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Regression Toward the Mean
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The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, benefitting from a huge home market and ownership willing to pay lavish salaries, has been a strong franchise in recent years, reaching the postseason four years straight, although they haven’t made the World Series since the Kirk Gibson homer year of 1988.

This summer they went on a historic hot streak, going 56-11 to reach a mark of 91 wins and 36 losses by August 25, putting them on pace for a record 117 wins in one season.

Since then, though, the Dodgers have lost 14 out of 15 games.

 
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  1. DPG says:

    Steve, you’re normally very astute with stats. Regression towards the mean suggests that they would go something like 9-6 over 15 games and regress towards their mean of .667 win percentage. Not go on a losing streak

    Read More
    • Replies: @Colleen Pater
    Humor- its a human thing sperg
    , @Stephen R. Diamond
    Well, regression toward the mean played a role.
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  2. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Yes regression to the Mexican mean.

    LA Dodgers are a Mexicanized franchise with a huge Mexican fan base and a front office eager to cater to that culture. Right?

    So why should they tend to win another world series again? Mexican culture is not a culture of sports champions.

    The pressure to further Mexicanize the franchise will never let up. Not a good formula for a team. Pursuit of excellence? Is that Mexican culture?

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    One really feels sorry for Steve as he sits there on his suburban island while the Mexican ocean rises around him. Visions of Hurricane floods come to mind. No doubt his perspective gives him extra insight into the topics upon which he focuses here.

    When I was a boy there -- living on a street like Steve's, going to Dodger games with my Dad, seeing Sandy Koufax pitch, listening to young Vin Scully on the car radio -- all the kids in my neighborhood were like me.

    Oh, with the exception of the Hungarian kid whose aerospace-engineer dad had brought his family over from "behind the iron curtain." That father was working on a stage of the Apollo Saturn V moon rocket.

    We had a different grade of immigrants there then.

  3. LA can still win the division and there’s always the wild card, Steve.

    But I hear you. The Yankees haven’t won since 2009, which for them is an eternity. Plus there’s no guarantee that they’ll reach the playoffs. So it’s hard all around; different teams have their own crosses to bear.

    But then again, the Dodgers choked away WS appearances in both ’51 & ’62, so for them anythings possible.

    For their final home series, LA ought to bring back Vin Scully and let him call the final games of the season. Should they go to the WS, then Scully definitely should call all the WS games for the national audience. That would be the classy thing to do.

    Read More
  4. Tyrion says:

    The Dodgers are reverting to their own mean. They are not reverting to a taxanonical mean which just so happens to include the Dodgers – because that would make no sense.

    Read More
  5. AMH says:

    They just don’t want to play the D- Backs in the first round of the playoffs, but that is still likely!

    Read More
  6. Not aggressively pursuing the Tigers all stars Upton, JD Martinez, and Verlander and instead going after Granderson and Darvish is why the Dodgers will not be in the WS. Too bad. I have fond memories of ’88.

    Read More
  7. @DPG
    Steve, you're normally very astute with stats. Regression towards the mean suggests that they would go something like 9-6 over 15 games and regress towards their mean of .667 win percentage. Not go on a losing streak

    Humor- its a human thing sperg

    Read More
  8. songbird says:

    I had a kind of funny idea the other day.

    So much of baseball seems to depend on the team salaries. The Yankees often spend the most and are often the best. The Red Sox often spend like the second most and are often the second best.

    What if they tried a different system? Not revenue sharing, but letting the really bad teams steal signs, to make the game more compelling. Would it even work? I have no idea.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Major league baseball has had revenue sharing since 1996. Some owners like to take their share and plow it into making their organization better, while other owners take their share and put it in their pocket.

    There's a whole host of things no owner ever wants to put up with, but foremost is being the Red $ox or Yankee$ ownership explaining that third-place finish to their fans.
  9. That’s not mean reversion … they’ve lost their mojo. Start looking for Dr. Evil.

    Read More
  10. haven’t made the World Series since the Kirk Gibson homer year of 1988.

