# Playoff myths… and predictions!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  I’ve told my wife that she won’t be seeing me for most of October (or apparently, as we’re supposed to call it “Actober“).  She responded by mumbling something like “Well, that’s good to hear.”  October means baseball’s post-season, and the post-season means people start spouting insane things out of their mouths that aren’t really true.
For example, the playoffs are all about momentum.  It’s all about who comes in “hot at the right time.”  Right?  No.  That sounds great, because humans believe in the predictive power of streaks, which is another thing that the data do not support.  It’s one thing to say that the Rockies have won some insane number of games in the last few weeks.  That’s a fact.  And I suppose that makes them “hot”.  And sure, there have been several examples of teams that came into the post-season “hot” and have gone further than most people expected.  But, follow this circle of logic: which teams are most likely to win a lot of games in a row?  The teams that win a lot of games in general.  Which teams are those?  The really good teams.  Who are the good teams?  They’re the teams that win a lot of games.
Going with “the hot hand” (another playoff classic) is about as smart as what I, a practicing Sabermetrician with a reputation to maintain, have done to release my official predictions for baseball’s post-season.  I suppose I could have looked closely at the data, run a few regressions, looked at the matchups, and maybe written a Markov model or two to try to model what the most likely outcomes are.  But that’s not fun.
No, instead, I’m going with the “hot hand.”  And let me tell you, when it comes to predicting 50/50 shots, my wife has been on a roll.  Nevermind that when I told her I wanted to take her to a baseball game, her first question was “Can I bring along my knitting?”  When I yell “6! – 4! – 3!” when watching a game, she looks at me funny.  She once asked me what league my beloved Cleveland Indians were in, then followed it with “Wait, National, right?  She knows next to nothing about baseball.  But, over the past two years or so, just about everyone we know has been having babies.  My wife has made a bit of sport of “calling” the sex of the child, and she’s been right on 10 of her last 11 picks.  She’s got a 50/50 shot.  The chances of someone going 10 for 11 on a coin flip?  About 6 in 1000.  See, my wife is on a roll!
So, I asked her what she saw for the playoff series which are about to descend on us.  I technically asked her after they started, but she wasn’t paying attention.  Here are my wife’s picks.  Remember: she has the hot hand.  I don’t condone betting, but if you live near a place where that’s legal…
National League:
Rockies over the Phillies (reason: “I had to pick one.”)
Cubs over the Diamondbacks (reason: We live near Wrigley Field)
Cubs over the Rockies (reason: “What city has the Rockies?”)
American League:
Indians over the Yankees (reason: “Well, I know you’ll hate me if I don’t pick the Indians.”)
Angels over the Red Sox (reason: “I don’t know.  Why are you asking me this?”)
Angels over the Indians (reason: “Just wanted to see what you’d say.”)
And your World Series champs will be:
Angels over the Cubs.  (reason: *shrug*)
So, the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim California which is near Los Angeles will win the World Series.  That’s my official opinion as a baseball analyst based on the most tried and true method in baseball.  My wife has momentum.  (I don’t recommend thinking too deeply about that last sentence.)
(As you chuckle, think about the fact that the same sort of logic will be used by your team’s favorite manager in at least one of the games coming up this month.  And all of the fans.)

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### One Response to Playoff myths… and predictions!

1. Whiteboy says:

Wait…she picked against the Tribe? Just to mess with you?
Hmmm…this may call for reconvening a tribunal…