Maybe the Globe sports section is following the lead of the Red Sox and cleaning house. Somebody named Matt Pepin is now writing about the Red Sox but that’s not a bad thing because he has a great account of Terry Francona’s final press conference. Whatever you think of Francona, his performance shows a lot of class and was very diplomatic, but he did make it pretty clear that some of the players were a big problem and that ownership bailed on him.
On another note, the New York Times’ statistics guy, Nate Silver, who writes the excellent 538 political blog, shows up on the sports page today, retroactively calculating the odds of the American League East regular season race turning out the way it did. Here’s a sampling:
The following is not mathematically rigorous, since the events of yesterday evening were contingent upon one another in various ways. But just for fun, let’s put all of them together in sequence:
The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.
The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.
The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.
The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.
Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.
When confronted with numbers like these, you have to start to ask a few questions, statistical and existential.
Read Silver’s full story HERE.