Click the title of my post for the link. It's a very interesting piece about the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, attended by non-other than the TML's Brian Burke.
Here are my points on the matter:
1) Don't dismiss something just because it isn't "conventional wisdom" or, on the surface, seems suspicious, and don't dismiss a person's analysis because he or she is a "geek."
2) Just because a person can't play the sport, doesn't mean the person can't understand/analyze the sport. Many of us (myself especially) like to think of ourselves as borderline experts on games we played in high school. Being captain of your high school football team is a LOT different from playing in the NFL, and probably closer to having not played at all than it is to having called a play from under centre for the Colts.
3) The numbers may seem intimidating, probably because the math can be very advanced, but often the underlying logic is reasonably easy to follow if you give it a chance, especially if you're already a fan of the sport. Don't be scared off if a person busts out a chart or a spreadsheet to prove a point about a sport or a team or a player. If anything, try to pay attention because it might help you win your fantasy pool!
4) It's kind of pathetic that all these brilliant minds are wasting their time analyzing sports instead of solving world hunger or curing cancer...and sports insiders STILL won't listen to them! To think it could all be in vain...ugh...
5) The more I hear Brian Burke speak, the less convinced I am that he's the man to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a Stanley Cup. When will the Leafs get their Theo Epstein?