The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 31, 2022

New Exciting, Accurate, Easy To Play Baseball Game Debuts Tonight

Join Kurt Bergland, one of the nation’s top sports gaming Youtube experts, as he debuts our new easy to play, highly accurate tabletop Baseball Game–Saberfast Baseball. The video debuts Thursday, March 31, 2022, at 7 PM Eastern Time/6 PM Central/5 PM Mountain/4 PM Pacific.

After the conclusion of the video, the Saberfast Baseball Game will debut for purchase at a link to be provided on this website tonight.

The new game will feature the complete 1964 Major League Baseball season with every player that even appeared in one game given his own batter card and every pitcher that threw in one game given his own pitching card. This game allows you to replay the entire 1964 season using the same lineups and pitching rotations used in real life. If you want to be the manager with full control on how to use your roster, there are rules in place that allows you to manage without using as-played lineups. And, if you so desire, you can place all the players in a pool and conduct your own draft to make your own teams.

The game is easy to play and quick-playing with a basic set of rules that can be mastered in less than 15 minutes. There is an optional advanced set of rules that make this game highly advanced with as much strategy as Chess or the ancient game of Go.

Batting Card
Pitching Card
Ballpark Card

November 24, 2021


Filed under: News & Views — piratings @ 7:02 am

This morning, something incredible happened with the PiRate Ratings. Somebody visited this site looking at the PiRate Picks for this week not knowing they were the one millionth visitor to the PiRate Ratings!

Thank you to each and every one of you that have visited this site. I started this site in the first decade of this century because the football ratings were no longer appearing in radio or print journalism. It was going to be a brief sojourn into the worldwide web, but one day, while my wife and I were vacationing in a rustic lakeside cabin, a New York Times sports columnist briefly mentioned my ratings, and overnight, I had too many subscribers to let down.

I hope to keep you entertained while at the same time encourage the younger patrons to develop an interest in statistics and analytics. When you finish your schooling, several things you learned will never be used again. Knowing the date of the Magna Carta or what a Bicameral legislature is will not be something you will need to remember, even though both are supremely important to your freedom. On the other hand, math skills will continue to be important throughout your life.

This portion of an email came to me five years ago from a 14-year old girl in Ohio. She was (probably still is) a big Ohio State football fan and wanted to be a sports reporter. Her TV idol at the time was Suzy Kolber. When she wrote that first email, it was to tell me that Ohio State was 30 points better than Michigan and didn’t agree with my three ratings which favored the Buckeyes by 5 to 6 points. I explained to her that day a little about how I used regression analysis to take past results, weigh the results so that the most recent results carried more weight, and used that information to try to predict future results.

When Ohio State beat Michigan by a field goal, keeping UM from going to the Rose Bowl, she sent me another email asking me where she could learn more about regression analysis, because she wanted to write her term paper on the subject.

Through the years, I have received updates from this teenager. From regression analysis, she developed a love for security analysis, soon to become totally infatuated with value investing. Her plans to go into journalism in college, probably at Ohio State changed in the summer between her junior and senior years of high school. By this time, she had become highly competent in math, where she had once suffered from math anxiety.

She graduated high school in 2020. Instead of going to Ohio State to study journalism, she chose the University of Pennsylvania over the University of Chicago, where she then earned a scholarship to their prestigious undergrad business program. Her goal is to continue on to Wharton Business School upon graduation. Once she earns her M.B.A., she hopes to find gainful employment with an investment firm and maybe start her own company down the road.

She still loved her Buckeyes and follows this website every week to see how much her team is expected to win their next game. But, what made me so happy is when she told me that ever since she read my disclaimer when she was in high school, she started to invest monthly from the income she received working as a baby sitter and other summer jobs and has continued to invest the same amount every month. She is a contrarian value investor, going for the boring corporations with strong track records.

This is why the PiRate Ratings continue to exist. I could have stopped taking all the time it uses to update these ratings every May through August and then way past Midnight into Sunday mornings during football season. But, if just one Sara from North Royalton, Ohio, still reads this site and gains something from it, I will do my best to keep it going and try to reach visitor number 2 million.

Thank you to all.

February 21, 2021

Incredible Tabletop Baseball Game

Sabertooth Baseball

It’s been 30+ years in the making! When the creators of the PiRate Ratings decided to create the best tabletop game on the market and then supply it as an email to the consumer game at a discount rate, it was not a spur of the moment task.

We’ve been playing an advanced statistics baseball game on the PiRate ship for many years. What started as a simple (free) alternative to the $50 to $100 games in the 1970s evolved into a game that others believe is superior to them all. Our game has options that no other publicly marketed game includes. Additionally, when you purchase other baseball games, you get a single season set where the last place team is not very fun to play, because, well–they stink! Rather than play the 100-win champion against the 100-loss last place team, what if every team in the game was great? That’s what we have done with this introductory set. Look at the teams you get with this game.

TeamYearThe Fun
White Sox19204, 20-game winners plus Shoeless Joe Jackson and Eddie Collins. Lost pennant in final day after scandal
Browns1922Should have won the AL pennant. George Sisler hit .422 and Ken Williams became the new Babe Ruth
Senators1924Walter Johnson led the DC team to its only world title until the Nationals did it in 2019.
Yankees1927The best ever with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs, Tony Lazzeri, Waite Hoyt–can anybody beat them?
Athletics1929Lefty Grove leads a stellar pitching staff. Al Simmons, Mickey Cochran, and Jimmie Foxx smack it hard
Tigers1935The Big Blue Machine! Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, and Mickey Cochrane with good pitching too
Red Sox1946Ted Williams, Dom Dimaggio, Bobby Doerr, and Johnny Pesky lead a poweful offense that won 104 games
Indians1948The last Cleveland title featured Bob Lemon, Bob Feller, Larry Doby, Al Rosen, and an old guy named Satchel
Giants1922John McGraw’s best team after the Dead Ball era with a roster full of lumbermen
Pirates1925A scrappy team of contact hitters with speed and just enough pitching to win high-scoring games
Cubs1935This team had it all except a World Series title. The last Cubs team to win 100 games until the 2016 title
Reds1940Pitching and defense took this team to 101 wins and a world series title playing small ball
Cardinals1942Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter lead a team that won 70 of their final 91 and 38 of their final 44 games
Braves1948Spahn and Sain and pray for rain added additonal pitching to go with a brilliant on-base average offense
Phillies1950The Whiz Kids with Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons, and the first super ace in Jim Konstanty
Dodgers1953The Boys of Summer with Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella and Carl Furillo

You will have to pay from $50 to $100 for most advanced strategy games that actually somewhat simulate baseball reality. There are many cheaper games that include little realistic strategy. We give you the best of both worlds. This game will retail for $8 per set and will come to your email address in zip files, where you will print the cards, charts, and rules. All you need to supply are 3, 10-sided dice of different sizes or colors, 1, 6-sided die, and 45 minutes to an hour of your time.

And, how much will this game cost you? Less than $10! The retail price for this game will eventually be $8 per set once the second set has been made and ready for sale.

We are offering this game as an Opening Day Special at just $7, or about 1/10 of what some of the popular board games will cost you.

If you like fancy graphics, colorful pictures, and less strategy, then honestly this game isn’t for you. But, if you are like so many of our subscribers to the PiRate Ratings, this game is going to reward you with advanced strategies you will not see in other games. Luck isn’t going to give you the upper hand over time. Picking the best strategy for your roster, your ballpark, your weather conditions, and your opponent are the keys.

Visit our new sister WordPress site at :

October 30, 2020

Halloween 1970–A True Story

This is a true story.  One part of it was left out to protect the identity of someone who is still alive and does not want to be mentioned in this story, ever.

It was October of 1970.  My maternal grandfather had passed away in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a year earlier, and my mother and father took our family to visit our grandmother for weekends quite frequently for the next couple of years.  It was Halloween weekend, and we were going to go trick or treating in Chattanooga with my grandmother’s neighbor’s children, and then spend the rest of the evening at one of their homes.  Some of the parents on the block were going to supervise the kids.  My parents, grandmother, and some of her friends were planning to spend that Saturday Halloween night at a dinner club, The Pan-o-Ram Club, on Lookout Mountain.

