Homers in the Gloaming

Baseball, statistics, and the Chicago Cubs

Baseball quote of the moment

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“Without sinking into a morass of Philosophy 101 disputation about whether statistics reside in the things we observe or whether we impose them, let’s look at the ‘reality’ of the thing itself, which for our purposes is the game of baseball.  The form in which it comes to most of us is a telecast, which flattens the game into two dimensions, transforming baseball into ambulatory chess or Pac-Man; to restore contours to the game we have to imagine it even as we watch it.  The televeised game offers signposts of what baseball is like for those on the field or at the park; to recreate that feeling, the viewer relies upon his experience of playing the game or of seeing it in the open.  This act of imagination, this reconstructing of the video image, profresses from what is seen to what is unseen.  Disorientingly, in this instance the game that is seen is the abstraction while the unseen game is concrete, or ‘real.’

“This movement from the seen to the unseen describes the impulse and the activity of the game’s statisticians, too.  For them, plumbing the meaning of numbers is not mere accounting; to bring the hidden game of baseball into the open is an act of imagination, an apprehension and approximation of truth, and perhaps even a pursuit of beauty and justice.”

–John Thorn and Pete Palmer, The Hidden Game of Baseball

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Written by ollie

25 July 2008 at 3:58 am

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