Kagan: The physics of Statcast errors

From SABR member David Kagan at The Hardball Times on November 17, 2016:

Even though I eventually earned a PhD in Physics, I struggled mightily with my first physics course. I’ll never forget the trials of Professor Endar Linzcor. I immediately nicknamed him “Dr. Line Score,” consistent with my life-long obsession with baseball.

Line Score’s inordinately strong but otherwise non-descript accent added another dimension to the challenges of understanding the nature of science. Nonetheless, Line Score taught me some key ideas for dealing with the complexities of data collected in the pursuit of knowledge.

I recall one pretty simple experiment during which we were supposed to use a stop watch. We lifted one side of a ramp and set it on a block. Then we used a stop watch to measure the time it took a toy car to roll down a ramp. Next, we added another block to increase the angle of the ramp and measured again. We did this about five times.


That brings me to Statcast, which completed its first full year of operation in 2016. It is a truly bold vision and a remarkable implementation of sophisticated radar and video technology. However, all science and technology is subject to errors and mistakes. Hence the importance of the Schniff Text–Sniff Test–to all such endeavors.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/the-physics-of-statcast-errors/

Originally published: November 17, 2016. Last Updated: November 17, 2016.