Reality bites: The Times ain’t gonna let no stinkin’ facts get in the way of a story

October 8th, 2006 → 10:21 am @ // 4 Comments

“[M]omentum going into the playoffs means nothing, right? Wrong. … Since 1950, the 1990 Cincinnati Reds and the 1974 Oakland Athletics are the only other teams to win the World Series despite finishing the season with a sub-.500 record over their final 30 games. But they had records only slightly under .500, finishing at 14-16. …

So playing well at the end of the season is important. It not only increases the chances that a team will make the playoffs, it also increases the chances it will reach its ultimate goal. …

Playing well at the end of the season may even be more important than playing well over the entire season. World Series champions had a higher winning percentage (.622) over their final 30 games than they did over the entire season (an average of .606). This is not true for World Series runners-up. World Series runners-up win at a clip of .610 over the entire season and over their final 30 games.”

Success in September is the Key to Winning in October
by Martin B. Schmidt
New York Times
October 8, 2006

2006 Playoff Teams and Their Records Over the Season’s Final 30 Games
New York Yankess: 18-12
Detroit Tigers: 13-17
Tigers Win Series, 3-1

Minnesota Twins: 19-11
Oakland A’s: 17-13
A’s Win Series, 3-0

Los Angeles Dodgers: 18-12
New York Mets: 15-15
Mets Win Series, 3-0

San Diego Padres: 21-9
St. Louis Cardinals: 13-17
Cardinals Win Series, 3-1

So, to review: in all four of this year’s Division Series, the team with the worse record over the final 30 regular season games won. The Twins, with the best record in the AL over the season’s last month (and a day), were swept. The Padres, with a .700 winning percentage and the best record in all of baseball over that same period, lost in four games to a team that played .433 ball. Of the four teams in the LCS, two had losing records in September and one (the Mets) went .500…and they only managed that by sweeping the last place Washington Nationals during the season’s final series.

But this must be an anomaly, right? Not in this millenium. The team with the worse record over the season’s final 30 games has won four of the last six World Series: the 18-12 White Sox beat the 19-11 Astros last year; the 21-9 Angels beat the 22-8 Giants in 2002; the 15-15 Diamondbacks beat the 19-10-1 Yankees in 2001; and the 12-18 Yankees beat the 16-14 Mets in 2000.

Yeah, success in September sure does seem to be the key to winning in October.


Post Categories: Media reporting & New York Times & Sports Reporters

4 Comments → “Reality bites: The Times ain’t gonna let no stinkin’ facts get in the way of a story”


  1. Shalomar

    11 years ago

    (CAN I GET SOME LOVE FROM YOU PEOPLE FOR THIS PRECISE PREDICTION I SENT LAST THURSDAY? I EVEN GOT THE NUMBER OF RUNS OFF BONDERMAN CORRECT FOR GOODNESS SAKE. I SHOULD HAVE PLACED SOME DUCKETS.)

    DETROIT WILL WIN BOTH AT HOME, TAKING THE YANKS DOWN 3 TO 1.

    Randy J will be ineffective because he’s old and feeble, and Bonderman will be nasty against a mediocre Wright (did anyone see Bonderman beat the Sox earlier this year? Egads, if he is that filthy, Yanks don’t score 2). And A-Rod got booed viciously today. Ah, the pleasures of Schadenfreude.

    Comment by Shalomar — October 5, 2006 @ 4:56 pm

    Reply

  2. bucket

    11 years ago

    no kidding, Seth

    last time los Wanks won the series they dropped the last 7 games of the regular season and 13 of their last 15.

    I was thinking about that as I was mentally writing off the Sox last year and the Cardinals this year.

    Reply

  3. bucket

    11 years ago

    good call. Last time los Wanks won the Series they dropped seven straight going into the playoffs and 13 of their last 15.

    I was thinking about that as I was writing off the Cardinals this year… And the Sox last year. Ugh.

    Reply

  4. deversm

    11 years ago

    Another example of not letting the facts get in the way of a story, check out this gem from Bob Klapisch. Bob thinks it’s the Angels that ended the Yankees run in 2004. I can understand the confusion as so little has been written about the 2004 post-season. Bob should have checked out this page on baseball-reference.com for the mundane details of the 2004 Clipper squad. I hear there’s also been a book written about it. Something about money, smarts, and nerve…..

    Reply

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