Game of Chance is a weekly podcast about baseball stats, history, and culture which puts current events in a historical context and constantly questions what we think we know about the national pastime.
Game of Chance 20: Fielding Statistics
There have been many attempts over the years to quantify defense. Despite claims that current stats describe 60% of fielding, it's my opinion that little progress has been made. However, a new technology is coming which will soon change everything.
Game of Chance 19: Predictions
Spring is the time for guessing which players will have that long-awaited breakout season, which teams will surprise everyone and win a pennant, which ones will completely fall apart, and anything else that might happen in a baseball season. But calling them "predictions" doesn't make them any better than "guesses," even when the experts are talking.
Game of Chance 18: The Unbreakables (Part Two)
Is Ty Cobb's .366 lifetime batting average really an unbreakable record? What about Barry Bonds' 762 career home runs? Or Nolan Ryan's 5714 strikeouts? And will anyone ever hit 50 home runs and steal 50 bases in a season?
Game of Chance 17: The Unbreakables (Part One)
The breaking of records is often surrounded by controversy. We have a tendency to defend the past as somehow superior to the present. Which of baseball's great records are unbreakable because a player was extraordinary? And which because the game has changed? What records are the most interesting to think about?
Game of Chance 16: Tough Guys
In 1972 Steve Blass suddenly lost the ability to control his pitches. Thirty years later, the same thing happened to Rick Ankiel. We expect professional athletes to be stoic, unaffected by danger and injury, but the culture of baseball can have profound consequences on the performance of even the most elite athletes.
Game of Chance 15: Why Baseball Has Statistics
Right from its beginnings in the 1800s, baseball has been accompanied by a barrage of numbers. Why are statistics so important to baseball? Why did they develop so naturally, and why have they remained so fascinating for so long? What makes baseball different from football, basketball, and hockey?
Insightful musings on stats from a lover of baseball
Invaluably, Alex Reisner is just as good at discussing the "non-valuable": intangibles he and possibly all of us can't know or don't yet about baseball. And like Bill James, he predicts and takes stands and allows his emotions to color the stats, as nearly any fan does (and should).
I also like the brief episode structure. And how better to honor the "Game of Chance" than for the episodes to likewise take a random walk among the aspects of baseball?
Look on his website, too, for the link to his thoughful "situational" scorecard that has improved my scorekeeping habits. Reisner Scorekeeping was my intro to this podcast.
I've really enjoyed your show all summer. A perfect blend of stats, history, conjecture and insight. You appear to have stopped posting for the year. Looking forward to more. Thanks. Clearly a labor of love and much appreciated.
This one goes deep
Truly insightful commentary on baseball. Alex Reisner's arguments are crystal clear and easy to follow, even when he's introducing us to new ways of looking at statistics and reframing the way we think about the game. The podcasts are always timely and relevant to what's going on in baseball at the moment, and Alex is saying things that no one else is. This isn't someone with a microphone just being contrary -- this guy knows his stuff. If you love baseball and you love talking about and thinking about the game, you need to hear this.
Also, I agree that the length is fine as it is. A single idea examined thoroughly is really appealing to me. Minutes don't matter so much.