Nearly every sport is going through an analytical awakening in the strategy department, a tearing down of long-held assumptions.
There are winners and losers in this numbers-based arena. Football, you would have to say, is more entertaining as teams have realized that attempting fourth-down conversions increases their win probability, and the offenses themselves have learned to prioritize getting their best athletes in space. Possession statistics in hockey have placed more of an emphasis on holding onto the puck longer, producing more speed and creativity while taking away the “goons” brought in to fight and do little else. Points, goals and excitement are up in both sports compared with earlier this century, and they are, on the whole, superior products to what they were in earlier generations.
Baseball seems to fall on the other side. Strikeouts this season in Major League Baseball are up eight percent compared to 16 years ago, and some of the intriguing strategy elements of the game are fading. There were more than 1,700 bun...
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