Plans didn’t come off as expected.  It began to rain heavily late on the afternoon of the 31st, and a windy cold front moved into Chattanooga.  Trick or treating would not happen due to the elements.  So, at the last minute, arrangements were made for a sitter for my 5-year old brother and me (then 10 years old).  A teenage girl from the neighborhood came over to stay with us.

About an hour after the adults left for dinner, the electricity went out in East Ridge, where my grandmother lived.  The rain continued to fall, but now there was thunder and lightning.  On top of that, there were some weird sounds emanating from outside my grandmother’s house.  Her house was located on the right side bottom of a hill where the road curved sharply to the left.  When cars came down the hill, their lights shone into her den and kitchen.  About once every 5 to 10 years, a car came down the hill too fast and couldn’t negotiate the turn.  The driver would run off the road into her front yard.  There was a huge crabapple tree preventing cars from potentially hitting the house.  Just beyond that tree was a three-foot deep ravine separating her house from the next one.  When it rained, the ravine became a rapidly flowing creek that spilled into the large creek, which ran across her back property line.

When we heard one of the loud sounds outside, our first thought was that a car had come down the hill and couldn’t make the sharp curve in the very wet street.  The sound wasn’t loud enough for it to have hit the tree, but it could have gone off the road, into the ravine, and been carried into the creek behind the house.

It was pitch black dark, except for the occasional bolt of lightning and car driving down the hill.  With the temperature dropping outside and no electricity, the house began to get a little chilly.  Our sitter went to the hall linen closet to get some blankets to put around us, as I sat on the den couch.  She also went hunting for candles to provide a little illumination; the house was as dark as the outside.  We had one little flashlight, and she took it to find her way. 

As she went into the other room, I peeked through the translucent sheer in the den to look outside toward the street and glanced over toward the tree and ravine where I thought I had heard the sound.  There was nothing there.  The streets were as empty as if it were 3 AM on a weekday.  There was no visible candlelight coming out of the other houses on the block.  For a 10-year old, this was not the most comfortable of situations. 

Things became a little tense, when the sitter returned from the hall with the blankets.  She had let out a tiny shriek as she walked through the kitchen into the den.  I asked her why she made the sound, and she told me she had looked out the breakfast room windows toward the back yard and thought she had briefly seen someone near the large creek.  The image was visible during a brief flash of lightning.  But, on the next illuminating bolt, just a second or two later, the image was gone.

“It was probably just in my head,” she said.

You can figure out what was racing through my mind at that moment.  No adults were in the house.  My little brother was sleeping on the den couch, and I was with a 15 or 16-year old stranger who wasn’t the brightest light bulb in the chandelier.  I decided to call my grandmother’s next door neighbor, a former minor league baseball player with the Chattanooga Lookouts and former football player at Auburn.  I figured he could protect us.  Unfortunately, he was not at home.  Neither was the family that lived on the other side of my grandmother.  I remembered that no other light seemed to be coming out of any of the houses on the block.  We might have been the only people on the block at home at that moment.

Nothing happened for the next 30 minutes.  It was eerily quiet and still quite dark, since we could not find any candles and had to preserve the flashlight batteries.  My brother slept, not knowing what was going on.  Had the drapes been closed and not just the thin sheer, we would have been unable to see anything and would not have looked at the door every time the lightning struck or a car drove down the hill.  It was the lightning and car lights that occasionally illuminated the den and preserved our flashlight.

It was approaching 10 PM, when a huge flash of lightning lit up the entire front yard.  I was looking toward the sliding glass door that led from the den to the driveway at the precise moment the lightning struck.  The sitter was doing so as well.  We both saw the outline of a large body trying to peer into the den through the door.  With just the sheer in place, it was quite easy to see the image. The image looked like it was a large man over 6 feet tall and bulky.  He was wearing a large floppy hat and possibly a rain slicker.  His hands and face were on the glass door in a position helping him in his attempt to see through the semi-transparent sheer.  We couldn’t see his face, just his outline through the sheer.  Luckily, the sitter didn’t scream this time, and I was too scared to move much less say anything.

The next bolt of lightning came about 15 seconds later.  The image was gone.  The sitter started to panic not knowing what to do.  I knew we had to call the police ASAP.  The phone in the den was at the end of the room nearest that sliding glass door, so there was no way I was going to go near it.  Then, the thought struck me:  the door was unlocked!  Back in those days, people didn’t always lock their doors.  In fact, people frequently left their homes with the doors unlocked.  Times were different, or at least people were naïve enough to think so.

I told the sitter the door was unlocked.  She had no intention of walking over to it and turning the lock.  So, in my best G.I. Joe impersonation, I crawled on my belly to the den door.  I peeked out the drapes from the opening in the very bottom.  The image wasn’t there, so in Speedy Gonzales fashion, I jumped up, locked the door, pulled the thick drapes shut, and ran back to the couch next to the sitter.  She hugged me tight enough to feel her breasts hitting my face.

She was still too scared to use the phone by the door, and by this time, the sitter realized she needed to contact the East Ridge Police.  She went into the kitchen to use the phone in there.  As you might have guessed, the image was now in the backyard visible from the breakfast room window (a window that also had only a translucent sheer).  She let out a huge scream, and the image ran away.  This time she got a better look at the image and knew she had seen a real, live human male.  She quickly picked up the receiver.  The line was not dead, but it was cracking and on the verge of going dead.  Several inches of rain and hours of lightning had taken its toll on the primitive phone lines of that time.  By this time, I was in the kitchen trying to find out what the commotion was.  She told me she had seen a large man in the back yard, and I told her to call the police immediately.  She was now scared that lightning would strike the line and blow off her ear.  So, I picked up the phone to call the police.  The line wasn’t dead, but I could hear a faint voice on the line.  It sounded like a man talking in a low, dull, somewhat ethereal voice.  I couldn’t make out exactly what he was saying, and he could not hear me or at least didn’t acknowledge hearing me.  It was obvious to an adult that the phone lines were crossed due to the storm, but of course, I immediately put two and two together and came up with five.  I immediately thought it must be that image outside tapping into the line and keeping us from calling out.

For the next few minutes, I picked up the phone in 15-second intervals trying to get an outside line.  The voice on the line was gone, but I couldn’t dial out.  The sitter had gone back in the den to look after my brother, who was sleeping through it all.  Finally, I got a live line.  40+ years ago, 9-1-1 did not yet exist.  I had to dial the operator and ask for the East Ridge police.  She connected me, and I began to explain what had happened and the situation with us being alone with a panicking sitter.  Luckily, they didn’t consider this a prank from a kid, and within two minutes, a patrol car came by with a huge search light shining into every yard.  They stopped between my grandmother’s yard and the house to the left.  I watched from a tiny side window as they apparently spotted something in the neighbor’s side yard and got out to investigate, but at a very slow speed.  It appeared as though they didn’t want to confront whoever it was that was running around in the dark on a cold rainy Saturday Halloween weekend night.

The officers walked back to their car and drove off.  They never came to our door nor called.  So, at about 11 PM, the sitter called them back.  They told her that they had seen somebody run behind the neighbor’s house and disappear around the area of the large creek or possibly run up the hill through the small patch of woods.  By the way, those woods ended at an old cemetery. 

The sitter was told on the phone that the police drove around to the street on the other side of the creek, but they could not locate anybody there.  They told her a squad car would periodically patrol the area on either side of the creek for the rest of the night and for us to keep all our doors locked and drapes closed. 

About a half hour later, the adults returned from their night out.  We told them what had happened, but they thought we were making it all up as part of a Halloween prank.  The next morning, my dad called the police just to make sure this was all a joke.  He found out to the contrary.  Several people on the other side of the creek had also seen the person and called the police, which was why they took my call seriously.  It was not the first rainy night, nor the first Halloween that they had received this call.

For the next few years, other people saw this person in the area of South Chickamauga Creek late at night, especially when it was raining.  Nobody ever caught him or got a picture of him.  Then, after about 1975, nobody ever saw the image again.

