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Scott, MIT Graduate
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SUBJECT: MISSION #500 ACCOMPLISHED??                                   I have relatives whom are Dolphins fans who LUCKED out in salvaging that ONE win this last season but have friends of theirs who are TBDR fans (Devil Rays) fans but they played a decade now and still HARDLY anything achieved! and are now worried stiffless that the team may re-locate so my big question is would it almost be a HISTORIC accomplishment if this year or a year nearby the TBDRs at last finish a season at OR above .500 mark??? and finally have something to cheer about? I understand it is more difficult with both NY and Boston in that division but I guess there was an 18 year drought in which the Yankees won a champ from 1978 to 1996. The other part of the "?" is do you think the TRUE odds of the TBDR finish 2008 with a .500 or better mark at least better than rolling at least 4 of the same number on ONE roll of 5 dice??(4 OR 5 of any kind) If you do, could you explain why?
Hi there,

I was the one who gave you a tiny bit of hope about the Dolphins (which certainly paid off), so now let me try to give you hope about the Rays. (By the way, they are officially called the "Tampa Bay Rays" now... no more Devil.)

Let's keep some things in mind...
TB has only been around for 10 years. Yes, they have been below .500 in all of their seasons, but in 2004, they were at .435, which is somewhat close.

Let's get the odds of rolling a 4 or 5 of a kind...
5 of a kind... there are 6 ways of doing this (one for each number)
The odds of each way are 1 in 7776.
The total odds of a 5 of a kind in one roll is then: 1 in 1296

4 of a kind... there are 6 ways of doing this as well...
The odds for each way are (5 choose 4)*(5/6)*(1/6)^4
Multiply that by the 6 ways of doing it, and you get the odds for a 4 of a kind:
25 in 1296

You can add up the odds for 4 and 5's of a kind:
26 in 1296
which is:
13 in 648

That's about 1 in 50...

So the odds of rollling a 4 or a 5 of a kind in one roll is about 1 in 50.

Tampa has had only 10 losing seasons, so what if the next season was a winner? That would make the odds of picking a winning season from the first eleven seasons 1 in 11. Much better than the dice roll. In fact, Tampa would have to have only one winning season in the next 40 seasons to give as bad odds as the dice roll! I'm sure they can squeeze two winning seasons out before the year 2048.

Again, I don't want to give you false hope... but I believe that it's much more likely that Tampa Bay will go .500 next year than you rolling a 4 or 5 of a kind on ONE roll of the dice.

Let me know if you have any questions,
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