Thursday, May 17, 2012

...and now for something completely different.

I don't normally get that involved with sports statistics, if only because it's the one place in the stats world where you could study them for an hour every day and still be barely a rookie.  However, something awfully strange is happening in my house recently, and I feel it's worth mentioning:  the Orioles are leading the AL East (in fact the whole American League), and the Red Sox are last.

Now, this is particularly interesting to my household, as my husband happens to be a lifelong Orioles fan.  I on the other hand, have always been a Red Sox fan.  Since we met almost 6 years ago, this has pretty much meant that I have had exclusive bragging rights when it came to baseball.  I know it's not even a quarter of the way in to the season, but this is the longest we've gone so far, and it's surreal.

Yesterday, Grantland put up an article on the Orioles under .500 curse.  Apparently they have not finished over .500 since 1997....more than enough seasons for the baseball stats guys to go nuts with.  I was curious exactly how bad it was, so I looked around until I found this graph generator*.

For those of you who don't know much about the Orioles, here's what they've looked like since 1998

Yowza.  Even if this season doesn't hang in there, it's still the most encouraging thing to happen in 7 years or so.

Now, here's the Red Sox in the same time period:
Yikes.  If they don't pick it up soon this will be the worst they've started off in 15 years.  

Sweetly enough, if the Sox win tonight against the Rays, that will both increase the Oriole's lead in the AL East, and look good for the Red Sox.  

Honey, the data proves it, tonight we're both Red Sox fans.

*If it shows you how crazy sports stats people are, I found that graph generator in exactly one try on google.  Conversely, when I tried to find historic gas prices for this post, I searched for almost half an hour trying to find an official source for anything pre-1978.  Didn't happen.  


  1. The opening of the Grantland article is right, I'm just hoping this will be like the "Why Not?" 89 season.

    Sadly, I cannot cheer for the Red Sox tonight. I know all their players and coaches. When I got to games I show up on time. Sadly, Red Sox ownership prohibits those two things if you want to be a member of Red Sox nation or cheer for the team.

    That Josh Beckett is awesome though!

    1. I should also add I don't check my smart phone constantly while at Fenway, which is also a requirement of being part of Red Sox nation.

    2. But..but...but...the data says you have to cheer for them! I thought the logic of small sample sizes worked on all sports fans!!!

      You definitely owe me a foot rub during the game for this crazy talk.

  2. Any Red Sox fan of my age or older remembers the "bad times" of the late 50's and early 60's when Fenway was considered a dump and was a ghost town. The largest non-Yankee crowd of the year was "bat day" (I think those were discontinued after an incident where the bats were used for something other than hitting a baseball). Then after the Red Sox became relevant again after 1967, the Orioles were always the team I wished theRed Sox could be. Cuellar, McNally, Palmer, Robinson (Brooks and Frank), Powell, Davy Johnson, Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, all used to leave Red Sox fans jealous.

    Red Sox fans now consider it a right to have a good team and make the post season. As a baseball fan, I am thrilled with the starts of the Nationals and Orioles and hope they both are relevant in September. I would like the Red Sox to also be relevant in September, but that didn't do us much good last year.

    So much for the history (BTW I went to a bat day once. Couldn't get either parental unit to bring me so my sister's boyfriend brought me). As for your logic, I can't see why Tim won't buy it. A Red Sox win is definitely a plus for the Orioles who have already won today! And any Yankees loss is good for both teams! Good job Matusz! Weiters and Jones are MVP candidates!

  3. I support Tim in his curmudgeonly refusal to cheer for short-term gains that have long-term bad effects for his team. Only if he refuses to cheer for whoever will knock his Orioles' competition out in October will I declare him irrational.

    I have always had some affection for the O's because of Mike Flanagan, who I watched play 3 sports for our main rivals in highschool, and for Cal Ripken, who all real baseball fans are required to like. That they have built Camden Yard just seals it.

  4. My wife is a Redsox I know, start the burning fire now. However, she has never been to Redsox stadium and neither have I. I really want it to be special so we bought for tix in section 203 "bleacher creature". For a Red Sox fan, this can be VERY intimidating arriving to a ballpark with drunk fans saying inappropriate things.