Carleton: The neuropsychology of bad managing

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on December 1, 2015:

I believe you are all familiar with the hashtags. #Mathenaging. #Yosted. #BuntToWin. And that’s just the state of Missouri. It’s now common knowledge that there are certain strategic plays that were once popular, but upon further review, it’s clear that they are questionable tactics at best. Everyone knows it, and yet, bunting is still a thing. Even the “smart” managers do it. Why?

To figure it out, I think we need to take a field trip into the brain of a major-league manager. Or more to the point, into the brain of a human being whose job just happens to be managing a baseball team. Because as much as we’d all like to believe that we wouldn’t do the same thing… we’d all do it. At least we’d have to fight our own brains.

To begin, it’s important to understand that “the brain” is much more a collection of systems than a single organ. Different things are done in different places around the brain, and your brain does a lot of stuff, from making sure that your major organs are running to reading this paragraph. Even reading this paragraph takes more than one system. Your optic nerve is collecting the light from the screen and your brain is recognizing these squiggly shapes as letters and then combining them into groups which are words. And then those words have ideas associated with them. All of those tasks have their own little brain area where the magic happens.

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Originally published: December 1, 2015. Last Updated: December 1, 2015.