Sports + Math = Perfect

Sports fans rally behind the unpredictable, cherish the suspenseful, and celebrate the emotional. These are age-old tenets that are proven time and again by classic sports stories that will live in the annals of sports history. With those tenets acknowledged, what is there to be said of bringing method to the madness? Does analyzing sports under a statistical microscope detract from their underlying beauty and majesty?

There is certainly an argument to be made against a movement of limiting sports to numbers and data, especially for the casual fan. A 8 year-old boy watching his baseball hero on a Saturday afternoon doesn’t want to hear that his favorite player was traded because his GM is adopting a “Moneyball” mentality. At the same time, I’d be willing to bet that same young boy could rattle off that player’s batting average and HR totals for the last few seasons.

So, to answer the question of whether or not intense sports statistical analysis detracts from sports, I’d have to go with a resounding “Not in the least.” If I’m watching an regular season MLB game, in which I have no stake in either of the teams playing, I think that if the announcers discussed sabermetric stats such as Runs Created, or Win Shares, I’d be interested in a game I might normally find boring. Also seeing statistics about George Mason’s run to the Final Four and all its unlikelihood, only serve to make the feat even more special. To me, statistical analysis in sports serves to make the mundane interesting, and the arcane all the more memorable.

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