I do not believe in paranormal phenomena.  I believe there was a rational explanation like someone trying to pull off a prank, maybe someone from that neighborhood who knew where to cross the creek on the two little wooden pedestrian bridges or where the roads crossed it.  He moved away, stopped doing it, or died.  Many people in the neighborhood joked that it was the ghost of a man who had been hit by a car in 1959.  He supposedly had been walking in the rain late at night and had been knocked into the creek with his body never being found.  I don’t know if that accident actually every happened, but I do know a few people drowned in that creek in the past without the aid of a car hitting them.

My grandmother passed away in 1992 in that same house.  When we went back for the final time to clean out the house prior to its sale, I walked into the back yard toward the creek.  Things had changed, as the once five or six feet body of water was now a dry rocky ravine.  Only an occasional puddle of water was visible.  I walked down the creek for a few hundred feet, and lo and behold, I found an old, floppy, faded yellow rain hat, in a state of disrepair like it had been there for several years.  Might it have been THE HAT that the image was wearing that night?  We’ll never know.

April 12, 2020

Special Quick Monetary Advice

Filed under: News & Views — Tags: , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:07 am

Don’t Fall For The Scams!


Hello to all regular PiRate Ratings readers.  For 99% of you stopping by, those of you who are competent in analytics, this special publication is something you obviously know, since we take pride in knowing that the overall IQ of our readers is off the charts above normal.

However, even though this may be quite obvious to you, chances are you know many people that cannot grasp what is obvious to you.

During this time of unprecedented global emergency times, unscrupulous medicine shows will sprout everywhere on your computers and phones.  We have seen it already here in our homes, where we gave seen popup ads for buying gold and silver before they go up 10 fold, and another ad has appeared warning us to buy Bitcoin before it skyrockets forward.

These ads attempt to sell the public based on fear.  The fear that panic will run rampant in the streets and paper money will become worthless as you need wheelbarrows full of it to buy a bottle of milk.  These nefarious nabobs use their psychology to get you to put your money in something other than legal tender trying to convince you that your money will be worthless at this point.

Ask yourself these questions.

If your paper dollars will be worthless if there is a legitimate massive shortage of food, why would metal or electronic coinage be worth anything?  If Smith has 10 pounds of potatoes, and Jones has enough gold or Bitcoin to pay for 10 pounds of potatoes, but Smith needs 10 pounds of rice, and there is a global emergency where money is worthless, which will be worth more–the metal or the food?  Obviously, if there was a real emergency with money becoming worthless, durable goods will be the important currency, and barter will replace financial trade.  Some of these bunko artists tell you that you cannot eat the paper dollars in times like this.  Actually, you can eat paper a lot easier than pieces of metal.

Ask yourself this important question.  If these scoundrels believe that only gold and silver is going to be worth anything in their perceived future, then why are they willing to offer you their gold and silver for your paper currency?

Gold and silver are excellent inflation hedges and nothing more.  The same amount of gold in 1920 bought you a nice new Ford than it does in 2020.  There have been short-time disparities, but in the long run, gold and silver will match overall inflation, mostly because more money is printed.

Ask yourself this question: Would you be willing to invest in a retirement account at the age of 25 only to find that in 40 years, your account is worth the exact same thing it has always been worth?  If you invest the equivalent of a new Ford today, and in 40 years withdraw what will buy a new Ford then, what’s the point in investing at all?

The foundation of free and open markets is that if we invest at a young age and continue to invest through the course of our careers, when we reach retirement age, we will have enough money to buy multiple Fords as well as food and clothing for the next three decades.

Durable goods, those essentials that can be stored over time, might be the superior investment if there really was to be an emergency.  Many of you might have seen unbearable lines at the grocery or department stores.  The fear might begin to be realistic if this pandemic begins to shut down the wholesale providers of these goods, and it might cause additional runs on these goods as people begin to panic worrying that their refrigerators and pantries will soon be empty.

Will people be lining up in droves to buy gold, silver, or Bitcoins?  No, and these commodities will not have any extra worth.  When the demand for something outweighs the supply, it is that something or somethings that become the more valuable commodities.

I am not telling you to run to the grocery store at 4 AM after becoming 100% liquid to be first in line tomorrow morning, so you can buy out the store in beans and rice.  What I am telling you is that when some nefarious naybob attempts to sell you gold and tells you that your paper dollars are going to be worthless, ask the bunko artist why he or she wants your paper dollars for his or her gold.  Then, laugh and leave.

January 28, 2020

PiRate Ratings Special Report: 2020 Iowa Caucuses

The PiRates here at the PiRate Ratings do not believe in editorializing or expressing political opinions.  When we publicize political events, this is an extension of our application of statistical calculation.

If you ask us which candidates we ally with, our answer is “none.”  Our alliance is trying to be as accurate as possible and to have the best predictions of the outcomes of the races in question.  We do not want to influence any voter in any way.  That said, here is our mathematical look at the first in the nation Democrat’s Iowa Caucus.

First, for those of you that don’t closely follow the Iowa Caucuses, it is an interestingly unique form of choosing candidate preference.  In 2020, there are 1,681 caucus sites.  Unlike normal polling precincts, these sites are more localized.  Some of the sites are in peoples’ homes.  In other areas, libraries, churches, schools, social halls, and community centers may host a caucus site.

Caucus goers sign in and usually have the opportunity for refreshments, much like a school PTA meeting.  Representatives from within the caucus footprint for each candidate (sometimes not all candidates have a representative at a caucus site) speak briefly about their candidate.

After speaking, the caucus-goers are then directed to a certain location to show their support for their chosen candidate.  For example, at a West Des Moines school cafeteria, the candidates may be divided into each of the four corners, the stage, the tray return area, and in the middle of the room.  Let’s say the candidate you support has a sign above a table in the Northwest corner of the Cafeteria.  When the time comes, you simply walk over to that table and stand or take a seat in a chair.

After the time period given to make your first choice, multiple officials (of different candidates) come around to count and verify the number of caucus-goers that chose each candidate.

That’s not the end of the festivities.  After this first go around, there is a period of time where everybody can then change and choose a different candidate.  At this time, a lot of lobbying is done by supporters of other candidates trying to get people to change their minds.  This is not an exercise in futility, as many people do change their support.

In order to receive any delegates, a candidate must receive 15% of the count in the location in order to be considered “viable.”  If a candidate does not reach 15%, then his/her supporters can then choose to caucus with a candidate that has already reached 15%, or they can simply leave the site and not be counted at all.  The lobbying by the supporters of the viable candidates get to play like they are back room brokers.  It is an interesting real life game.

Now that you know  a little about the process, let us tell you a few facts that we use to predict the outcome.  First, past performances in prior years offer minimal bias for this year.  In other words, just because something happened in 1972, or 2004, or 2016, it does not hold as much weight as the somethings happening in 2019 and 2020.  Past situations in Iowa marginally affect the polling bias we apply to the raw numbers.

To be more specific, the Iowa Caucuses have been a little biased toward the more vociferous voter.  In many cases, the elderly, overly shy, and others did not necessarily attend.  Bitter cold and inclement weather also has kept people away.  This isn’t like an election day in another state, where the polls are open from 7AM to 8PM.  They begin at precise times, and you must be there or not participate.  In 2020, there has been an added element to allow people unable to attend for valid reasons (like being old like our Captain) to participate electronically via computer.  This could slightly affect the outcome, but the prior bias is still there.

How do we predict the outcome of the Iowa Caucus?  By no means do the PiRates conduct their own polling.  We’re too small to poll our own local council race.   We rely on multiple polls by polling companies that have consistency.  Notice, we did not say accuracy; we said consistency.  If the John Smith National Poll chose Candidate X to beat Y and Z with a predicted percentage of 45 to 35 to 20, and the actual vote count was 42 to 34 to 24, this creates a bias.  In this case, the poll bias slightly favored X and discounted Z.  If Smith polls consistently overstates the favorite and understates the underdog, we can see the bias.  We call that a positive bias.  FWIW, The PiRate Football and Basketball Ratings have historically consistently had a small negative bias–we give underdogs a little better credit than we give favorites.  Because in sports the underdog covers the spread more than the favorite, the PiRate Ratings have numerous times finished at the top versus the spread.

