Nate Silver Explains How Nerds Can Be Good At Baseball And Football Too, Using Math

  • Eric Goldschein

nate silver sportsThe more we’re hearing about Nate Silver’s new deal with the Worldwide Leader, the more we’re loving it. If Silver’s own words are to be believed, the new 538 website will be a shot in the arm for a company that otherwise is relying on Keith Olbermann to beat back Regis Philbin et al at Fox Sports 1.

Silver did a Q&A on Deadspin this afternoon to talk about his new endeavor, and while we were intrigued by the answers he gave regarding the site — they’re hiring, for example! — we loved this bit about his time playing sports when he was younger:

Q: How far can you punt a football?

Nate Silver: Basically the only way that I excelled at sports as a youth was to exploit others’ ineptitude, at the risk of being called a pussy. For instance, I had something like a .633 on-base percentage the last year I played baseball (8th, I think) because I knew that I couldn’t hit, but I also knew that the pitchers couldn’t pitch, so I’d never swing at anything unless I was down 0-2. Likewise, in my neighborhood touch football league, it was considered uncouth to run instead of pass, but I was pretty fast and the running game was pretty hard to stop when everyone was used to dropping back into coverage.

Genius. How many times did you strike out in high school on pitches way out of the strike zone? How many first down Hail Mary’s did you dumbass neighbor launch when you played street football? How many low-percentage two pointers did you jack up over the years? Yeah, math kinda sucks, we know — but if nerdy guys are using it to their advantage in order to win sports games… well, who’s the nerd then?

Photo via