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NFT: Do analytics in sports hurt the entertainment aspect?

Sean : 7/10/2019 12:58 pm
Look at baseball, the game is increasingly all homeruns or strikeouts. Much less action.

Look at the NBA, itís a 3 point shooting league now.

Cowherd made this point today, but imagine a NFL where teams throw the ball downfield on every down bc thatís what the analytics say to do.

This isnít a bash analytics thread, but itís a question of whether analytics is hurting the entertainment value of sports (mainly MLB & NBA).
This is the bat signal for NGD  
figgy2989 : 7/10/2019 12:59 pm : link
.
Yes  
dep026 : 7/10/2019 1:01 pm : link
It does. Especially baseball.
Football analytics  
Metnut : 7/10/2019 1:02 pm : link
seem to suggest that teams should punt less often, kick less FGs, go for it more often on 4 down, and go for 2pt conversion more often after TDs.

Seems like the sport would be more entertaining is more coaches followed the data.
To answer your question  
figgy2989 : 7/10/2019 1:04 pm : link
Yes, for the older sports fans the analytics are definitely having an impact on the entertainment of sports. Sports is usually an escape from everyday reality (especially during football season), where you can sit back and just enjoy your fall Sundays.

With the analytics taking over the game and becoming more prevalent on TV broadcasts, it is definitely taking over. I mean, look at the home run derby, they had exit velocity, distances, spray charts, etc...for every home run. They even had ESPN2 running a simulcast based only on the stats. I didn't watch that, but you have to think it probably looked like a video game.
I'm pretty sick of launch angles and  
PEEJ : 7/10/2019 1:06 pm : link
spin rates
RE: Yes  
Nine-Tails : 7/10/2019 1:10 pm : link
In comment 14495966 dep026 said:
Quote:
It does. Especially baseball.


Well thatís your opinion. Iím in favor it, I mean whatís wrong using data to make yourself improve as a player and put yourself in the best position statistically to win
I've actually been more interested in baseball  
UConn4523 : 7/10/2019 1:12 pm : link
since analytics have been pushed. Maybe its just coincidence on timing, but I find the science behind it in Baseball to be fascinating.

For Basketball I don't think you need analytics to tell you to shoot more 3's if you are good at them. The league is firmly ahead of the 3pt distance, until that changes they will keep shooting 3's.
RE: RE: Yes  
figgy2989 : 7/10/2019 1:13 pm : link
In comment 14495981 Nine-Tails said:
Quote:
In comment 14495966 dep026 said:


Quote:


It does. Especially baseball.



Well thatís your opinion. Iím in favor it, I mean whatís wrong using data to make yourself improve as a player and put yourself in the best position statistically to win


Because at the end of the day, its still baseball

RE: RE: Yes  
Jim in Fairfax : 7/10/2019 1:13 pm : link
In comment 14495981 Nine-Tails said:
Quote:
In comment 14495966 dep026 said:


Quote:


It does. Especially baseball.



Well thatís your opinion. Iím in favor it, I mean whatís wrong using data to make yourself improve as a player and put yourself in the best position statistically to win

You completely missed the point. Read the OP again.
Nothing is more entertaining  
ron mexico : 7/10/2019 1:19 pm : link
Then watching the team you root for win, however they get that done.

That being said if I had to choose a technological advancement that hurts the fan experience, my vote is for instant replay
The more baseball I watch  
dep026 : 7/10/2019 1:21 pm : link
The more home runs become boring. It use to be exciting when you see a couple a game. But hitters admiringly say hitting .300 isnít the right way to play.
I enjoy seeing the launch angles, spin rate, exit velo, etc  
BigBlue2112 : 7/10/2019 1:21 pm : link
But the way the sport is changing is absolutely effecting the entertainment value IMO. The shifts and hitting strategies in particular. A strikeout is frowned upon less than a ground ball. The guys now are all homerun or bust. I think that's why DJL has been so incredible to watch
RE: Football analytics  
giants#1 : 7/10/2019 1:22 pm : link
In comment 14495968 Metnut said:
Quote:
seem to suggest that teams should punt less often, kick less FGs, go for it more often on 4 down, and go for 2pt conversion more often after TDs.

Seems like the sport would be more entertaining is more coaches followed the data.


