On triple plays and long odds

Goldman: 'Things are going to get worse before they get better'
Knocking down the Stadium, carefully

The Yankees last turned a triple play during the waning months of the Johnson Administration. In the eighth inning of a game against the Twins on June 3, 1968, John Roseboro came up to the plate with two on and no out. He lined the pitch back to Dooley Womack, a name largely lost to baseball history. Womack threw to Bobby Cox at third to double off Tony Oliva, and Cox threw to Mickey Mantle, who was manning first base, to double off Bob Allison.

These days, if the Yanks turn a triple play, one lucky fan — if you count listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman lucky — will win $10,000 and a year of cable from Time Warner. But there’s a catch: The triple play must come in the third inning. The odds are, as you can imagine, not very high that someone will ever win this contest.

Nowadays, with the Yanks nearing elimination, the broadcast partners are struggling to keep their audiences. To that end, WCBS has been pimping their unlikely contests. Win $1,000,000 if someone throws a perfect game. Score $10K for that third inning triple play. Carl Bialik, the Numbers Guy at The Wall Street Journal, drilled down on those contests this week. He found that Time Warner has a 99.4 percent chance of never paying out the prize and that the Yanks had a 0.3 percent chance of tossing a perfect game.

But keep watching. Someone might win.

Goldman: 'Things are going to get worse before they get better'
Knocking down the Stadium, carefully
  • Count Zero

    Frankly, I find such promotions kind of insulting. Without knowing the exact probability involved in the Triple Play scenario, a modicum of common sense told me that the odds must be incredibly high against. The fact that the payout is only $10K makes it seem like a pretty cheap contest. Your odds of winning $10K at Foxwoods are a lot better and you get free cocktails too.

    This kind of reminds me of that description some wit first applied to State Lotteries: “State Lotteries are a supplemental tax on people who can’t do math.”

    • steve (different one)

      except these promotions don’t cost anything to enter.

      • Count Zero

        What do you mean?

        If the TP promotion costs me having to listen to Waldman and Sterling, I consider that a HUGE cost. Not only in terms of the wasted years of my life, but the sheer agony of listening and its probable detrimental effect on my long term health! I would rather pay thousands of dollars than have to listen to Sterling and Waldman.

      • Count Zero

        I take it you buy lottery tickets all the time? :-)

        • steve (different one)

          no, never.

          but i agree with your point about Sterling/Waldman.

          that’s a hidden cost i never considered. the promotions mean extra words coming from Waldman’s nostrils.

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    Lean over the Edge of the wall to catch a Derek Jeter homerun that changes the lead and gives the Yankees the Edge, while sitting next to world-renowned guitarist The Edge from U2, during the Yankees home game on September 21st (the Edge of autumn), and you can win Derek Jeter’s…

    Gillette Fusion Power Razor!

    • Count Zero


  • Mulls

    are they ever gonna change the announcers on the radio its seems like theyve been on forever and i just cant bear to listen anymore

    • bklynJT

      I second that. I can’t stand listening to 880 while driving home from work. I actually tune to the XM broadcast of the game so I can hear the home team broadcast (when yankees on the road). John Sterling, the voice of the Yankees…no wonder they are losing.

      • Ron

        Back when Michael Kay did the color, Sterling was actually okay. He has, however, been unbearable for quite some time. Suszyn, on the other hand, has been horrible from the beginning. Not to play the gender card, but I have to think the ONLY reason she has a job is because she’s a female. She brings nothing in terms of insight or knowledge to the table, and fingernails on a chalk board is preferable to her voice.

  • Matthew R

    Didn’t realize no triple plays in 40 years. Does anyone recall “almost” triple plays? I vividly remember one in the early ’70s. Runners on 1st and 2nd. Batter hits line drive right up the middle. Gene Michael catches it a few feet from 2nd base, steps on the bag, easy toss to 1st base to get the third out by 10 feet…and Ron Blomberg drops the throw! I was around 12 at the time and flew into a rage, missing out on what would have been the single most important baseball moment of my fandom at that time.

  • Rich

    I shake my head when $10 per strikeout is the payoff to the Eddie Lucas charity/foundation. I know $10 is better than nothing but it sounds like so little when at the end of the postgame a whopping $30 is donated if the Yankee pitchers have 3 k’s.

  • Nickel

    I’d rather enter the “perfect game” contest. Since the last Yankee triple play, there have been two Yankee perfect games. (Although maybe I’ll wait until we sign Sabathia first. :-))

  • Ron

    To illustrate how bad the Yankees were in the late 60s, Horace Guy “Dooley” Womack was actually one of the better pitchers on the team, with only Mel and Fritz coming to mind as better.

  • Steve

    Ben, are you sure the last Yankee triple play was in the late 60s?

    I could have sworn Nettles turned one in the late 70’s on a play over the 3B bag. Stepped on the bag and went around the horn. I was a little kid at the time, but I remember watching it.