From the category archives:


Tiny, Large, Very, Nice, Dumbest.

November 12, 2010

Here's a great analysis from Ben Blatt of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective. He looked at three well-known sports writers -- Bill Simmons, Rick Reilly and Jason Whitlock -- and performed a lexical analysis to create a statistical representation of their writing styles. What can you do with that analysis? Well, you can see what […]

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I have the hammer

February 26, 2010

Apologies for the slow posts... but the NYT explains: Wall Street trading is often described as a blood sport. But inside the great investment houses, the sport of the moment is, of all things, curling — that oddball of the Olympics that is sort of like shuffleboard on ice. This slow-poke game, which originated in 16th-century […]

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Moral hazard and the NFL

November 11, 2009

The WSJ asks, "Is It Time to Retire the Football Helmet?" With the debate about football head injuries and CTE swirling, some are wondering if wearing helmets is actually exposing players to greater danger than if their heads were exposed. Though seemingly counter-intuitive, the argument follows well-established moral hazard reasoning that some have perceived in, […]

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Breaking news

November 4, 2009

Apologies in advance for the absolutely terrible/fantastic title. The winner of the 2009 contest for the Best Visual Illusion of 2009 is particularly appropriate tonight as the Yankees strive to hand the Phillies their second championship in as many years. The prize was won by a team that has identified the core difficulty in hitting […]

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Sounds like the melting pot needs a good stir

November 3, 2009

It's an extraordinarily sad state of affairs when you can come to this country at the age of 12 as a refugee, train as a gifted runner in San Diego junior high and high schools, attend UCLA as an incredible four-time All-American award winner, become a naturalized US citizen as you graduate college, compete in […]

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A rock and a hard place

October 27, 2009

The Times has an article about the Mets Fan's Dilemma: who to root for in this year's World Series? [T]he misery of this uninspired season has been unexpectedly heightened by the indignity of watching their most despised division rival face off against their despised crosstown rival in the World Series For me, the question is […]

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Ferrari 458 in motion (x2)

September 25, 2009

The goal of any automotive film is to convey the pure sensation of driving at speed - and few are as successful as Ferrari's latest promotion for the new 458 Italia, embedded here for your driving pleasure. The disclaimer in the beginning notes that no special effects are used and the implied message is that […]

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Questionable rankings

September 14, 2009

I read this morning about the drama at last night's MTV video awards (does anyone actually watch this stuff?), but the episode was overshadowed in my mind by a quirky accident of rankings: if Taylor Swift beat Beyonce for the "Best Female Video", how can Beyonce go on to win "Video of the Year"? Presumably, video […]

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Hands, fingers, knees and toes (knees and toes)

September 10, 2009

Wikipedia is an incredible resource, but every now and then it gives me pause. Consider the first two sentences about the seventh-inning stretch: The seventh-inning stretch is a tradition in baseball that takes place between the halves of the seventh inning of any game. Fans generally stand up and stretch out their arms, legs, necks, backs, calves, fingers, elbows, […]

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Insult upon injury

August 24, 2009

The Mets just can't catch a break: On a day when Mets starter Oliver Perez allowed six runs in the first inning, the Mets were in a position to win in the ninth with one swing of the bat, only to be thwarted by one of the rarest plays in baseball. Eric Bruntlett pulled off […]

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The subtleties of randomness

July 7, 2009

The WSJ has printed one of the best "fooled by randomness" pieces I've seen in quite a while, titled "The Triumph of the Random." This one uses streaks in sports as a central metaphor, with DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak as exhibit A. It presents an immediate disclaimer: Recent academic studies have questioned whether DiMaggio’s streak […]

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Copulas in squash

June 15, 2009

Ball marks on a squash court form an interesting scatterplot.

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End of an era: Harvard kills its squash courts

May 25, 2009

Vanity Fair on Harvard's Vanishing Squash Courts: Artist James Powers, Harvard ’08, proved to be an invaluable source on two fronts. He knew about the four unused squash courts in Adams House because he had painted in them, seen movies inside them, and, like the other students, stored junk in them over the summer. Had […]

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"Why do we live together?"

