Welcome to Appy Astros, a blog dedicated to following current & former Greeneville Astros, the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. Here you will find reports on current G-Stros, updates on the development of former G-Stros and occasionally an update on what has happened to the guys who have hung up their spikes.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quote: Sig Mejdal

Found an interesting interview with Sig Mejdal, the Houston Astros new Director of Decision Sciences.  The interview was from 2006 about his role in the book Fantasyland.  Apparently, he consulted with the author, Sam Walker on his fantasy team. Mejdal was working with the Cardinals when the book came out and was interviewed by TheCardinalNation.com.

Here is the money question and answer from the interview:

In Fantasyland, you are characterized as being totally against qualitative methods like observation and intuition in favor of quantification. Is that accurate and if so, why?

I come from the research world, so I think I have a bias toward data-driven decision-making. Because we observe it, because we perceive it, it doesn’t mean that it is so. Human decision and human observation have many inefficiencies associated with them. Just like data analysis has its shortcomings, too. So, I think I was data-driven 100% of the time, so I was perhaps a bit of a cynic when they said, “Aha! His Dad says he is going to have a breakout year.”

You ask my parents and they probably would be saying the same thing, but I wouldn’t want to draft me for this league. So, I think I was always cynical of it – I always questioned it. But, it has value, of course. But, until you can really quantify it, analyze it and separate the truth from the convention, I think you should be skeptical of it. So, perhaps I am painted as a polar opposite or completely on this side, but that’s not the case. And now, when I work with the Cardinals, I am able to see firsthand the value of the subjective evaluation.
Looks like I know what book I will pick up the next time I visit McKay's. There are a few pictures of Mejdal on the book website, including a classic picture where he and Walker are picketing in front of a baseball stadium asking for a player to play because "fantasy players are people too".

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