Sabermetrics And Computer Advances

It’s interesting to think about how modern computers have changed even the game of baseball through the statistical analysis available to analysts since the advent of computers that are able to crunch the numbers.


“In many ways, professional baseball has been slow to recognize the potential impact of statistical and analytical tools. It was not until 1954 that the formal detailed analysis of baseball through mathematics and statistics was pursued. This was at about the same time that American industry was turning toward using statistical and optimization tools to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In a 1954 issue of Life magazine, Branch Rickey, then–chairman of the board of the Pittsburgh Pirates, authored an article in which he described the use of some new measures of baseball performance. (23) Although not named as an author, Allan Roth, a statistician, played a large part in developing and reporting the new measures. (24) Among other equally prescient ideas presented in the article, Rickey and Roth rightly devalued batting average and proposed in its place on-base percentage as a better measure of a batter’s performance. This article would serve as the starting point for baseball’s new statistics, those th at sought to recognize a player’s contribution to scoring runs.

……In the twenty-first century, organized baseball seems to finally be embracing much of what has been learned through the mathematical analysis of the game. The advent of the personal computer in the 1980s made the collection, storage, and crunching of the huge quantities of numbers that baseball analysis necessitates much easier. With this ability, researchers outside of professional baseball have made a significant impact on the analysis of the game. These include members of SABR, an organization founded in 1971 and dedicated to the study of baseball history and statistics; John Thorn and Pete Palmer, whose book The Hidden Game of Baseball, published in 1984, took a historical perspective on the evolution of statistics and went one step further with the introduction of linear regression analysis as a method of measuring player performance; and Bill James, who began to self-publish his work on the mathematical analysis of baseball in 1977.

In many respects, Bill James has been to sabermetrics what Taylor or the Gilbreths were to industrial engineering. (28) James took the smattering of statistical research that had been done through the history of the game and, with single-mindedness and graceful writing, turned the analysis of baseball statistics into an accepted science. However, the impact of his work has been mitigated by the glacial speed of change in on-field strategy by the baseball establishment. Much like the slow acceptance of the quality movement in the United States, organized baseball has been shortsighted in assessing the impact of the new science. But, as many baseball observers, such as journalist Rob Neyer, have commented, a new generation of baseball people, especially general managers, who have grown up on the work of Bill James and others will use the new information. (29)

The typical view of organized baseball’s attitude toward the numerical analysis of the game is expressed in Roger Kahn’s novel The Seventh Game, the prolific baseball writer’s only work of fiction. The team on which the story’s protagonist plays is owned by a man “with degrees in engineering and business” who has an affinity for using computer programs to calculate statistics for analyzing strategies for his team. (30) This owner, who is essentially educated as and playing the role of an industrial engineer in his effort to improve his team, is seen as an annoyance and a harm to the game. Although statistics have been used in the analysis of baseball strategy and performance essentially since the birth of baseball, they are often seen as meddlesome in the enjoyment of the game. Although some bemoan the fact that statistics take the magic out of baseball, no one can argue that they are not essential to the game’s history as well as to its analysis and strategy. As baseball innovator Branch Rickey was quoted as saying, “Luck is a residue of design.” (31) It is virtually impossible to thoughtfully design successful baseball strategy without the use of numerical tools.”

Puerzer, Richard J. “From scientific baseball to sabermetrics: professional baseball as a reflection of engineering and management in society.” Nine Fall 2002: 34+.


How do you think that personal computers have changed baseball?  Do you think the changes are good?

In my daily usage of my own computer, even my life has changed.  The way that I make plans, appointments, and even choose what movie to see has changed.  Instead of just picking a movie that sounds good, I see what the statistical breakdown of all reviews presented amount to on sites like Rotten Tomatoes.  It’s interesting to think about what impact computers have had on old time games such as baseball.

The reason I like baseball so much is how it’s a throwback to an earlier era.  It’s such an unlikely game that probably wouldn’t be invented nowadays.  It’s slower pace and (surface) simplicity hearkens back to an era when things were…slower.  I absolutely LOATHE the new video aided review system where teams can challenge a play.  I liked the aspect where an umpire could potentially make a mistake.  With this video review it feels to technical, too video game.

