The River Styx and one chance in 278 million. Baseball writers are amazing, but they go to a whole ‘nother level when you have nights like last evening.
The baseball gods must have loved my last post, because we were all rewarded with the most improbable and dramatic final day of the season. It was so incredible even Bud Selig couldn’t screw it up. Three of the four games critical to the wild card races in each league were on our local cable system – conveniently located on channels 41, 42, and 43. The only one we couldn’t watch was the least dramatic: the Cards drubbing of the Astros. But for five delicious hours, Candice and I sat by the television, switching between games almost on a pitch-by-pitch basis in the last two hours, to watch the monumental collapse of not one, but two proud franchises (Boston and Atlanta), and the incredible comeback of the Tampa Bay Rays from too many near-death experiences to count.
Baseball writers will opine about this evening for some time to come. But out of the gate, I loved Tom Boswell who – in true Boswell form – went back to the classics:
Red Sox, report to the River Styx at dawn.
Then, as is appropriate in the week when the movie Moneyball hit the theatres, Nate Silver takes a break from politics to tell us that the odds of all the things happening that did happen were – well, just read below:
The following is not mathematically rigorous, since the events of yesterday evening were contingent upon one another in various ways. But just for fun, let’s put all of them together in sequence:
- The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.
- The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.
- The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.
- The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.
Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.
The Church of Baseball…it does feed the soul.
More to come…