## Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

# How Many Baseball Games Does It Take To Ensure The Best Team Has The Best Record?

Date:
July 31, 2007
Source:
American Physical Society
Summary:
How many games does it take to ensure that the best team in a sports league ends up with the best record? According to a study by a pair of physicists the answer is an astounding 256 games per team in the case of baseball's National League, well beyond the 162 games each team currently plays in the regular season.

How many games does it take to ensure that the best team in a sports league ends up with the best record? According to a study by a pair of physicists at the Los Alamos national Laboratory in New Mexico, the answer is an astounding 256 games per team in the case of baseball's National League, well beyond the 162 games each team currently plays in the regular season.

According to the physicists' analysis and simulations of league play, thereΒΏs always at least some chance that a lesser team can prevail in any given game. The randomness of outcomes means that it takes a large number of games to guarantee that the best team accumulates the most wins. Specifically, it requires that the total number of games played in a season should be roughly the cube of the number of teams involved. For the 16 team National League, that means 4096 regular season games altogether and 2744 games for the 14 team American League.

Some fans might prefer things the way they are, with underdogs like the 2003 Florida Marlins having a shot at winning the Word Series. For those who would rather the title only go to the very best team in any given year, a modified schedule could get the job done with many fewer games, according to the physicists.

By adding a preliminary round to the season, and eliminating the weakest teams before regular league play begins, the physicists showed that the best team in the National League would be virtually guaranteed to be among the top two or three teams with the best records, even with a significantly reduced number of games. Although the very best team may not always end up in the lead, a preliminary round or two would at least ensure that the top teams aren't eliminated from the playoffs through simple bad luck.

Although the baseball schedule is far from perfect, according to the new research, author Ben-Naim points out that the relatively large number of games that the teams play each year results in better sorting than occurs in professional football, hockey, and basketball. The National Football League, for example has comparable numbers of teams to Major League Baseball, but plays far fewer games each year, which makes the pro football season outcome much more random.

This research has been accepted for publication in Physical Review E.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

American Physical Society. "How Many Baseball Games Does It Take To Ensure The Best Team Has The Best Record?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730111649.htm>.
American Physical Society. (2007, July 31). How Many Baseball Games Does It Take To Ensure The Best Team Has The Best Record?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730111649.htm
American Physical Society. "How Many Baseball Games Does It Take To Ensure The Best Team Has The Best Record?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730111649.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

## More Computers & Math News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

### Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

### Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Apple iPhone 6 Screen Hits Snag Ahead of Launch

### Apple iPhone 6 Screen Hits Snag Ahead of Launch

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014)  Reuters has learned Apple is scrambling to get enough screens ready for the iPhone 6. Sources say it's unclear whether this could delay the launch. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

### Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014)  A report says more than one third of all SMS spam over the past year came from a "single campaign" using iMessage and targeting iPhone users. Video provided by Newsy

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014)  In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014)  In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy

## Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):

Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

## In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Save/Print:
Share:

## Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

## Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

## Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web