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Lansky Graphs!

Comment of the Week

Marc Tracy
April 29, 2011
(Ravi Joshi/Tablet Magazine)
(Ravi Joshi/Tablet Magazine)

Winner gets a free Nextbook Press book appropriate to his or her comment (provided he or she emails me at [email protected] with his or her mailing address).

This week’s winner is “Lansky,” who, prompted by my article on Jewish stat-geeks, suggested the following:

Why don’t the networks broadcast a running graph of total points vs. time for each team on the same set of axes? Give each team a different color. Put a break in the x-axis between quarters or innings or periods (depending on the sport) At a glance this tells the viewer how the game went: if the lines are far apart, there was a big lead; where the lines cross over, there was a lead change. If the lines crossed over many times, there were many lead changes. And the newspapers should put this final graph next to the box score.

This is simple to create with modern computers. Why can’t some kluga boychiks get this going?

Feel free to name this sort of graph after me (i.e. call them “Lansky Graphs”)

It’s really not a bad idea: I have often found it slightly absurd that we follow games, particularly basketball games, by referring to their absolute scores (i.e., 97-94) rather than their margins (i.e., Celtics up by 3). Someone doing such deep thinking on sports clearly requires Nextbook Press’s sports book, to wit, Douglas Century’s biography of the great boxer Barney Ross.

Related: The Joy of Stats [Tablet Magazine]
Barney Ross [Nextbook Press]

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.