Winter Again

And so another season has come to its end. My Mariners pajamas have been packed away until spring* and The Time of No Baseball is upon us.

* Well, they’re in the hamper, waiting for Saturday, our usual laundry day. No, this is not the first time they’ve been washed since April. What a disgusting thought. They generally go into the wash when the Ms get stuck on a losing streak. They got washed a lot this year.

But before we say goodbye to baseball (hasten, oh ye Winter Meetings) I need to give the scorecard on my playoff picks. As you probably guessed, it’s not a pretty picture. My goal is 70% accuracy; my historical mark is closer to 50%. This year did not showcase one of my better outings.

Three out of five in the American League isn’t bad. Typical, even. Thanks to the Yankees, Astros, and Athletics for making it happen.

Over in the National League, however, I barely avoided a shutout. Much as I hate to thank the Dodgers for anything, they were my only score.

That’s a measly 40% across both leagues.

Nor did I do much better once we got into the playoffs.

I correctly put the Yankees in the AL championship and called their failure to make the World Series. Other than that, though…

I predicted the World Series would run to six games. So much for that notion. I’m betting that nobody predicted a seven game series with every game won by the road team. Never happened before–in any sport–and may never happen again. That’s not a prediction, by the way, just a gut reaction.

Far from strolling past the Padres on their way to the championship, the Dodgers went down in flames against the Nationals.

Meanwhile, the Astros had the best record in baseball, allowing them to avoid the Wild Card game and my predicted embarrassing loss to the As. Didn’t help them in the World Series, though.

That–to use a traditional cliche–is why they play the games.

All in all, I might as well have been in Mudville.

Clearly, my methodology needs some work. I’ve considered delaying my predictions, thinking that picking the teams a week into the season would give me a longer baseline and improve my accuracy.

Had I done so this year, my AL picks would have been the Yankees, Twins, Mariners, Blue Jays, and Athletics. In the NL, I would have gone with the Dodgers, Phillies, Mets, Brewers, and Cardinals. That would have improved my overall score to 50%, yes. But I still would have picked the Dodgers to go all the way.

And, as you may have noticed, the Astros wouldn’t even have made the list.

Somehow that doesn’t seem like the kind of statistical breakthrough I’m looking for. I’ll have to consider my options more deeply.

At least I’ve got something to do during the next five months of baseball-free nights.

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