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Sacred Numbers

Statistics as a Sacred Language

Aaron Heresco

on 14 October 2010

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Transcript of Sacred Numbers

Sacred Numbers:

Baseball, Statistics, and the Sacred The Formula that Killed Wall Street What!? Why!?

Baseball an important site

Wrapped in statistics
Cultural Signs and Symbols

Sacred Language - Implications

Social Statistics as a Sacred Language

Exclusivity (untranslatable)
Social Hierarchies
Ritual and History

Compared to Latin, Classical Arabic,
Hebrew, Avestan, Sumerian, etc.

Baseball as site of study Statistics as Path to Knowledge

Sacred Language splits truth claims
Higher truth in sacred language
Vernacular is language of everyday


The game is "known" through statistics
Non-Quant. thinking just opinion Statistics and Social Hierarchy

Priests and Priestesses understand and interpret
the sacred language - social stratification


Pundits, statisticians, hosts, announcers intermediaries - priests of baseball statistics

Distributing liturgical truth about the game to the masses - "inside baseball"

Establishes and perpetuates hierarchies of expertise - class assumptions http://baseballmusings.com/?p=47942 Granderson Jackson

.160 BA .424
.250 OBP .513
1 XBH 4
1 RBI 2
0 SB 2 Statistics and Untranslatability

Sacred languages unique relation to "truth"
Translation loses this relationship


Statistics are how to understand the game

Can not traverse between stats and non-stats Statistics: History and Ritual

Sacred languages are grounded in history
and are often communicative rituals


Statistics link past, present, and future
Players compared across many variables

Statistics take on a ritual significance So What?

Statistical thinking, as a way of knowing the world
carries with it ideological implications

Social Hierarchies
Ritual and History

Baseball one site, of many, to view these implications

If statistics is a sacred language, the way we interact with, and know, the world around us is increasingly abstracted, quantified, and ordered. A follow up study will detail the automatic functioning of capital implied by this worldview. http://espn.go.com/mlb/statistics
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