    Hey Steve, quit trying to claim Gibson as some kind of left coaster. Kirk is and has always been a Detroiter. We don’t have much up here – Gibson, Bill Lambeer, Steve Yzerman, etc. Keep your lefty coast heroes like Magic Johnson (we don’t want him back), but guys like Gibson, Sparky, Bo, these are Detroit survivors of the Africanization of our Arsenal of Democracy (even the Willow Run bomber plant is gone now). Next you’ll be claiming Henry Ford, David Buick, RE Olds, Louis Chevrolet, Horace & John Dodge, CS Mott, and William Durant (you CAN have all their lefty stolen Foundations though – they’ll fit perfectly in LA).

    Read More
    • Replies: @David In TN
    "Kirk is and has always been a Detroiter."

    The Detroit Tigers used to like having as many local boys as possible. The 1968 World Series winning team was loaded with Michigan and some Ohio products. Offhand, I remember Freehan, Horton, Northrup, and Stanley.
  11. Pat Boyle says:

    I do not consider it completely polite to mention Kurt Gibson.

    It still hurts.

    – Oakland Resident

    Read More
  12. ganderson says:

    And if the season ended today the Twins would make the playoffs! Whodda thunk it!

    Read More
  13. @Anonymous
    Yes regression to the Mexican mean.

    LA Dodgers are a Mexicanized franchise with a huge Mexican fan base and a front office eager to cater to that culture. Right?

    So why should they tend to win another world series again? Mexican culture is not a culture of sports champions.

    The pressure to further Mexicanize the franchise will never let up. Not a good formula for a team. Pursuit of excellence? Is that Mexican culture?

    One really feels sorry for Steve as he sits there on his suburban island while the Mexican ocean rises around him. Visions of Hurricane floods come to mind. No doubt his perspective gives him extra insight into the topics upon which he focuses here.

    When I was a boy there — living on a street like Steve’s, going to Dodger games with my Dad, seeing Sandy Koufax pitch, listening to young Vin Scully on the car radio — all the kids in my neighborhood were like me.

    Oh, with the exception of the Hungarian kid whose aerospace-engineer dad had brought his family over from “behind the iron curtain.” That father was working on a stage of the Apollo Saturn V moon rocket.

    We had a different grade of immigrants there then.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    I know Mr Steve likes the subtropical climate of Los Angeles very much. He's said so quite often. But like most readers, I'm sure, I hope he leaves before things get too dangerous and he has to sell up at a loss.
    He's described similar situations in Chicago, so we know he's quite savvy about this sort of thing. But as the poet said, " the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley."
    Let's hope Mr Steve is right.
  14. @Buzz Mohawk
    One really feels sorry for Steve as he sits there on his suburban island while the Mexican ocean rises around him. Visions of Hurricane floods come to mind. No doubt his perspective gives him extra insight into the topics upon which he focuses here.

    When I was a boy there -- living on a street like Steve's, going to Dodger games with my Dad, seeing Sandy Koufax pitch, listening to young Vin Scully on the car radio -- all the kids in my neighborhood were like me.

    Oh, with the exception of the Hungarian kid whose aerospace-engineer dad had brought his family over from "behind the iron curtain." That father was working on a stage of the Apollo Saturn V moon rocket.

    We had a different grade of immigrants there then.

    I know Mr Steve likes the subtropical climate of Los Angeles very much. He’s said so quite often. But like most readers, I’m sure, I hope he leaves before things get too dangerous and he has to sell up at a loss.
    He’s described similar situations in Chicago, so we know he’s quite savvy about this sort of thing. But as the poet said, ” the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley.”
    Let’s hope Mr Steve is right.

    Read More
  15. @DPG
    Steve, you're normally very astute with stats. Regression towards the mean suggests that they would go something like 9-6 over 15 games and regress towards their mean of .667 win percentage. Not go on a losing streak

    Well, regression toward the mean played a role.

    Read More
  16. Well, you could always become a Cleveland Indians follower. ( I am not one.) The Tribe have won 17 in a row and look as if they are going to the World Series – who wants to face them?

    Even the pick-up of Justin Verlander may not be enough for the Houston Astros to get past Cleveland in the AL.

