December 21, 2013
Who is Shyster?
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Thursday, March 05, 2009
The biggest danger of the opinion writing business is the risk of tying oneself up in logical and rhetorical knots in order to justify things you wrote days, weeks, or months ago when events in real time render those opinions, well, not entirely correct. Here's some evidence of that:
Writing about Jonah Lehrer's book on decision making in The Sunday Times, I didn't mention the findings of Philip Tetlock at Berkeley. He studied pundits and discovered they were, to a rough approximation, always wrong when making predictions. He took 284 pundits and asked them questions about the future. Their performance was worse than chance. With three possible answers, they were right less than 33 per cent of the time. A monkey chucking darts would have done better. This is consoling. More consoling still is Tetlock's further finding that the more certain a pundit was, the more likely he was to be wrong. Their problem being that they couldn't self-correct, presumably because they'd invested so much of their personality and self-esteem in a specific view.
The above excerpt is about political punditry, but it applies to the sporting press as well. After all, if you praised every move the Mudville Nine made in the offseason, it's going to be really hard not to pick them as your favorites when you sit down to write that preseason picks column. And if you pick them as your favorites and they stumble out of the gate, it can be very difficult to assess their problems in an objective fashion rather than write that "there's still time, they look strong!" piece. The same goes for opinions about steroids and business and everything else about which we self-appointed experts spew.
Which is why I try to throw so many jokes in with the posts. I mean, there's gotta be something you can count on around here.
(link via Sullivan)
As a central Ohioan, I'm not sure if I can brag about this or not:
Guys have a reason to high-five in Columbus and two other Ohio cities, named some of the manliest places in America.
On the one hand, monster truck rallies aren't exactly something to be proud of. But hey, beating New York in something is always satisfying on some level, isn't it?
Royce the Hack -- ShysterBall's Foreign Correspondent from the Republic of Texas and daytime next-door neighbor of the Ballpark in Arlington -- has a dispatch to warm you up on this late winter's day:
The grounds crew next door is in its usual pre-opening day fever. There is an armada of those little John Deere mule trucks zooming around all day updating and replacing signs, dressing the edges of landscaping and replacing garbage cans that they put into storage five-odd months ago. Baseball is in the air, my friend. It's a great thing. They really do a nice job with the stadium - it is beautifully maintained and the city works hard to keep the surrounding area in step.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting warmer.
Friend of ShysterBall Pete Toms has an article up over at the Biz of Baseball about sports marketing in the wake of Depression v2.0. It's a comprehensive cataloging of thr furor over banks using TARP dollars -- or not using TARP dollars if you deny the fungibility of money -- for sports sponsorships. Read to the end, however, for the most interesting passage:
In the midst of this public and political turmoil, Nielsen Media Research has released some figures that show banking companies have decreased spending by 10 percent over the last year, but have increased the amount that they are spending on sports advertisement by 36 percent in 2008, showing that these businesses see sports as great return on investment.
Is it possible that, despite my dubiousness, banks and other advertisers have some good evidence that, rather than mere vanity projects, sports marketing provides a good return on investment? Is it possible that sports are less recession prone than other sectors? Is any of this going to convince a bank executive to buy the naming rights to ShysterBall for, say, $100K a year over the next 25 years?
So many questions . . .
A descriptive tour of New Shea (I, like you, partially own Citi, so if I want to abrogate their naming rights, I should feel free to do so):
For those fans who hated Shea Stadium, fear not: Citi Field is nothing like its predecessor, the last bits of which lie in ruins a few hundreds yards away. The Mets’ new park, which will open its doors for a Georgetown-St. John’s baseball game March 29, is far more intimate than Shea and corrects some of Shea’s worst faults . . .
No spitting on the visiting relievers?! Baked knishes?! Bring back old Shea!
At what point do editors start rejecting stories about Bernie Williams wanting to still play in the majors? I don't think the dream of finding the Northwest Passage died this hard.
The WBC has begun, with Japan beating China 4-0 in the opener. For those of you who shut down the computer at 5 yesterday and didn't see my last post of the day, here are the reasons why this is about as expansive as I'm likely to get with respect to the World Baseball Classic this year.
From the Dept. of Things I Did Not Know, comes Jared Lansford, son of Carney, pitcher for the Athletics:
Jared Lansford is on the A's list to pitch today at Scottsdale against the Giants. The Giants' hitting coach is Carney Lansford, Jared's father. "I've been hearing about it the last couple of days," Jared Lansford said with a laugh just as a teammate began joshing him about how many hits the Giants might rack up.
Yeah, if they follow their hitting coach's advice they may very well rack up a few hits because he was a good one. By the same token, if Carney does any coaching of the Giants' third basemen, Jared could just tell his teammates to hit grounders to the left side, and everything would even out.
In other news, the fact that a player who was still active when I was in college has a kid old enough to be pitching for a Major League club makes me feel really, really old.
You're not going to believe this, but:
A vote on a new ballpark for the Florida Marlins is being delayed again.
There are few decisions I've made in this life that weren't much better for having waited and thought about it a bit before jumping in. Good for Miami for taking its time.
I never thought I'd be one of those people, but yesterday as I was driving home from work it occurred to me that I simply can't listen to any more bad financial news on the radio. It's just too much and it is starting to depress me greatly. So I clicked off NPR and listened to "Freebird." It was a good choice. As I was taking in that triple guitar attack, I wondered if that's how Nats fans feel about the sports broadcast . . .
Just to clarify, even in a good economy and with nothing but wonderful news in the world, "Freebird" is still the superior choice. Always.