Rohit Sharma shouldn’t open, Rahane is far better. Torres for £50 million, Chelsea must be crazy! Lakers letting Shaq go? It makes no sense. Every one of us, sports fans, would ideally like to be a selector. We know what is best for our teams and only if we had a say in the team management, we could win every championship ever.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that and as much as we would like to think that we know better, most teams have to work under numerous constraints. Budget, team dynamics and available positions, chief amongst them. In ancient times, which roughly coincides with the year 2000 CE, the team management had to rely on such unquantifiable and intangible aspects like experience, hunch and instincts.
Then along came Billy Beane and he answered the age old question of students about where in real life will I ever use this (whatever is being taught in school). It turns out, that schools teach things for a reason (surprise!) and there is ample scope in everyday life to use all that information. Billy Beane happened to use it in Baseball and his team became the first one in more than a century to win twenty consecutive games. It has since spread out to more sports and more teams. What started as Sabermetrics or Moneyball is now the fast developing science of sport analytics. Here’s an interesting video on the use of analytics by underdogs from the Annual Sport Analytic Conference of MIT SLOAN.
To know more about Moneyball, you may want to read the eponymous book or find details about the film at imdb.com