## Baseball’s Unlikely Regular Season Finish

A great piece by Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight on how unlikely the events of the last day of the Major League Baseball season actually were. Below is just a sample:

The following is not mathematically rigorous, since the events of yesterday evening were contingent upon one another in various ways. But just for fun, let’s put all of them together in sequence:

• The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.
• The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.
• The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.
• The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.

Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.

## Quick Update

I haven’t gotten a lot of chances to write recently primarily because of work consuming about 12 – 13 hours of my day. I am out of the house at 7 a.m. most days and end up taking the train (or bus) back after 6 p.m. I am a week away from completing my initial three month contract here at Chartis and it is remarkable how quickly time has gone by. There has been plenty of chatter about converting me to a full-time employee now but I have yet to receive an offer, so I will withhold further comment on that until there is actually something to write about.

As another promising but disappointing Blue Jays season winds down, it is important to note that the Yankees have played six games in Toronto since I have moved here. The more interesting fact is that the only two games they have won from those six happened to be the ones that I attended – including the Tuesday night. Jays have to find a way to turn things around quickly as the division seems to become more and more competitive every year.

Hockey season is right around the corner with the Leafs playing their season opener against Montreal a week from today (and about 3 blocks from my work). You can already see the swarm of blue and white jerseys around downtown with people heading towards the preseason games around the same time as I leave work.

I recently searched for Maple Leafs tickets as I have never seen them play at home but the cheapest available at the moment for a Hockey Night In Canada game is \$100+ a ticket for a game in February. Maybe holding out on buying a Leafs’ ticket is the best option right now as I’m afraid the hockey season will be disappointing again as a Leafs’ fan. The Maple Leafs have missed out on the postseason in each of the last five years and the primary goal for Toronto this year will be to end the longest playoff drought in the franchise’s storied history. Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf are clearly the two new stars on the team and hopefully can spark something miraculous.

This is the place where legends are made of. Just like the players who ended the Red Sox World Series drought, the players who bring home the championship to teams like the Cubs or the Maple Leafs and hopefully something good happens soon.

## New Avis / Yankees Commercial

I had seen this tv ad several weeks ago by Avis in their series of going back and forth between the Red Sox and Yankees but could not find an online video of until today.

I have also heard some rumblings from crazy Yankee fans that they are pissed off because the real “Bleacher Creatures” weren’t used and I think that’s completely ridiculous. I realize this is a capitalist society so everyone wants to jump in and try to make their money off of their 15 minutes of fame but get over yourselves.

As for the rest of you, enjoy the commercial.

## Joshua Sacco: Great Speaker, Has Awful Parents

Great moments are born from great opportunities, and that’s what five-year-old Joshua Sacco had on Sunday night in front of a sold out Opening Night at Fenway Park. This kid apparently gained his fame last year when his YouTube clip grew in popularity and gained near cult status. He used the speech Herb Brooks gave his ‘Miracle on Ice’ squad before they went on to defeat the Soviets — with a little twist of course. Last Sunday night (opening night for the 2010 baseball season), he took his act from hockey to baseball and delivered the inspirational speech following by a few fist bumps by the Red Sox players.

Anyways, he still needs better parents to use his public speaking ability to improve his skills rather than saying “Screw ‘Em” in front of a sold out crowd at Fenway Park. Either way, he already has better public speaking skills than me so who am I to criticize?

## MLB Predictions For The 2010 Season

1. Unfortunately, the Toronto Blue Jays will lose 100+ games this season. In addition to playing AL East teams 19 times who have all seemingly improved from last year, the Blue Jays have a month long stretch from June 18th to July 11th where they have one “easy” series. The teams they play are Giants (3), Cardinals (3), Phillies (3), @Indians (4), @Yankees (3), Twins (3) and Red Sox (3). A rough 22 game stretch going into the All-Star Break. I don’t think too many teams get to play that tough of a stretch very often. They certainly have a powerful offense to compete with anyone in the game but the lack of experience in pitching will probably cost them way too many games.

Even though I make that prediction, I am going to be rooting every day like there is not tomorrow for the Blue Jays to prove me wrong.

2. On the other hand, Yankees will not win 100 games this year. I have seen several reports that have them at 103/104 wins but I don’t see that happening in the ever improving and difficult AL East. They improved in CF by getting Granderson but lost clutch hitters like Damon and Matsui and Gardner/Swisher isn’t a very intimidating corner OF. I am interested in seeing how Vazquez does because I have a feeling he could end up wining the most games in that rotation this year.

3. Even without Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins will comfortably win the AL Central. Tigers improved a little not nearly as much as they needed to and that playoff type rotation for White Sox will only help them so much. Behind the leadership (and new contract extension) of Joe Mauer and some decent pitching, I think they still win the division by at least 10 games even without Joe Nathan.

4. Both winners of the West divisions will have less than 90 wins. It has happened a few times in the past decade for the NL West but not in the AL since 1998 when Texas won the division with with 88 wins. Both Dodgers and Angels should win their respective divisions again but the Angels will have a much tougher fight and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners are competing for a playoff spot in late August or early September.

5. The first baseball game of the season I will attend is going to be May 19, 2010 when Tampa Bay Rays come to the Bronx to play the Yankees. Haven’t bought any tickets to the game yet, but it is the first date when everyone is done with finals and it just might work out.