I wouldn’t be in graduate school if I didn’t grow up as a baseball fan. My childhood devotion to the Oakland Athletics spurred a desire to understand what happened on the baseball field. I’ve spent much of my life interested in sabermetrics, the study of baseball through statistical data. That curiosity about systematic explanation broadened to social phenomena, and growing up in the diverse environment of the San Francisco Bay Area made me wonder how different groups of people manage to cooperate and compete in politics. The research methods course and research assistant experience I had as an undergraduate at San Francisco State University showed me how I could learn about such issues through the use of statistics. While the subject matter is more consequential than balls and strikes, the curiosity underpinning both interests is similar, and it endures to the present day.