Post by Paul Post by Jerry Friedman Post by Mark Brader Post by Paul
"One day, during a game on Long Island, a boy on our squirt team
(squirts are nine- and ten-year-olds) got clocked in front of our bench.
The referee saw it but gave no indication that he considered it a
penalty. Home cooking?"
What does "Home cooking?" mean in this context.
Home cooking? The visitors always think so.
Clearly this is suggesting that "we" were the visiting team and the
referee was favoring the home team -- which fans of the visiting team
always think is happening.
And they're right a significant number of times, according to
You can find a lot of other examples with a search for
"home cooking" sports advantage
I don't have time to look into the study.
It seems to me that an attempt can be made to isolate the
refereeing effect from other effects such as familiarity
with the ground, crowd support etc.
There are sports where disputed calls are extremely rare and
so referees don't impact the event. It would be interesting
to compare the home advantage at these events with
events where referees make a real impact. (Perhaps the
study already does this).
One other reference might be the book _Scorecasting_,
The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won
By Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim
278 pp. Crown Archetype)
and which you can read a review of at
(I got there via a fivethirtyeight.com reference).
A relevant portion of the review, by Bruce Weber
By far the most startling and resonant chapters in the book
deal with the authors’ search for the reasons behind home-field advantage,
which the numbers prove exists across all sports.
Using clever techniques to isolate elements of the game
that can be accurately measured, they manage to dismiss
some conventional explanations — that players respond
to the cheers and jeers of the crowd, for one.
In the end, they determine, stunningly, that home-field advantage
in virtually all sports is largely due to the bias of officials
toward the home team. Soccer referees
call more penalties against the visitors
and allow more injury time when the home team is behind.
In baseball, though the authors are a little naïve
about the art of calling balls and strikes
(no one, not even the players, wants or expects the umpires
to call a strict rule-book strike),
their numbers are, well, striking: fewer called strikes,
especially in crucial situations, against the home team.
In basketball, the authors write, “the chance of a visiting player
getting called for traveling is 15 percent higher
than it is for a home-team player.”
The authors attribute this not to a widespread conspiracy
but to a common psychological trope:
people want to be liked and to be confirmed in their judgments.
Maybe so. I do wish the authors had been less rhetorically presumptuous
in attributing behavioral predilections to groups of people
and even individuals on circumstantial grounds.
Most of their conclusions are, after all, subject to debate.
/dps "I wanna be liked, too"