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Thursday, May 29, 2014

What caused increased use of term "sabermetrics"?

Ok, first little ditty stemming from the course.  In his introduction, Andy Andres pointed out, using the Google Ngram viewer, that the use of the term sabermetrics started with Bill James coining the term in 1980, started to fade after his last abstract in 1988, but then rose again starting around the year 1998.  I've always thought of Moneyball as the major force driving the increased interest in (and thus use of the term) sabermetrics.  But it was clearly on the rise before Moneyball's release in 2003:

Why?  Well, if you look at the graph, I'm proposing one possible reason: the rising interest in fantasy baseball.  Fantasy baseball became far easier to play as the internet took off in the mid-90's.  For many of us, myself included, fantasy baseball is the gateway drug into sabermetrics.

Of course, it certainly might run the other way, too: increased interest in sabermetrics might be driving more people to be interested in playing fantasy baseball.  But I'd guess that more come from fantasy than are driven to it.

Just a thought!