Thursday, June 4, 2015

Can Bradley Wiggins Do It? Welcome to the Thunder-Drome!

Many have tried. Most have failed.
Bradley Wiggins knows this. He also knows the ordeal he faces, knows the pain he will endure and knows the scrutiny he will face. It's nothing he hasn't experienced before, having raced and won the world's most prestigious cycling event: the Tour de France. This is a different animal, however. The demands placed upon his body will be much different than any road race in which he has competed. He will exert max effort under controlled conditions for exactly one hour after which, the distance he's covered will be measured.

There will be no other riders to chase nor any to attack. There will be no feed stations nor assistance of any kind. He will pedal within himself, in his own head, or as he calls it: his "escape" zone.

Welcome to the Thunder "drome", Sir Bradley Wiggins. Welcome to the World Hour Record.

This article was written by Patrick Rhodes and published on June 4, 2015. Click here to read the rest of the article.

Friday, April 17, 2015

It's a Batsman's World (Cup)

The 2015 Cricket World Cup rewrote the record books in dramatic fashion. Amidst the usual insanity that surrounds this event, there were some amazingly good - and bad - performances. Batting-wise, some of the previous records were smashed into oblivion. There are several reasons for this, but recent rule changes seem to have tipped the scales in favor of those men who can wield the willow. As the pinnacle event for the world's (arguably) second-most popular sport comes to a close, let's take a look at some of the more outstanding feats.

Feat #1: Pakistan goes 1 for 4

Let's start with a record in futility first. In a group-stage match against the West Indies (ODI match #3608) in which Pakistan were favored to win, things couldn't have started worse for the Green Shirts. Choosing to bat last due to a bit of moisture still on the pitch, Pakistan hoped to make quick work of the West Indies' openers. In fact, this plan worked rather well as the first four batsman started sluggishly, only managing a run-rate of around 4. However, things picked up for the West Indies as they tallied 310 runs on the day.
This article was written by Patrick Rhodes and published on April 16, 2015. Click here to read the rest of the article.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Career NBA: The Road Least Traveled

The bell rings - time to go to practice. Jarnell Stokes heads over to the gym, changes, and starts warming up with his teammates. It's his Junior year in high school. The Memphis, Tennessee native has a lot on his mind; soon he'll have to make a choice - a choice which will affect his future. Sitting on his table back home are basketball scholarship offers [1] from the universities of Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis, Mississippi and Tennessee.


It's a long, lonely road to the NBA
It's quite rare for a high school athlete to receive a sports scholarship to even a single college, much less multiple schools. As we'll come to see, he's quite the statistical outlier in the world of basketball. Most do not play beyond high school. Those that do rarely possess the world-class talent to play in the NBA (National Basketball Association). That being said, what are Jarnell's chances that he could make a career playing in the NBA?

This article was written by Patrick Rhodes - the the author of "Graph of the Week" - for Statistics Views and published on February 27, 2015. Read the rest of this article there.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Rise of the Samurai Pitcher

Masahiro Tanaka stands on the mound, rubbing the ball vigorously between his hands. It's a crisp, cool night in the Bronx. Stepping back, he digs his right foot into the rubber, winds up and, with a seven-foot stretch, steps towards the catcher, unleashing a blistering four-seam, 95 mph fastball. Less than half a second later, it explodes into the catcher's mitt with a loudpop. The batter can only stand and watch as it flies by. Strike one!

It's a common scene when Tanaka takes the mound for the New York Yankees. With the focus and discipline of a Samurai warrior, their star rookie pitcher has taken Major League Baseball (MLB) by storm in 2014. His stats[1] (as of August 15, 2014) are gaudy: 2.51 ERA(Earned Run Average), 12-4 record and a 1.01 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched). Further, the guy's a strikeout machine, fanning 135 hitters vs only 19 walks. Tanaka is the latest Japanese ace to infiltrate MLB. Twenty years ago, you'd have to look long and hard to find a Japanese pitcher in this league (in fact, you'd find only one: Hideo Nomo, aka the "Tornado"), but today, it is an increasingly common site. What's going on?

