Saturday, May 30, 2009

Confessions of a Party Pooper

As a Dodger fan, being a Gloomy Gus buzzkill Debbie Downer killjoy comes naturally. In that half-empty spirit, this post was originally intended to be about how the team is due for an extended losing streak.

When the Dodgers reached a 20-8 record earlier this month, I thought, where have we seen this before? Then Manny got suspended, and karmic retribution was served.

Only, not. When Manny's absence didn't throw the team into a tailspin, I got even more suspicious. With the Dodgers' painful eight straight losses from last August lingering in my mind like the Mini Sirloin Burger jingle, I waited. And waited.

And when the losing streak still didn't materialize—the Dodgers haven't yet lost three in a row—I decided to get rational. I needed numbers. Fortunately, there are good minds out there who have expended countless Star Trek tapes and Hot Pockets to calculate if a team is good or just lucky:

  • PYTHAGORAS. The famed Greek philosopher was sitting under an apple tree when George Washington chopped it down and knocked him unconscious. In a hallucinatory dream state, 'Thag saw the future, a time in which a sport far superior to naked wrestling would thrill the masses.

    Pythagoras then envisioned the entirety of Ken Burns' Baseball documentary, having been in a coma for weeks. Upon awakening, the philosopher devised a formula that would calculate the hypotenuse of a triangle as well as happenstance within a diamond.

    Dodgers' Pythagorean W-L: 33-16*
    Dodgers' actual W-L: 34-15
    Verdict: So far, so good.

  • RPI. RPI, or Relative Power Index, was developed by scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in an attempt to sneak the Division III Red Hawks into their March Madness pool. The plan failed, but someone in the lab wanted to start a Fantasy Baseball league, so....

    Dodgers' RPI: .548
    Dodgers' actual winning percentage: .694
    Verdict: Whoa. Am I comparing apples to apples?

  • PYTHAGENPORT. A variation on the Pythagorean scheme wherein the exponential factor of the formula is calculated as X=.45+1.5*log10((rs+ra)/g)—although obviously, some prefer X=((rs+ra)/g)^.285, duh!—and subsequent orders of wins are calculated using EQR & EQRA and AEQR & AEQRA. AFLAC! Some may say WTF, but IDK how it doesn't seem easy as ABC.

    Dodgers' first-order W-L: 33.1-15.9
    Dodgers' second-order W-L: 32.2-16.8
    Dodgers' third-order W-L: 30.6-18.4
    Dodgers' actual W-L: 34-15
    Verdict: Huh?

Of course, all these numbers, good, bad or otherwise, guarantee nothing. The Dodgers could start a losing streak any day now; maybe it's already begun. I guess I should leave the prognostications to Nostry, and guarantee the one thing I have control over: I'll enjoy the winning while it lasts.

*All stats as of Friday morning.


Damon said...

we're all going to die in 2012

NicJ said...

Why must you be Toby to my Michael Scott.

rbnlaw said...

My head now hurts.

MR.F said...

It makes sense that the teams with the best records are a little lucky (ie, overachieving to some extent) and the teams with the worst records are unlucky (ie, underachieving to some extent).

The Dodgers aren't overachieving by much, even by the third order W-L. That's good news.