Also say to pass more, with an emphasis on play action.

Is a passing play any less exciting than a running play? Maybe if we're talking about the 90s or earlier when every other pass was incomplete (more or less), but with average comp% increasing to the mid-60s (see link), the excitement of pass rushes, and some excellent run-after-the-catch receivers (Hill, Beckham, Kamara, Barkley, etc), I personally don't think passes are any less exciting.

And I think some of the "advanced" stats that NBC (in particular) shows enhance the game and provide a deeper level of understanding.
Link - ( New Window )
RE: RE: RE: Yes  
Nine-Tails : 7/10/2019 1:25 pm : link
In comment 14495990 Jim in Fairfax said:
Quote:
In comment 14495981 Nine-Tails said:


Quote:


In comment 14495966 dep026 said:


Quote:


It does. Especially baseball.



Well thatís your opinion. Iím in favor it, I mean whatís wrong using data to make yourself improve as a player and put yourself in the best position statistically to win


You completely missed the point. Read the OP again.


I think thereís a greater upside in entertainment. Now you see pitchers when theyíre on throwing double digit strikeouts and offenses clobbering the ball, I enjoy both. In basketball, itís fun watching your team raining down threes.
strikeouts are only "boring"  
UConn4523 : 7/10/2019 1:25 pm : link
when your team is getting K'd. When your pitcher is pitching strikeouts are awesome. So I don't get that strikeouts are bad unless you don't have a rooting interest in a team and are just watching any old game.

The Yankees BA has risen 0.16 this season so they are hitting better. The Mets are up by 0.20. The league is up by 0.04. To me its been fun.
RE: strikeouts are only  
Nine-Tails : 7/10/2019 1:28 pm : link
In comment 14496011 UConn4523 said:
Quote:
when your team is getting K'd. When your pitcher is pitching strikeouts are awesome. So I don't get that strikeouts are bad unless you don't have a rooting interest in a team and are just watching any old game.

The Yankees BA has risen 0.16 this season so they are hitting better. The Mets are up by 0.20. The league is up by 0.04. To me its been fun.


Take Ottavino for example, he improved by following analytics. Itís fun watching him make hitters look powerless
IMO, baseball is different  
giants#1 : 7/10/2019 1:31 pm : link
Because it's such an individualized "team" sport. Even going back decades, the "most exciting play in baseball" was the triple, not the HR likely because you have the fielders and run going full speed and often have a close play at 3rd (as opposed to many/most doubles being "stand up"). But the baseball analytics tend to favor more individual plays (strikeouts don't matter, BBs = good, HRs = best) plus the shift further reduced the # of baserunners.

NBA is slightly different. While 3 pointers aren't as exciting as drives to the basket, they do tend to have longer rebounds which can lead to more fast break opportunities. Plus more 3s => better floor spacing => better ball movement (by good teams at least).

And as mentioned already, NFL analytics so far typically tell coaches/teams to be more aggressive, which should be more exciting (punts and XPs are generally boring plays).
As someone said above, what's fun is watching your team win.  
Del Shofner : 7/10/2019 1:32 pm : link
If analytics help, great. I think they've pretty obviously helped the Yanks.

Even the shift in baseball, which is probably the one thing I have the biggest issue with. It's taken away a lot of hits but I find it odd that professional players don't hit the other way more. I know, 'easier said than done,' but I think players from earlier eras would have done it a lot.
I think the main..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 7/10/2019 1:32 pm : link
issue with analytics is not everyone understands the vast differences between baseball and football in using analytics.

Analytics guys will often use the phrase that all data is useful. but it only true if one knows how to quantify it and apply it correctly. In baseball, this is much easier. Optimum launch angles can help in teaching swing techniques. Exit velocities can lead to certain training techniques. As a player accumulates stats, those stats are then projected to a value like WAR. And at the end of the day, analytics in baseball is much more relevant because you have 9 individuals. Team dynamic s do not factor in very much.

The opposite is true in football. Things like throwing angles, passing velocity, amount of arc really don't mean a lot for a QB. Because each throw is different. Analytics is being mainly used to optimize training and in how coaches approach in-game score and down situations.