What we do is to find the most consistent polls.  If they are off by a percentage with a low standard deviation, they are consistent.  All we have to do is adjust their polling data to erase their bias.  So, if Smith consistently has a bias of 1 percent in favor of the third place candidate at the expense of the fourth place candidate, we can factor that into a more accurate prediction.

We aim to find multiple polling sites so that we can form raw percentages every week during the election cycle.  The most important cycle to us is the one that encompasses the polls taken in the final month of the race.  It is during this time where large numbers of undecided voters make their decision. 

What we end up with is a 30-day Moving Average.  We can perform simple linear regression and to make it easier  simply draw a straight line that best represents the candidate’s support.

For instance, let’s say that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt jump off the rocks at Mount Rushmore and come back to life.  They all decide to run for President in the Granite Party.  Polls on January 1 after smoothing for bias show Washington with 29, Jefferson with 27, Lincoln with 25, and Roosevelt with 19.  On January 8, it’s Washington 28, Jefferson 27, Lincoln 24, and Roosevelt 21.  On January 15, it is Washington 28, Jefferson 26, Lincoln, 23, and Roosevelt 23.  On January 22, it is Washington 29, Roosevelt 25, Jefferson 24, and Lincoln 22.  On January 29, it is Washington 30, Roosevelt 28, Jefferson 23, and Lincoln 19.

Washington has led the polling for the entire month, but Roosevelt would be our pick to win that poll that mattered on February 3.  Looking at his last 30 days in the polls, he has risen 22%, while Washington has risen  3.4%. Between that January 29 poll and Caucus night, it’s not just five days later.  The poll released on 1/29 was calculated from data obtained between January 22 and January 26.  In actuality, the poll is eight to 12 days old.  Since Teddy has been steadily gaining the entire last 30 days of the race, he will win the night with 31 to 32 percent.  Washington will be just behind at 30-31 percent.  Poor Abe might have to worry about viability in a lot of precincts, and he might perform worse than his polling indicates, when his supporters choose another candidate or go home in precincts where he polls at 10-14%.

Now that you’ve seen how we work, here is how we predict the Iowa Caucus results will finish in statewide percentage in six nights.



Bernie Sanders


Joe Biden


Pete Buttigieg


Amy Klobuchar


Elizabeth Warren


All Others


November 5, 2018

Final Analytical Look at the 2018 Mid-term Elections

Pardon our brevity today, but we do have other tasks at hands on the PiRate ship.  This is our final election eve analytical look at the 2018 Mid-term Election races.

U.S. Senate

We were tempted to make one slight change today based on the final reliable polling coming from a couple of honest pollsters.  However, in these states, Early Voting has already seen large percentages of voters deciding.  We have to use the polls at the time of Early Voting, so we did not move the needle at all.

For three weeks, we have been split between 53-47 and 54-46 in favor of the Republicans in the Senate.  Our Over/Under spread would be 53 1/2.

U.S. House of Representatives

This could take up hours more than we have to explain, and if you are reading this 14 hours before the polls open on the East Coast, you only have time for a couple of paragraphs.

Based on our models of handicapping the polls based on their recent biases from the previous election, we believe that the Democrats are assured of picking up 13 seats as their floor and 34 seats as their ceiling.  They currently own 193 seats, so this bumps their minimum in the next Congress to 206 and a maximum of 227.  It takes 218 to get a majority.

We believe that there are about 26 seats remaining that are true tossup races.  Of the 26 tossups, the Democrats need to win 12 of the races to gain control.  If you factor in that the Democrats polled a little better three weeks ago when some states commenced with early voting, we tend to tilt the needle of toss-up races in their favor.  If we had to wager on an over/under number for the number of Democrats in the next Congress, we’d place that number at 219.5, since our data shows the Democrats taking control of the House by a margin of 219 to 216 or 220 to 215.

Gubernatorial Races

We must admit that we did not perform any additional data mining on the governor’s races.  We will stick with our over/under number of 26.5 in favor of the Republicans, as our data is split between 26-24 and 27-23 in favor of the GOP.


Our plea with our incredible brothers and sisters of the greatest nation in the world.

Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, please act like a good and decent human being and accept the results without resulting to violence.  Our nation received the most incredible gift from our Founding Fathers.

There is a fantastic quote attributable to Benjamin Franklin in 1787.  When Franklin was leaving Independence Hall following long hours of discussion at the Constitutional Convention, a lady asked Franklin as he left the hall whether our new nation would be a Republic or a Monarchy.

Franklin’s genius reply was, “A Republic if you can keep it.”

My fellow friends and countrymen, we are doing our worst not to keep it.  I lived through the 1968 through 1972 election cycle.  I never believed the nation could become more divided then than ever again in my lifetime.  We are approaching this four year black eye.  Let’s stop it before it can surpass those four years.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

November 1, 2018

Update To An Analytical Look at the 2018 Mid-term Elections

This update to the statistical analysis we gave two weeks ago will be shorter than the previous post given due to time constraints, but we believe it will be a little more accurate now that there are many additional points to plot on our regression boards.


Safe Seats

Dianne Feinstein (D)

Chris Murphy (D)

Tom Carper (D)

Mazie Hirano (D)

Angus King (I)
King caucuses with the Democrats.

Ben Cardin (D)

Elizabeth Warren (D)

Debbie Stabenow (D)

Amy Klobuchar (D)

Roger Wicker (R)

Deb Fischer (R)

New Mexico
Martin Heinrich (D)

New York
Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

Sherrod Brown (D)

Rhode Island
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)

Mitt Romney (R)

Bernie Sanders (I)
Sanders caucuses with the Democrats.

Tim Kaine (D)

Maria Cantwell (D)

John Barrasso (R)

Moved from Safe to Leaning

Minnesota Special Election
Tina Smith (D) vs. Karin Housley (R) Smith +4

Smith has the advantage, but her lead has dwindled to the point where a large GOP voting turnout could flip this seat to the Republicans. Housley has proven to be a formidable campaigner and has cut a double-digit lead down to within the margin of error when our formula has been applied.

Toss-up States


Kyrsten Sinema (D)

Martha McSally (R)

Recent news of statements made by Sinema concerning her constituents has cost her almost any chance of winning this race. It is almost a safe seat for the Republicans

Bill Nelson (D)
Rick Scott (R)

This is probably the closest race in the Senate. Voter turnout on election day will decide the winner. The stats show Nelson with less than two-tenths of a percent lead. Might there be a challenge by whoever loses? In Florida, it’s a good chance.

Joe Donnelly (D)
Mike Braun (R)
Lucy Brenton (L)

This race became a lot more interesting at the end of October, as the Indiana Democratic Party released a mass mailer telling people to vote for Libertarian candidate Brenton, as a ploy to get Braun supporters to vote for Brenton and thus give Donnelly the win. Braun was once a Democrat, and he may lose just enough support to Brenton for Donnelly to win with a plurality but not a majority of the vote.

Mississippi Special Election Primary
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)
Mike Espy (D)
Chris McDaniel (R)
Toby Bartee (D)

Hyde-Smith appears to be in excellent shape to finish in first in the open primary, but she should fall short of the needed 50%+1 vote to avoid a runoff election. McDaniel is closing in on Espy for second place, but it would be a major upset if the runoff election did not pit Hyde-Smith against Espy. Hyde-Smith polls double digits ahead of Espy in the runoff, which will be held on November 27.

Josh Hawley (R)
Claire McCaskill (D)

James O’Keefe at Project Veritas is proving to be the 21st Century version of Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes in the 1970’s and 1980’s. His undercover sleuthing looks to have proven to be a mortal wound for McCaskill, and The Show Me State is looking like a Republican pick-up. O’Keefe showed them.

Jon Tester (D)
Matt Rosendale (R)

This race has gotten even tighter since our last report. We have moved it to leaning Democrat to toss-up. Tester led this race by close to double digits just after Labor Day, but it is now well within the margin of error, and this is usually a Red state. We believe that Rosendale may have a slightly better than 50-50 chance of defeating the incumbent Tester.  With the Independent candidate dropping out of the race and endorsing Rosendale, this could give the Republican the final two or three percent he needs to defeat Tester.


