DETROIT -- The Tigers hosted their first Math Day event Thursday morning for local schoolkids to get an appreciation of how baseball relies on numbers.
While students sitting behind the visiting dugout watched video presentations from Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Dave Winfield posting stat questions for them to answer, manager Jim Leyland and third-base coach Gene Lamont were quietly in the other dugout figuring them out themselves. Some were pure stats, such as calculating hit totals based on at-bats and batting average. Others involved angles and distances. It was a good refresher course.
Tigers director of baseball operations Mike Smith was among the speakers, providing examples of how Major League teams use numbers and formulas to evaluate players. He also explained how clubs try to take some of the variables out of their measurements, from small sample sizes early in the season to ballpark factors. As he put it, the stats are only as good as your data.