Now that the Giants are finally at rest, we can get back to the things that really matter in sports.
Rioting after victory.
We are not here to tsk-tsk out fellow citizens about the behavior of some of our brethren and sistren engaged in after the end of the World Series. It wasn’t cool, it wasn’t right, it was essentially crummy all around.
But it did serve as proof that San Francisco is no different than Detroit, or Vancouver, or Name-That-College-Town. A championship is often a freebie for the knucklehead brigade, and that’s the real problem with it.
It’s a cliché.
If everybody does it, our self-satisfied smugness demands we not, as a fashion statement. Besides, when protests need to be engaged, the raison d’etre ought to be social injustice, governmental misconduct or something else that actually galvanizes people to do something more noble and worthwhile than flipping a car and using Madison Bumgarner as your defense.
In short, fellow humans, pick your battles better. A baseball championship isn’t it.
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Auston Tymins is a sophomore at Harvard who has done an exhaustive study about bias in college football and in this case polls, showing pretty clearly that there is an SEC bias in polls, and there is likely to remain an SEC bias.
I wonder if his parents know what their tuition money is going for –- the peace of mind of playoff committee member Steve Wieberg? They must be ecstatic to know that he isn’t hogging all the health and economic solutions while trying to figure out how best to explain Jon Wilner at San Jose Mercury News.
On the other hand, he isn’t expected to flip any cars until Harvard beats Dartmouth this Saturday. So there’s that.
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No cars were reported endangered after the big PSS Sleman-PSS Semarang showdown in the Indonesian Premier League, but only because the teams did it themselves.
They have both been suspended from the league after a hilarious match in which the two sides scored five own-goals in the last five minutes of play in hopes of losing and avoiding a playoff with Pusamania Borneo FC, a powerful side alleged to have significant ties with organized crime. Semarang was more resourceful, scoring on itself three times to lose and therefore win, 2-3.
“For the first 80-odd minutes at AAU Stadium in Yogyakarta, both teams refused to attack and stroked the ball around aimlessly in midfield. But when news trickled through at PS Borneo were set to come second in their group, PSS Sleman deliberately conceded two own-goals in quick succession to put PSIS Semarang 2-0 up with two minutes remaining. Not to be undone, PSIS scored three own-goals of their own –- two coming in injury-time -– to ensure they came second in their group, thus avoiding Borneo in the play-offs.”
I will now look into that Raiders-Jets game with increased vigor. And dread.
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Adam Silver, the foolish bettor’s friend, from an interview with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck:
“I do think sports betting on a widespread, legalized basis in the United States is inevitable, in part because states like New Jersey are pushing hard to generate additional revenue. In the same way that lotteries have expanded to virtually every state now, I think sports betting will follow behind. My view is that if that is inevitable, then we need to participate in the regulatory framework that will be designed around our game. Ultimately, we have the responsibility for the integrity of the game, to ensure the competition is pure, to ensure that no one around the NBA family is in any way influenced by gamblers.
What you see now at European soccer games is people placing bets on their phones during the games. While I don’t think we’re gonna move to a framework where we have betting windows in our arenas, I think with the way the world is going you’re gonna see people betting on tablets and phones. And incidentally, I happen to see that all the time at games now. Again, those sites are out there. I’m not even qualified in terms of their ultimate legality, but there’s a lot of them out there right now.
And, I see fans all the time — when I sit in the stands at games — looking at their phones and tablets, and you can see what they’re doing. They’re placing bets throughout the game.”
In other words, as soon as he can monetize it, all bets are on.
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And finally, one last Series-related thing. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs laid out a convincing mathematical, visual and metaphysical case for Alex Gordon not trying to score on the Gregor Blanco cock-up in the ninth inning.
“People want there to be a controversy here. The way the World Series ended was final, conclusive. Salvador Perez, 100% absolutely, made the last out on a foul pop-up. There is no what-might-have-been with Perez’s at-bat. So many have turned to the play before, when Alex Gordon was stopped at third after sprinting on a single and an error. It’s a frantic search for closure that resembles a frantic avoidance of such, and without any doubt in my mind, if Gordon had been waved around, it would’ve made for an all-time moment regardless. But while we can’t say for sure that Gordon would’ve been toast, since the play never happened, it sure seems to me the odds were too strongly against him. Mike Jirschele did the smart thing, and Alex Gordon did the smart thing, and Salvador Perez did the following thing. Barring a miracle, sending Gordon would’ve just ended the game a few minutes sooner.”
“We can walk through some simple break-even math, using this win-expectancy spreadsheet I’ve had for years. All of the numbers are approximates, estimates, but they’re close enough, meaning the result is close enough. As Gordon arrived safely at third, the Royals’ win expectancy stood at about 15%. That’s going to serve as our, I don’t know, fulcrum? If Gordon rounds and makes an out, the Royals’ win expectancy drops to exactly 0%. However, if Gordon goes and is safe, the Royals’ win expectancy jumps to about 55%. So, in one direction, there’s a 15% loss, and in the other there’s a 40% gain. We’re left with a breakeven rate of about 28%. One needn’t argue the details; the breakeven rate was somewhere around, let’s say, 25-35%.
That’s low! That requires a low frequency of success!”
Nice work, but he lost me at I already saw the replay Wednesday night. Sometimes math in the pursuit of the indisputable is just showing off.