A mathematics professor in New Jersey has released his annual predictions for the upcoming Major League Baseball season, using statistics and chutzpah to eliminate the need to watch baseball until September.
In Bukiet's case, "physical phenomena" to be modeled include detonation waves, Internet search results, the mechanisms of balance in the human body and "a particular understanding of baseball and cricket."
We'll ignore the cricket comment for now, because no one actually understands cricket. (Those who know all the rules can't explain why anyone would watch a game whose short version goes on all day and includes a tea break for the players; like all unbalanced minds, however, cricket fans are rabidly enthusiastic about their obsession.)
Bukiet posts his predictions, calculations and analyses not only of baseball, but of lotteries, casino games and other gambling opportunities.
Since at least 1998, Bukiet's "particular understanding" of baseball included a statistical analysis designed to predict as closely as possible the regular-season results of all the teams in Major League Baseball.
In 2000 Bukiet developed an analytical model he's been refining ever since, scoring near the top of a list dominated by experts whose knowledge is of baseball rather than calculus.
Unlike most analysts who predict baseball or anything else, Bukiet also posts his results, comparing them (mostly favorably) to predictions by other experts. By his own count he came in first during the 2010 season.
By the count at stats-mad BaseballPhD.net, Bukiet was the most accurate predictor of results among all sources tracked for both 2010 and 2011.
In 2011, long before the season began, Bukiet predicted accurately six teams that would make the playoffs – the Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees, Tigers and Rangers.
(If you'd like to check his results yourself, here are the final regular-season standings, and here is a copy of his predictions, posted March 30, 2011.
For 2012 Bukiet predicts that, for the first time, both the National and American Leagues will end up with two Wild Card teams in the playoffs.
In the American League he predicts last year's division champions will repeat. In the National League he predicted the Phillies and Diamondbacks will repeat as division champions, but the St. Louis Cardinals would win the Central Division over the Milwaukee Brewers, which won it last year.
Bukiet excuses his baseball obsession by saying it's a good way to demonstrate the real-world usefulness of higher mathematics.
For baseball fans it's another set of numbers to use to argue the pros and cons of their favorite teams, however, not a demonstration of good math skills or even a spoiler giving away the season's ending before it's even begun.
If you prefer not to know how your team is going to do, it's time to click over to another page now.
If you're like most baseball fans, you'll be arguing about the numbers behind the table posted here (Bruce Bukiet's 2012 Major League Baseball Projected Outcome) for quite a while to come.
Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.