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Issue Date: May 2007 Issue

And Another Thing

Pythagorean wins? We first learned about the seldom-bandied baseball statistic in a recent Wall Street Journal article that answered our April question asking if the Indians could field a contender on a mid-market payroll (one that was heading toward $70 million, before it slid back following Keith Foulke’s retirement). Allen St. John’s WSJ article predicts the Tribe will play into October based on the team’s ’06 “P-wins” stat — “a ratio of the team’s runs scored and runs allowed, projected over a season to give a more representative picture of that team’s real strength.” Translation: The Tribe was an ’06 underachiever. The club won 78 games, but St. John says its 89 
P-wins show the team was better than that. Think it’s all fuzzy math? The same stat identified the Oakland A’s and the Detroit Tigers as ’05 underachievers. Both made it to the ’06 postseason. And for the true optimist: Based purely on P-wins and a bold assumption of American League dominance, St. John foresees the Indians toppling the New York Mets in the ’07 World Series.

They were all flash, sizzle and marketing, right? Wrong. Though the buzz started months before their first competition, the Burning River Roller Girls (“Rolling on the River,” September 2006) are for real. The roller derby league got moving in April with its “Maiden Massacre” matchup. If you missed it, don’t worry. The league is back this month with “War By the Shore” (May 19). Other cleverly named face-offs are scheduled monthly for the rest of the summer, leading to a Sept. 22 championship.  

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