May 18, 2009

This hilarious spot for Nike aired last night - the simple premise (established in the slightly-less-funny "Chalk" ad) is that Kobe and LeBron are inexplicably roommates. Also, they are muppets.

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Dynamically priced baseball tickets

May 18, 2009

Seven years ago, the Mets were among the first teams in MLB to adopt a tiered pricing system in which it costs more to see a game against a good opponent than a bad one. At the time, it was the most sophisticated such plan in baseball. Others included simple methods like charging more for […]

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Putting the "I" in team

May 13, 2009

An angry Dwight Howard, after his Magic gave up a 14 point lead to the surging Celtics: If you’ve got a dominant player, let him be dominant.

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On graphing horse races

May 8, 2009

In response to Andrew Gelman's call for interesting visualizations of the Kentucky Derby, Megan Pledger created the following graph: I think it's especially interesting because the data is fictional, based on a few simple rules to simulate horse behavior (that's right - this is just like a single realization of a Monte Carlo process!). Andrew […]

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Thursday trends are trying to cover

May 7, 2009

I recently stumbled on a strange cyclical pattern for the word "spread", as you can see here: Why would there be such a pattern?  I believe the reason has to do with the football season, which begins in September and ends in early February.  Football is the most bet on sport, and the most common […]

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The NFL can kiss my tuchus

April 25, 2009

I apologize for being late with this:

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John Rocker can't wait

April 16, 2009

I'm enjoying the NYTimes blogs more and more.  From the Bats blog ("Yankee Stadium Crowd Welcomes Back Pavano"): There are three scoreboards at Yankee Stadium that display the words that are spoken over the loudspeakers. They also describe the action a little. This made for a funny moment during John Sterling’s and Michael Kay’s pregame […]

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How much, statistically speaking, does the NL West suck?

April 15, 2009

Joe Morgan made the following statement on ESPN tonight: The NL West is the only division that hasn't won the World Series in the past seven years. Now, that's amazing. Except, as my brother points out (drawing on his years of accumulated baseball wisdom), there are six divisions. Start with the assumption that each division […]

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Superbowl Tweeting

March 27, 2009

I know I'm really late on this one, but the NYTimes put together an excellent timelapse visualization of Twitter comments across the US during the Superbowl.  It's especially cool to see player names jump out as plays take place, or ad campaigns taking hold as commercials air.  Check it out here.

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I could say the same about that metaphor

February 2, 2009

The NYTimes had an article today rehashing the super bowl ads (surprise!). It contained this paragraph early on: Few commercials that ran during Super Bowl XLIII on NBC offered viewers anything special. To paraphrase a line from the movie “Sabrina,” you could pick some ads out of a hat blindfolded and come up with better […]

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America's Team?

January 30, 2009
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...the catcher, Mike Piazza

May 21, 2008

And now the coverage comes rolling in; the Times weighs in with their bit, the Journal has a somewhat sappy goodbye, and Newday finally has something worth linking to. Choice quotes: Hints at his HoF choice (NYT)? “I have to say that my time with the Mets wouldn’t have been the same without the greatest […]

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Now batting, #31...

May 20, 2008

Piazza is finally hanging up his jersey.  Now the only question is whether the one he wears into the hall of fame will say Mets on it...

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Um, it's also really fun

February 11, 2008

Lest I made the most amazing sport In Ever sound unpleasant (or at least not worthwhile), I did come across this on Wikipedia: Squash provides an excellent cardiovascular workout. In one hour of squash, a player may expend approximately 700 to 1000 calories (3,000 to 4,000 kJ) which is significantly more than most other sports[1] […]

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What the f--- is squash?

February 11, 2008

I bought a new pair of squash shoes yesterday and I don't know if it was the shoes or my post-inflation delerium, but I think I played some of my best yet. I'll admit I was a bit skeptical about what a pair of shoes could do, but they made a huge difference. In fact, […]

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The Parade

February 5, 2008

An amazing photo (taken by Fred R. Conrad for The New York Times) from New York's first ticker tape parade in a long time.  People were already lined up in front of Trinity Church this morning when I left for work and cars were rolling down Broadway honking incessently -- all 4 hours before the Giants […]

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