One of the most fascinating thing about sports, from the engineering perspective, is that it produces, and can be broken down into statistics. Numbers, relationships between numbers,  correlations between different factors that influence the game. Forget about the emotion, as any engineer will tell you to do anyway. Sports is about numbers and analysis.

One interesting book about this approach to sports is Moneyball. But, if one wants even more statistics, more numbers, more analysis for a wide variety of sports, pick up a copy of a relatively new book, Scorecasting, by Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim.

I am only part way through it, and I am here to report, it is fascinating. They analyze so many facets of sports and it is all done through numbers. There are no emotional heart tugs, no tears of victory or defeat. Just cold hard facts. The way an engineer would like it.

The really neat thing about this book is that they keep away from simple anecdotal analysis. Although they tell individual stories, they put them in perspective of analysis of numbers – a lot of numbers. The authors analyze millions of points of data, numerous times. For example, will an umpire behind the plate in baseball expand the strike zone if the count is 3-0, or shrink it if the count is 0-2? Analyze millions of pitches over the past 5 or 10 years and find out. What causes home field advantage? You may not want to know, but statistical analysis gives an answer.

It is not a love story (thank goodness). It is not a feel-good tear-jerker. It is not a sweet tale of an underdog who defeats all odds to win. It is better than all these. It is statistical analysis of sports, the way an engineer would like to see it.