Thursday – Data Source

2011 MLB Team and Player Stats – Major League Baseball

One realm that has almost always been rich with data is sports, and probably more than any, it is American Baseball.  I can remember playing baseball on the ground, as a boy, using baseball cards, and processing the game based on the statistics indicated on each player’s card.  I wonder how this sort of data might be displayed as an infographic or data visualization.
-David Warlick
I too can remember playing with cards, as a girl, asking the neighborhood boys (being one of two girls on the block), for advice on who’s card was more valuable. I didn’t know how to interpret more than one or two lines on the card. Begin by asking a few baseball enthusiasts in your class if they would give a short lesson on interpreting these numbers and seemingly random numbers, and encourage them to take a group of students and make an infographic.
Based on this information, each group may take three random players (picking them out of a hat), and make an argument for who is the strongest player by using an infographic. Compare and contrast the players, have them show their strengths and weaknesses. But make sure the students understand what they are saying.
By having a few baseball enthusiasts lead this exercise, it will open up math to another realm of students. Try to find students who are otherwise uninterested in math, and use this as a way to show them a way math is used. Teach them how to lead a group effectively, and hopefully they will have a new respect for math, even if they still don’t like it.





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