloved saxophone, a horn section is bought out front and Clarence is given the lowly COWBELL. Now, the Cowbell has always been an in-joke for all rock bands ever since Saturday Night Live and Blue Oyster Cult deemed “more cowbell” a worthy epithet. Do you think anyone in that stadium heard that cowbell? I bet even Clarence couldn’t hear the damn thing.

Signalling and For-Profit Colleges February 2, 2009

Posted by tomflesher in Uncategorized.
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Signalling in economics is the idea that, given imperfect information and a cost to disseminate that information, there are ways for high-quality agents to show (signal) others of their high quality.

This fellow doesn’t know it, but he’s trying to break signalling theory. Can he succeed? I don’t think so. My reasoning (second-order signalling) and a haiku behind the cut.

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Separatists in the House of Commons December 3, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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Disclaimer: The title of my blog, “Heureusement, ici, c’est le Blog!”, is a pun, not an endorsement of the Bloc Quebecois. I harbor no particular affinity for the Bloc Quebecois. Though this post argues for acceptance of the Bloc as a coalition member, it does so solely on rational grounds which could be applied in any analogous situation of home-rule separatism.

There have been a number of complaints about the separatist/sovereigntist influence on the House of Commons under the proposed left-wing coalition in Canada. The concerns appear to be that A) Separatists are a bad thing to have in the national government, and B) It is undemocratic to topple the plurality government of the Conservatives. Behind the cut, I’d like to discuss these concerns.

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The point value of a passivity November 19, 2008

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Sports are weird. Sometimes the things that determine the winner of a contest aren’t the on-field scores, at least not directly. Clock management, penalties, and other intangibles often end up determining the winner. How can we properly value those sorts of events? I’m going to post a brief analysis of an easy case, passivity warnings in international wrestling.

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Stever Robbins on Allocating Blame October 10, 2008

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I love Stever Robbins. He’s undoubtedly one of the smartest guys around, and he helps me stay motivated and Get It Done on a regular basis in his Quick & Dirty Tip-giving persona. Today, he wrote up a blog post that I’m not sure I agree with entirely. I’d like to make an attempt to tackle this one and share some thoughts.

I’m sure he’ll be gentle.

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Pitchers with 4+ RBIs (Sorry, Mets fans) September 23, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Academia, Baseball.
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Last night, the Cubs’ Jason Marquis hit a rare grand slam. Even rarer is that Marquis was the starting pitcher and got the win. Still rarer: Marquis had one hit and 5 RBIs.

That raises the question: just how common an event is Jason’s productivity?

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A 500-level interlude September 17, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Academia.
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Today’s post doesn’t deal with baseball or the Canadian federal election. I’m working on an article and question cluster for my Financial Economics course (discussion is tomorrow!) and in order to get my thoughts organized I’ll be working on them behind the cut.

If you need a Canadian Politics fix, check out The Globe and Mail’s Opinion section. If you’re after an analysis of baseball until the numbers cry, try Recondite Baseball. For pure money talk, check out TwentiesMoneyMag. If you want a brief discussion of Radford, The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp, 12 Economica (New) 189 (1945), you’ve come to the right place.

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Election Opinion Roundup for 10 september 2008 September 10, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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Stephen Harper in a sweatervest! Four guys in suits! Stephane Dion doing his best to enfranchise one of the siphons of his power! All this and more… after the jump.

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Silly bean counters September 7, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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I came across the Beane Count, invented by ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer, by accident. My first thought: “That’s crap. Just summing ranks doesn’t accomplish anything.” My second thought: “How can I prove this?”

My third through nth thoughts involved my standard method of creating a needlessly complex spreadsheet using data culled from ESPN.com. The results were quite surprising.

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