New Jersey
Robert Menendez (D)
Bob Hugin (R)

Menendez should have secured this victory weeks ago, but Hugin continues to remain within striking distance. How the suburban turnout goes on Election Day will determine if this race will be decided by less than 2% either way. We still believe Menendez will squeak by, but this race has moved from leaning Democrat to Toss-up barely favoring the Democrat.

Dean Heller (R)
Jacky Rosen (D)

This is one race where we have tossed out the outlier polls on both sides. We believe these polls to be too partial and thus discount them to the point where they offer no accuracy. The remaining polls have showed a slow but steady climb in the numbers for Heller. Rosen needed to hit about 48% in the most recent reliable polls, and she has failed to do so. When the challenger cannot get to 48% in the final week of an election, the incumbent will win 90+% of the time. We believe Heller wins by as much as 6%.

North Dakota
Kevin Cramer (R)
Heidi Heitkamp (D)

Really, we should put this race into the safe Republican section, but it began as an up for grabs seat, and we will leave it here. Heitkamp had too much against her in this state. Cramer has become a star in the House of Representatives, and the House seat in North Dakota is a statewide race. In essence, Cramer has more notoriety statewide than the incumbent Heitkamp. Plus, this is a heavy Red state, so the numbers just work against Heitkamp here. Expect Cramer to approach a double-digit win.

Bob Casey (D)
Lou Barletta (R)

Casey has never seriously been threatened in this race, as Barletta’s campaign never took off in the Metropolitan areas. Barletta needed to sweep the Pittsburgh suburbs, and it looks like he is barely getting a majority in this area. Meanwhile, Philadelphia supports Casey by a large margin, and this will lead to Casey winning in a minor landslide.

Marsha Blackburn (R)
Phil Bredesen (D)

James O’Keefe strikes again! Former Nashville Mayor and Governor Bredesen was holding his own in this race in a state that went heavy for President Trump in 2016. When Project Veritas released video of the Bredesen campaign admitting that support for Justice Kavanaugh was a lie, it threw this race into safe territory for the GOP. Plus, Bredesen might have already lost a little of his female base by showing support for Kavanaugh. Blackburn has a chance to score a double-digit victory and become the first female ever to be elected to statewide office in Tennessee.

Ted Cruz (R)
Beto O’Rourke (D)

Cruz is polliing above 50% in all major polls, so this race can be put into the safe Republican seat category. O’Rourke played Russian Roulette with his stance on guns, and he was the unlucky participant.

Late note: Project Veritas struck again Thursday night when they released information showing O’Rourke campaign staffers admitting to illegally using campaign funds to supply the Honduran Caravan.  It should be the final nail in the candidate’s coffin.

West Virginia
Joe Manchin (D)
Patrick Morrisey (R)

Because of the limited number of polls that meet our criteria for limited bias, this race may be the hardest one for us to analyze. Manchin was once above 50% in many polls and is now below 50% in all the reliable polls. Incumbents need to stay above 48% at this point in the race in hopes to receive 2% more from the undecideds. Manchin’s average polling numbers at the end of October place him at 46-47%. Morrisey has about 43%, which means an abnormally high 10% of West Virginia’s likely voters are still undecided (or the polling data is flawed). Our statistical analysis shows that Manchin enters November with a 3% lead and with as much as 8% of likely voters still undecided. At 47.5 to 44.5, Manchin needs 2.5% of the remaining 8% to win. Incumbents tend to lose about 2/3 of the undecided vote in the final week of the election. Thus, we favor Manchin at 50.17% to 49.83% for Morrisey, in other words a very close race.

Tammy Baldwin (D)
Leah Vukmir (R)

Baldwin is consistently polling between 52 and 55% in the polls with about 3-4% undecided votes. She should win by close to double-digits if not slightly over.

As of November 2, Our Prediction for the US Senate is:

Republicans 54
Democrats 46

This would be a pickup of three seats for the GOP. This would be the largest mid-term Senate gain for the President’s Party since 1962 when the Democrats gained four seats in the Mid-term with President John F. Kennedy in office. No Republican President has ever seen his party gain three seats in the Senate in a mid-term election, and George W. Bush, is the only other Republican president to see his party gain in the Senate mid-term election. In 2002, the GOP gained one seat.


The House of Representatives
This is the most interesting and the most difficult thing the PiRate Ratings have ever tried to analyze, be it sports, stock investments, or even when the first snow will fall in our base city. We have to admit that three of us stayed awake until past 3 AM pouring over notes and coming to different conclusions. One of us calculated a 27-seat gain for the Democrats, meaning they would own the majority at 220-215. One of us calculated that the Republicans would squeak by with a 219-216 majority and a loss of 16 seats. The third person totally screwed up his math and kept coming up with different numbers and had 436 votes until he realized at 3:15 AM that he had counted the 25th District of California twice. He came up with 220-215 majority for the GOP.
What does this mean? Be prepared to stay up all night next Tuesday into Wednesday morning, because there are a lot of toss-up races in the State of California, and polls don’t close there until maybe past your normal bedtime on the East Coast. We might not even know which party controls the House on Wednesday morning. What a big win for the news networks if this happens!

Current House Numbers
Republicans 235
Democrats 193
Vacancies 7

As of November 2, Our prediction for the House is.
Republicans 218
Democrats 217
The Democrats gain 24 total seats.

At the present time, there are 33 Republican Governors, 16 Democratic Governors, and One Independent Governor (Bill Walker of Alaska) that was once a Republican but who cut a deal with the former Democratic candidate to end his campaign and team up with him as his lieutenant governor. Walker supports the Democratic nominee Marc Begich.
There are 14 states that do not hold a Gubernatorial election this year, and it so happens that these 14 states consist of seven Republican and seven Democratic Governors. So, we begin with a 7-7 tie.

Safe for the Republicans: 12 (Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming)

Safe for the Democrats: 7 (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island)

Subtotal: Republicans 19 Democrats 14

Leaning Republican: 4 (Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire)

Leaning Democratic: 4 (Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico)

Subtotal: Republicans 23 Democrats 18

Toss-up States: 9

Ned Lamont (D)
Bob Stefanowski (R)

Lamont has a slight lead and looks to have about a 75% chance of winning

Andrew Gillum (D)
Ron DeSantis (R)

Gillum was close to the 50% threshold until it became news that he is under investigation by the FBI for a corruption issue. His rating stopped at 48 and has dropped a percent or two. DeSantis now has the advantage, and more registered Republicans have voted early than registered Democrats. This looks like it is trending to DeSantis.

Fred Hubbell (D)
Kim Reynolds (R)
Hubbell has a small lead that is within the margin of error, but he must be considered the favorite to win. We give Hubbell a 55% chance of winning.

Laura Kelly (D)
Kris Kobach (R)
Greg Orman (I)

Orman has been polling close to double digits, and he will take away enough votes to decide this election. Kobach is likely to win because Orman will take away enough of Kelly’s support.

Steve Sisolak (D)
Adam Laxalt (R)
Ryan Bundy (I)

This is an interesting race with news that can be considered beneficial to both sides. Laxalt had the lead in early October. Even with the Independent Bundy siphoning off some of his support, he appeared to be close to moving this race into the leaning Republican column. Early voting in crucial counties trended toward the Republicans scoring victories in both the Senate and Governor’s races. However, Heller does not have an Independent running in the Senate race. How much of the early voting Republican votes has gone to Bundy?

Then, an eleventh hour negative editorial by members of Laxalt’s family was published in print media and reported on in electronic media, where the family members claim that Laxalt is not a Nevadan but actually an Eastern elitist. Sisolak will pick up some votes here, and this race will go down to the wire.

Richard Cordray (D)
Mike DeWine (R)

How about a flat-footed tie in a race? This one looks like a 50-50 race with just a week to go until the election. Early voting started in Ohio more than three weeks ago, and the turnout has been rather heavy, about 55% higher than the 2014 Mid-term election. If we had to bet, we’d give Cordray the very slightest edge, because the incumbent DeWine has not reached 48%, which is a vital number to us when looking at incumbents with one week to go in the race.

Kate Brown (D)
Knute Buehler (R)

Brown doesn’t have the 48% minimum as the incumbent, but in this case, her opponent continues to lose a tiny bit of ground. Oregon is usually a Blue State, so we will give the edge to Brown.

