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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Minnesota Twins beat the statistical odds once again

On May 17 I reported that sabermetrician Clay Davenport computed 200 to 1 against the Minnesota Twins making the Major League Baseball playoffs. Guess what? Not only did they achieve a place in post-season, they won their divisional championship. Granted, it was very unlikely the way the Twins turned their season around, and it was downright surrealistic for them to end up in first after their very last game. As I blogged earlier, statistics be damned by what we now know:
Twins win improbable division title.

One might do well by betting on the Twins when they are down again in future. For example,at the beginning of the 1991 baseball season, odds on 1990’s last-place Twins winning this year’s title were 100-1. They ended up as the World Series champs. Similarly, in 1987 the Twins went all the way in Major League Baseball. Prior to that season I went to Las Vegas for a conference and saw a betting board with odds at 100 to 1 against the Twins winning the championship. Ever since I've second-guessed myself for not betting anything -- even $10 would have netted me $1000! Unfortunately, I am a man of little faith in the face of such overwhelming statistics.

PS. Post season results were not good -- three games and out for the Twins in their playoff series with Oakland. :( This is a triumph for sabermetrics because the Athletics are led by its biggest proponent --Billy Beane.


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