Numbers game: crunching sports scores and more with Jeff Sagarin.IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN--Daylight Saving Time! So how has it worked out for you so far? Has being in sync with the rest of the country made your life easier, your business more profitable? Has that extra hour of evening light helped you hone your golf score?
According to one Hoosier who knows a lot about scores, golf is not the tally we should be watching. How about our kids' grades and SAT scores? Most would agree they're more important, and the statistics crunched by sports analyst extraordinaire ex·tra·or·di·naire
Extraordinary: a jazz singer extraordinaire.
[French, from Old French, from Latin extra Jeff Sagarin of Bloomington suggest that Daylight Saving Time daylight saving time (DST), time observed when clocks and other timepieces are set ahead so that the sun will rise and set later in the day as measured by civil time. is bad for academic achievement. Even more important, he claims, aligning our clocks with the wrong time zone is bad for all of us.
Sagarin is best known for the sports ratings he provides to USA Today, Golfweek and the Dallas Mavericks and New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Knicks. His stats compare the strength and ability-to-win of teams and players in a wide range of sports, including college and pro basketball and football, Major League Baseball "MLB" and "Major Leagues" redirect here. For other uses, see MLB (disambiguation) and Major Leagues (disambiguation).
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in North American professional baseball. , golf, pro hockey, NASCAR NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), organization that sanctions American stock-car races, est. 1948. It held its first race in Daytona Beach, Fla. and Major League Soccer. The upcoming NCAA NCAA
National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament is one of many events that keep life busy for Sagarin, a New York native who is a lifelong sports fan and an MIT MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology mathematics grad. But that's OK, because he's really into numbers, and sports.
Among the other numbers that speak to him are sunrise and sunset Sunrise and Sunset are a pair of pegasi in the Dungeons & Dragons-based Forgotten Realms setting. The pair were rescued from giants by the moon elf Tarathiel a few years prior to 1370 DR, and after this they served as winged mounts for him and his partner, times, and he's focused a lot of attention on Indiana's long struggle with the clock whether or not to adopt DST (1) (DeSTination) Contrast with SRC, which is an abbreviation of "source."
(2) (Digital Signal Trust Company, Salt Lake City, UT, www.digsigtrust.com) An organization that sets up and manages PKI systems for companies and industry groups. and what time zone is best for the state. He can provide reams of longitude and solar time data to prove that Indiana really belongs in the Central time zone, and that Daylight Saving Time is good for no one.
In fact, he did what mathematicians call a "multiple regression" study crunching Indiana school SAT performance data, each school's longitude and whether or not the school observes DST. "I got data for every high school for the last 10 years. Having DST lowers SAT scores 20 points," he says, noting that he adjusted for all other factors such as economic and ethnic data.
Why should DST make a difference with academics? Because, Sagarin says, it's not natural to be as out of sync with the sun as DST makes us, especially in Indiana, where observing Eastern time already makes the sun rise at a later time than in most places. "Statistically, the further west you are in a time zone, the higher the incidence of depression and illness," he says. "We are a creature of nature. Our brain needs sunlight in the morning to tell it to start functioning again."
The data are intriguing, though Sagarin himself may be a contradiction. His brain is functioning well enough to make a good living crunching sports data, but a lot of his work is done before the sun rises each day. He typically wakes up and heads to the computer around 5 or 6 a.m. to work on the previous night's sports data. At least one morning a week, he gathers with friends for breakfast at 8 at The Runcible Spoon, a local diner.
Sagarin has been fascinated with sports data since the late 1950s when he was a 10-year-old in New York, trying every week to win the $500 prize offered by the New York Daily News New York Daily News
Morning daily tabloid newspaper published in New York City. It was founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson and his cousin Robert McCormick as a subsidiary of the Tribune Co. of Chicago. The first successful tabloid-format newspaper in the U.S. to the person who could best predict sports scores. He never won, but by the time he finished up at MIT in the early '70s, he had devised a better system and started contacting newspapers. He got a decade-long gig with Pro Football Weekly, and in 1977 he moved to Bloomington.
"I was living in a bad neighborhood in Boston," he recalls. That spring he visited a friend who was teaching in Bloomington, and was intrigued to read the crime blotter A written record of arrests and other occurrences maintained by the police. The report kept by the police when a suspect is booked, which involves the written recording of facts about the person's arrest and the charges against him or her.
BLOTTER, mer. law. in the local paper, which told of a woman whose potted plant was stolen from her porch, no doubt by a drunken college student. "This was a town where a potted plant being stolen was big news," he recalls. "I thought, 'this is a great place to be, and I don't even have any potted plants.'" Soon, his sports stats appeared in Bloomington's Herald-Telephone, and by the mid-1980s he was a regular in USA Today.
Though he had a brief job as an actuarial trainee in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. and another even shorter job with a financial advisory firm serving pension plans, sports stats have been Sagarin's true calling for decades. "I have had only those two adult jobs, in which I worked a total of about nine and a half months."