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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Ben Baumer, M.A. ’03


A day at the ballpark: beer, pretzels, hotdogs—and a potent dose of statistical analysis? What was that again? Ben Baumer, M.A. ’03, sees the boys of summer through different eyes than the rest of us, at least when he’s on the job as
the first statistical analyst for the New York Mets.

Soon after Baumer graduated with a degree in Applied Math, he learned from a family friend that the team was seeking a statistical analyst. After an interview and some projects for the Mets, Baumer landed the job. He inspects player data collected by an outside agency and provides feedback to general manager Omar Minaya regarding player evaluations, possible trades, minor league players and free agents.

His office is in the middle of the action at the Citifield administration building at the ballpark, and in the summer months he’ll be there five days a week plus weekend home games. During a home stand, his workdays can stretch from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. for days in a row. But Baumer feels that his career is a perfect fit. Along with his math expertise, he has had a lifelong passion for baseball, having grown up playing the game and collecting baseball cards from childhood through high school. And the job comes with perks he appreciates: Baumer attends all home games, sometimes scores free tickets and occasionally gets to meet the players.

Prior to his M.A., Baumer received a B.A. in economics at Wesleyan and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He’s also an adjunct professor at Hunter College.

On March 3, the UCSD Division of Physical Sciences and the New York Alumni chapter held an event titled “The Science of Baseball,” featuring Baumer as a speaker at the Manhattan sports bar Tonic East.

One of the attendees, Thomas Fleming, M.A. ’02, Ph.D. ’06, appreciated the parallels with his own job as a Wall Street quantitative analyst. “He has a complex, hard-to-value asset, a baseball player,” says Fleming. “He’s trying to get some sort of statistical metric that’s a measure of whether it’s a good asset or a bad asset.” Baumer doesn’t plan on leaving the Mets anytime soon. “We feel we have a lot of unfinished business as far as the Mets go, and that we really haven’t a ccomplished our goal, winning the World Series,” says Baumer. And then there’s those seats at the ballpark!

–Gina McGalliard, Warren ’08

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