Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Historical Note on the Sporting Life of Rush Limbaugh

"To a man that sticks to his ideals, the world is his."
-Neville Chamberlain

Very recently, Rush Limbaugh, "conservative" radio host and alleged "hate mongerer," has been rumored to be in a bid for a part-ownership of the St. Louis Rams American football team. This is not the first in Limbaugh's runnings with the world of professional sports. Limbaugh, a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School, and Rhodes Scholar, continued his studies at Oxford where he wrote his dissertation of the pragmatics of newspapers following the Watergate scandal and its impact on the public sphere. Here he dissected "nut" graphs and the logic of language included. After careful studies of numerous newspapers in the United Kingdom, Limbaugh would escape his studies and read the sport page and soon became quite interested in the Manchester City Football Club. His love for competition turned a former "anti-sports" intellectual into a hooligan to the nth degree.

Limbaugh took his love of sport back to his hometown of Kansas City where he became a post-game broadcaster for the Royals baseball team. Watching George Brett became his obsession and he painstakingly tracked and analysed the teams performance. Using statistical methods he learned in graduate school, Limbaugh created a periphery set of statistics to measure baseball player performance. Realizing that old statistics, such as Batting Average, didn't take into account the total offensive value of a player. He soon created Win Probability and Value over Replacement Player to analyze the Royals roster. With his new statistics, Royal upper management used these statistical models to create the World Series winning team in 1984. Limbaugh is credited with revolutionizing the way baseball is looked at to this day by his statistical insight and recommendation to Royals management that they no longer sign Latino players.