Nate Silver’s move to ESPN is a big deal

Rick Reilly was one thing. Paul Finebaum was another. But now Nate Silver.

The New York Times reported late Friday that famous quant Nate Silver is leaving the newspaper/web site and taking his talents to ESPN where he will also contribute to ABC News and be a part of Keith Olbermann’s new late-nigh show on ESPN2.

Silver is best known for correctly predicting the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the latter while under attack by Republicans certain Mitt Romney was about to defeat the incumbent, Barack Obama.

But Silver got his start, sort of, writing for Baseball Prospectus and coming up with the PECOTA statistics analysis system. He then contributed political statistical analysis to Daily Kos under the name Poblano before finally revealing his identity and then starting the 538 blog for the New York Times.

Since the election, Silver has said in several interviews that he wanted to return to doing more work in sports. For we numbers guys, the Silver hire is a huge get for ESPN and a boost for Olbermann, whose show starts August 26.

And let’s just put it this way: The Olbermann-Silver combination is a far cry from First Take.

As Chris Rock says to Jerry Seinfeld in the latest episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, “There’s math. Everything else is debatable.”


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  1. Mark+Liptak says:

    PECOTA… more statistical mumbo-jumbo from a guy who probaly ‘played’ the game on a computer in his mom’s basement instead of out on the field.

    BP, at least for the team I follow, has been consistently wrong by about five to eight games save for one year with this system as their “predictor.”

    Then after the team I follow won their division (and would win the World Series) BP still refused to update their ‘probability factor’ for post season play to 100% (since they had clinched the division). That’s plain stupid.

    Stats have a place in the game but they’ll still never (nor should they) become the main factor in building a team, determining who to draft ect.

    What the ‘stat-geeks’ in their arrogance refuse to admit is that stats aren’t the be-all, end-all. There are factors involved that can’t be measured from blind-luck, to weather, to heart and guts, to injuries that shape how a season goes and what the ultimate result is.

  2. Steve says:

    Nate Silver, Phil Silvers, or ESPN giving away silver bullion to viewers, none of that could entice me to watch Keith Olbermann.

  3. John Clay says:

    Phil Silvers. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in awhile.