Baseball players do not do the whole game theory thing


Apparently baseball players throw too many fastballs.  It will take smarter people than I am to figure out if this Means Something or it’s merely interesting.  It’s been a long day, however, and at this point interesting is enough for me:

In the case of baseball, we observe every pitch thrown in the major
leagues over the period 2002-2006 – a total of more than 3 million
pitches. For football, we observe every play in the National Football League for the years 2001-2005 – over 125,000 plays . . . The results obtained from analyzing the football and baseball data are
quite similar. In both cases, we find clear deviations from minimax
play, as evidenced by a failure to equalize expected payoffs across
different actions played as part of mixed strategies, and with respect
to negative serial correlation in actions . . .  In baseball, pitchers appear to throw too many fastballs,
i.e., batters systematically have better outcomes when thrown fastballs
versus any other type of pitch.

Game theory, schmame theory. Maybe ballplayers just want to give him the heat and announce their presence with authority. Didja ever think of that? And maybe those suckers simply teed off on ’em like they knew they were gonna throw a fastball.

Oh . . .

(thanks to Pete Toms for the link)