This article was written by Patrick Rhodes - the the author of "Graph of the Week" - for Statistics Views and published on January 30, 2014. Read the rest of this article there.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Swallowing the Bitter Pill: England, the Premier League and the World Cup

Discussions abound about England’s chances at the 2014 edition of the World Cup. For a country which has produced elite football players such as Gary Neville, John Terry and Paul Scholes (and yes, David Beckham), there isn’t a lot of optimism about their chances this summer. The sports collective favors Brazil followed by Argentina, Germany or perhaps Spain (defending champs) to win it all. In other words, nobody is predicting an English title for this edition yet everybody is looking for something to blame. It’s become somewhat trendy to blame the Premier League (England’s top professional Association Football league) for England’s national team downfall. Why? Because fewer than 1/3 of its players are actually English. Rampant speculation about this phenomenon has led to intense discussion at all levels of the sport in England - the same country in which the sport was invented. Let's try to settle this debate.

Best League in the World?
If we “follow the money” (for 2013) and judge a league not only by its top teams, but also the bottom-feeders and every team in between (in terms of money), then the Premier League is indeed the best (meaning: although Manchester City is an outlier, most of the league isn't as far behind, salary-wise as in other leagues[1]).
This article was written by the the author of "Graph of the Week" for Statistics Views and published on January 30, 2014. Read the rest of this article there.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust: The Evolution of Passing in the NFL

Introduction
"Three yards and a cloud of dust" (1) - that's how Woody Hayes described his "crunching, frontal assault of muscle against muscle", the offense that defined the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 50s and 60s. He went on say that, in regards to the passing game, "only three things can happen when you pass and two of them are bad". Hayes' colourful description of his offense springs directly from the original vision of American Football: run, run, run. Were he alive today, he would be shocked to see that the game has evolved into a philosophy of pass, pass, pass. This phenomenon has elevated one player position above all others: the quarterback. He has become king; all other players are subject to the whims of the crown. How did this happen? Let's review the game, its history and follow it through.
thumbnail image: Three Yards and A Cloud of Dust: The Evolution of Passing in the NFL
The Most Popular Sport in the World
American Football - simply known as “football” in the United States - generates the most revenue of any sporting franchise in the United States and indeed the world (2). In 2012, the NFL (National Football League) took in nearly $10 billion dollars (U.S.) compared to the Premier League at $3.3 billion. Still not impressed? Attendance numbers tell the same story: the NFL attracts nearly 4 million spectators more than the nearest competitor which, interestingly, is not what you might guess (hint: it’s not the Premier League and it’s not some other American sports league). If you guessed the Bundesliga association football (i.e. “soccer”) league in Germany, congratulations! That league holds the number two designation (3), which drew 13.8 million visitors during the 2011-12 season compared to 17.2 million for the NFL.
This article was written by the the author of "Graph of the Week" for Statistics Views and published on January 30, 2014. Read the rest of this article there.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Rise, Fall and Rise of English Triple Crown Racing Speeds

A horse with a crimson “6” displayed on either side of its girth processes to the parade ring. There are people milling about, looking over “Six” as well as the other entrants for the 2013 running of the St. Leger Stakes. Alongside Six stands a very short, wiry man dressed in a matching crimson outfit. He speaks with the trainer in hushed tones, discussing race strategy. Six is alert; energy radiates from the tip of it’s brown and white snout to the end of its finely groomed tail. As the pair leave the ring and canter to the gate, Six snorts a couple of times as the gates are closed behind it. In short order, the other steeds are similarly lined up and a bell rings. And they’re off!
thumbnail image: The Rise, Fall and Rise of English Triple Crown Racing Speeds
Speed
Horses are fast; according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the fastest average speed ever attained by a horse is 70.76 kph (43.97 mph) (1). That record was obtained over two furlongs (about 402 meters or 1/4 of a mile). For distances more comparable to Triple Crown racing, the fastest average speed over ~2.4 km (1.5 miles) is 60.86 kph (37.82 mph)1. It stands to reason that the longer the distance, the slower the average speed will be although the track surface has a large impact on this (see Table 1).

See the rest of this article from the author of Graph of the Week on Statistics Views.
Stylify Your Blog