Stats Can't Explain Sox Collapse
It was spectacularly unlikely
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 29, 2011 7:37 AM CDT
Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves wipes his brow in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in Baltimore.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – “It’s hard to describe how epic the Red Sox collapse was,” writes Nate Silver in the New York Times, calling it statistically like Bill Buckner’s famous botched play of 1986 “multiplied by itself two or three times over." On Sept. 3, the Red Sox had a 99.6% chance of making the playoffs. What’s more, by the time the Orioles were down to their last strike last night, the Sox had about a 98% chance of winning the game.

But wait, it gets crazier: The Rays were down 7-0 to the Yankees as late as the 8th inning—at that point, they had just a 0.3% chance of winning. So by Silver’s rough estimate, the odds of all that happening were about one in 278 million. “When confronted with numbers like these, you have to start to ask a few questions, statistical and existential." Sabermetricians tend to discount streaks, clutch performances, and other intangibles, but sometimes, those things may just matter. “One should also have license … to turn to various divine and karmic explanations." Perhaps, for example, God was sending Bud Selig a message: Don’t add a second wildcard. Click for the rest of the article, including another karmic possibility involving Buckner and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
fourCatssoon
Sep 29, 2011 2:43 PM CDT
In my opinion the team did the best they could and I will watch them for another year, what else have us men to do if not for 160 games of great baseball hero's and mishaps - Its baseball - just a game and the wife has a chance to get u out of their hair for 4 hours instead of always pushing for some - - - - . So, talents did the best they could and I love the heart with these guys - win or lose! Make Sense?
jchav
Sep 29, 2011 10:03 AM CDT
Great night for baseball!
Dr.Gonzo
Sep 29, 2011 8:49 AM CDT
That was one crazy night of baseball. Easily the best regular-season night in a long time, if not ever.