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Monday, March 19, 2012

FanGraphs: Jon “Boog” Sciambi: Broadcasting the Stats

As Michael Kay merrily goes on promoting Kryssy Kocktail for his next CenterStage fiasco.

On using predictive stats in a broadcast: “I’m always cognizant of the stats I’m putting out there and whether they have predictive value. That’s the biggest thing. I try to stay away from runners in scoring position, and if I use it, I’ll try to explain, ‘This is what has happened in the past.’ I want to make it clear that I’m not giving the stat to say, ‘This will predict what will happen in this at bat.’

“There is so much information out there that you’ve got to be careful. I try to pick and choose, but I definitely have an idea. I know the stats that are more predictive in nature and the ones that can mislead. First and foremost, I don’t want to mislead. I think the most effective use for stats in what I do is to try to eliminate the noise.”

On sacrifice bunts and run probability: “I have Tom Tango’s bunt tables and I will use them from time to time. Most of the time we speak about total amount of runs — the potential amount of runs that could be scored — and I think we more often need to include, especially in late/close games, ‘What is the chance that you’ll just score?’ By and large, when we use bunts tables in statistical evaluation, the first place we go to is that spot with base-state and out-state. You’re expected to score 0.42 runs and in this state it’s 0.65 runs. I think both tables should be included when you’re analyzing bunts. What is the total amount of runs you’re expected to score, and what is the percentage chance that you’re expected to score?

“The fans want to hear stats, but at a very basic level. I feel you have to be as efficient as possible when explaining them. You have to make them understand. If you can do it efficiently, they absolutely want to hear them. If you put it as simply as, ‘If you bunt in this spot, you’re expected to score this percent of the time/this amount of runs and if you don’t bunt in this spot, so on and so forth.

Repoz Posted: March 19, 2012 at 09:09 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, sabermetrics, television

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: March 19, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4084109)
Regardless of any saber-centric bona fides, Sciambi's a good announcer - I'm happy for his success.
   2. spike Posted: March 19, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4084198)
Man, I so wish he was still doing Braves games. And agree with above - very pleased he's done well.
   3. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4084271)
The downgrade from Sciabmi to Chip Caray is so large as to be potentially unquantifiable.
   4. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: March 19, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4084326)
Boog does the best job I've ever heard from anyone of making the new understanding of the game's numbers useful and interesting, but doing so in a way that doesn't alienate the guy from Hall County who's watching the game with his kid who stands out a little on his youth league team, but doesn't know or care what regression analysis even is.
   5. Leroy Kincaid Posted: March 19, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4084613)
What I didn't like about this guy is he was one of those broadcasters who felt he needed to interview his former-player booth-mate (Don Sutton, I think it was) while the game was going on. That only makes me change the station.

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