October 29, 2010

From a NY Times article entitled "Confidence in Abundance, despite an E.R.A. of Infinity":
When the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse opened for reporters after Game 2 of the World Series in San Francisco on Thursday, the only player talking was Derek Holland. Five minutes after the home clubhouse opened Friday, before a workout at Rangers Ballpark, Holland was back at his locker, ready for more.

Clearly, Holland is taking responsibility for one of the worst pitching performances in World Series history. But he also is ready to move on.

“I’m not worried about it,” Holland said Friday. “Today’s a new day. They’ll call on me again. It’s frustrating, but it’s over.”

Holland, a 24-year-old left-hander, came into Game 2 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, a runner on first, and the Giants leading the Rangers, 2-0. He threw 11 balls before his first strike, then threw another ball before he was removed.

Three batters. Three walks. Twelve balls, one strike. All the runners scored, leaving Holland with an infinite earned run average for the World Series.
I presume the reason why he is said to have an "infinite earned run average" is that he allowed three earned runs without retiring a batter, so lets look at this statistic in particular. Earned run average is calculated by multiplying nine by the number of earned runs allowed, then dividing that total by the number of innings pitched.

Since Holland failed to retire a batter, he technically didn't "pitch" an inning, so the quotient in this case is zero. When I was learning math back in the day, I was taught that anything divided by zero was "undefined," which didn't necessarily mean the same thing as "infinity." Has the consensus in this field changed since I was in school? Since the Texas Rangers have a team ERA that is numerically defined (10.69, to be exact), it would seem impossible for one of the component parts of that team statistic to be equal to infinity. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Holland has failed to register an ERA in the World Series?

October 26, 2010

Proud and Elite: Compliments of Kevin Drum, here are my answers to the Berlinski Quiz on my plebian qualities, or lack thereof:
1. Can you talk about "Mad Men?" Yes. It pretty much encompasses all of my cultural thinking.
2. Can you talk about the "The Sopranos?" Yes.
3. Do you know who replaced Bob Barker on "The Price Is Right?" Drew Carey, right?
4. Have you watched an Oprah show from beginning to end? Probably, but I can't say for sure. It may have been when she was still doing shows about Satanic cults molesting children.
5. Can you hold forth animatedly about yoga? No.
6. How about pilates? No.
7. How about skiing? No. Never skied in my life, not once.
8. Mountain biking? No.
9. Do you know who Jimmie Johnson is? Yes, but I know more about who Jimmy Johnson is. Haven't really paid much attention to NASCAR since Dale Earnhardt died.
10. Does the acronym MMA mean anything to you? Yes. It means the games I want to watch on Saturday are going to be preempted at South.
11. Can you talk about books endlessly? Yes.
12. Have you ever read a "Left Behind" novel? No.
13. How about a Harlequin romance? No. Both 12 and 13 are an extremely cliched notion of what's popular in Red State America (as is 9, for that matter)
14. Do you take interesting vacations? As opposed to uninteresting vacations? Sure.
15. Do you know a great backpacking spot in the Sierra Nevada? Yes. It's called Yosemite, and it's one of the most visited sites on the planet.
16. What about an exquisite B&B overlooking Boothbay Harbor? Until reading the Murray column, I had never heard of Boothbay Harbor, so I suppose the answer is no.
17. Would you be caught dead in an RV? If I had the money to buy one and the affluence not to work, I wouldn't mind in the slightest. In fact, I'd probably drive tween Yosemite and Boothbay Harbor. I once even spent the night in my grandpa's RV up in Kernville.
18. Would you be caught dead on a cruise ship? Dumb question. Cruise ships vary between the ultra-luxury variety (ie., Crystal, Silverseas), the premium ships most people think of when they of cruising (like Princess or Cunard) and the three-day booze cruises down to Ensenada. Had Murray really wanted to nail his point, he would drawn the distinction, and said that the New Elite "wouldn't be caught dead" on a Carnival or Royal Caribbean ship, where many of the passengers probably also vacation in Branson and read Paul LeHaye. But since he didn't, yes, I would, and in fact, do.
19. Have you ever heard of of Branson, Mo? Yes, but I wouldn't be caught dead there.
20. Have you ever attended a meeting of a Kiwanis Club? No.
21. How about the Rotary Club? No.
22. Have you lived for at least a year in a small town (besides college)? No. Other than college, I've lived in LA my whole life. So far.
23. Have you lived for a year in an urban neighborhood in which most of your neighbors did not have college degrees? No.
24. Have you spent at least a year with a family income less than twice the poverty line (other than college)? Yes.
25. Do you have a close friend who is an evangelical Christian? Several, in fact.
26. Have you ever visited a factory floor? Yes.
27. Have you worked on one? No.
So according to this quiz, 16 of 27 answers would identify me as a Red State, potato-eating, Fly-over country, teabagging lumpenprole. Crap.