South Dakota
Billie Sutton (D)
Kristi Noem (R)

Noem had more name recognition as a member of the House, while Sutton is a state senator. Noem has the advantage here as this is a Red state. Our prediction here is that Noem wins by 4-6%.

Tony Evers (D)
Scott Walker (R)

Here is a race where the trend line is the strongest factor. Even though the incumbent Walker is one percent below the 48% threshold, his opponent is losing ground by a statistically-relevant number. Evers, a lifelong educator and three-time state public school superintendant was pushing 50% before negative ads hit the airwaves in the Badger State. Walker has since reached 47%, while Evers has fallen under 46%, and the trend line this late in the race tilts this one in favor of Walker.

As of November 2, Our prediction for the Governors’ races are:

Republicans 26
Democrats 23
1 race totally too close to call.

October 19, 2018

An Analytical Look at the 2018 Mid-term Elections

Filed under: News & Views — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:37 am

The PiRate Ratings consist of a group of mathematical nerds that love to look at ratings of all types.  Sports ratings dominate about 95% of what we publish, but we are big-time followers of the political scene, as our founder was once a journalist and has worked as an official in past elections.

We do not have our own polling data.  However, we handicap other polls based on past accuracy and whether the polls show bias one way or another.  Then, we go use the various dates of each handicapped poll and use linear regression analysis to come up with a prediction.

This takes a lot of time to search for the polls we believe are the most accurate.  Very few were all that accurate in 2016, but there were some major polling efforts that showed President Trump leading the electoral vote count in the final days before the election.

Today, we look at the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Gubernatorial Races.  The result is a split decision for 2019.

The United States Senate

Safe Seats

21 of the 35 seats are considered safe, where the candidate in the lead today has a greater than 95% chance of winning in November.

Dianne Feinstein (D)
Feinstein is like a Supreme Court Justice in the Golden State. She will hold this seat for life, or until she retires. This easily stays a safe seat for the Democrats.

Chris Murphy (D)
Connecticut has become much bluer in the last 15 years, and Murphy will win this seat with token opposition to retain it for the Democrats.

Tom Carper (D)
Carper is almost as safe as if he were running unopposed. This seat is retained by the Democrats.

Mazie Hirano (D)
The same thing about Carper applies here. Hirano cruises to an easy victory to retain this seat for the Democrats.

Angus King (I)
King caucuses with the Democrats, so this seat in essence is retained by the Democrats.

Ben Cardin (D)
Cardin wins a third term in a safe race to retain this seat for the Democrats.

Elizabeth Warren (D)
Her chances of becoming the next President are most likely gone now, but Warren should retain this seat for the Democrats by a healthy margin.

Debbie Stabenow (D)
This seat remains Democrat with a safe win for Stabenow.

Amy Klobuchar (D)
Klobuchar should win re-election by a landslide of more than 20% to retain this seat for the Democrats

Minnesota Special Election
Tina Smith (D)
This race was never all that close, and Smith has maintained a double-digit lead to retain this seat for the Democrats.

Roger Wicker (R)
Wicker may score the largest GOP landslide victory in the 2018 elections to retain this seat for the Republicans

Deb Fischer (R)
Fischer has a large lead and will win a second term in the Cornhusker State and retain this seat for the Republicans.

New Mexico
Martin Heinrich (D)
Like Fischer, Heinrich easily wins re-election to a second term and retains this seat for the Democrats

New York
Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
This could be the largest landslide victory for the party of Jefferson and Jackson. Gillibrand will then have to address the rumors about whether or not she will launch a Presidentail campaign for the 2020 election. The Democrats retain this seat.

Sherrod Brown (D)
This race was never close, and the Democrats will easily retain it in a landslide.

Rhode Island
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
It’s a third term for Whitehouse, and the Democrats retain this seat.

Mitt Romney (R)
The former GOP Presidential candidate will win by 30+% to retain this seat for the Republicans.

Bernie Sanders (I)
Sanders caucuses with the Democrats and will win re-election by a large landslide. His announcement for the 2020 Presidential race should come sometime in the Spring or early Summer of 2019.

Tim Kaine (D)
The former Vice-presidential candidate and running mate for Hillary Clinton might become a Presidential contender in 2020, but for now, he retains this seat for the Democrats.

Maria Cantwell (D)
Cantwell wins for the fourth time and could stay in this seat for two or three more terms. She won by less than 1% in 2000, by 17% in 2006, and by 20+% in 2012, and she could win by 20+% again this time. The Democrats keep this seat.

John Barrasso (R)
Barrasso should win this race by 50%, to safely retain this seat for the Republicans.


Contested Seats

Martha McSally (R) 52.5
Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47.5
Arizona stays Republican after negative ads against Sinema, using her own voice, are quite effective.

Bill Nelson (D) 50.3
Rick Scott (R) 49.7
Florida race is too close to call at this point, but if the election were today, Nelson would retain this seat for the Democrats.

Joe Donnelly (D) 48.2
Mike Braun (R) 47.4
Lucy Brenton (L) 4.4
This race is trending toward Donnelly in the most recent polls, and the Democrats look like they will retain this seat unless something drastic changes the race in the final two weeks.

Mississippi Special Election Primary
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) 37.2
Mike Espy (D) 34.7
Chris McDaniel (R) 24.0
Toby Bartee (D) 4.1
It’s hard to see how Mississippi would flip, but Espy is probably the Democrats’ best possible candidate in the Magnolia State. This race is too close to call, but if the general election were held today, Hyde-Smith would win to keep this seat Republican.

Josh Hawley (R) 51.5
Claire McCaskill (D) 48.5
This race now looks like it is trending to Hawley after Project Veritas releases damaging evidence in McCaskill’s own words on hiding her actual stance on gun control with the quote that “People just can’t know that.” This state will flip from Democrat to Republican.

Jon Tester (D) 51.1
Matt Rosendale (R) 48.9
Tester holds on to a narrow lead, but the President has been in Big Sky Country four times in this election cycle, and this race has moved from leaning Democrat to narrowly Democrat. It is too close to call officially, but if the election were today, Tester would squeak by with re-election and keep this seat Democrat.

New Jersey
Robert Menendez (D) 53.8
Bob Hugin (R) 46.2
This seat is close to safe for a Menendez re-election, and the Democrats retain it.

Dean Heller (R) 53.7
Jacky Rosen (D) 46.3
This race was closer earlier in the campaign cycle, but Heller has a somewhat comfortable lead and should retain this seat for the Republicans.

North Dakota
Kevin Cramer (R) 55.9
Heidi Heitkamp (D) 44.1
This seat is almost assured of flipping from Democrat to Republican. Heitkamp had the numbers working against her in a red state that went for Trump.

Bob Casey (D) 57.6
Lou Barletta (R) 42.4
This race has opened up by a healthy enough margin to guarantee it for Casey and retain the seat for the Democrats.

Marsha Blackburn (R) 53.8
Phil Bredesen (D) 46.2
In another case where Project Veritas produced damning evidence that Bredesen had lied about his support for Justice Kavanaugh, this race has moved by several points in favor of Blackburn. It is not decided yet, as Tennessee has never elected a female to statewide office, and in past years, females that held the lead in polls lost on election day. It is a tossup state, but if the election were held today, the Republicans would narrowly hold onto this seat.

Ted Cruz (R) 54.1
Beto O’Rourke (D) 45.9
In a state where gun ownership is above the national average, O’Rourke’s statement that Texas should lead the nation conversation for gun control can be considered a gaffe that will cost him a couple of points and make this race close to safe for Cruz to win re-election and retain this seat for the Republicans.

West Virginia
Joe Manchin (D) 54.6
Patrick Morrisey (R) 45.4
Joe Manchin showed his intelligence in a very red state when he voted for Justice Kavanaugh. He will win by close to double digits and retain this seat for the Democrats. Manchin considered retiring, and he later would not make a comment on the possibility of switching parties. Manchin has tried to encourage other Democrats to work with the President, as in his opinion this is how his party can add to its numbers. His words are falling on deaf ears.

Tammy Baldwin (D) 54.7
Leah Vukmir (R) 45.3
Baldwin has excellent organization in the Badger State, and she should win this race without much concern that the GOP can sneak up on election day like the state did for the President. The Democrats retain this seat.


