Updating Some Projections …

Back on May 1, six teams in MLB were on track to lose 100 games this year – – and the Reds projected to lose 123 games.  I do not have the inclination to check the numbers, but I doubt that there has ever been a season in MLB where that happened.  Those teams were:

  1. Marlins
  2. Orioles
  3. Padres
  4. Reds
  5. Royals
  6. White Sox

Here we are almost two months later and what do we have:

  1. Marlins now project to lose only 99 games.  I wonder if that will engender a spike in attendance in South Florida.
  2. Orioles now project to lose 115 games.  Buck Showalter has managed 20 years in MLB; his teams have never lost more than 97 games in a season.
  3. Padres now project to lose 92 games.  The improvement here comes despite a 2-8 record in the Padres’ last 10 games.
  4. Reds now project to lose 95 games.  That is a major improvement over the past 2 months under new manager Jim Riggleman.
  5. Royals now project to lose 111 games.  The Royals are in a weak division and are the weakest of the weak.
  6. White Sox now project to lose 105 games.  The White Sox are in the same division as the Royals; enough said about the AL Central.

If all these projections at the halfway point of the season pan out, there will be 3 teams in the AL that will have lost more than 100 games in the 2018 season.  Economists often talk about “income inequality”; this year’s AL standings could show a humongous “victory inequality”.

For at least the last two decades, I have advocated moving the Preakness Stakes to somewhere other than Pimlico Race Course and have suggested on several occasions that Pimlico had all the charm and elegance of an upholstered toilet.  Friends and acquaintances who live in the Baltimore area or who are from Baltimore always reacted as if I had desecrated a religious icon.  My response was always that I call ‘em like I see ‘em.

It seems that my bordering-on-sacrilegious statements may be taking root elsewhere in the minds of folks who might do something about this.  Here is the lead paragraph from an article in the Baltimore Business Journal from yesterday:

“A top city official said Thursday he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the Preakness would remain in Baltimore.”

Evidently, the owners of Pimlico – who also happen to own Laurel Race Course about 30 miles from Pimlico – have estimated that it will take $300M to redevelop and modernize the Pimlico facility.  The city-fathers in Baltimore have some ideas of their own wherein not only does Pimlico Race Course get modernized; the whole neighborhood in the Pimlico area gets redeveloped into a “race track and entertainment hub”.  Here is a link to the article from yesterday if you are interested in the current state of events.

It has been quite a while since I have been to Pimlico for a day of racing; my guess is that my last visit was around 2002 or 2003.  I recognize that neighborhoods can change a lot – for better or worse – in 15 years but my sense is that the neighborhood surrounding Pimlico will cost at least as much to renovate as the estimated $300M needed to make the track into something worth the trouble to visit.  If the city government in Baltimore wants to redevelop/improve the neighborhood, that would be a good idea – – but there does not have to be a racetrack in the middle of the newly improved neighborhood to make the project work.  My position remains the same:

  • The Preakness should be run at Laurel – about 15 miles south of Baltimore city.
  • Pimlico should be razed and the land put to whatever productive use the owners and the city can agree upon.
  • The City of Baltimore has plenty of other things to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on to make life in the city better for lots of residents there.

NFL Futures bets are not pari-mutuel; the odds are not calculated with a simple and widely known formula.  However, NFL futures bets do reflect generally the sense of the betting public.  When a lot of money shows up on a team, the sportsbooks reduce the odds for anyone making a wager after the change of odds.  As of this morning, the Cleveland Browns are 66-1 to win the Super Bowl in February 2019.  Yes, that is the one at the end of this season.  Recall that the Browns have only won one NFL game in the last two years.

You can use that information to consider that the Browns may be significantly improved this year, or you can look at that information and think that some people have more money than brains or … whatever.  I think there is a way to look at this that goes beyond the Browns.  There are 7 NFL teams that are at longer odds than the Browns to win the Super Bowl.  They are:

  1. Arizona Cardinals  75-1
  2. Washington Skins  75-1
  3. Buffalo Bills  80-1
  4. Chicago Bears  100-1
  5. Cincinnati Bengals 100-1
  6. Miami Dolphins  100-1
  7. NY Jets  100-1.

The Browns play the Bengals twice this year and the Jets will come to visit the Browns for a Thursday Night Football extravaganza in Week 3.  Might those opponents use these odds as “bulletin-board material” prior to those games?

Finally, here is a definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:

Ant:  An insect of the family Formicidae, colonies of which have been around for 130 million years and have succeeded in occupying almost every landmass on earth.  Kind of puts your bachelor’s in business administration in perspective, doesn’t it?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “Updating Some Projections …”

  1. All football fans like to believe that their NFL schedule is the hardest. Using the 66-1 Cleveland Browns as the base, which team plays the most out-of-realm teams? Oakland Raiders play four such teams: Cleveland, Arizona, Miami, and Cincinnati. One-fourth of the season: not too shabby a schedule, by this criterion.

    1. Tenacious P:

      Jets will play Dolphins twice and Bills twice and the Browns. That’s 5 “bunny games”…

      Bills and Dolphins play each other and the Jets twice so they have 4 “bunny games” locked in.

  2. I have to admit, why would anyone, no matter the odds, place a bet on the Browns playing in the Super Bowl? Forget winning. I have family in Miami, so I have heard their irrational projections about next year. One or more of them may already have some of that 100-1 action. But the Browns? Never.

    1. Doug:

      My only explanation is that someone plunked down some sizeable bet(s) on the Browns and the sportsbooks felt “exposed” and lowered the odds on the Browns.

      You may be certain that it was not I who did such a thing…

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