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On James, Balance, and Baseball Research

While the post below is critical of James' approach to the question of research on competitive balance, it is something of a typical academic's complaint: we've been there and done that and you didn't tip your hat to us, etc. etc.

But the premise of James' call for a change in the direction of baseball research is absolutely sound. Many in the media, and Bud Selig, but not Hal Bodley, are singing the praises of "parity," as if the shrinking gap between the best and worst clubs this year is responsible for MLB's record attendance.

I'm on the record (podcast, at 2:00 mark) as being skeptical of this claim. As I state, I've "looked at the data" but that is no substitute for a careful, sustained research effort on the question. The consequences of tinkering with the rules of the game and the rules on the business side are potentially serious. James is right that the question of parity in baseball should be, will be given close attention in the coming years by baseball researchers, and even baseball professors, as Bloomberg Radio host Tom Keene described me last week, twice!

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