    Of course, it is Cleveland, and they probably won’t win the World Series, so maybe there is hope for your Dodgers yet, Steve.

    “Just a reminder fans, comin’ up is our “Die-hard Night” here at the stadium. Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won a pennant . . . “

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Cleveland was a very strong team last year despite a lack of superstars, but Kluber is pretty close to that this season, and they gave a strong Cubs team all they could handle in the World Series. I'd assume the Indians ought to be the favorites to win the World Series at this point.
  17. @Paul Jolliffe
    Well, you could always become a Cleveland Indians follower. ( I am not one.) The Tribe have won 17 in a row and look as if they are going to the World Series - who wants to face them?

    Even the pick-up of Justin Verlander may not be enough for the Houston Astros to get past Cleveland in the AL.

    Of course, it is Cleveland, and they probably won't win the World Series, so maybe there is hope for your Dodgers yet, Steve.

    "Just a reminder fans, comin' up is our "Die-hard Night" here at the stadium. Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won a pennant . . . "

    Cleveland was a very strong team last year despite a lack of superstars, but Kluber is pretty close to that this season, and they gave a strong Cubs team all they could handle in the World Series. I’d assume the Indians ought to be the favorites to win the World Series at this point.

    Read More
  18. Lakeview says:

    I don’t ever comment. But i wanted to on this seemingly mundane post to say: THIS IS THE BEST BLOG. STEVE SAILER IS THE BEST NON FICTION WRITER. THANK YOU!!!!

    Read More
  19. @Stan d Mute

    haven’t made the World Series since the Kirk Gibson homer year of 1988.
     
    Hey Steve, quit trying to claim Gibson as some kind of left coaster. Kirk is and has always been a Detroiter. We don't have much up here - Gibson, Bill Lambeer, Steve Yzerman, etc. Keep your lefty coast heroes like Magic Johnson (we don't want him back), but guys like Gibson, Sparky, Bo, these are Detroit survivors of the Africanization of our Arsenal of Democracy (even the Willow Run bomber plant is gone now). Next you'll be claiming Henry Ford, David Buick, RE Olds, Louis Chevrolet, Horace & John Dodge, CS Mott, and William Durant (you CAN have all their lefty stolen Foundations though - they'll fit perfectly in LA).

    “Kirk is and has always been a Detroiter.”

    The Detroit Tigers used to like having as many local boys as possible. The 1968 World Series winning team was loaded with Michigan and some Ohio products. Offhand, I remember Freehan, Horton, Northrup, and Stanley.

    Read More
  20. dwb says:

    The Cleveland Indians last year got a lot further in the playoffs than one might have guessed, given that their lineup is not terrific and a couple of their starters were hurt. Kluber is a great pitcher, and Carrasco and Salazar (when not hurt) are also good. Salazar gives up too many BB. The rest not so much. They do have an outstanding bullpen, and they got a bit lucky in beating Boston, and then facing a pretty mediocre Toronto team in the ALCS.

    They’re unbelievably hot right now, but I expect that they will cool off. The ball is bouncing their way almost every time (as it has to to allow you to win 18 games in a row).

    The structure for the playoffs, with SO much rest, gives a team like Cleveland – with one (and with Carrasco, arguably two) ace an additional boost.

    The AL is really pretty mediocre to be honest. Much more so than it has been in the past. If the season ended, Minnesota would make the playoffs despite actually being outscored.

    Read More
  21. Brutusale says:
    @songbird
    I had a kind of funny idea the other day.

    So much of baseball seems to depend on the team salaries. The Yankees often spend the most and are often the best. The Red Sox often spend like the second most and are often the second best.

    What if they tried a different system? Not revenue sharing, but letting the really bad teams steal signs, to make the game more compelling. Would it even work? I have no idea.

    Major league baseball has had revenue sharing since 1996. Some owners like to take their share and plow it into making their organization better, while other owners take their share and put it in their pocket.

    There’s a whole host of things no owner ever wants to put up with, but foremost is being the Red $ox or Yankee$ ownership explaining that third-place finish to their fans.

    Read More
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