Baseball is a fascinating game and we can always learn more about it. James Mastrangelo informs us about the Sabermetrics, Scouting, and the Science of Baseball Conference and what if offers to its attendees.
It has been said that baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball. You catch the ball. You hit the ball.
Perhaps that apparent simplicity is what makes the actual complexities of the sport so fascinating, fueling endless debate about who is better and why, and what actually works.
And there is perhaps no better opportunity to explore the intricacy and subtlety of our beloved pastime than at the fifth annual meeting of the Sabermetrics, Scouting, and the Science of Baseball conference being held on the weekend of August 22 and 23 at Boston University’s Jacob Sleeper Auditorium to benefit The Jimmy Fund. Tickets are on sale now and every penny of ticket sales go to the the Jimmy Fund.
The invention of Chuck Korb in partnership with the Boston Red Sox, “SaberSeminar” as it is commonly called by attendees – albeit wrongly, as it encompasses so much more than just statistics – brings together many of the brightest and most engaged minds in baseball. Team executives, coaches, former players, scouts, analysts, writers, scientists and, of course, fans all come together to explore the many facets of understanding the game. Discussions will range from innovative new statistics to traditional scouting to the sciences of physics, biology and bio-mechanics, engineering, and sports medicine and how we can use all of this collective knowledge to better assess players and teams, but also to appreciate this beautiful game. All to benefit cancer research, with 100% of all proceeds going to The Jimmy Fund.
What began some years ago as a sabermetrics class in MIT’s Splash program led by Korb, David Gassko, and Sal Baxamusa, through the dedication, ingenuity, and passion of Korb , co-organizer Dan Brooks, and a gaggle of volunteer baseball aficionados has since developed into one of the premier places to learn the game of baseball as it is understood and played by professionals today. Past speakers have included Baltimore Orioles’, Boston Red Sox’ and Houston Astros’ General Managers Dan Duquette, Ben Cherington and Jeff Luhnow, Red Sox’ managers John Farrell and Bobby Valentine, MLB team Directors of Baseball Analytics Keith Woolner (Indians) and Tom Tippett (Red Sox), former MLB pitcher Brian Bannister, Red Sox scouts Jared Porter, Eddie Romero and Gus Quattlebaum, and many more including world renowned neuroscientists, physicists, sports medicine physicians, professional sabermetricians, professors and authors. This year’s lineup is no less distinguished. Indeed, despite the Seminar’s humble origins, it has attracted national attention from MLB teams looking for a leg up; the past two years has seen representation from 18 of 30 MLB teams with some going further still and sending participants. Top baseball research firms and popular websites both attend and participate as well. For this reason, the event has been covered by news organizations such as USA Today, ESPN, The Boston Globe and MLB.com.
Despite this success, Korb and friends have sought to keep SaberSeminar accessible to all fans who wish to share and expand their love of the game; separate “student” tickets are even offered, resulting in about half of the attendees being students of area schools so as to hand down the game to younger generations. Moreover, to complement this group, the Seminar holds special student-centric sessions in which current or recent graduates present their work in baseball analytics – in fact, approximately half of past student presenters have found jobs in MLB front offices, and one group published their findings on the EEG of pitch recognition in Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience (a peer reviewed scientific journal).
If you enjoy baseball, it cannot be overstated how wonderful an event and enjoyable time SaberSeminar is. Whatsmore, it’s not just an incredible baseball resource, but a fundamentally altruistic endeavor made possible by some amazing people who have donated their time to participate in the seminar to fight cancer by sharing baseball.