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Bill James on Baseball, O.J. Simpson, and Improving Political Analysis

Bill James explains how the game of baseball has changed since his writing career began.


Baseball writer, statistician, and historian, Bill James, joined today’s episode of the Federalist Radio Hour. James explained how baseball has changed since his writing career began, his thoughts on crime stories like “Making a Murderer” and “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” and his perspective on 2016 polls and coverage. You can read more of his writing at Bill James Online.

In his book, Popular Crime, James examines our cultural obsession with murder and crime. “There’s a serious issue there that a lot of people aren’t talking about because it seems distasteful to a lot of people,” James said. “These famous crime stories play a large role in shaping how the public thinks about crime. Many of the very famous cases set legal precedents that bind ordinary cases.”

When it comes to bringing sabermetrics from sports analysis into political analysis, James said he think politics is behind. “Politics is difficult to analyze in the same ways that sports is because it is broader and more complicated,” he said. “There’s a long way to go in which people think about politics in a more organized ways, or in sometimes less organized ways.”

Listen here: