Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Baseball Hacks

For those who are baseball nuts, and good at math, I'd recommend looking at O'Reilly press's Baseball Hacks. The venerable all-things-geek publisher has released another entry in their popular Hacks series. For the record, O'Reilly puts out really the only computer books that I'll read.

The bulk of the book is devoted to the study of baseball statistics, and how you can use free, open software to analyze the numbers like the big boys. Every baseball fan knows the beauty of a boxscore. The game, more than any other sport, can be understood with numbers thanks to the discrete tallying of balls and strikes, hits and errors. Of course, if you don't have the time to do it yourself, you can get the predigested numbers over at Baseball Prospectus.

I'd recommend that anybody looking to get into the game learn how to do a scorecard. There are a million different ways to keep a card, and every fan has their own system. Many times these are handed down like heirlooms in the family. So, grab a baseball fan, and have them teach you to keep a book. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to, and you'll learn alot about the game, how it progresses, and what to watch for during the game.

For those who already know how to keep score, go check out the Project Scorecard system. It's the most comprehensive system I've ever seen. It was designed years ago when Major League Baseball wouldn't release their official statistics to the public. Much like those pioneering OSS geeks, they decided to do it themselves. This, Project Scorecard was born. That however is not the case now, and I'm not sure if the Project is still actively run and maintained.

If you don't have time to thumb through the 28 page how-to manual, just take a look at the reference card and how they have the field divided to accurately record the location of hits. Wow.


Blogger Jake Berlin said...


thanks for checking out my blog. now that i've seen yours, i'm more than happy to return the favor.

and thanks for the reference to baseball hacks -- i hadn't heard of the book before, but it's right up my alley.

go sox!

Tue Feb 28, 09:17:00 PM PST  

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