Spirits or Just Good Pitching?

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Larry Smith

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Oct 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/29/99
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A Native American chief is now suggesting that the Atlanta Braves are
cursed and lost the World Series because they angered spirits with their
chanting and "chopping." I wondered why the Yankees looked so impressive.

Larry Smith


http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2561828356-492

August Pamplona

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Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
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I don't really know anything about baseball, but isn't losing 4
World
Series in a decade a good thing (in the sense that you've actually made it
to the World Series 4 times)? The way I see it, a decent curse should make
the team perform significantly worse than what they'd be most likely to
achieve by chance alone (it's just my arbitrary criterion, but if I were
in
the market to purchase a curse, that's what I'd want --or my money back).
First of all, I am assuming that reaching the World Series means
ending
with the # 1 ranking in your league (and there are 2 leagues so reaching
the
World Series means being one of two teams who participate in the final
competitions, am I correct?). If this is not so, please excuse my
ignorance
and don't bother to read the rest because it builds on those assumptions
(I
am not a person who would be competent in using sports as a subject for
small talk).
Assuming every team has equal skill (and every team has an equal
probability of reaching the World Series by just plain old fashined dumb
luck) and assuming 10 teams in each league, every year a team would have a
10% of reaching the world series each year. In this scenario the chances
of
not reaching the world series at all in a decade are actually pretty good
(about 35%). The chances of actually reaching the world series 4 times in
a
decade are actually about 1% (the probability distribution for 10 teams
winning a certain number of games in one decade is: 0 - 35%; 1 - 39%; 2 -
19%; 3 - 5.7%; 4 - 1.1%; 5 - 0.15%; 6 - 0.014%; 7 - 0.00087%; 8 -
0.000036%;
9 - 0%; 10 - 0%).
Since there are more than 10 teams in the league that the Braves
belong to,
the probability distribution is shaped a little differently from what I
listed above and the 1% chance of reaching the World Series 4 times in a
decade is actually an upper limit (in other words the true odds of
reaching
the World Series are actually less than that). I'll ignore the fact that
in
one year in the last ten there was no world series (if you take that into
account the odds are even more unfavorable).
Of course, the conditional probability of not winning 4 times once
having
reached the World Series looks a little bit more like a curse (1/16
=6.25%) --though it is the sort of a curse that involves having done
really,
really well for the season as a whole and not so well in the last few
games.
I believe there's a legendary team (for me to know about it must be
legendary) known as the Chicago Cubs which might whish to be cursed in
this
way (not having made it to the World Series in 40 years, see
http://espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs99/s/history.html).
If I had purchased a curse on the Atlanta Braves to be operative
this last
decade I'd definitely want my money back. If someone is going to state
that
a certain team is cursed, they should at least go to the trouble of
picking
one with a really bad track record.


August Pamplona

LN

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Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
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I don't think that curses are supposed to work logically; doesn't it
torment a team (and its' fans) more, if they win their division and LCS
and ONLY THEN be humiliated in front of a larger audience? When I'm in
the market for a good curse I look for one that's capricious. This one
seems to have worked just fine on the Braves, letting them have a taste
of success; soon it will doom them to mediocrity.

BTW, I loved the mock war chant in the Bronx, with the fans waiving
brooms. Or will this bring a curse from the wicked witch of the west?

LN

> I don't really know anything about baseball, but isn't losing 4
> World
> Series in a decade a good thing (in the sense that you've actually
> made it

> to the World Series 4 times)? >>>snip


Tim Stevens

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Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99
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> BTW, I loved the mock war chant in the Bronx, with the fans waiving
> brooms. Or will this bring a curse from the wicked witch of the west?
>
> LN

Being a native New Englander and a long time Red Sox fan, one can only
hope....


Tim

********** We have met the enemy and he is us - Pogo **********


Dale Sharp

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Nov 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/2/99
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To: ske...@efn.org <ske...@efn.org>
Date: Friday, October 29, 1999 4:51 PM
Subject: RE: Spirits or Just Good Pitching?


>I don't think that curses are supposed to work logically; doesn't it
>torment a team (and its' fans) more, if they win their division and LCS
>and ONLY THEN be humiliated in front of a larger audience? When I'm in
>the market for a good curse I look for one that's capricious. This one
>seems to have worked just fine on the Braves, letting them have a taste
>of success; soon it will doom them to mediocrity.
>

>BTW, I loved the mock war chant in the Bronx, with the fans waiving
>brooms. Or will this bring a curse from the wicked witch of the west?
>
>LN
>
>
>

>> I don't really know anything about baseball, but isn't losing 4
>> World
>> Series in a decade a good thing (in the sense that you've actually
>> made it
>> to the World Series 4 times)? >>>snip


Those whom the gods (or spirits in this case) would destroy they first
make
proud.

Dale Sharp


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