Meanwhile, the Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis is trying to extend a more statistically improbable, spiritually uplifting streak — he has hit .247 for four consecutive seasons.
Think about that for another moment.
He has ended each of the past four seasons with a batting average of .247.
Bad-news alert for readers: I am going to bury you in numbers for the next several paragraphs, probably the most numbers you can find outside of a Nate Silver bachelor party.
Good-news alert for readers: These will not be “next-level analytics numbers.” Rather, they will be derived from employing my MacBook Air desktop calculator, which I am only using because my Fisher-Price abacus is out for cleaning.
Khris Davis foreshadowed his statistical singularity as a minor leaguer — he hit .280 in 2010 and then .280 in 2011.
Here’s another statistical anomaly for the 31-year-old — in each of the past two seasons, he had 28 doubles; in each of the past two seasons, he had seven sacrifice flies.
But nothing compares to .247.
Actually, one thing is historically comparable — in each of four straight years, from 1536 to 1539, King Henry VIII of England beheaded 24.7 percent of all people who entered the royal palace.
First as a Milwaukee Brewer in 2015 and then with Oakland in 2016-18, Davis batted .247. The thing is, each of those seasons he increased his hits, homers and RBI.
Yet he always ends at .247.
He has done it in as few as 392 at-bats and as many as 576 at-bats.
Either way — .247.
He’s a slow starter. He was batting .205 on May 6 in 2015, was at .222 on May 23 in 2016, at .207 on May 17 in 2017 and at .210 on May 13 in 2018.
And he always made it to .247.
Well, to be completely veridical, Davis doesn’t end each season precisely at .247.
Anyway, I don’t care how many decimal places we’re talking about; it’s still .247. And four straight seasons at .247 still strikes me as the greatest statistical oddity ever.
But I’m wrong almost one-quarter of the time.
So I decided to ask two of the most successful, high-IQ individuals I know — Austin tech guru/philanthropist Neil Webber and Houston venture capitalist/bon vivant Tom Roupe — the odds of Davis’s .247 penchant.
These guys are so smart, they heckle members at Mensa meetings.
Webber: “Everything that happens is ‘unlikely’ until it happens. Take a deck of cards. Shuffle it. Then go through the deck one card at a time and write down the order of the cards. The odds the cards would be in whatever order you wrote down are 1 in 52 factorial, which is 80658175170943878571660636856403766975289505440883277824000000000000. The odds against those cards being in whatever order they happen to be are astronomically against. And yet . . . there they are!”
Roupe: “If Taco Bell can so consistently deviate from the advertisement pictures of their ‘Beefy Fritos Burrito’ and every other crazy menu item [e.g., bat 1.000 every season] vs. the actual consumer experience upon unwrapping, then .247 for four years is a layup, too.”
Webber again: “It’s 50-50; it either happens, or it doesn’t.”
Wow. They have opened my tired Terrapin eyes.
Right now Khris Davis is batting .238. So I’m guessing it’s pretty much a coin flip he ends a fifth straight season at .247.
Ask The Slouch
Q. What’s up with this record-breaking “Jeopardy!” guy, James Holzhauer? He’s never wrong! (Martin Ross; Tampa)
A. Hmm. This could be a quiz show scandal situation, a la the 1950s. How else do you explain Tim Donaghy in the studio audience on every show?
Q. Which golf-related comeback is more impressive, Ben Hogan winning the U.S. Open just 16 months after being hit by a bus or Tiger Woods winning the Masters nearly 10 years after being hit by a nine-iron? (Steve Owings; Spokane, Wash.)
A. That’s a hole-in-one, sir.
Q. If The Slouch were to write a book, what would the title be? (Jack O’Brien; Fairfax, Va.)
A. I already wrote a book (last century); nobody read it: “Hold On, Honey, I’ll Take You to the Hospital at Halftime.” It’s a tough find at yard sales.
Q. Did Tiger Woods’s “return to glory” drive either of your former wives to reach out to you? (Mort Faller; Potomac, Md.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email email@example.com, and if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash.