Bad Math

Let’s clear something up. The odds of coming back from an 0-3 deficit are now irrelevant. The Sox chances of winning this series are entirely based on a comeback from a 2-3 deficit, so worse than 50-50, but not terrible, either. Toss a coin ten times in a row. If you get ten straight heads, that doesn’t make a tail any more likely on the next throw. The same story here: past performance is not a factor in future projection. This won’t make the achievement of a comeback from 0-3 any less impressive in retrospect, but the odds of it happening have now changed dramatically. Unfortunately.

5 comments… add one
  • YF defies all empirical facts and makes a claim counter to science. There are scientific and mathematical ways of analyzing probablility, and in this case, the Red Sox still have a very low probability of pulling off the comeback. All these probability graphs do is give us another facet of a big picture – they are available at Prospectus. What they tell us is, in a vacuum (yes, a vacuum, a fiction, we know that, YF) – how likely is it that the Sox will win the series. YF can argue all he wants about the humanity of it all, and I too understand in the real world there is an intangible factor in performance-based activity that can damn statistcis, but in this case there are still scientific laws of probability applicable, and the Red Sox still are the underdogs, in statistical terms, and in a big way. That’s a fact. I hope they defy probability, but YF shouldn’t act is if these laws are irrelevant or non-existent, just because he’s distraught over two tough losses.

    SF October 19, 2004, 4:09 pm
  • Maybe SF should head over to the Learning Annex for a refresher course in probability. The Sox odds of winning are now entirely derived from the fact that they must win two consecutive away games with a dicey pitching staff against a formidable opponent. That’s it. That they were once down 0-3 does not make a victory in the coming games any less probable.

    Nash October 19, 2004, 4:31 pm
  • This is just NOT the same as flipping a coin. The Sox’ probablity of winning has increased from two days ago, but the actual probability of them closing the series out is still low. Not tiny, as it was two days ago, but still low. I don’t see what the problem is here. Why are YFs so concerned about the math?

    SF October 19, 2004, 5:02 pm
  • Also, if I hit the Learning Annex I am definitely taking in the “How to Produce a Radio Show” with Gary “Bababooey” Dell’Abbate, or the “How to make a meatball” with Rocco DiSpirit, not the rudimentary statistics class…

    SF October 19, 2004, 5:04 pm
  • The math isn’t the important thing here. The thing to remember is that if the Sox can hold out to get to the Yanks shotty bullpen (which they did last night – and the night before), then they…..just…..might…

    Anonymous October 19, 2004, 5:47 pm

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