Hacking Attacks On Church Computers

Recently the church computers were attacked by a virus or worm, and email replies were not sent out.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

It appears that the V9 redirect virus was the culprit, and wreaked havoc on the browsers.

We want to stress to our congregation the importance of protecting your computer from viruses and malware, especially if you use the computer quite a bit and do a lot of transactions and banking online.

We suggest Norton 360.  It appears that for some reason Norton 360 was deactivated for those computers that got infected, and sadly the attack could not be stopped by the software.  The computers where Norton 360 was still active were not infected.

The PC Dojo is one of our favorite blogs where we get our most up to date tech news and other stuff.  It’s a great source of information about utility software as well.  For example, we were wondering if SpeedyPC Pro was safe, and the site had an entire rundown of the software, what it does, and that it was safe and recommended.

Anyway, ensure that you keep your personal information safe and secure.  We strongly suggest that you look into getting antivirus software if you don’t have it yet.

Updating our views on reproductive rights

Religion plays a huge role in our view of reproduction and human rights.  This is a huge deal for many people, and one that has inspired a ton of debate over the years.

Human reproduction can never be treated simply as an objective technical subject. No religion and no ethical system has ever been undifferent to the issues involved in reproduction. The recent expansion of the needs for and the means of fertility regulation has inevitably raised a new most of fundamental moral and ethical concerns.

Moral and ethical issues are never static. Some issues fade away while others continue to evolve. When the family planning movement started through volunteer non-governmental efforts, the ethical debate revolved around the principle itself. It was a question of whether mankind “should’ attempt to plan or alter its fertility in contradiction to nature or “God’s Will’.

Much of this debate is history now. It has become widely recognised and affirmed that humans, as rational beings, should be able to plan their own fertility, as indeed they plan other aspects of their life. Two areas related to this principle, however, remain unresolved. One is the stand of the Roman Catholic Church, where it is upheld that the outcome of sexual intercourse should be left to God’s will and that the only acceptable means of fertility regulation is abstinence, which may be adjusted to the fertile period of a woman’s reproductive cycle. The other area is abortion, which continues to be an emotionally charged topic. Still debated is the right to life of the fetus versus the right of the woman to have control over her body and to refuse to carry to term a pregnancy she does not want.

After the issue of “should’ began to fade away and family planning became a subject for international concern, the ethical debate moved to question the “why’. Concern and suspicion focused on whether efforts to reduce births were being imposed in place of efforts to accelerate socioeconomic development or, worse, whether these efforts might be “genocide’ in disguise, aiming to eliminate or keep down members of certain ethnic groups, countries, religions or the world’s poor. Again, this debate has in time lost much of its heat. But concern is still legitimately expressed when the family planning effort or assistance is not a part of a total welfare and development package, or when family planning services run ahead of or are given preferential treatment over other basic health care services.

~Fathalla, M.F. “The ethics of family planning.” World Health (1984)

I do believe that religion needs to be aware of the fact that not everybody can afford to have more children, nor can this world support an ever growing population – which would occur out of control should people never use birth control.  I believe the rise against birth control is rooted in a shameful feeling towards sexuality.

Learning Languages Tips And Tricks

Going on missions to other countries sometimes requires the use and practice of another language. To make staying abroad easier, and to better connect with locals, we strongly suggest becoming familiar with the native language where you will be staying. Whether it is Spanish, Russian, or Arabic, we believe that even rudimentary knowledge of the language goes a long way in making the people feel as though you are trying to be part of their culture.

We have looked at many of the different language learning software programs out there and have determined that Rocket Languages is probably your best bang for your buck. The thing is that the learning styles of both programs are quite different from each other. You should definitely take a look into the Rocket Languages vs Rosetta Stone article in order to see just what the differences are.

Basically Rosetta Stone employs a “learn as a baby would” mentality that attempts to give the user the experience of full immersion. Some users might really like this, while others might become frustrated. I personally did not like the approach to learning that they took.

The Rocket Languages series is much more traditional in terms of learning a new language. There are English explanations throughout and they guide you through various cultural specifics such as formal vs informal greetings, etc.

The thing that you have to remember is that you don’t have to be a grammar Nazi to communicate with people in their native tongue. As long as you can understand and be understood, most people will be extremely excited that you are speaking their language.