Statistical Analysis Makes Sports Fans Unhappy (yes, I said it!)

Back on New Year’s Day I was once again a guest on the Short Corner Podcast with Paul Shirley, Justin Halpern, and Phil Hay.   Our conversation focused on the New Year’s Resolutions for Eastern Conference teams.   But along the way, Paul asked me how I ended up writing for places like Time.com, the Atlantic, Huffington Post, etc…

My answer was essentially “People ask me to write for them.  And then I say yes” (I also noted that if I ask to write for someone, the answer is generally “no”).

Upon hearing that, Dustin Petzold of Crooked Scoreboard asked me if I would consider writing something for his website.  And after I said “yes” I went to work on the following (which went live today):

Why Statistical Analysis Makes Sports Fans Unhappy

This column is different from what I have written before.  Instead of noting how statistical analysis can help sports fans answer the questions they ask, I observe that answering these questions tends to make sports fans unhappy.  To see why, read the column!

I should note that along the way, my Crooked Scoreboard post critiques various statistical models in basketball (including PER, Win Shares, and Plus-Minus).   Not sure that help increase happiness, though!

For those who think my contributions don’t lead to unhappiness, I should note that I did write a new column for Time.com (okay, more than two weeks ago).  This column details an interesting statistical anomaly.  When the Knicks spend money, they lose. When they stop, they win.

One last observation… about a month ago I learned that someone created a fake wagesofwins twitter account.  I found out about this because a reporter in Florida asked me why I was commenting so much on a stadium issue there.   It was then I learned about someone impersonating me on twitter. Yes, I found that both bizarre and flattering.

I should note… I do comment on the economic impact of sports.  But typically because someone called me and asked me to comment. Yes, my whole career is just me saying yes to people asking me to do something!

– DJ