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Monday, May 28, 2012

Murray Chass: MEMORIAL DAY MADNESS and TIMES ENDS CONFLICT

In less statistically obsessive times – the good old days, some might say – one popular barometer for forecasting teams that would finish in first place centered on Memorial Day. The teams in first place on the morning of Memorial Day, the belief held, would end the season in first place.

So are we to believe that the Baltimore Orioles will win the American League East and the Cleveland Indians the A.L. Central? Are the Washington Nationals really going to win the National League East?

Maybe they will, but if they do, they will achieve their status on merit, not on Memorial Day statistics.

Perhaps at one time the Memorial Day guideline made sense, especially in the days of two leagues and no divisions. But narrowing the statistical sample to the current era of six divisions, the Memorial Day barometer barely prevails.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, since 1995, the forecast formula has worked only 58 percent of the time, where 56 of 97 teams in sole possession of first place on Memorial Day morning have ended the season as division winners.

Last season only half of the Memorial Day division leaders were division leaders at the end. Texas, Philadelphia and Arizona made it; Boston, Cleveland and St. Louis did not.

The Cardinals nevertheless crept into the post-season as the National League wild card and won the World Series.  ...

TIMES ENDS CONFLICT ...
There is no evidence of cause and effect, but the Boston Red Sox have enjoyed their most successful stretch of the season – 11 wins in 15 games – since The New York Times Company announced it had sold its remaining share in the team.

The announcement, on May 11, was about 10 years too late, as far as I am concerned. That is, in my view, which I have stated previously, the Times never should have bought 17.5 percent of the Red Sox and assorted related properties.

Despite the Times’ contention to the contrary, ownership of any piece of the Red Sox represented a conflict of interest because the Times company owns the Times newspaper and the Boston Globe, the newspaper where most Red Sox fans get their Red Sox fix.

bobm Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:46 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: memorial day, newspapers, projections

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:12 AM (#4141575)
I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s hearing "whomever is on 1st place on July 4 will win the pennant" at least 1000 times.

This is the first I've ever heard of the Memorial Day version.

Is this Murray hitting the inkwell a little too hard this weekend?
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4141577)
I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s hearing "whomever is on 1st place on July 4 will win the pennant" at least 1000 times.

This is the first I've ever heard of the Memorial Day version.

Is this Murray hitting the inkwell a little too hard this weekend?


I've never heard of the Memorial Day version, either. July 4th was the benchmark at least as far back as the late 40's. I have no idea where Chass is coming from with this.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4141583)
Baseball was better when people didn't use so many statistics.

Now here are some statistics to prove my point about baseball.

   4. jwb Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4141584)
I was was surprised by the "Times Ends Conflict" post. I thought it would be about the Times owning pieces of both the Red Sox and the Yankees. Apparently only owning a minority share of the Red Sox is a conflict.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4141591)
I've always heard the CW as the season really starts on Memorial Day.
   6. BDC Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4141594)
I read that as END TIMES CONFLICT and figured Chass was going all Book of Eli on everything.
   7. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4141596)
me too
   8. Chip Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4141618)
We can only hope this results in getting the Globe's Nick Cafardo off of NESN broadcasts.
   9. boteman Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4141629)
Nope. The newly minted Washington Nationals sat in 3rd place on Monday, 30 May, 2005 after beating the Braves, then ran off a 10-game winning streak to start out June. 50-31 at the All-Star Break, 30-51 thereafter finishing dead last with an even .500 record. So it just goes to show that you can't trust these old statistics!

As a Nats fan 2005 was the perfect intoxicant around Memorial Day and shortly thereafter, as NOBODY expected that motley collection of has-beens and never-wases to do much of anything. Memorial Day was a big fat liar in 2005, July 4th an even bigger liar.

This year...well, just please don't wake me up until this dream is over.
   10. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4141634)
I've heard that you shouldn't judge anything until Memorial Day (or 54 games, which is about the same thing) which I suppose is in the same neighbor as RR's rule in #5. I've heard this stuff about the team in first place on Memorial Day.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4141637)
The announcement, on May 11, was about 10 years too late, as far as I am concerned. That is, in my view, which I have stated previously, the Times never should have bought 17.5 percent of the Red Sox and assorted related properties.


I understand this view, but is the Times allowed to invest in anything? They cover everything.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:15 PM (#4141856)
If the Times made money on their Red Sox investment, it apparently would be an exception to most of their recent decisions.
   13. Cris E Posted: May 29, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4142345)
I've never heard of the Memorial Day version, either. July 4th was the benchmark at least as far back as the late 40's. I have no idea where Chass is coming from with this.

That was when Murray ran out of column ideas on July 4. This is when he ran out of ideas on May 28. It's totally different these days.

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