Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Most Misleading Stat Since One Second Ago

One of my least-favorite broadcasters in Boston sports (which is saying a lot), Dale Arnold, seems to have been given the NESN Daily job as opposed to being on an extended fill-in assignment. Last night, when showing the highlight of Crawford's triple, he said it was Carl's first triple since September 27th.

Obviously this makes the viewer think, "Wow, it's been a long time since Carl Crawford hit a triple." But I, being intelligent, immediately thought: Crawford has only played in a handful of games this season, and September 27th was right at the end of last season. And if you hit one triple in a handful of games, well, that's pretty much normal.

So I did the very quick and simple math to see just how normal. Since 9/27/11, Carl has played in 13 games. One last year (the 9/28 season finale), and 12 this year. Then I looked at the amount of triples he's hit over his career going into last night: 112. And then the number of games: 1376. Using what we call "division," I learned that Carl hits a triple once every 12.29 games.

In other words, after he hit the triple on September 27, based on a decade's worth of major league stats, you could expect him to hit his next triple 12-13 games later. Which is what he did.

So Dale (or the person who wrote the copy) saying that Crawford hasn't hit a triple since the EXACT FUCKING TIME you'd expect is like saying "That's the first dump I took since yesterday!"

[Bonus: If you want a more recent sampling, Crawford has tripled only about every 16 games since 2009. Meaning him tripling tonight was 3 games ahead of schedule, and that's coming off an injury, too. So no matter how you look at it, they really screwed up. Unless you just think it's crazy he hasn't tripled in 10 months without considering the fact that he's only played 13 games over that time. It seems like these kind of no-impact stats or stats that give you the wrong idea come up a lot on NESN. Hey, I should write a blog....]

Bonus: Just to be extra dick-ish to Arnold, I added in Crawford's MINOR league stats, and figured out that in his entire professional career, his triple rate is even CLOSER to 13 games, at something like 12.78. Making the stat that much more irrelevant. Crawford's triple last night was as close to exactly on cue as is possible.

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