Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald is using the fabled "fuzzy math" to make conclusions about the Red Sox ability to score runs. Click here for the full-on frontal nudity of the whole article, but heres the meaty part:
Since baseball is a game of numbers, let’s look at it in these terms: Through 114 games this year, the Sox had 1,617 baserunners and 589 runs scored, meaning that 36.4 percent of all Sox baserunners had crossed home plate. That percentage was one of the lowest in the league. So while a team like the Los Angeles Angels actually had scored 15 fewer runs (574) than the Sox, the Angels also had done so despite having just 1,481 baserunners. In comparison to the Sox, the Angels had scored 38.8 percent of their baserunners, a figure that gets even more magnified when one considers that the Angels’ 80 home runs rank 13th in the AL in that category, ahead of only the Kansas City Royals.

Get the picture? The point is that when the Angels get a baserunner, he is more likely to score than any runner put on base by the Sox. So if and when those teams meet in the playoffs and match up two of the best bullpens in the AAL (sic), which club do you think will have the better chance of scoring?

Better chance of scoring... hmm... that is a tough one. If one simply looks at the number of runs generated by the teams' respective offenses that would seem to generate a quick and easy answer to your question, Mr. Massarotti, which is why this must involve fuzzy math. If this is really a published article about which team has score more runs, well... *gulp*

ooking at these numbers, which I easily pulled off mlb.com in less time than it took Mr. Massarotti to think up his column idea (a period of time so small I believe it can only be measured in fartosecs), it would seem that the literal answer to Massarotti's query is not the Angels at all, like he seems to be postulating, but the Red Sox.

In 116 games the Angels have scored 594 runs or 5.121 runs a game. The Red Sox have played 118 games and have scored 606 runs or 5.136 runs a game. The Red Sox are on pace to score 832 runs this season, while the Angels are on pace for 829.6 runs this season.

Now lets back up a second and look at the following quote one more time:
...which club do you think will have the better chance of scoring?
Based on the above "numbers" and their assigned "values," I'm going to go with "Red Sox" on this one, "Tony." However, in other news which may yet help Mr. Massarotti prove his point, the Angels are 0.0036 more likely to bathe than the Red Sox, 0.000763 to hoc a loogie than the Red Sox, and most importantly, 76,983,038,224.47 more likely to Play The Game Right than the Red Sox.

Not content with asking inaccurate leading questions, Massarotti also posits this gem which I'm afraid I can't ignore:
The point is that when the Angels get a baserunner, he is more likely to score than any runner put on base by the Sox.
While that may be (again) literally true, it ignores a fact that Massarotti himself mentioned a paragraph earlier, namely that the Sox GET MORE BASERUNNERS! Aren't capital letters A GREAT THING? (Actually, I hate them, but how else do you raise your voice in a blog?)

The fact that the Red Sox put more runners on base may mean that each runner is worth less but, if you look at the number of runs scored you'd quickly see that the cumulative effect is almost exactly the same! If anything, a minuscule edge must go to the Red Sox for averaging 0.015 runs a game more than the Angels at the time the column was written.

What? You still don't understand? Well, lets look at it a different way. Say the Angels have a seven apples. The Red Sox don't have seven apples. Instead, they have fifteen apple halves. Tony Massarotti would then write a column for the Boston Herald entitled "Fatal Flaw: Sox Don't Have Enough Apples To Compete With Angels."

You know why? Apples are even harder to count than runs.

Also, it may be personal preference, but Massarotti's insistence on using the past tense to talk about a current team is really irritating.

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