Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Math Lesson of the Day: Defining "Insurance Runs"

The Dodgers issued a press release yesterday indicating State Farm Insurance has partnered with the Dodgers Dream Foundation on a sponsorship package, based on the number of "insurance runs" the Dodgers score this year. From the press release, though, there looks like there might be some wiggle room for State Farm:

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers and State Farm announced today a partnership benefiting the Dodgers Dream Foundation. State Farm is proud to sponsor all Los Angeles Dodger Insurance Runs scored at Dodger Stadium during the 2009 season and is the title sponsor of the 5th Annual Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza.

As part of the partnership, for each Insurance Run scored State Farm will donate $100, up to $10,000 over the duration of the season, to the Dodgers Dream Foundation in an effort to refurbish inner-city baseball parks in the Los Angeles area. Insurance runs are runs scored late in the game that protect an existing Dodgers’ lead.

At the conclusion of the 2009 season, the State Farm Insurance Run sponsorship will culminate with an on-field ceremony prior to the October 4 regular season finale against the Colorado Rockies. State Farm will honor the Dodger player who drove in the most insurance runs during the 2009 campaign, and together will present a check to the Dodgers Dream Foundation.

Questions abound about the vague term "insurance run." Does late in the game refer to innings 7-9, or does it include the 6th inning? If the Dodgers score runs which add to a lead, but end up losing the game, do those "insurance runs" count? What if the Dodgers take a lead and then add "insurance runs" to it, but then the opponent comes back to tie, but then the Dodgers take another lead?

Assuming the most conservative definition (only runs scored in innings 7-9; insurance runs only count if the Dodgers take and maintain the lead), I got the following tally through the month of April (and please check my work):

April 6, 1 run in the 7th
April 8, 2 runs in the 7th
April 11, 3 runs in the 8th
April 12, 1 run in the 9th
April 13, 3 runs in the 8th
April 16, 1 run in the 7th
April 18, 4 runs in the 7th
April 19, 2 runs in the 7th and 1 run in the 8th
April 23, 1 run in the 7th
April 28, 2 runs in the 9th
April 30, 2 runs in the 8th

That makes 23 runs in total for April. (I would have looked at more games, but I got tired.) 23 x $100 = $2,300, with five months left to go--so I guess it's reasonably safe to say that State Farm is going to pay out the full $10K if the Dodgers keep up this pace, no matter how "insurance runs" are defined. Hey, that's cool, it's for a good cause. And to the Dodgers' credit, they didn't select AIG.


Josh S. said...

It has to be 7th and 8th only, since if the game is at Dodger Stadium, there wouldn't be a 9th, assuming they had the lead.

So, I take it that if they're leading at the end of 6, and then score a couple more, those would count. Or would a comeback by the other team be required to validate the runs as insurance runs?

Hypothetical example:

Dodgers are leading 6-3 at the end of 6. In the 8th, Pierre hits a solo shot to make it 7-3 (I said it was hypothetical!). In the top of the ninth, the opposing team scores 3 before getting three outs and the Dodgers win 7-6. Thus, the run in the 8th is an insurance run and State Farm pays up.

MR.F said...

I also wonder who the current insurance run leader is. They should post the standings.

Steve Sax said...

fanerman, I think the rules are so vaguely written, the answer is "whatever team State Farm wants to be the leader"

Wesley Vento said...

I always considered an insurance run a run scored with a lead of only 1, maybe 2 runs. Why do companies do this? Why don't they just give to freaking charity and the Dodgers can honor them with some discounted billboards or something?

Fred's Brim said...

i had some late runs yesterday, but that was from the jalepeno cheezburger i had for dinner...


Steve Sax said...

Fred, don't you go all ee cummings on me.

midnightdrive said...

hehe cummings.