The 65 Senators not up for re-election
Republicans 42
Democrats 23

There are 35 seats up for grabs this year due to two special elections.
Safe for Democrats 21
Safe for Republicans 5

Republicans 47
Democrats 44

*** Nine states will decide the balance of power in the US Senate. ***
Three lean to the Democrats today

Six lean to the Republicans today
Mississippi Special Election
North Dakota

The current prediction is:
Republicans 53
Democrats 47


The United States House of Representatives

Republicans 235
Democrats 193

2018 Safe seats (411)
Democrats 212
Republicans 199

2018 Contested Seats (27)

Forecasting the 27 races individually is more than our tiny group can handle.  We have used our regression analysis to look at net gains and net losses in the polls.  It is not as accurate as looking at each race individually, but we do prefer to get at least 4 hours of sleep a night.

If the election were held today
Democrats 222
Republicans 216


Gubernatorial Races if the election were held today
Republicans 27
Democrats 23


So, who will be the big winner in November?  It’s hard to say, but if we do end up with a split decision, the biggest winners may be all the political bloggers and online political sites that will have a field day cramming their opinions down the country’s throats.

The only political commentary we will make is this: Many people fail to understand that the elected official that most affects his or her life is the councilman or alderman in his or her neighborhood.  Yet, history shows that these elections receive the lowest turnout of all races.

Please vote in your local elections wherever you live and for whomever you believe will best represent your views and opinions and who best will respond to any redresses you might have.  In most cases, you can talk personally with your councilman or alderman.  Most of us can never speak directly with any other elected official, other than one or two seconds in a handshake line during an election cycle.

We live in interesting times!

December 15, 2014

PiRate Picks–Conte/Dawn Are Champions Of Their League

Filed under: News & Views — Tags: , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:36 pm

If I told you today I was going to editorialize on a subject living in the San Francisco Bay area, and I gave you 100 guesses you would not figure out what this editorial would cover.

Some of you know my wife and me from our touring of Route 66, so you would maybe guess I was going to discuss the terminus of the equally famous Lincoln Highway, a trip we shall one day take from Times Square to Lincoln Park. You would be wrong.

Most of you that know me might incorrectly guess I was prepared to discuss whether Jim Harbaugh’s 2015 paychecks will be deposited in a bank in Oakland, CA, Ann Arbor, MI, Miami, or possibly East Rutherford, NJ, maybe even Storrs, CT, home of ESPN.

When given the clue to think professional entertainment and something that has meaning to me, you would quickly guess I was prepared to discuss either Festus Ezeli of the Golden State Warriors or Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics, two former Vanderbilt athletes that I covered as a Vanderbilt sports beat writer when I returned briefly for a three-year fling in print journalism following a career in construction.

If I told you this editorial would include something tied to the Stanford Cardinal, you would quickly but incorrectly believe this was an editorial dealing with Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason, who was the Stanford defensive coordinator prior to coming to Vandy.

If I further gave you the clue to think Stanford and music, you would still guess incorrectly, sure that I was going to discuss their infamous marching band, be it their numerous controversies through the years, or “The Play,” which prevented John Elway from ever appearing in a bowl game and the Cardinal from facing my Commodores in the 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham, AL.

Yes, this is definitely the last editorial you would ever expect me to publish. A certain place has indeed frozen over today. Many of you reading this know me, the founder of the PiRate Ratings. If you don’t, then here is a little something about me that is pertinent to today’s contribution.

I live in Music City, U.S.A., otherwise known as Nashville. I am the outcast of this burg, as I cannot play an instrument, not even a kazoo. Vocally, the song “Hot Cross Buns” is two musical notes outside my singing range. In other words, in a town with a metropolitan population of 1.9 million, I am number 1.9 million when it comes to musical talent of any kind.

I am a math-nerd, ex-coach, sports and financial “stathead,” and maybe number one when it comes to sports trivia prior to the year 1970. You won’t stump me on naming the starting lineup of the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, or even the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates. I can look at a picture of any Major League baseball park taken between 1904 and 1960 and tell you the name of the stadium and the dimensions of the foul lines, power alleys, and center, even in a place like old Braves Field in Boston, which sometimes changed annually or weekly. When others hung posters of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, or other bands, I hung posters of The Polo Grounds, Griffith Stadium, and Forbes Field.

So, what am I doing writing an editorial about an independent music group based out of the San Francisco Bay area?

For starters, my wife is the polar opposite of me in musical talent and knowledge. She has a beautiful soprano voice and has played percussion and keyboard instruments in her past, performing on stage in some big-time locales. She once co-owned a punk rock record label, published a music industry newspaper, and studied sound-engineering in London with Nick Lowe, working in the studio while Elvis Costello’s band, The Attractions, recorded their solo album.

My sweet soul mate has also worked for some country crooner named Garth, so she knows what she is talking about when she comments on music. She also knows what goes into making it financially in the music business, “warts and all.” You could say she would qualify as an expert witness.

Let’s start in autumn of 2010. Autumn is the time of the year where you dare not turn a television set on if you loathe seasonal retail commercials being shoved in your face, even if you only watch news, weather, and sports. By December 1, it is enough to make the average person with a modicum of intelligence ill, or what I call Christmas/Chanukah “ad-nauseum.”

In the past 20 years, I can only think of two commercials where I did not mind being bombarded with seeing it repeated 10-20 times a week. One was the old Norelco Shaver ad where Santa Claus slid down the snowy slope riding on the shaver. The other was this very unique set of three Hyundai automobile ads with the cutest TV couple singing and playing instruments and showing incredible stage presence with Q-ratings that had to be at the top of the profession (unlike my Q-rating which was lower than the old test pattern.)

Three separate ads aired four years ago and featured different Christmas carols—“Up on the Housetop,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Jingle Bells.” Each ad was a breath of fresh air, the anti-establishment auto ad. Normally, both my wife and I would not glance at a TV ad, but we not only watched the 30-second mini-cinemas with total attention, we wanted more. We were sad to see the campaign end.

Thinking the two actors in this ad could not be so incredibly talented and also be the actual artists performing the music, we did what any inquisitive person does in the 21st Century; we did a search online and discovered that this couple was indeed a real couple and had performed the music. What a talented duo these two were!

Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn make up the band known as “Pomplamoose.” Pomplamoose is an Americanized spelling of the French word “pamplemousse,” French for grapefruit (see I did pay attention in Francais 404, Madame Stewart).

We discovered that the boyfriend/girlfriend duo had a couple other interesting videos and played in a few venues near their home on the West Coast. And, then we sort of forgot about them by January.

As the “season” returned again in October of this year, I turned to my wife and noted that it was sad that Hyundai did not use that cute young couple to do their Christmas ads again. So, being old enough that I could no longer remember their names, I searched online to discover Conte and Dawn again.

Here is where good ole PiRate bad luck struck yet again. I performed this search to rediscover Pomplamoose, mostly for my wife, only to find that Conte and Dawn had performed in Nashville the night before! Oy Vey, such a poor Schlimazel I am! It would have been the perfect early anniversary gift to bequeath to my utmost.

Nashville received a dose of early rotten weather soon after, and we stayed indoors a lot. My wife proceeded to find everything Pomplamoose and then what Conte and Dawn performed separately.

Her highly qualified opinion: Pomplamoose is a work of pure genius combined with supreme talent! Dawn’s voice has no equals in the genre. To be more exact, since she sings all her back-up music as well, Dawn has the five best voices in the genre.

Conte and Dawn are the 21st Century equivalent of a combination of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Their mastery of electronics gives their music a unique flair with this incredible ability to borrow from multiple songs and sew them together into what sounds like an original composition. Their own original music is even better than those they cover.

Conte is not satisfied with music alone. He is also part Mark Zuckerberg, part Perry Chen, and part Rob Kalin. He founded “Patreon,” the newest and easiest to use online crowdfunding site.

Let’s return to the present. Since re-acquainting ourselves with Pomplamoose, yours truly, the least musically talented and until recently the least musically knowledgeable resident of Nashville, has become as competent in “Pomplamusic” as he is with Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds.

