Baseball Toaster Mike's Baseball Rants
This is my site with my opinions, but I hope that, like Irish Spring, you like it, too.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Mike's Baseball Rants


10  09  07 
06  05  04  03 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
Links to MBBR
Does the Regular Season Matter?
2005-10-22 18:31
by Mike Carminati

The game one of the Astros and White Sox World Series is just under way. One aspect of this series that I forgot to mention is that there are ten regular season wins that separate these teams.

The Sox had the best record in the American League at 99-63 while the Astros slipped into the postseason on the last day of the season with an 89-73 record. It's the thirtieth time in World Series history that the two opponents are separated by ten or more wins.

One would expect that this matchup is something of a David and Goliath mismatch (as opposed to the claymation "Davey and Goliath" pairing which is even more of mismatch). But is it really? And if it is an advantage to win many more games than one's opponent, how much of an advantage is it?

I ran the numbers for the previous 29 such matchups. The "Goliath" team, the one that won at least ten more regular-season games, won the World Series 17 times. The last Goliath team to win it was the 114-win Yankees in 1998. On average those teams won four games to slightly under one and a half.

Seems like a big advantage, eh?

Well, the "Davey" team won 12 of 29 matchups. The last Davey team was the 91-win 2003 Marlins. The won by an advantage of 4.67 to slightly over two games.

So maybe it is an advantage but if so, it's a slight one. That made me wonder if having more wins than your opponent in the World Series is an advantage at all.

As it turns out, all time the time with more wins in the regular season more the Series a total of 51 times. The teams with fewer wins won the Series 52 times. There were also four seasons in which teams with the same number of wins faced off.

So would does it all mean?

It means watch the Series. Nothing is certain. Just watch it and enjoy.

2005-10-23 07:29:16
1.   randym77
I'm reminded of mathematician and physicist Alan Natapoff, who defends the electoral college by comparing it to baseball. He claims winning the most games is like winning the popular vote, while winning the World Series is like winning the electoral college.


In sports, we accept that a true champion should be more consistent than the 1960 Yankees. A champion should be able to win at least some of the tough, close contests by every means available--bunting, stealing, brilliant pitching, dazzling plays in the field--and not just smack home runs against second-best pitchers. A presidential candidate worthy of office, by the same logic, should have broad appeal across the whole nation, and not just play strongly on a single issue to isolated blocs of voters.

...In 1960, under simpler rules, the Yankees might have been champions. They might have won, for instance, if there were no World Series but only the scheduled 154-game season... The team winning the most games all year long would simply pick up its prize in October. Instead, here is what happened. By the ninth inning in game seven of the series, the Yankees and Pirates had fought to a standstill--the ultimate deadlock. Each team had won three games. The Yankees had led throughout much of game seven, but Pittsburgh astonished everyone by scoring five runs in the eighth inning, after a Yankee fielding error, to go ahead 9-7. They couldn't, of course, hold their lead. The Yankees answered with two more runs in the top of the ninth to tie the score at 9-9.

Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Bill Mazeroski, an average hitter without much power, stepped to the plate for Pittsburgh. He seemed a mere placeholder--until his long fly ball just cleared the left-field wall. Rounding second base, halfway home, Mazeroski was leaping for joy, and Pittsburgh fans were pouring from their seats, racing to meet him at the plate. The Yankees had finally toppled. There they were, ahead in the polls, piling up votes like nobody's business, until one last swing of one player's bat turned the whole season around. Everybody regarded it as one of the most glorious World Series ever, Natapoff says. To do it any other way would totally destroy the degree of competition and excitement that's essential to all sports.


(The article was written before the disputed 2000 election.)

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.