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July 18, 2007, 01:11 AM ET
Bonds and ESPN

by Nate Silver

I’m tired and road-weary. I am going to get to go to Dodger Stadium tomorrow, which is very cool. But that isn’t helping me to remember math that I last studied a decade or so ago, so I’m probably missing something with respect to multiple endpoints or something like that, and can expect a helpful e-mail from Keith Woolner or Tom M. Tango tomorrow. But here’s what I’m getting on the Bonds hates ESPN hypothesis.

Barry Bonds has not started 16 of the 91 games that the Giants have played so far this season. There are 260,462,895,672,871,000 (260 quadrillion) possible combinations of games that Bonds might have “chosen” to miss. For example, Bonds missing Giants games # 88, 4, 62, 18, 22, 23, 61, 2, 91, 54, 87, 10, 58, 19, 65 and 83 is one such combination.

Of those combinations, 1,200,635,647,008,340 (1.2 quadrillion) involve each of the three Giants games that have been nationally televised on ESPN this season, as well as any other set of 13 non-ESPN games.

In other words, the probability that if Bonds were picking 16 out of 91 games at random to miss, it would so happen that all 3 of the ESPN games were included among those 16, is 1,200,635,647,008,340 divided into 260,462,895,672,871,000, or about 215-to-1 against.

So this is relatively unlikely to be just a coincidence.

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