Monday, February 11, 2008

Clemens May Fool Congress, But He's Not Fooling Any Quakers

The Clemens / McNamee "he said, he said" quarrel continues in Washington DC, with Roger Clemens using his personal charm and attack dog lawyers to combat the claims--and supposed evidence--of former trainer Brian McNamee that Clemens used steroids. One of Clemens' opening salvos in the public relations war was his lawyers' claim that his late-career performance spike was not unlike other pitchers of his caliber.

Not so, says a group of Wharton School professors. The University of Pennsylvania, best known in sports for its occasional wins of the Ivy League hoops crown, combatted Clemens' lawyers' claim, saying the claim is statistically flawed.

University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School professors Eric Bradlow, Shane Jensen, Justin Wolfers and Adi Wyner wrote their opinions of Clemens' report in Sunday's editions of The New York Times. The group said that while Clemens accurately used examples of pitchers such as Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling who pitched well late in their careers, Clemens' report "artificially minimizes the chances that Clemens' numbers will seem unusual. Statisticians call this problem selection bias."

The professors also suggested something was amiss with Clemens' statistics.

"Our reading is that the available data on Clemens' career strongly hint that some unusual factors may have been at play in producing his excellent late-career statistics."

Wolfers elaborated on that point to ESPN.com's Lester Munson.

"What [the Clemens camp] said in their report is indefensible as a matter of statistics," Wolfers said. "The statistics do not point to innocence. We are not saying that the numbers show guilt, but we are saying that the statistics show that something unusual happened in Clemens' career as he entered his 30s."

Statistics don't lie...unless they're Rocket's statistics, I suppose. Gotcha.

2 comments:

Delino DeShields said...

And how many Pac 10 titles has Stanford won lately:-)

Steve Sax said...

Hey, we do our best to push the Ivy League schools here at SoSG.

And UCLA has done quite well, thanks.