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“Jeopardy!” + “Moneyball” = $$$$

Nov 21, 2011, 9:26 AM EDT


I roll with a bunch of nerds, so I know all kinds of people who have been on “Jeopardy!” My former boss. A former coworker. A couple of sportswriters I know. Even a long time HBT commenter.

I once took and passed the test for the talent search but they never called me to be on the show. One person there suggested that I wasn’t going to do very well on television because I fidgeted with the buzzer too much in the audition. The producers at NBC SportsTalk can decide if they know more than the “Jeopardy!” people on that score, but they do tell me I talk with my hands too much. Damn.

Anyway, I only bring all of this up because some guy did really, really well on “Jeopardy!” recently, and he credited “Moneyball” for his success:

“It wasn’t even about the money,” Craig says. “I felt that my systems and my methods were sort of validated.”

That system? A computer program unlike any other, custom-built to study Jeopardy! for patterns.

Craig says it works like Moneyball — a reference to the book and movie about the statistical techniques used by legendary Oakland Athletics coach Billy Beane to build a winning baseball team. Craig’s system also relied heavily on statistics.

Trivia hounds today. Stuck in their mother’s basement. If they’d get their heads out of a spreadsheet and compete in a quiz bowl once in a while ….

  1. yankeesfanlen - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    That guy was one of the most irritating contestants on Jeopardy- Ever!

    • dan1111 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      I didn’t see him, but, if true, that is quite an achievement.

    • firedude7160 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:35 PM

      I agree. He got annoying after about 5 minutes, and it got worse each night. Confidence is one thing, but this guy was leaps and bounds past arrogant

  2. bloodysock - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    I’ll take Hegemonyball for $200, Alex.

  3. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    This deadspin article, and the subsequent Esquire article, are way better:

  4. Will Rodeffer - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    I heard the Moneyball guy kept losing in Double Jeopardy to a Yankees fan, but the Yankees fan never won Final Jeopardy so he didn’t consider it a successful game.

  5. Jonny 5 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Using advanced metrics to study for Jeopardy? Could there be a bigger nerd? Probably not.

    • Alex K - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM

      Don’t hate on him because he likes to enjoy Jeopordy a different way than you do.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 21, 2011 at 12:20 PM

        Hate is a strong word my friend… A strong word indeed. I think you’ve misunderstood my intent. Now excuse me while I get back to revising my plans for my perpetual motion wheel.

      • Alex K - Nov 21, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        That was ment as a play on the saberist/non saberist enjoying baseball a different way.

        But hell, I may as well go all in….you hate that guy so much!

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 21, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        I know, I was just using it to mention my latest nerdy plan to save the earth by using gravity to make power.

  6. cur68 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that anyone spending the amount of time it takes to analyze trivia patterns on Jeopardy probably was always going to do really well on a show about trivia regardless of the analysis.

  7. Kyle - Nov 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    I call BS, because as we all know, Moneyball does not produce winners.

  8. transam7816 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    I’ll bet it all

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