Tag Archives: Sports

Skill or luck?

What fraction of this amazing play by Yoenis Cespedes would you attribute to skill versus luck? More importantly, how would you define such concepts as “skill” and “luck”?

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Is LeBron a Bayesian?

Polymath Tyler Cowen speculates thus: In Cleveland [LeBron] is not actually expected to win, at least not right away.  They can play the young guys a lot and rest his legs and extend his career, while developing the quality of the … Continue reading

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What are the unofficial rules of the Tour de France?

And, more importantly, who enforces them?  Craig Fry and Dennis Hemphill discuss the unofficial rules of the Tour de France here. William Fotheringham, ditto, here. You can find a concise summary of the unwritten rules of cycling here. Does this book include the unwritten … Continue reading

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Do free agents play game theory?

Who will sign first? Melo, Lebron, or Bosh? In game-theory terms, what type of “game” are these free agents playing: Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chicken, Stag Hunt, or Battle of the Sexes?

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* A question for Nate Silver

* Should Silver stop trying to predict sporting events and just stick to politics? Update your priors here and especially here.

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We saw a Black Swan today!

Nate Silver — yes, that Nate Silver, who had predicted Brasil to win the World Cup (see diagram in the post above, courtesy of FiveThirtyEight) — compares his complex (and, dare we say, opaque) statistical methods, like the Soccer Power … Continue reading

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Just deserts for Brasil?

Are the Brasilians themselves mostly responsible for Neymar’s horrible on-the-field injury during their quarter-final match with Team Colombia on 4 July? Before you say “no,” check out this excellent analysis by Sam Borden recounting the sordid details of Brasil’s dirty tactics as well as the one-sided officiating … Continue reading

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The ethics of flopping

A reader of The New York Times asked Chuck Klosterman (a/k/a “The Ethicist”) the following thought-provoking questions about the ethics of flopping in football: “If (nearly) every player does it, is it wrong to flop? … If flopping is part of the game, … Continue reading

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Does sex improve athletic performance?

Credit for the diagram goes to David Yanofsky. Read more here: “All of the teams that banned sex at the World Cup have been eliminated … so have a lot of the teams that didn’t ban it. So let’s not draw any inferences.” … Continue reading

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This isn’t a math test …

Two cheers for Team USA … next time in Russia!

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