Monday, July 7, 2008

Hindsight bias in action

In yesterday's game between the Detroit Tigers and the Seattle Mariners, we saw a nice example of hindsight bias in action. The game was tied 1 - 1 at the end of nine innings and went to extra innings. Unfortunately, the Mariners ran out of pitchers after 14 innings and their back-up catcher had to pitch the 15th inning. There's a reason he's in the major leagues as a catcher, not as a pitcher: he isn't a major league quality pitcher. Not surprisingly, the Tigers scored a run in the 15th and held on to beat the Mariners 2- 1.

The announcer for the Tigers noted that the Seattle manager did not manage his pitching staff very well. Of the six pitchers who pitched for the Mariners, four pitched only one or two innings. In hindsight, it's pretty obvious that the manager could have left one or more of them in for a longer stint on the mound so that he would have had a major league quality pitcher available in the 15th inning. Alas, baseball managers work in real time, not in hindsight. If the Mariners had won the game in the 14th inning, the announcer might have praised the manager for getting the most out of his pitching staff.


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