I can recognize “Get That Body Back,” “Fight Back,” “Centrifuge,” and “Bust Your Kneecaps,” in three notes. Their songs are hypnotic; they dominate your subconscious, so much so that you might wonder if the two Stanford grads might know a bit about Neuro-linguistic Programming, as Stanford excels in all fields of psychology.

This 100% analytical-thinking PiRate normally arises most mornings wondering if the line on the Packers-Bears game needs to be adjusted by a half-point based on the weather forecast or whether Ted Williams was better than Stan Musial, or whether his aged bladder going on its sixth decade will hold out long enough to make the 30-foot dash to the bathroom. Since October, Ted Williams and Stan Musial have been replaced by all the exceptionally creative videos put out by Conte and Dawn.

How talented are these two? They create and construct all the props for their videos. They produce and direct themselves, showing you warts and all. They are incredible actors, better than most of the non-talents in Hollywood today. In fact, their videos are comparable with Silent Movies, and Conte and Dawn could be compared to Buster Keaton and Clara Bow, as Conte can pull off all facial expressions, and Dawn certainly has “It.”

This editorial is not an attempt to throw sugar all over the joint. I chose to write this not because Pomplamoose is a breath of fresh air in the music world; to paraphrase one of their mashups, “It’s all about the cash, no profits.”

As many of you know, I am all about the stats, and the business of music grabs my attention more than the music itself. When Conte recently published an account of their recent tour and how it financially lost money but could be treated as the best possible advertisement for their business as well as a gift to their fans, the music critics of the world piled on their contempt of his breaking down the fourth wall and letting the public know “the inside” of their business.

For what it’s worth, Pomplamoose is part of a new breed of performers relying on the Internet to generate revenue. This is their business, and they are in this business to make money, just like my wife creates and designs jewelry to sell in order to make money so she can then purchase songs online, among other things.

I find it an utter outrage that the music critics believe there is something wrong with letting your patrons know exactly where you stand. I believe it is a wonderful act on Conte’s part to reveal this. Whether they want to be or not, Conte and Dawn are mentors for hundreds if not thousands of aspiring independent artists wishing to use the same protocol to become successful at their craft. They are more than artists; they are also leaders by example. Conte and Dawn could easily put all their supportive information that the public can use into an e-book and charge $25 to learn what they are revealing as a courtesy, while also further placing themselves deeper in the hearts and minds of their fans.

Music critics differ from me in only one way. We both have no musical talent. However, I admit my insufficiencies in this realm, while most of the critics try to impress you with their knowledge and make you believe they know what’s what, when in reality, all they want to do is find whatever negative things they can find and retaliate against those that do have the talent they believe they deserved to have and didn’t have bequeathed upon them by our creator, while attempting to make the public believe they actually know what they are talking about.

Because I can in some offbeat way commiserate with Conte and Dawn, I will try to explain why I believe Pomplamoose received all this undeserved consternation from the negative nabobs of the meaningless part of the fourth estate.

Several years ago, while I was a working member in sports radio, I aired my ratings and picks against the spread, performing about as successfully as I do now—picking every college and NFL game and hitting around 75% winners and 55% winners against the spread. A couple of weeks in 1981, when I happened to hit a hot streak and extend that success to hitting around 90% straight winners and 75% against the spread, it was assumed that I was making money hand over fist and milking Las Vegas dry. In truth, I did not then nor have ever wagered actual money on any football game. The only sporting events I have ever wagered real money on were horse races—and then just claiming and allowance races, none of which would ever excite you the reader to develop an interest in reading.

So, in early 1982, I made a remark in passing on air that I loved radio but hated empty refrigerators. You would have thought I admitted to being the man behind the Grassy Knoll in Dallas on 11-22-63. It was just assumed that I was as wealthy then as Jimmy The Greek or today’s Billy Walters. How dare I claim poverty, when I was so successful giving out winners in advance on a clear channel flamethrower AM radio station that reached 28 states plus Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba at night and could even be picked up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, if conditions were cooperative? It was assumed I was making money as fast as Vegas could put out the odds.

To be like Mr. Conte, in 1982, I made exactly $5 an hour working in radio. I made an additional $35 per game serving as a spotter and statistician for the Vanderbilt University football and basketball telecasts, which in those days were on late at night on tape delay.

While I would soon leave the field which I loved to become a general contractor for the next two decades, when I made this quick reference on the radio, I was accused of laundering money, spending the money on a mistress, and many other options of vice. It was 100% truthful; my refrigerator was more empty than full.

The music critic ogres automatically assume that because Pomplamoose has a prior five-year track record that includes successful nationwide commercial advertisement success; millions of hits on their Youtube sites; a loyal following of thousands; and the creation of a large crowdfunding site, they must be quite wealthy.

Wealthy or not, why does it matter if Pomplamoose profits or loses 10 grand on a tour? Let’s look at some facts. First, tickets were quite affordable. In Nashville, I discovered that they only cost $12 for a really nice venue, where everybody in attendance was as close to the stage as the field box seats at Dodger Stadium are to home plate.

Let’s compare this to the cost of the Grand Ole Opry. This Friday, December 19, the Opry will make its annual trek back in time and return to “The Mother Church,” the historic Ryman Auditorium. The Ebbets Field of Nashville is equally cozy, and there is not a bad seat in the house. The special guest Friday night is Clare Bowen, the Australian muse who plays Scarlett O’Connor in the ABC TV show “Nashville.” Her voice is angelic, maybe second to Ms. Dawn’s voice. If you want a ticket to this show, the cheapest you could theoretically find if tickets remained would be $30. If you want to sit close enough to see Bowen’s eyes, it will cost $70. Bowen is quite an entertainer, but Pomplamoose is better.

Pomplamoose spent a lot of money on quality lighting for their show. In Youtube clips where I have seen their concerts, this lighting was an excellent addition, and it served as an excellent catalyst in the success of the shows.

Pomplamoose hired musicians and other crew members to work on this tour and paid them a weekly salary. What I cannot understand is why this caused the music critics to cry out like they had committed a major felony. I know nothing about operations of the music business, but wasn’t slavery outlawed by the 13th Amendment just prior to President Lincoln’s assassination (yes, I also paid attention in American History 505 Ms. Teaff)? The last time I checked, in this country, one is not allowed to contract labor and not compensate them. Yes, there are things called internships, but in reality, interns are compensated in non-monetary ways.

Still, what does it matter if the band profited or lost money on this tour? The critics should shut up and comment only on the performance, the only part of the business for which they are semi-qualified to judge. Maybe Bloomberg TV could break down Conte’s financing and Trish Regan could explain where the tour might have been able to eke out a small profit, but who is Bob Lefsetz to criticize anything in the financial world? His MBA and PhD from Harvard, Wharton, The University of Chicago, Stanford, or my beloved Owen School at Vanderbilt University does not seem to exist. Am I missing something? This bottom of the barrel critic with fewer readers of his blog than my no-frills sites has the chutzpah to try to denigrate the wonderful breaking down of the fourth wall that Conte has allowed us to enter and see the entire process, warts and all?

My conclusion: Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn are superiorly talented in multiple facets of the Independent music production process in the 2010’s. As Conte reports, Pomplamoose has not “made it,” but they are “making it.” There have been numerous successes in six years, and it has allowed Pomplamoose to tour and lose 10 grand without sinking their incredible ship. Think of it as a gift to their fans, or almost the price of one of those 2011 Hyundai Elantra’s that to this day, I can remember thanks to their most unique television ads.

I have but one piece of criticism to offer Mr. Conte—get thy right knee on the Earth and ask for Ms. Dawn’s hand in marriage. It is a myth that becoming betrothed to your beloved ruins the relationship. On the contrary, it takes something great and makes it even better. On this, I can attest to being the expert. I proposed to my soul mate 15 years ago, and it has now been 15 years of bliss. She is the 99.9% that completes me, and I am sure you feel that Nataly must do the same for you.
Find Pomplamoose at:

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The PiRate College Football Bowl and Playoff predictions, and the current NFL ratings and prediction for week 15 and the NFL Playoffs will be published at our website Tuesday afternoon—

Chanukah Sameach &
Merry Christmas
From the PiRate Family

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