Malooley: Numbers game: STATS seeks to change the way we play

From Jake Malooley at Chicago Magazine on October 9, 2018, with mention of SABR members John Dewan, Bill James, Jeff Chernow, and Dick Cramer:

The undisputed leader in the sports data field as recently as a few years ago, Stats contends these days with a new crop of deep-pocketed, forward-thinking competitors that have bumped the company from its long-held place atop the industry.

Started in the 1980s by a plucky band of baseball stats nerds — among them a Chicago actuary named John Dewan and the godfather of sabermetrics, Bill James — Stats made its name thinking outside the traditional box score. By tallying and databasing aspects of games that were previously either ignored or thought to be insignificant (pitch counts, the location of batted balls), the nascent company began shining light into darkened corners of sports orthodoxy. Where the gut feelings of hardened managers and scouts had once prevailed, Stats countered with insights backed by quantifiable proof.

If Stats today is the Cubs circa 2011 — a storied organization needing a competitive shot in the arm — then its Theo Epstein, its white knight, is Patrick Lucey. One company executive described Lucey, with utter sincerity, as its “shining star.” The 37-year-old is a mathlete in the most literal sense: He’s a big-data engineer who happens to be a skilled jock. Six-foot-four and broad-shouldered, Lucey played semipro soccer for eight years in his native Australia while earning his doctorate in computer science.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 9, 2018. Last Updated: October 9, 2018.