The amount of variables in football are massive vs. baseball and it is unlikely analytics will play the same role it has in baseball,

And if the usual suspects who prattle on about analytics and Gettleman's disdain for them cause much of an uproar, I have a very good article handy to show them that talks about how analytics has been at play in the way we have been approaching our DB's. Pretty interesting since we have a GM than shuns them and a guy who heads analytics up who is said not to be qualified by those moronic chuckleheads......
Analytics are just  
BigBlueDownTheShore : 7/10/2019 1:33 pm : link
that data that have been turned into some form of information and eventually knowledge by the team.

It works really well in baseball because its a very individual oriented game.

The common misconception is that the analytics will just tell the humans what to do.

It's up to the managers to make decisions off of the data given to them.

Going straight off the analytics is not the way to go. Point in case the Mets.

A good mixture of analytics and gut decisions is what makes good outcomes happen.
RE: strikeouts are only  
giants#1 : 7/10/2019 1:35 pm : link
In comment 14496011 UConn4523 said:
Quote:
when your team is getting K'd. When your pitcher is pitching strikeouts are awesome. So I don't get that strikeouts are bad unless you don't have a rooting interest in a team and are just watching any old game.

The Yankees BA has risen 0.16 this season so they are hitting better. The Mets are up by 0.20. The league is up by 0.04. To me its been fun.


IMO, baseball is still at its best with guys on base. Makes it far more "team" oriented than just batter v pitcher and so much more can happen.
RE: I think the main..  
giants#1 : 7/10/2019 1:42 pm : link
In comment 14496023 FatMan in Charlotte said:
Quote:
issue with analytics is not everyone understands the vast differences between baseball and football in using analytics.

Analytics guys will often use the phrase that all data is useful. but it only true if one knows how to quantify it and apply it correctly. In baseball, this is much easier. Optimum launch angles can help in teaching swing techniques. Exit velocities can lead to certain training techniques. As a player accumulates stats, those stats are then projected to a value like WAR. And at the end of the day, analytics in baseball is much more relevant because you have 9 individuals. Team dynamic s do not factor in very much.

The opposite is true in football. Things like throwing angles, passing velocity, amount of arc really don't mean a lot for a QB. Because each throw is different. Analytics is being mainly used to optimize training and in how coaches approach in-game score and down situations.

The amount of variables in football are massive vs. baseball and it is unlikely analytics will play the same role it has in baseball,

And if the usual suspects who prattle on about analytics and Gettleman's disdain for them cause much of an uproar, I have a very good article handy to show them that talks about how analytics has been at play in the way we have been approaching our DB's. Pretty interesting since we have a GM than shuns them and a guy who heads analytics up who is said not to be qualified by those moronic chuckleheads......


Analytics certainly can play a significant role in football, but as you say there are far more variables involved in each play (22 players vs essentially 2) so it is far more difficult to develop "stats" as simple as launch angle that can be used to analyze a player. Though I think some "next gen" stats such as average separation will prove to be very valuable.
get used to it  
FranchiseQB : 7/10/2019 1:47 pm : link
analytics is here to stay. I think people who still bash it really don't understand the fundamentals.

Mainly analytics is used to identify inefficiencies in how players are compensated. It won't always be a hr and strikeout league. When those features are over-saturated and other qualities that are important to winning are undervalued, you will see analytics promote those.
I don't..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 7/10/2019 1:55 pm : link
disagree with this:

Quote:
Analytics certainly can play a significant role in football,


The problem is that right now analytics are either overrated or misinterpreted by fans. They look at PFF as an outlet to provide analytics. They look at ESPN's graphics and think there's a usefulness to them.

What every team is doing is gathering the data. Quantifying and analyzing that data is what's an ongoing process. Where baseball's influence comes in as a negative is that it raises expectations that football will be able to boil things down as nicely. That's unlikely to happen.

The other issue is that people who are pro-analytics are very sensitive to those who question analytics as if the ones raising concerns are sitting in a corner sliding some beads along an abacus and openly shunning advanced stats.

But then again - many of those folks will also point to PFF as a directional data point.
A lot of things are hurting entertainment in baseball,  
81_Great_Dane : 7/10/2019 1:59 pm : link
and not all of them are driven by analytics. The analytics part is that everyone's working with the same mathematical models and adopting the same strategies and tactics. In the 80s you could have different approaches to baseball going head to head. The Mets were from the Earl Weaver/Davy Johonson "Good pitching and a 3-run homer" school, while the Cardinals loved to run, run, run, all built around speed. Now it's a much more homogeneous game.

