Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
OK, so it’s been a while. But I promise, I’ve been busy with other things, among them, getting rejected for funding for next year. i applied for a research fellowship with one of the research projects here at UCSB and they turned me down, despite me being excessively qualified for it. I’d get into it some more, but I don’t necessarily want to air my dirty laundry here. Just know that I got screwed.
The main reason I write this is because as part of the dissertation, I need to maintain funding for school, and I have found that to be somewhat difficult. Part of it is my topic, which doesn’t fit under the kinds of research that is usually funded. I understand that my work is not going to benefit any kind of social causes, but it’s still frustrating that generally speaking, people don’t think my research is worth supporting. I have a couple of more options for next year, so hopefully one of those things will come through, but if they don’t…well, I’d prefer not to think about it.
On the positive side, I have had a few more great interviews, including one with Alan Schwarz, the NYT baseball writer and the author of the book, The Numbers Game, which I have referenced many times here on this blog, and which I am also using very liberally as a reference source for my work. Alan was nice enough to waive the confidentiality of the interview, so that’s why I’m referencing his interview by name. Read the rest of this entry »
This week, I have not conducted any interviews. I have been in contact with two possible subjects for interviewing. One is a pretty prominent figure in the world of sabermetrics and another is a blogger for a popular blog that uses and writes a lot about sabermetrics. Both are what I would consider to be pretty nice finds. But of course, there’s always some kind of rub. Both would much rather do an interview over email, and obviously, this presents issues. One of the subjects is in Florida, so basically, I don’t think I really have a choice. If he doesn’t want to be interviewed over the phone, then it’s not like i can offer to meet him somewhere. The other is closer by, where I could possibly drive to talk to him. His problem is that he just had a baby and obviously, new born babies aren’t conducive to making schedules.
I’m not totally against email interviews, but I do think that there is a tradeoff and that the information has to be handled differently. The first problem is that I am going to have to write a lengthy spiel about informed consent and confidentiality. I guess, ultimately, I don’t mind. But I am worried about presenting my subjects with three pages worth of reading before I even ask a question.
Secondly, the email interviews might be less efficient. The way I would envision it, I would send a questionnaire to the subject, they would take some time to fill it out. I would guess that this would take about a week, and then they would send it back to me. If I need more clarification, then I would send another email back and then again, the person would respond Read the rest of this entry »
So I’ve moved on to phase two and began interviewing Key Informants over the last three weeks or so. This includes one statistician who works for a MLB franchise, two journalists for national media outlets, and one major figure in the history of sabermetrics. In some ways, I wish that there wasn’t any confidentiality issues that I had to deal with because the two journalists are very well known and I’m tickled that I got to talk to them. The confidentiality and ethics, although necessary can suck though. I think my analysis would be much sharper if I could provide the context of exactly who these people are. Obviously, it’s a tradeoff, as I don’t think many people would agree to be interviewed since they have high profile positions, but I think things would make more sense if I could provide identities.
On the other hand, Voros McCracken agreed to waive the confidentiality of the interview. And I’m happy to say that it was a most entertaining and enlightening talk. His personal story is fascinating to me. For those of you who don’t know, Voros Read the rest of this entry »
Ever turn on your portable hard drive that was working perfectly the day before, only to hear it make a knocking noise that it definitely wasn’t making before? Well, pray you never do. Those of you have heard this noise know that it means there is some kind of mechanical failure with the hard drive, which means that the only way is to send it to a lab where they have a clean room with guys in hazmat outfits who put the read head back into place, and then send it back to you for 1200 freakin’ dollars.
Thankfully, for once in my life, I was overly careful with my data and everything I need for the dissertation is backed up via my gmail account. Sure I lost a bunch of movies, and the last three episodes of Dexter and Heroes which I haven’t been able to watch yet. But seriously, thank the lord that I didn’t lose any interviews or transcripts.
Anyways, I begin phase two of interviewing on Thursday. I’m interviewing an actual MLB statistician and I am very excited about starting this part of the project. After all, I think this is where I will really be able to get at the process by which sabermetrics becomes incorporated into mainstream knowledge. So right now, I need to come up with an interview guide. There will certainly be some overlap with the interview guide I have been using, but there are going to be less questions about the role sabermetrics plays in a normal life and obviously more questions about the reception of sabermetrics within an actual baseball franchise. I’ll report back on Friday with some details of the interview.
OK, obviously, I’m way behind in the blogging department, so apologies for that first off. In any case, a bit of news came out today that really floored me and I think has obvious implications for my work. Roger Clemens released a 45 page report today that supposedly uses statistics to show that his sustained greatness over time is not due to steroids but rather due to him being as good as Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. OK, those aren’t the words he used, but the clear intent of this document is to exonerate himself from the recent steroid charges from the Mitchell Report.
Now I haven’t had time to go through the report in depth, but upon flipping through it, it looks like the writers of the report use some basic sabermetric ideas. It talks about the effect of run support on Clemens’ won-loss record, it talks about the effects of injuries on his number, and from what I can tell it attempts to use statistics to draw comparisons to Ryan and Johnson. Like I said, I haven’t had time to read it in depth and determine how good the statistical conclusions are (not that I’d be able to anyhow), but more than anything, I think this could be seen as an example of the transition of sabermetrics into legitimate knowledge.
There are a couple of interesting things to think about I think in relation to my work. Read the rest of this entry »