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They smile in your face, but all the time they worry about the pennant race
2008-03-31 19:23
by Bob Timmermann

Alan Schwartz of the New York Times introduces us to mathematician Steve C. Wang who has used a method of graphical representation of data called Chernoff faces to show what tendencies major league managers have.

While reams of categorical data can be imposing and hard to parse, translating the differences among them into facial characteristics can communicate distinctions with striking clarity. By turning rates of bunting, stealing and pinch-hitting into hair sizes, nose shapes and smile widths, Dr. Wang used a kind of statistical Mr. Potato Head to portray the spectrum of managerial characteristics in a way that intrigued even the skippers themselves.

“It’s easy for people to think that all managers are the same, that we all pull the levers the same way,” said Willie Randolph of the New York Mets, surveying his own Chernoff face alongside those of his 29 contemporaries. “Looking at this, I really never thought of it this way, but we all have our own characteristics.”

There is a popup with a graphic of all the managers. The Jim Tracy representation is very scary.

2008-03-31 20:37:52
1.   Mark Felt
Is it a coincidence that your blog mimics the title of an O'Jays's song on the same day that one of their kids died?
2008-03-31 21:10:25
2.   Bob Timmermann
Actually it is.

I can change it if anyone finds it objectionable.

2008-03-31 21:21:29
3.   Johnny Nucleo
I thought that article was pretty neat.

There's a lot of big opportunities out there for people who have imaginative ways of presenting data. Images are faster to process than numbers.

2008-03-31 21:34:18
4.   Ken Arneson
John McLaren is a pointy-haired boss.

Mike Scioscia looks terrified.

2008-03-31 23:24:59
5.   Greg Brock
Bobs Geren and Melvin look like something Whitley Streiber wrote about in Communion.

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