29 September 2007

In which baseball people continue to think weird things

Apparently conventional wisdom in baseball is that a leadoff walk is more likely to lead to a multi-run inning than a leadoff home run.

(This was said by the Smart People on Fox with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Greg Dobbs at bat for the Phillies. Aaron Rowand led off the inning with a home run, then Jayson Werth flied out.)

But they asked the people at Stats, Inc. about this, and it turns out the conventional wisdom is wrong -- a lead-off home run is more likely to lead to a multi-run inning.

Of course! It's a lot easier to get two runs in an inning if you already have one. I know conditional probabilities are counterintuitive, but they're not that counterintuitive.

(As of right now, in this inning there are runners on first and second, with one out, and one run scored. The Phillies are down 4 to 1.)

Baseball commentators say other mathematically unsound things: see here. There are plenty of others but I don't write them all down.

1 comment:

Michael Cassidy said...

The comment I've heard that drives me crazy is "They don't want a home run they just want a hit."

I think what they mean is that they need a hit even if its is NOT a home run, so therefore the batter should not swing away.

Congratulations on the Phillies.