Lou Schuler

Author, Journalist, Presenter

Posted 10/02/2006

If I’d Known Then …

If you have a minute, check out this Washington Post story on hindsight bias. The story concerns the Iraq war, but, really, what it says applies to just about everything in life:

One of the most systematic errors in human perception is what psychologists call hindsight bias — the feeling, after an event happens, that we knew all along it was going to happen. Across a wide spectrum of issues, from politics to the vagaries of the stock market, experiments show that once people know something, they readily believe they knew it all along.

So, since baseball is on my mind this morning, let’s see how my biases have played out. Here’s what I wrote on opening day, way back in April:

[T]he Cards’ lineup isn’t nearly as good as it’s been in past seasons. Albert Pujols is still the best non-juiced hitter of the decade, and Jim Edmonds has that beautiful uppercut stroke that can produce 30-plus home runs even in an off-year. But Scott Rolen, according to reports, had yet to regain his power following a 2005 season ruined by two shoulder surgeries. He didn’t hit a single home run in spring training.

I’ll stand by that one. I vaguely remember predicting to someone — probably in an email — that I thought the Cards would win their division but not get anywhere near 100 victories. But I could be wrong about the specificity of that prediction, displaying my own hindsight bias.

Here’s something I wrote half in jest, after noting the double-digit scores in several opening-day games:

[I]f I had to make a prediction based on a day’s worth of games, I’d say that baseball fans won’t miss the steroids this season.

Considering that Major League Baseball set a new attendance record, I think that one stands up, even if I was joking when I wrote it.