Maybe you can blame the analytics for the tendency toward everything being strikeouts or home runs, with far fewer balls in play and slow pace of play. I think it was going to happen anyway. The pitchers are bigger and stronger, almost everybody throws 95-100 now, and the hitters are all capable of hitting a home run. Statcast isn't really responsible for that IMO.

Personally, I'm eager to see what happens when they try moving the mound back a couple of feet. The current dimensions were drawn for 19th-century players; it's time to tweak some things. If you want more balls put in play, make it easier to hit the ball. If you have to make the ball deader so it's not 2 home runs every inning, I'm good with that. More balls in the field of play and fewer homers works for me. I would also be good with much smaller gloves, especially for outfielders. Make it harder to catch the ball. Not incredibly hard, but harder than it is today.

In football, I don't think there is enough attention to analytics. If there were, we'd probably see less punting and more going for it on 4th down.

In basketball, I don't know whether it's analytics or just a natural evolution of the game, but I agree that the current form of NBA basketball is kind too much the same. Lots of 3-point shooting, lots of pick-and-roll, yawn. I wouldn't eliminate the 3-point shot but it might be time to move the line back and eliminate the corner 3. That shot is just too easy.
PFF does have some analytics based  
giants#1 : 7/10/2019 2:07 pm : link
articles that are informative and good reads (IIRC, the article about the relative value of a strong secondary that you referred to relies on some PFF analytics). But most fans associate PFF with those stupid "grades" they give players each game. While there is some value to those grades, they are basically the antithesis of "analytics" as they are subjective* measures of a players performance. Unfortunately, this incorrect association between these grades and analytics hurts fans' overall view of analytics in football.

The real value in analytics (short term at least) is in playcalling, whether its using more play action, going for two (particularly when trailing by 14 in the 4th...), punting less, etc. With Barkley in the fold, we really should be using play action on >50% of passing attempts.

*while subjective, there's some value in them since they use a consistent framework to determine them and provide a glimpse into the play-by-play performance of a player compared to most fans perceptions of a player which is generally based on their best/worst plays from the game.
RE: RE: strikeouts are only  
UConn4523 : 7/10/2019 2:07 pm : link
In comment 14496027 giants#1 said:
Quote:
In comment 14496011 UConn4523 said:


Quote:


when your team is getting K'd. When your pitcher is pitching strikeouts are awesome. So I don't get that strikeouts are bad unless you don't have a rooting interest in a team and are just watching any old game.

The Yankees BA has risen 0.16 this season so they are hitting better. The Mets are up by 0.20. The league is up by 0.04. To me its been fun.



IMO, baseball is still at its best with guys on base. Makes it far more "team" oriented than just batter v pitcher and so much more can happen.


I donít disagree but check out the league average for OBP. Itís basically at or much better than every year since 2009.
Throw in hockey  
Coach Red Beaulieu : 7/11/2019 8:01 pm : link
Used to be a more free flowing game with the likes of Gretzky. Now it's big lumoxes hanging out in front of the net getting rebounds or tipping slapshots.

Most analytics I encounter in football is crap and snake oil. What I am interested is where Cutcliffe gets his QBs need to pass under 2.8 secs, and what the graph looks like. For example, QBs very rarely get sacked in less than 1 sec, and very often 5+. Is it a linear curve, or is there a sharp increase at some point, presumably around 2.8 secs?
And the analytics  
Coach Red Beaulieu : 7/11/2019 8:10 pm : link
That teams should be more aggressive and kick less often is bullcrap. Little Bill was ahead of the curve and tried it against Indy and it was a disaster. Patriots had Indy and Peyton under their thumbs until the failed 4th down conversion, breathed life into Indy in that game and rivalry.
RE: Yes  
Steve in ATL : 7/11/2019 8:16 pm : link
In comment 14495966 dep026 said:
Quote:
It does. Especially baseball.


+1
No  
djm : 7/11/2019 9:43 pm : link
But the financial analytics from fans and media does.
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