How data finds the truth — in baseball and in business – CIO

NEW YORK — If there is one thing Bill James wishes more people understood about sabermetrics — the method of empirical analysis of baseball that he had a prominent role in pioneering — it’s that the data is not the point. The point is to use the data like a razor to cut through false convictions to find the truth.

“The reason that understanding is so difficult to build in baseball is that there’s an entire industry of people selling nonsensical ideas about the data all the time,” James says.

If a broadcaster tries to tell you how a batter performs against left-handed pitchers on Tuesday nights under a full moon, James advises shutting the sound off.

“All the stuff they tell us during a broadcast is actually a measurement of nothing — meaningless measurements that form an entire universe,” he adds.

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