June 27, 2006
I recently was given a copy of O'Reilly's Baseball Hacks and have really enjoyed digging into a deeper level of understanding baseball. Yes, I watch a fair amount of baseball, but I'm only beginning to understand some of the strategies that come into play during the game (e.g. pitching to a batter or positioning the players on the field).
A few hacks of note:
- Hack #1: Score a Baseball Game - I never knew how scoring a game worked, very usefull to know how the stats are recorded.
- Hack #4: Follow Pitches During the Game - this is a great introduction to learning what goes on as the pitcher faces each batter, the hack also includes ways to identify the various types of pitches and pitch locations.
- Hack #8, 10, 16, 18 20 and many more - use MySQL to import, store, crunch, query and present your baseball data.
- Hack #13: Learn Perl - this hack follows the "Get Perl" hack and is the shortest Perl tutorial I've ever seen covering statement, variables, datatypes, control structures comments, regular expressions, subroutines, and modules/packages all in juat a few pages.
- Hack #74: Measure Pitching with ERA - I know what's a good and bad ERA, but I've never understood how it gets calculated (until now)
- Hack #64: Find "Clutch" Players - cool hack to determine how players perform in specific situations. It bothers me that Mark Bellhorn makes the list, when he was in Boston he was the last person I wanted up at the plate when it really mattered. Hard to believe he is better under pressure.
- Hack #70: Top 10 Bargain Outfielders - comparing players with similar characteristics on their respective salaries.
I initially was a bit skeptical about the book when Joseph Adler proclaimed himself a New York Yankees fan, but it doesn't deter from the hacks. In fact, it's nice to see credit being given to other teams and players throughout the league.
In general I'm also impressed with the use of R (which I'm just learning), and how much how much is done with SQL in queries against MySQL. Adler's (and contributor's) query-writing is impressive, some pretty nasty stuff in these pages.
I'm glad to have this on my shelf and will no doubt draw on it many times over the years as I attempt to figure out what's going on. It seems like every game the announcers say something, or something happens on the field that I wonder about and Baseball Hacks comes in handy in making sense of it all.
Posted by mike at June 27, 2006 8:38 PM