Dear Rob Manfred, The Millennials Are Leaving

By Max Kaplan, “The voice of the millennial sports fan” We millennials are losing interest and it’s not our fault. We can’t sit through another 4-hour MLB game with 11 pitching changes and 15 walks. We groan every time a batter steps out of the box to re-adjust his batting gloves for the third time since the last pitch. Or when the pitcher starts pacing … Continue reading Dear Rob Manfred, The Millennials Are Leaving

NFL Divisional Realignment for Earth Day

by Max Kaplan   [Late edit] I was featured in an on-air interview to defend this article on Earth Day. Earth Day is coming up on April 22, and even the NFL can do its part to reduce its carbon footprint. I mean, just look at the divisions. Why must the Patriots travel all the way down to Miami every year when there are over twenty … Continue reading NFL Divisional Realignment for Earth Day

The MLB Division Series Should Be 1,101 Games Long

By Max Kaplan

The baseball playoff system is messed up. It’s a statistician’s worst nightmare. As both an Angels diehard and a statistician, I have descended into despondency.

After six months and 162 games of baseball, a 5-game coin flip decides the fate of the eight playoff teams. The Los Angeles Angels, considered by many to be the best team in baseball and considered by most to be a better team than the Kansas City Royals, were knocked out in only three games after leading the league with 98 regular season wins. That’s three games – the same length as the common regular season sweep.

I’m going to try to “fix” the randomness and unfairness of a short playoff series. And by doing so, I hope to resurrect the Angels 2014 World Series hopes.

How many games would we need in a playoff series to be fairly confident that the better team moves on? According to my calculations below, that number is 1,101.

Continue reading “The MLB Division Series Should Be 1,101 Games Long”

Third and Six

By Max Kaplan

League-wide, the conversion rate on 4th down is 50% but it jumps to 65% on 4th and 1. Ever wonder how likely it is to convert in a given situation? I ventured to find out, armed with the entire season’s worth of data from 2012.

The goal of 1st down is to create a manageable 2nd down. The goal of 2nd down is to create a manageable 3rd down. But you have to convert, eventually. What are the percentages of converting on a given down and distance?

1st down conversion by situation
*2012 Season
Note: Bigger rectangles are ranges of situations – used when
there weren’t enough plays in a given down and distance.

Continue reading “Third and Six”

Why You Won’t Win Your March Madness Pool (Part 3)

By Max Kaplan This is part 3 of my March Madness bracket series. In part 1, I showed that Florida was the best team to pick to win it all. In part 2, I explained how to choose the rest of your Final Four depending on your pool size and skill. First, I’d just like to express my frustration at a fellow Princeton publication: The … Continue reading Why You Won’t Win Your March Madness Pool (Part 3)

Why You Won’t Win Your March Madness Pool (Part 2)

By Max Kaplan In part one, I showed that Florida, a 3 seed, was the best pick for your bracket even though they are not the best team in the tournament. The next step is to choose your other Final Four teams. Before moving on to the rest of the bracket, I added a few bullet points to the bottom of the previous post to … Continue reading Why You Won’t Win Your March Madness Pool (Part 2)

Why You Won’t Win Your March Madness Pool (Part 1)

By Max Kaplan A couple months ago, I wrote an article that showed how to perform better in bowl confidence pools than 90% of all participants by just following the simple strategy of following the consensus of the nation (by either Yahoo averages or betting lines). To be successful, you didn’t need to know who was playing or who was better. You didn’t need to … Continue reading Why You Won’t Win Your March Madness Pool (Part 1)