Customer Review

5 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Never ending mathematical formulas, November 23, 2011
This review is from: Wizardry: Baseball's All-Time Greatest Fielders Revealed (Paperback)
I was utterly dissapointed by Wizardry. My mistake was that I thought I would be reading about the game's best defensive players, their accomplishments, what made them stood above their fellow players. Instead, I was put in front of never ending mathematical formulas, some of them Einstein or Newton would have a hard time to understand.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think that WHIP, CERA or OBPS% are good tools to enjoy the game, but I'm not ready for arm-lenght formula that will no doubt cause me serious headaches. That's not fun.

So, for the first time in my life, after buying and reading some 200 books and encyclopedias about baseball, I quit after exactly 64 pages.

That say it all.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 30, 2011 3:34:22 PM PST
Just a few factual clarifications for the benefit of potential readers. The book is over 400 pages long; only 22 of those pages contain any equations. On page 5 readers who are put off by the math are urged to skip it. The last of the "never-ending" equations appears on page 122. The vast majority of the book is devoted to stories and non-quantitative information about the players that is designed to round out the purely quantitative evaluation provided by the statistical model (DRA) introduced in the book. Michael A. Humphreys

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2011 5:43:40 AM PST
Marc Ranger says:
Hello Mr Humphreys.
Obviously, you are proud of your work and I understand that completely.
However, even if only "22 of those pages contain any equations" up until page 64, the text refers to those equations.
What I found rapidly looking throught the rest of the book did not convince me to read any further. I just wanted to point out that your book is not intented to the "normal" baseball fan, but for mathematicians who analyses baseball exclusively throught numbers. Your effort is valuable but not for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2011 4:51:22 PM PST
Some factual matters remain to be clarified. The bulk of the book is Part II, which contains player essays and no equations. None of the essays in Part II "refers to those equations" other than in a general conceptual way; that is, no one would needs to be able to follow any of the math in Part I to understand Part II.

The players are _not_ analyzed "exclusively" through numbers, any more than "normal" fan evaluations of players have always been (see next paragraph). The introductory chapter in Part II (see pages 141-50) takes great pains to lay out several fielding evaluation factors used to evaluate and honor fielders having _nothing_ to do with the math in Part I or any 'fancy' math by any other people.

For over a century "normal" people have had fun arguing about which players are better than other players. And how have "normal" people made their arguments? Almost "exclusively" through numbers! "Joe Smith hit .341." "Jim Jones won 20 games." All that Wizardry tries to do, as prior books by Pete Palmer and Bill James did, is use numbers more _intelligently_.

The book was intended to reach a wide range of baseball fans. I know many readers who frankly couldn't care less about the mathematical explanation in Part I but still enjoyed and got a lot out of Part II.

Mr Ranger, let me know if I could send you a free copy of the book so that you can spare an hour to read some of the essays in Part II. I think you'd enjoy them.

Posted on Sep 11, 2013 5:22:48 PM PDT
W. Lee says:
This review was helpful to me because the grounds for a negative review are always useful to know. Since the grounds here are an aversion to arm-length formulae and a preference for narratives about fielding exploits, I interpret the 1-star rating from this reviewer as a ringing endorsement from my point of view.
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