Will, my long-suffering best friend and an excellent baseball historian, has some wonderful news for us all.
Whereas I make important decisions about baseball players based largely on the blue, orange and sometimes black uniforms they wear — or don’t wear — Will actually crunches numbers.
With me enjoying jury duty today, Will has stepped up to fill the void and enlighten us:
Greetings, Mets fans, one and all.
Dave allowed me a little space in this forum, and I thank him for that, and so, it is in this valuable space, that I get to say something Mets fans love to hear: Stick a fork in the Yankees; They’re done.
What, you ask, incredulously? How dare you bury the hated Skanks before they’re actually dead? Haven’ t you seen DFJ bloop enough 310-1/4-foot homers to know the Yanks are NEVER DEAD until they actually are? Didn’t the beloved Metsies tank a 7 game lead with only 17 games to go?
True enough, but trust me, dear reader. The Yanks are deader than Roger Clemens’ reputation. For the first time since 1993, a baseball postseason will take place without any games in Yankee Stadium. In the final year of the hallowed ground, no less.
See, the Yanks HAVE been mathematically eliminated.
Baseball guru Bill James came up with a formula for what he calls "virtual elimination." This is the point when a given lead is considered safe, that there is no real chance of a team coming from nowhere to win. With Boston’s win last night (and the Yankees’ loss), the Yanks have reached the point of no return. (They were "eliminated" from the division race before Labor Day.)
The formula is figured thusly: games behind squared / ( games remaining * 4 )
When the result is greater than 1, or 100 percent, the team is said to have been virtually eliminated. The Yanks are 9.5 games behind the Red Sox: 9.5 * 9.5 = 90.25. They have 18 games to go: 18 * 4 = 72; 90.25 / 72 = 1.253
And don’t fear the unseen hand of the Ghost of the Bambino lifting the Yanks to a miracle either. In 132 years, exactly ZERO teams that have been virtually eliminated have come back to win. The closest was the 1951 New York Giants, who were 96 percent eliminated at their nadir. Another half-game back, and they would’ve been KO’d, which considering they won the pennant on the last day of the season is exactly right.
The 2007 Phillies? They were "only" 72 percent eliminated when they were at their ebb.
So, the Yanks are finis, kaput, done like dinner. But remember, when you see a Yankee fan sulking about his or her team’s state, you can help out by providing him or her solace, Chicago style: Just wait till next year.