A definition of confirmation bias from Wikipedia:
Confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions and to irrationally avoid information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs.
Essentially, we interpret new observations to confirm our beliefs rather than dig under the surface to see if our preconceived notions may be false. As the following excerpt from Steve at WasWatching shows, every time the Yankees play poorly against a new face, many of us fall victim to one such bias when we complain that the Yankees always do poorly against that kind of pitcher:
Christmas in Connecticut ipod According to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Game Finder, since 1996, to date, the Yankees have faced an opposing starting pitcher 374 times where the pitcher had 30 games or less of major league experience.
Within those 374 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 60 or more in 68 games. And, within those 374 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 50 or less in 239 games.
Also, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Game Finder, since 2004, to date, the Yankees have faced an opposing starting pitcher 149 times where the pitcher had 30 games or less of major league experience.
Within those 149 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 60 or more in 29 games. And, within those 149 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 50 or less in 97 games.
So, where is the proof that the Yankees struggle so mightily against unfamiliar pitchers?
Basically, the Yankees typically beat up on new faces and fledgling major leaguers. However, because the rare instances where they lose to that sort of pitchers stick in our craw, we eventually come to the conclusion that this happens all the time. Each successive time that it does happen, we essentially confirm our bias, while ignoring all the times (e.g. Holland and Porcello, off the top of my mind) that the Yankees take care of business. This is one bias that I will no longer repeat, because the evidence is not there.
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