Phoenix, AZ: SABR Day 1

The point of our going to Phoenix was to attend the 2nd-annual SABR Analytics Conference. Since neither of us had ever been to a baseball analytics conference, we didn't know what to expect (except that there would be some pretty big-name people speaking, like Brian Kenny, Bill James, and Joe Posnanski). 

The first day, Thursday, began at 2pm. We were actually a few blocks away over at ASU's Cronkite School of Journalism for the majority of this day (the rest of the conference took place at the Sheraton). Beforehand, we made sure to pass through the Civic Space Park, which has this crazy sculpture:

It looks like a tornado, and it lights up at night. (We got a shot of it then, too, which is later in this post, or you could check out the website above.) Also viewable from the Civic Space Park is the ridiculous sight of seeing a tower on top of a building:

Anyway, after seeing these sights, checking into the conferencing and getting our badges, and eating lunch, we were ready to think about baseball.

That first day was pretty fun and exciting (in a sitting-in-your-chair-listening-to-people-talk way). Above is a guy from Bloomberg Sports showing us the software they developed for teams to see a ridiculous amount of statistics and visualizations. (If only they weren't based in NYC!) Below is a player panel consisting of pitchers Brian McCarthy and Javier Lopez, talking about how statistics and sabermetrics play roles in their jobs. Definitely interesting to hear professional athletes talk about that aspect of their jobs.

We also went to a presentation by Illinois physics professor Alan Nathan about Pitch F/X, which was useful to us because it was informative as to how Pitch F/X works.

The majority of the conference was hosted at the Sheraton in downtown Phoenix. It was a pretty neat hotel and they had some cool art in the lobby area. I especially liked this hanging display of glass teardrops that you saw as you came down the escalator into the lobby. 

We moved over to the Sheraton in the evening for the welcome reception, which was on a open roof terrace and gave us some neat views of that section of downtown Phoenix.

We had fancy hors d'oeurves, a mashed potato bar, and a complimentary drink. Thankfully there was enough food to make it feel like dinner, since by this point it was fairly late for an actual meal.

During this reception, I managed to find other GW Business students, for whom I'd been on the lookout all afternoon after finding out there was a team competing in the Diamond Dollars competition. They were MBA students (which is why I hadn't known they were participating) and super friendly. I actually managed to get them to take us to the Reds Spring Training game we wanted to go to the next night, since they had a rental car and nothing else to do (offering to pay for gas works for me a lot ;) ). 

And as promised, here is the crazy tornado sculpture at night in the Civic Space Park. Definitely space-y.

If you are interested in seeing what we learned at the SABR Analytics Conference, they recorded almost everything and have it available on their website.
Phoenix, AZ: SABR Day 1 Phoenix, AZ: SABR Day 1 Reviewed by Maria on 5:33:00 PM Rating: 5

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