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Publisher's Summary

Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law's iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport.

For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players' and teams' potential and success. But in the past 15 years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement - sabermetrics - has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the old way - a combination of outdated numbers and gut instinct - is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run by people, not by numbers.

In this informative and provocative book, the renowned ESPN analyst and senior baseball writer demolishes a century's worth of accepted wisdom, making the definitive case against the long-established view. Armed with concrete examples from different eras of baseball history, logic, a little math, and lively commentary, he shows how the allegiance to these numbers - dating back to the beginning of the professional game - is firmly rooted not in accuracy or success but in baseball's irrational adherence to tradition.

While Law gores sacred cows, from clutch performers to RBIs to the infamous save rule, he also demystifies sabermetrics, explaining what these "new" numbers really are and why they're vital. He also considers the game's future, examining how teams are using data, from PhDs to sophisticated statistical databases, to build future rosters - changes that will transform baseball and all of professional sports.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Meadow Party LLC (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Ex
  • 08-07-17

slightly annoying but solid

an interesting take down of the existing, prevailing wisdom in baseball and how it should be calculated. that said, Law is arrogant about his beliefs and therefore comes off as smug. the performer plays to that smugness in his reading, which only makes it worse.

still, absolutely worth it for baseball fans looking to do a little deeper into the modern analysis of the game.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great intro for rookies, nice brush up for vets.

I've followed Keith's work for a long time, this book doesn't disappoint. It's got all the snark you're used to along with a bit of humor and a ton of knowledge. While there wasn't a lot of knew information for someone who follows baseball and sabermetrics it's still essential reading because it looks at how statistics have taken over the game and driven out the old, illogical ways of the past. You'll learn a bit about sabermetrics and a lot about the state of the game itself. Great read, thanks Keith!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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If you sorta like baseball--save your money

I could only make it through eight chapters but I couldn't take the negativity any longer. It's one whining reason after another why the stats used to narrate the game are criminal. Instead of focusing on all the injustices of one player being labeled better than the other for over significance placed on certain stats, I would have rather heard more historical stories about how things came to be, inside how the stats have evolved or even players personal reactions to the changing times. (He gives a little of this but very limiting) Instead we get in his opinion how misuse of certain a stats robbed Roger Clemons of a cy young award or how Magglio Ordonez stole a batting title and much more. I like Keith Law's voice in other places but this read is not educational or enjoyable.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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I wanted to know mathematically why outs were so bad

This was answered along with everything else you’d ever wondered about. It was summed up in the latter half with an analogy. The author proves quantitatively that there is more run potential in hitting three or four singles than in hitting a solo homer and not reaching for the rest of the game. I finally understand a basic concept of saber metrics.

The only gripe I had is silly. How some of the book is written combined with the narrator’s voice reminds me of Justice Kavanaugh.

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Good overview of current baseball stats

Started a bit slow, but unless you are an expert you will likely enjoy the end.

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Outstanding Overview

This is a great general summary/explanation of the current state of baseball analytics, with some history of baseball statistics for context. I've been interested in baseball stats for almost 40 years -- some of what Mr. Law writes about are things that have been obvious to discerning fans for a long time (e.g. that fielding percentage is a completely useless statistic and that the save rule has actually made managers stupider) but other things are not, particularly the revolution ushered in by the Statcast era, where pitch and every batted ball are observed in detail using optical systems and then catalogued for analysis. The writing is clear and logical and relatively easy to understand, though there are some references to tables of numbers, so you might want to consider getting the print edition (or maybe there is a pdf that comes with the audio book?). Anyhow, great job by Keith Law -- unless you are already an expert sabermetrician, you will learn something from this book!

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  • JSK
  • Charlotte
  • 07-15-18

So Tedious

What a chore to finish. Condescending, pretentious, and patronizing. Made me happy to have stopped following major league baseball; and watch it even less than the few times a year that I do now. Seemed like the narrator himself was also numbed by the text.

Skip this one.

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Beautiful Baseball

I went from Moneyball to this book, and neither disappointed. It was a great listen, and "the enhancements" Law refers to are included in the download if you want to view them. Law wrote a fantastic book and Mike Chamberlain is one of my favorite narrators, so it was like the best of both worlds. I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND to any baseball nut!

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Must Read For Any Serious Baseball Fan

Keith Law does a great job of explaining many facets of the game of baseball in this book. I'll admit that I found it difficult to accept that many statistics that are common place in baseball may not have as much merit as I previously thought. Batting average for example is something I valued greatly in players and after reading this book, I can honestly say that that has changed. If you call yourself a serious fan of baseball, you need to read this book. This is where baseball is going, and knowing the information behind team's decisions is important for die hard fans of the game. I would highly recommend this book to any fan of America's Pasttime.

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  • JBC
  • NJ, USA
  • 05-14-18

Surprisingly Insightful

I went into this thinking I wouldn’t learn anything particularly new. However Keith Law’s unique experiences working for MLB teams situated him perfectly to give some very insightful commentary on the state of the game today. If you liked Moneyball this is for you.