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Sunday
Mar132011

Overrated:  Statistics!

Remember the days when you had to had to sit on the edge of your couch to know the seeding of the NCAA tournament?  Who was going to win Best Picture at the Oscars?  Remember experiencing that massive disappointment when your presidential candidate got wrecked in the general election despite being able to blindly convince yourself that they had a real chance at winning?

Say goodbye to those days.

Now we have statistics to suck the fun and suspense out of everything that was once unsure in life.

Now, instead of arguing with your friends for hours on end over completely trivial things that none of us could possibly be sure of, all we need do is look up the stats on some website and we have absolutely nothing to do for the rest of the day.  BORING.

So, who is to blame for this?  Two groups of people no one likes:  nerds and degenerate gamblers.

Baseball fans once looked like this.

That's right, nerds and degenerate gamblers have conspired to try and remove all of the uncertainty (and fun) from the world with their "proven" methods and formulas.

The gambler's stake in this is obvious.  Bet on anything and everything, only try and devise a way to always know the outcome.  I can hardly blame them, after all, they are diseased.

The nerds are harder to defend.  I theorize that in the Star Trek-less world we currently live in, nerds have needed to find some new thing to obsess over and completely ruin for society.

First, the ruined baseball.

Now they look like this.

With the birth of sabermetrics PECOTA, VORP, ERA+, and WAR, actually watching baseball games has become little more than a formality to determine the quality of players.  Who cares if no one actually knows how these formulas actually work, what matters is that they suck fun out from where there once was so much.

You'd think destroying America's national pastime would be enough for these refugee trekkies, but they couldn't leave well enough alone.

Soon people like Nate Silver (the creator of PECOTA) were taking to the web removing all the suspense from anything even remotely political with www.fivethirtyeight.com.  Joe Lunardi was hanging around ESPN studios telling everyone who was gonna be in the NCAA tournament before the bids were announced.

At least they aren't dooming another human being to a horrible lonely existence.

Was there a single person on this planet other than David Fincher's mother who really thought that The King's Speech wasn't going to win Best Picture this year?

Now, these guys aren't completely perfect.  Lunardi missed on the placing of a few schools and Silver occasionally (though rather rarely) picks the wrong horse for a race, but long gone are the days of endless armchair conjecture and uneducated promises.

How is your average Providence College student supposed to get amped for selection sunday when he knows beyond on a shadow of a doubt that his school is a joke, thanks to the stats?  What are Sarah Palin fans going to do when she falls flat on her face after "running" for president?  Act like they didn't see it coming?

Palin for President? Someone hasn't been keeping up with their fivethirtyeight poll tracking.

Anyone with a working set of eyes and fingers can know the results before the show even starts just by pushing enter.  What are we supposed to do now?  Read!?

And the nerds have won.

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