Borders: Q&A and Book Excerpt

The Baseball Economist is featured in Borders April newsletter. Here is a sample of the Q&A with me on the advantages of market size in baseball.

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Are the final standings a product of pure financial determinism, or do small cities have a fighting chance?

JCB: While it is true that the big-market Yankees have been one of the most successful franchises and the small-market Brewers one of the worst in recent baseball history, these teams differ in more than just the sizes of their fan bases. Over a 10-year span from 1995–2004, I calculate that every 1.6 million residents of a city translates into one additional win for the team in that market. Given the disparity in market sizes between New York and Milwaukee, the Yankees were expected to win about 11 more games a season than the Brewers. That is not chump change; however, the actual disparity between these franchises was a whopping 26 games. Market size explained a minority of the difference (about 40 percent) between these organizations, which means that a majority of the blame must be placed somewhere else: the ineptitude and skill displayed by the front offices of these teams.
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Also, the newsletter includes an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the book, Accidents Happen…but More So in the American League.

3 Responses “Borders: Q&A and Book Excerpt”

  1. Andrew says:

    It sounds like someone is forgetting to mention that city size is correlated with TEAM PAYROLL. Any regression that has something like wins on the left and city size on the right and doesn’t account for endogenaity due to omitted variables is suspect at best and totally misleading at worst.

    Even if you control for team payroll the correlation with city size would mess up the precision of the estimate because of the correlation.

  2. JC says:

    I suggest you read the book instead of concentrating on a single paragraph in a bookstore newsletter before damning my study as imperfect.

  3. Jake says:

    When will people learn that dollars don’t mean wins.