Friday, September 4, 2009

One of the most bizarre emails I've ever received

Not just for Astros County. I mean, ever. I have to reprint it in its entirety. Even union guys are getting all Sabermetric:

Friday September 4, 2009

Contacts: Eric Sharfstein, Workers United / Jason Oringer, Workers United,

Superstitious Fans Wonder: Is Ballpark Concessionaire Aramark bad for Baseball teams?

Baseball teams in stadiums that use concessionaire Aramark fall short of expected performance, get caught stealing more, and have fewer home runs than teams that don’t use Aramark

New York - As playoff races heat up across Major League Baseball, superstitious fans and statisticians may want to include one more factor when trying to guess which team will come out on top: What concessionaire is selling hot dogs at the ballpark? According to a look at the numbers by Workers United, baseball teams with home stadiums that use Aramark to sell beer, hotdogs and other ballpark snacks, get caught stealing bases more, hit fewer home runs and have worse “luck”.

“I’ve always heard that Wade Boggs used to eat chicken before each game for good luck,” said Brian Callaci, researcher with Workers United. “Perhaps luck-obsessed players today should look into which company is selling chicken to fans at their ballpark.”

The experts at track a statistic called Pythagorean Win-Loss, the expected win-loss record based on the number of runs scored and allowed by the team. They also track Pythagorean Luck, the difference between the actual win-loss and the Pythagorean win-loss. A lucky team is a team with a Pythagorean Luck score higher than 0. That means the team wins more games than it should based the number of runs it scores and gives up. An unlucky team is a team with a Pythagorean Luck score lower than 0. That, of course, means that the team wins fewer games than it should based on the number of runs it scores and gives up.

In a comparison between teams with home stadiums that use Aramark and teams with home stadiums that do not, Workers United found that non-Aramark teams’ average luck is .40 and Aramark teams’ average luck is -1.93.

The teams whose ballparks use Aramark are: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics,Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, and Minnesota Twins.

Although several of these teams have a good shot at getting to the playoffs, their luck has been down.

To check out the data, go to:

No Luck at Work

“We don’t know that Aramark causes bad luck,” said Callaci. “But we do think that Aramark workers are unlucky to have an employer that is so cavalier about violating workers’ rights.”

At baseball stadiums and other job sites across the country, Aramark is violating the law and disregarding workers’ rights. For example, food service employees at Fenway Park in Boston won a $1.5 million dollar settlement of a class action lawsuit this July that accused Aramark of pocketing their tips and service charges. Elsewhere, Aramark is unlawfully withholding workers’ union dues at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and Coors Field in Colorado.

"I am a loyal fan of the Rockies,” said Michael Johnson, who is a food service worker at Coors Field in Colorado and a Workers United member. “I sure hope the bad luck we've had with Aramark keeping our dues and not recognizing our officers and staff doesn't rub off. I want the Rockies to make it to the playoffs again AND I want to be able to see my union rep in the building again."

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