My Trip to West Point

After saying goodbye and thanking Rico Brogna for his talk on scouting to my class, I picked up my wife and we were off to West Point. I was scheduled to give a talk on batting streaks to Father Costa’s sabermetrics class the next day at 7:30 AM. Father Costa is a rare combination. He is a Catholic priest with a Ph.D. in mathematics. He is also considered one of the leading experts in the area of mathematics called sabermetrics. In just two hours we arrived at the security gate at West Point. The security guards checked the car and we were cleared to enter. Father Costa reserved a hotel room at the Thayer Hotel. The Thayer hotel and the church are the only two buildings on the West Point grounds that are not government owned. The Thayer hotel was at one time the home of General MacArthur’s wife’s family. As I drove through the grounds looking for the hotel, I noticed the cadets were either dressed in their formal uniforms, or in their fatigues, or in their running gear. The women and men were dressed the same. We actually had a hard time locating the hotel. We finally arrived at the hotel where we met Father Costa in the Patton Lounge. We then had a fantastic dinner in the MacArthur Dining Room and made final plans for the next day.

My wakeup call at 5 AM sounded like this: “It’s great to be a soldier”, “Be sharp”. Father Costa picked Tara and I up at the hotel at 6:15 AM. Upon arriving at the classroom building, I went to the men’s room to change into my baseball uniform. I then proceeded to Father Costa’s office but made a mistake. I entered the wrong office and encountered a colonel putting on his boots. He looked at me and was shocked to see a man in an old baseball uniform at 7 AM. He later told Father Costa that he thought he had died. I said to Father Costa he should have said  “I guess I was right. God does play baseball.” While in his office we took several pictures. One special picture included Father Costa and me with a full-size cutout of Babe Ruth. Father Costa and I agree the greatest baseball player of all time was Babe Ruth. We are both huge Yankee fans. Father Costa and I then proceeded to his class which starts at 7:30. As I expected, all the cadets arrived on-time to class. One cadet then announced to Father Costa, “all the cadets are accounted for.” Father Costa then introduced me to the class.

My talk was on my published research on various batting streaks in baseball. Of course, the most famous and well-known streak is Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. I developed a new probability formula to predict the probability of any player duplicating this and other batting streaks. For example, Dale Long (who I talked about in a previous posting), Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey Jr. share the record of eight consecutive games with at least one home run. At the end of class,two of the cadets presented Tara and I with gifts. Later, I sat in on Father Costa’s differential equations course.

Father Costa took Tara and I for a tour of West Point. One of the most interesting buildings was the dining hall where all the cadets eat at the same time. The dining hall seats 4200 cadets. It is enormous. There was a board listing all the activities. One activity that surprised me was ballroom dancing (which Tara and I do). We then had a super lunch at the Officers Club. At noon, Tara and I left West Point and headed back to Quinnipiac University so Tara could teach her class at 3. As we traveled up the Merritt Parkway they were cutting trees and we encountered several delays. At 2:30 we arrived at the QU campus and my 27 hours with two special people ended.

West Point 2013


West Point 2013 Dr. Stan The Stats and Father Gabriel Costa Dr. Stan The Stats and Father Gabriel Costa Dr. Stan the Stats Man at West Point Dr. Stan the Stats Man at West Point Dr. Stan the Stats Man at West Point West Point 2013

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