Bugs & Cranks Home
Bugs & Cranks
November 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm ET
No Comments
My new favorite piece of sports memorabilia or: Nate Silver autographed my Bill Pecota card

By now, everyone knows the big winner on election night wasn’t Barack Obama or Elizabeth Warren or even, as my ninth grade Civics teacher might say, Americans who participated in a free and open democratic process. No, the clear victor this past Tuesday was Nate Silver, master election¬†prognosticator¬†who on his website “538” correctly predicted which presidential candidate would win all 50 states.

Despite going 49-for-50 in calling states in 2008, the media narrative that this was a close race led to a substantial backlash from a number of high-profile pundits against Silver in the weeks and days leading up to Election Day. According to Silver’s calculations, President Obama’s re-election chances never slipped much below 60% and they spiked to just above 90% as campaigning came to a close. The final margin of President Obama’s verified the veracity of Silver’s methods and has made him something of a rock star, even outside of political geek circles.

For me, and I suspect for quite a few other baseball fans, Nate Silver will always primarily be thought of for his sabermetric work. As has been much reported, Silver’s first public prognostication work came in the form of PECOTA, which¬†stood for¬†Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, a clunky acronym meant in tribute to former big-leaguer Bill Pecota. A middling utility infielder for the Kansas City Royals in the late 80s, Pecota had always managed to torture Silver’s beloved ¬†Detroit Tigers.¬†As a system, PECOTA used past indicators to forecast future player performance.

Silver’s political projections draw on a very similar theme, and like them, PECOTA managed to sharpen and make more accessible prediction theories that were already floating around. While not perfect, PECOTA had some startling hits, like projecting the Chicago White Sox unexpected 90 loss season in 2007 or the Tampa Bay Rays shocking 97 win season in 2008.

This is all a very long way of explaining why that picture above is now my most prized piece of sports memorabilia. See, when I was cleaning out my childhood bedroom about two years ago, I stumbled upon a shoebox of old baseball cards. Between wondering what happened to all the cool moustaches and debating how much someone would have to pay me to chew a piece of Topps bubble gum from an unopened pack, I stumbled upon Bill Pecota’s 1988 trading card.¬†In a moment of¬†wistful¬†inspiration, I decided to spare the Pecota card from the trash bag. Placing it carefully in a plastic sleeve, I told myself that if I ever had the occasion to meet Nate Silver, I’d ask him to autograph the card.

Fast forward to this October. Silver was giving a presentation and signing at a store around the corner from my apartment promoting his new book. In the receiving line afterward, in between the math professor who tried to stump him with a complex proof and the political science grad student with a fascinating theory on independent voters, I approached. I had wondered if he got this request frequently, an army of baseball nerds, following him around whenever he appeared in public, thinking we were clever by  scraps of cardboard in his face.

Even if he’d gotten the request before, Silver could not have been more gracious. He chuckled deeply upon seeing the card and joked about what a Bill Pecota card goes for on Ebay. He signed his name carefully, even tracing over it a second time to make sure it appeared legibly. So yup, that picture is of my Bill Pecota card autographed by Nate Silver. It now has a permanent spot on the bookshelf, ready to take me down a peg every time ¬†I get event
the tiniest premonition that I might be cool.

Print  |  Email  |  Share/Save

Leave a Reply

Latest Posts
Our Sponsors
Vividseats.com is your premier internet destination for all MLB Baseball Tickets, such as Phillies Tickets, Cubs Tickets, LA Dodgers Tickets, Pirates Tickets, Marlins Tickets, and many more.
SecureYourSeat.com are able to provide you with a great selection of Premier League tickets including Arsenal tickets, Manchester United tickets, Liverpool tickets and Chelsea tickets. We also stock a fine selection of Champions League tickets including Champions League final tickets.
Best online sports betting bonuses and promotions at Sportsbetting.com. Join now the most secure online sportsbook!
For a selection of online slots games and casino reviews visit Online Slots Entertainment, a leader in online slot machines since 2003.
AllianceTickets.com carries all MLB Tickets including Colorado Rockies Tickets, Seattle Mariners Tickets and San Francisco Giants Tickets. They carry all Sports Tickets at discount prices.
With Texas Holdem Masters you can get information about the hottest trends in the popular Texas Holdem Poker game, with strategies and tricks so that you can be a master too. At Gambling Experts your poker skills will be upgraded from being an amateur to being an expert.

windows 7 key

windows 7 key

serial winzip 11

serial winzip 11 key

serial corel draw 11

serial corel draw 11 serials

photo shop key

photo shop key

free corel photoshop download

free corel photoshop download keygen

adobe free

adobe free

winrar password cracker serial

wirar password cracker

winrar 3 download

winrar 3 download freedownload

office 2010 professional key

office 2010 key

download photo shop free

photo shop serial

free winrar download for xp

download winrar for xp for free

cs5 serialz

cs5 serialz free

windows 7 free

windows 7 crack

free corel downloads

free corel downloads cracked

office 2010 free

office 2010 key

key office 2010

office 2010 key

photoshop key

photoshop key

windows key

windows key

corel dvd moviefactory 6

corel dvd moviefactory 6 downloads