December 25, 2007

Now for something completely different...'s not the Red Sox but it's close. Fire Joe Morgan* picked it up Friday; Charlie's former student over at the TNR blog linked to it over the weekend:

A Flotsam data special: Tangiblizing the intangible

After Tim McCarver’s month-long David Eckstein sploogefest that was October 2006, a serious investigation into 'grit' was long overdue. Despite the penchant of sportswriters and broadcasters to throw the term around willy-nilly, I was hard-pressed to locate a firm definition of grit in the baseball sense. Using lots of laptop science stuff, I think I’ve improved the definition, which isn’t really saying much, since there wasn’t one to begin with.


Gritty players want to succeed. They just happen to not have the talent to actually do so. This results in inefficient baseball plays. For example, Jerry Hairston is gritty. He slides head-first into first base. A true sign of someone gritty enough to want to get to first base, but shitty enough to actually get there efficiently.

Baseball + social science = magic!! For the most and least gritty players (along with a killer research design) click here.

On a related note, Charlie's been playing her sister's Wii for the last several hours. She's not much for cow racing [insert Kansas joke here], but baseball? Oh man. Her splittah (low and away) is wicked pissah.

PS If you like baseball (or sports journalism), and aren't reading Fire Joe Morgan, you simply must start now.