The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed


Freakonomics meets Moneyball in this provocative expos? of baseball's most fiercely debated controversies and some of its oldest, most dearly held myths

Providing far more than a mere collection of numbers, economics professor and popular blogger J.C. Bradbury, shines the light of his economic thinking on baseball, exposing the power of tradeoffs, competition, and incentives. Utilizing his own 'sabernomic' approach, Bradbury dissects baseball ...

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The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed

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Freakonomics meets Moneyball in this provocative exposé of baseball's most fiercely debated controversies and some of its oldest, most dearly held myths

Providing far more than a mere collection of numbers, economics professor and popular blogger J.C. Bradbury, shines the light of his economic thinking on baseball, exposing the power of tradeoffs, competition, and incentives. Utilizing his own 'sabernomic' approach, Bradbury dissects baseball topics such as:
• Did steroids have nothing to do with the recent homerun records? Incredibly, Bradbury's research reveals steroids probably had little impact.
• Which players are ridiculously overvalued? Bradbury lists all players by team with their revenue value to the team listed in dollars-including a dishonor role of those players with negative values-updated in paperback to include the 2007 season.
• Does it help to lobby for balls and strikes?

Statistics alone aren't enough anymore. This is a refreshing, lucid, and powerful read for fans, fantasy buffs, and players-as well as coaches at all levels-who want to know what is really happening on the field.

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Editorial Reviews

The Boston Globe
The next step in the evolution [of how fans understand baseball] is the work of J. C. Bradbury.
Publishers Weekly

Subjecting recent baseball debates to plentiful regression analyses, Kennesaw State economist Bradbury gamely fuses our national pastime and the "dismal science" somewhat in the spirit of Steven Levitt (Freakonomics), Michael Lewis (Moneyball) and Bill James (Baseball Between the Numbers). Like the latter, Bradbury offers a front-office perspective on labor (that's the players), salaries, managerial influence, steroids, market size and the like. Like a scrappy role player, Bradbury's enthusiasm is evident (he's a Braves supporter); he offers a chapter on managers' ability to work the umps ("it appears that most managers don't seem to have any real impact in arguing balls and strikes") and investigates top pitching coach Leo Mazzone's contributions. A blogger at his Web site (a play on the acronym SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research), Bradbury, while not forging new ground, shines in the closing chapters, in which he convincingly bucks the conventional wisdom that Major League Baseball behaves like a monopoly. While the numbers crunched are more of the Financial Timesthan the box score kind, the issues the book deals with are those discussed in many a barroom. (Mar.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Bradbury (economics, Kennesaw State Univ., Georgia) seeks to demonstrate how economics permeates every circumstance in baseball. (Yes, it's for readers who liked Freakonomics.) He applies his brand of analysis to such topics as the rarity of left-handed catchers and whether the presence of a particular batter on deck can influence the game. He determines which players currently are hugely overpaid (some surprises here). Those fond of number crunching will enjoy. Recommended for larger libraries.

—Bob Cottrell, Margaret Heilbrun, Paul Kaplan, Gilles Renaud Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452289024
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/26/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 985,612
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.64 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

J. C. Bradbury is an associate professor of economics at Kennesaw State. His research has been featured in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. His op-ed pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, and he writes about baseball, economics, and the Atlanta Braves on his blog at

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Table of Contents

Preface     ix
On the Field
Accidents Happen ... but More So in the American League     3
The Legendary Power of the On-Deck Hitter     19
The Extinct Left-Handed Catcher     27
Lobbying for Balls and Strikes     38
Almost Off the Field
How Good Is Leo Mazzone?     53
The Big City vs. Small City Problem     70
The Marlins and Indians? C'mon     82
The Evolution of Baseball Talent     93
The Steroids Game     108
Way Off the Field
Innovating to Win     125
Scouts vs. Stat-Heads     135
How to Judge a Hitter or a Pitcher     148
What Is a Ballplayer Worth?     176
What Field?
Is Major League Baseball a Monopoly?     201
Bud the Benevolent     210
Expansion and the Invisible Hand     217
Epilogue     228
Acknowledgments     230
A Simple Guide to Multiple Regression Analysis     233
Baseball Statistics Glossary     238
Useful Websites     240
Player Values     241
Endnotes     318
Bibliography     324
Index     327
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