Does 9=8 or does 9=9?

The Rays manager gave them a mantra at the start of the season: 9=8.  The explanation:  9 guys playing to their potential as a team means becoming one of the 8 teams to make the playoffs.  Also, get 9 more wins from the offense, 9 more wins from the defense, and 9 more wins from the pitching, and that’ll give them 93 wins this season, which should be enough to make it into the playoffs.

Well they have achieved that, and now have exceeded it.  They have 95 wins with 5 games left to play, and they keep on winning.  Which brings me to the question:  will they artfully demonstrate their mantra, 9=8, by finishing with 98 wins?  Will they finish with 99 wins, thus seeming to demonstrate that no, math is math, and 9 always does and always will equal 9 and only 9?

Well, let’s see.  They have 8 road games in 7 days to finish the season, and have won the first 3.  The remaining 5 are against two of the three coldest and worst teams in the American League, the Orioles and the Tigers.  They are motivated to keep winning to attempt to both catch the Angels for the best record in  the American League, and stay ahead of the Red Sox for the division title.  The only mitigating factors are that those “chasing” motivations may be gone by the last couple of games, at which point they’ll want to rest players for the playoffs, and also they’re playing on the road, where their record isn’t nearly as good.

I think they’ll finish with one of these, 98 or 99 wins, but it is hard to decide which.  Time to decide.

I like too much the poetry of 98 to mirror 9=8.  I predict the Rays will finish with a 98 and 64 record.

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Red Sox fan is glad the Yankees won tonight

You wouldn’t think it.

Red Sox fans are not supposed to root for the Yankees.  Ever.  Except maybe, when the Yankees are playing a team the Red Sox need to beat.  That was not the case tonight.

In fact, a Yankees loss tonight would have put the Red Sox into the playoffs.  No way I, a Red Sox fan and lifelong Yankee hater, should be rooting for the Yanks.  And yet, I was watching tonight, rooting for the Yankees to beat the Baltimore Orioles.

What gives?

Tonight, the Yankees played their last game in Yankee Stadium.  Next year they move into a new stadium, and the current Yankee Stadium, with all its great baseball history, will be gone.  It was a night for baseball fans to reminisce.  It was a night to celebrate all the greats who played there, all the great moments that occurred there, and perhaps create a few new ones.

It was NOT a night for the Yankees to eliminate themselves from playoff contention by losing.

Even though everyone knows the Yankees will not make it to the playoffs this year (the odds of all the remaining necessary games going their way are about 4 in a million), the fact that they leave their stadium as a team officially still in the hunt is only right.  A loss tonight would have meant they were out of playoff contention for the first time in 13 years.  What a damper that disappointment would have put on a night that should be about positive memories.  Leave that hard truth for another day.  Let it happen with a Red Sox win tomorrow.

Farewells are bittersweet enough.  I will get satisfaction enough tomorrow in seeing the Yankees not make the playoffs.  Let’s not have the Yankees’ worst on-field disappointment in 13 years mar a day of celebration.

About this blog

Tomisphere On Baseball will be a blog expressing anything I’m thinking about matters relating to professional baseball, especially Major League Baseball, and with extra focus on the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies.  I grew up in the Boston area, and have lived in the Denver area since 1999, and follow both teams.

Before creating this blog, I put baseball related posts on my MySpace blog, at http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.viewCategory&FriendID=102632058&BlogCategoryID=23

The Will of the Baseball Gods – a postseason prediction

Here is a prediction for the postseason in 2008:

I believe the Baseball Gods will make their feelings about the ending of Yankee Stadium known this autumn by sending the Red Sox and the Cubs to the World Series.

That would mean that this year, the World Series would be played in the only two parks in baseball that are older than Yankee Stadium, and the only other parks built before 1961.  These three are the only remaining parks to have seen the likes of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio and Ted Williams.

There is a place for these older parks in this game.  They are our most tangible connection to the years gone by when the game of baseball was made great.  The Baseball Gods will want us to know that a move to the newer is not necessarily a move to the better.

Elimination numbers can be misleading

Here is a post I put on my MySpace blog earlier this evening, before the Monday, September 15 games were final.

Sometimes in baseball, a team’s chances aren’t as good as they look.

The Yankees and Toronto are right now tied at 80 and 70.  The Red Sox and Rays are ahead of these two teams, in the same division each with 88 wins (that’ll change by the time you read this, though).  This means that, even though their elimation numbers are 5, at least one of the Yankees and the Blue Jays will do no better than a tie for the division’s best record.

If you don’t know what an elimination number is, it’s the number of losses by a team in their remaining games that will eliminate them from being able to win the division.  In fact, if the sum of wins by the division leader in their remaining games, and losses by trailing team in their remaining games, adds up to at least this number, the trailing team is eliminated.  This number is calculated by subtracting from 163 both the number of wins the division leader already has, and the number of losses the trailing team has.

So if both the Yankees and Blue Jays have elimination numbers of 5, shouldn’t they both be able to pass the current division leader?  Interestingly, they can’t.  Why?  Well, they play each other three times more, so one must lose at least 2 more games, and thus will finish with at least 72 losses.  With at least 72 losses, they can have at most 90 wins.  And the Sox and Rays play 3 more against each other, so one must win at least 2 more games, and so will finish with at least 90 wins.  Hence, at least one of the Yankees and Blue Jays can do no better than tie one of the two current division leaders.

Of course we all know that neither of them will actually make it.  😛