Tuesday, July 3, 2007

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Pinch-hitting for Seth Mnookin....

One of Seth Mnookin's favorite pastimes is beating up on the New York Times' Murray Chass (click here for one example).

Seth appears to be MIA today, so for the general good of Red Sox Nation, let's have some fun at Chass' expense.

Three weeks ago, Chass projected the following in his column:

[H]ere is one projection that could actually have some potential as a barometer. Even better, it could create some fun: At the rate at which the Yankees are slashing into Boston's lead in the American League East, they will pass the Red Sox in the standings by July 4.

If that happens, can you imagine the fireworks in the Red Sox' front office, their dugout, their clubhouse, at Fenway Park? Fenway would become a pyrotechnic pit. Fenway fans, burned once more, might torch their season tickets.

Impossible, you say? There's no way the Yankees could catch the Red Sox in the next three months, let alone the next three weeks? Curb your skepticism and look at the facts: Only 10 days ago, the Red Sox led the Yankees by 13 1/2 games; today, their lead is 9 1/2.

As July 4th is tomorrow, it's clear that Chass' projection ain't happening. To his credit, Chass is aware of this fact, and devotes today's column to explaining why he was wrong: "If They Had Done Their Job, the Yankees Could Have Led":
The target date arrives tomorrow, and the easy explanation for why the lead change will not happen is that the Yankees didnít maintain their rate of the first half of June. Had they done their job properly, the Yankees could have given their employer the best birthday present ever. But happy birthday anyway, George, and many more healthy ones.

Even a tie would have been a welcomed gift, but the Yankees couldnít manage that either....

In the past two weeks, the Red Sox have done their part to make the July 4 projection a reality, but the Yankees have failed to do theirs.

Let's crunch some numbers here. Consider the following:
1) When Chass wrote his first column, the Red Sox had a 9-1/2 game lead.

2) In the 19 games since Chass wrote that column, the Red Sox have gone 10-9. Let's be generous to Chass and say that the Sox lose tonight's game against the Devil Rays, leaving them a mediocre 10-10 record in the three weeks prior to July 4th.

3) So, what would the Yankees have had to do in order to catch the Sox in the standings? Not much... they just would have had to win all 19 games they had played in the past three weeks.

Far be it for me to defend the New York Yankees, but expecting any team to reel off 19 wins in a row borders on the delusional.

[But what if the Yankees had "maintain[ed] their rate of the first half of June"?--ed. The Yankees did go 8-2 in their first 10 games of June. Had they maintained that pace... they would have gone 16-4 and remained 3 games back.]

Consider that, even after the fact, Chass thinks a 19-0 run was feasible. This indicates one of three possibilities:

1) Chass is really, really bad at math;

2) Chass is a worse sports columnist than Dan Shaughnessy;

3) All of the above.

posted by Dan on 07.03.07 at 01:20 PM


What? The New York Times has a sports page?

posted by: Hei Lun Chan on 07.03.07 at 01:20 PM [permalink]

At the All-Star break in 1998, the Red Sox fired John McNamara and replaced him with Joe Morgan. The team then won 12 straight and 19 out of 20. Maybe Chass was expecting the Yankees to re-enact "Morgan's Miracle."

posted by: Roger Sweeny on 07.03.07 at 01:20 PM [permalink]

Squants Vs Quants? or really really dumb people Vs common sense...

posted by: Exiled from Beantown on 07.03.07 at 01:20 PM [permalink]

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