26 October 2008

Bert and Ernie teach probability

From Alan Schwarz in the New York Times:
You can hear it in the same broadcast booth. One announcer will say that Joe Hitter is in a slump, suggesting that he is somehow plagued and that his chances of success are lower than normal. Then, as if on cue, the color man (in jovial agreement) will say that, yes, Mr. Hitter is due to break out— implying that his chances of success are higher than usual.

These exchanges and more are collected on the recently released three-disc set, “Bert and Ernie Teach Probability.”

Things have been slow around here; between the World Series, obsessing over the election, and Real Work, the blog's kind of getting left behind. But I thought you might appreciate this. According to the model implied by What Announcers Say, the hitters who are most likely to do poorly in a given game are the ones who have been performing near their long-term average.

(Oh, and by the way, "Bert and Ernie Teach Probability" doesn't exist. I was up late last night -- the game didn't end until quarter of two in the morning -- so I'm not thinking quite straight. So I checked. It should exist. Dear Internet, get working on that.)

1 comment:

Sean Henderson said...

It really is kind of a applicable, though. Look at the last two games. Ryan Howard had been in kind of a slump, and now 3 home runs in two games and Joe Blanton, never hit a homer in his career, finally breaks in with his first. I guess it 'kind of' makes sense.