Baseball Epistemology

The senses senseth. Ah, a 16th century epiphany by Tommy (the Leviathan dude) Hobbes. This what that led to.

“a resistance, or counter-pressure, or endeavour of the heart to deliver itself; which endeavour, because outward, seemeth to be some matter without. And this seeming, or fancy, is that which men call sense” (Hobbes 1651, 1.4).

I guess that is what happens when the corporeal body processes the stuff that its ears, eyes, nose and skin reports of that which is going on outside of it. It seems dem molecules around the heart and such are bouncing around just like a physicist would predict.

Anyways the outcome can be “brutish and short”

What Is Truth?

What is the truth (if any) of statistical models attempting to predict future baseball outcomes? To start with does the past portend the future? How do we know that the stat cast beloved “laws” of physics won’t be repealed by the new Democratic controlled house? If they are will God refuse to bring them to a vote in the senate? What if a big number of the actual human beings who happen to be MLB players for good reasons or bad decide to change how they do things?

What if everyone decides to just…

But back on point, in a drunken sort of way (not kidding), there exist an argument among the stat heads concerning the superiority or not of “expected runs” / “deserved runs” versus park adjusted offensive stats.  It has something to do with trying to account for the quality of the defensive players, the pitcher and blah blah.

What we thought we knew about player value five years ago is no longer considered to be “true”. But that doesn’t mean that the “truth” has changed it  merely means that our probabilistic estimate of what it might be has changed with the consideration of new observations. Dude even points out that Homer, considering what they knew and didn’t know back then might not have been a dummy for thinking that the earth was flat.

The Privilege Of Absurdity

We humans are so lucky. We can talk ourselves into anything we want. We can even smash up our sensing senses with all sorts of debilitating molecules should our perceptions of outside realities become too unpleasant.

Here’s how Tommy Hobbes put it.

“The privilege of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject, but man only.”

Did they smoke pot around 1600?

“as when from the sight of a man at one time, and of a horse at another, we conceive in our mind a Centaur”

Please remain respectful. This is very serious business.

There’s balls and there’s strikes,’ says the first, ‘and I call them the way they are.’

‘No!’ exclaims the second umpire.  ‘That’s arrogant.  There’s balls and there’s strikes and I call them the way I see it.’

‘That’s no better,’ says the third.  ‘Why beat around the bush?  Why not be realistic about what we do?  There’s balls and there’s strikes and they ain’t nothing till I call them.

The first umpire represents the traditional view of truth – objective, independent of the mind of the knower, and there to be discovered.  The second umpire speaks for moderate relativism – truth ‘as each person sees it’ according to his or her perspective and interpretation.  And the third umpire blatantly expresses the radically relativist, or postmodern, position – ‘truth’ is not there to be discovered; it is for each of us to create for ourselves


True Baseball

What is it? Your decision.

Pitchers and catcher report in less than a month.

Hope everyone is having a good long weekend.

12 thoughts on “Baseball Epistemology

    1. Me too. you know I once actually scrunched down my batting stance to get a walk. Maybe Cartoon Baseball coming to a website near you.


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