“Defense wins championships!” So declared a triumphant Michael Jordan in 1991, invoking a hallowed sports mantra. But Jordan’s assertion melts into cliché when Moskowitz and Wertheim expose it to statistical calculations revealing that, regardless of the sport, offense proves just as decisive as defense. Indeed, in their wide-ranging iconoclasm, the authors repeatedly poke arithmetic holes in what everyone in sports supposedly knows. Typical is their number-crunching assault on the popular explanation of home-field advantage as a consequence of visiting teams’ road fatigue. Home teams win, the authors demonstrate, chiefly because referees tend to see plays their way—especially when the crowd of spectators grows large. Parsing of data illuminates off-field behavior, too, explaining which athletes use steroids and which ones use marijuana. Even the curse hanging over the Chicago Cubs comes into focus then the analysts ignore the billy-goat myth and statistically assess a management style fostered by fans perversely loyal to “lovable losers”! Sports buffs eager to win their next barroom argument will be lining up for this book. --Bryce Christensen
"The closest thing to Freakonomics
I've seen since the original. A rare combination of terrific storytelling and unconventional thinking. I love this book..."
—Steven D. Levitt
, Alvin H. Baum Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, and co-author of Freakonomics
"I love this book. If I told you why, the NBA would fine me again."
, owner of the Dallas Mavericks
is both scholarly and entertaining, a rare double. It gets beyond the cliched narratives and tried-but-not-necessarily-true assumptions to reveal significant and fascinating truths about sports.”
"A counterintuitive, innovative, unexpected handbook for sports fans interested in the truths that underpin our favorite games. With their lively minds and prose, Moskowitz and Wertheim will change the way you think about and watch sports. Not just for stats nerds, Scorecasting
enlightens and entertains. I wish I had thought of it!"
, ESPN reporter, Author of Cinderella Man.
"(Sports + numbers) x great writing = winning formula. A must read for all couch analysts."
, Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics, best-selling author of Nudge
will change the way you watch sports, but don’t start reading it during a game; you’re liable to get lost in it and miss the action. I’m not giving anything away because you’ll want to read exactly how they arrived at their conclusions."—Allen Barra
, NJ Star Ledger
before it, Scorecasting
crunches the numbers to challenge notions that have been codified into conventional sports wisdom.”
—The Wall Street Journal