Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Hard Fought Battle

It was a battle of the Laramie's bowling elite on Monday night at the Lanes of Laramie. Or perhaps more accurately, it was Laramie's bowling elite vs. Laramie's bowling losers, the Movements. We gave it our all, but the Lazers took three of four. We had a solid night, putting up nearly 1,900 pins. We had two 900 games but only managed to win one of them. With every game, one could hear the swords of gorgons clashing on the battlefield, whatever that means.

I'll just hit the highlights. Game 2 was a spectacle to behold. Despite a team handicapped 902, we lost. The real battle was among the Lazers. It was the Briefcase vs. the Kid Wonder in a death match to 300. The Kid started with seven straight, but The Briefcase later countered with his own seven-bagger. They both ended with matching 268's, so nobody had to die this night. Even though The Bruin was having a hard time finding the pocket and that they had an absent bowler (Baker, Jr, who still bowls like 228 when he isn't even there), we could not compete with the raw talent of the Lazers.

In Game 3, we were already down two games and about a Roman C of pins, but we fought to the end to win the game. I will demonstrate the fortitude of the BM's with a new tool on the BM Report, the Victory Probability Tracker®. The VPT was inspired by similar graphics used to describe a team's chances of winning a baseball game as the game progresses. Here's an example. Unlike the much more sophisticated baseball model, our model does not take into account what the other team is doing because we lack those data. It is instead based on team frame by frame scores and past outcomes. Here's the VPT for Game 3 last night:

We started off strongly early on. Johnebob went X, X, 6/, X for his first four. I struck the first followed by a split. The Rook went strike-spare. JD went 9, man spare in the first two. After the scoring for Frame 1 was complete, we already had a 63% chance of victory, but over the next five frames, we slipped back to 50-50. The game was looking lost, but for the last four, we bowled toe to toe with the Lazers. Daniele, who had struggled to get X's all night landed a four-bagger. Johnebob put a double on top of that. I got an X and a couple of slashes, and the Rook added one of each. By the end of the game, we had pushed our chance of victory to near 70%, which was good enough to get one on the night.

Since I love the numbers, I'd like to point out one more interesting happening. Johnebob absolutely dominated the first frame. In Game 1, he started with a turkish delight. In Games 2 and 3, he started with two-baggers. In all, he averaged a hefty 28.0 pins in the first frame. One should keep in mind that the maximum that can be attained for any frame is 30, so an average of 28 is very beefy. In fact, nobody has ever come close. The graph below shows the frequency distribution of average frame scores for the Movements for all series on record.

This is a lot of data. In fact, it includes 1,152 average frame scores. That's 10 frames per bowler for four bowlers for 38 nights of bowling. In short Johnebob's 28 pin average for the 1st frame was sick. It is a major outlier. Nobody has gotten even close. The next closest was a 25.3 pin average for the 2nd frame from February 2, 2009. Who did that? Johnebob of course, the master of choosing a frame to dominate for the night. Lest he get a big head, I will note that for Frame 10 last night, he averaged 8.3. That's bowling for you.


  1. Victory Probability Tracker®. I like it! But until it's been proven on BCTDs (Bowling Crash Test Dummies) like us, you'll never know if you'll get your patent.

    Same goes for the not-yet-formulated Choke Probability Tracker®. :)

  2. I'm still working on the Choke Probability Tracker, but I am nervous to roll it out. I am afraid of what it has to say about me.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.