The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed (review: 3.5/5)

I enjoyed reading Moneyball last month, so I got the notion to explore some other baseball books. The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed is pretty good, and a surprisingly quick read. The author/ economist JC Bradbury runs Sabernomics, a baseball nerd blog that’s well worth your time.
As you might expect, Bradbury applies some statistical tools and good old-fashioned open-minded economic reasoning to various aspects of baseball. Topics for discussion range from why batters get hit by pitches in the AL more than the NL, the best ways to measure hitting and pitching, manager ejection theory, salary negotiations, whether MLB is a monopoly, etc. I have to say Bradbury does a pretty darn good job of breaking down the statistics and economics jargon he introduces. Marginal revenue product and regression analysis exist happily along with LOOGYs and the cup of coffee. The thought process behind the studies he’s developed is fascinating in its own right—sometimes it’s just cool to read how someone thought through an intricate project, accounting for variables and dealing with potential bias. I also give Bradbury bonus points for quoting from one of my favorite thinkers, Frederic Bastiat.

One last thing that amuses and delights me to no end: almost a full third of the book is dedicated to the most extensive back matter I’ve ever seen outside of purely academic texts. There’s an epilogue, acknowledgements, one two three four appendices, an endnotes section, a bibliography, and an index.

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