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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

This Book Is Not About Baseball. But Baseball Teams Swear by It.

Kahneman, a professor emeritus at Princeton University and a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2002, later wrote “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” a book that has become essential among many of baseball’s front offices and coaching staffs.

There aren’t many explicit references to baseball in “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” yet many executives swear by it. It has circulated heavily in the front offices of the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Baltimore Orioles and the Astros, among others. But there is no more ardent a disciple of the tome than Mejdal, a former biomathematician at NASA who earned master’s degrees in both cognitive psychology and operations research.

“Pretty much wherever I go, I’m bothering people, ‘Have you read this?’” said Mejdal, now an assistant general manager with the Baltimore Orioles. “From coaches to front office people, some get back to me and say this has changed their life. They never look at decisions the same way. But others have said, ‘Sig, thanks, but please don’t recommend another book to me.’”

A few, though, swear by it. Andrew Friedman, the president of baseball operations for the Dodgers, recently cited the book as having “a real profound impact,” and said he reflects back on it when evaluating organizational processes. Keith Law, a former executive for the Toronto Blue Jays, wrote the book “Inside Game” — an examination of bias and decision-making in baseball — that was inspired by “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” Law said he found it through a suggestion by Mejdal.

John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations for the St. Louis Cardinals, sees the book as illustrative.

“As the decision tree in baseball has changed over time, this helps all of us better understand why it needed to change,” Mozeliak wrote in an email. He said that was especially true when “working in a business that many decisions are based on what we see, what we remember, and what is intuitive to our thinking.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 12:30 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics

Francisco Lindor concerned analytics are ‘taking over’ baseball

The Mets’ new shortstop, who was elected to the executive subcommittee of the MLB Players Association over the offseason, voiced his concerns on Monday that analytics were “taking over the game too much” and diminishing the product.

“Analytics are great, they’re good. But they don’t need to take over the game,” Lindor said after the Mets’ first full-squad workout of spring training. “That’s something that’s just — it’s not right. Let the players play the game.”

Lindor, who also pointed to MLB’s revenue sharing program as “rewarding teams for losing,” was most passionate when asked about the parts of analytics he hated the most.

The four-time All-Star said he was not a fan of the shift and prefers to let his own instincts dictate where he positions himself in the field.

“I get really mad when I miss a ball because they were telling me to move the other way,” Lindor said. “It just drives me nuts. But if it’s my instincts and I go for the ball and I miss it? I’ll die with it. That’s fine.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:52 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, francisco lindor

 

 

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