Mind the Gap: Fish Lag in Education, Standings

The Wall Street Journal says Florida is one of MLB's dumbest teams, but can't link diplomas to wins

Baseball, as professional sports go, is perhaps the easiest to play for the smarts-challenged.  It's more mentally taxing to be a fan, deciphering stats and analyzing tenths of percentages and figuring out the price of a hot dog combo, than it is to put on pants and throw to first.  Baseball players don't even have to be fit, so they can certainly manage to play stupid.

("Keep running...straight line, yes that's it...and now touch the white square. That's a square, right?  Yaaaay!").

But is it bad that the Wall Street Journal finds the Marlins to be very, very dumb?  In a study of Major League rosters, the Journal determined how many players attended 4-year colleges, which graduated, and if there was a link between degrees and victories.  Scores were figured with extra weight assigned to starting players and "elite" colleges. 

While about half of baseball players have some college experience, WSJ surprisingly found that only 26 people in the entire league, including managers, have college degrees. (The MVP: Oakland reliever Craig Breslow, who has a degree from Yale in molecular biophysics and biochemistry.) 

As is their wont, the Marlins turned up in the third-from-last slot -- supposedly on par with "can spell own names." 

Fortunately for the Fish's already damaged self-esteem, there wasn't a correlation to be found to wins. The most credentialed teams (the A's, Diamondbacks, and Nationals) are in last place in the league.  The Rangers and Dodgers proved to be the least-learned in their respective divisions, but top the standings. 

It's an interesting look, and we've often wondered about the effects of players skipping school.  Can they even find their own lockers? But the quick study doesn't take into account that educational achievements don't necessarily equate to smarts. Some people even graduate from college despite misspelling the word "rock" in a sixth-grade spelling bee (we have no idea who we're talking about).  Nor does the journal account for intelligent players who chose to enter the minors over college, for any number of reasons. 

But there is one solution to see if smart players can effect a team's performance:  start giving baseball players the Wonderlic Test.

That would be a win for everyone, whether they can learn to read about it or choose to play baseball instead.

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