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DzyMsLizzyposted 3 years ago

WHY baseball stats often come up with 'team X is half a game, or a game and a half, behind team Y.' ????!!!!

I have watched baseball games, both in person, and on TV; yet never have I ever seen only half a game played!  Extra innings to break ties, yes, but I hardly think they count those as half-games.

This makes no sense.  No other sport does that (at least none that I know of)!

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Bob Bambergposted 3 years agoin reply to this

Hi Liz,

Say your team and my team are tied for first place.  We both play tonight...you win your game, I lose my game.  Now you are one game ahead of me in the standings.  The next night, you win again but my team has the day off.  Because we didn't play, you don't gain a full game...just a half a game.  So now you're 1 1/2 games ahead of me.  The next night, my team wins but you have the night off.  We gain a half a game on you, so now you're only 1 game ahead of me.  The next night we both play only you lose and I win.  Now we're tied for first place again because I gained a full game on you.  It all works out at the end of the season because we all play the same number of games.  The team that has the day off, or gets their game rained out, only gains or loses a half game on the team ahead of it in the standings if that team plays.

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brianlokkerposted 3 years ago

Half-game differentials in the standings occur when two teams have played a different number of games, which is a common situation throughout the long baseball season.

For example, say the Mets have played 100 games and have a record of 70-30 (wishful thinking on my part!), whereas the Nationals have played 99 games and have a record of 69-30. The Nationals would be 1/2 game behind the Mets. Once the Nationals have played their 100th game (assuming the Mets haven't played another game by then), the Nationals would be even with the Mets if they won (both with 70-30 records) or one full game behind if they lost (69-31).

You can think of it this way: if the two teams have played the same number of games and the Mets have won 70 games and the Nationals have won 69, the Mets have only won one more game than the Nationals (and correspondingly, the Nationals have only lost one more than the Mets). The Mets would be 1 game ahead of the Nationals. If those two teams then played each other in the next game and the Nationals won that one game, the teams would be tied with identical records.

I hope that helps to make sense of it. By the way, the NBA computes its standings the same way.

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DzyMsLizzyposted 3 years agoin reply to this

Okay, brianlokker, but using your example, it seems to me, that number of games played notwithstanding, 70-69=1, not 1/2.

Football doesn't do this...and I'm pretty sure they encounter the same scenarios, with a team having a 'bye' day...

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Chris Tylerposted 3 years agoin reply to this

Football doesn't need to do it, their official stats track by the week not by the day like Baseball does. Whenever you track daily stats you need half-games to cover the delays in the schedule.

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Aime Fposted 3 years agoin reply to this

Hockey doesn’t do it either and the standings update constantly. In the hockey world it’s called “a game in hand” meaning sure, you might be 2 points back of another team but that team has played one more game than you so you still have a chance to make up that 2 points. I guess it’s a similar idea but slightly less confusing imo than introducing halves.

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Chris Tylerposted 3 years agoin reply to this

Right but Hockey doesn't use the Win/Loss record as their primary ranking stat like the other sports do, they use points. The NBA, which also tracks stats daily and uses the Win/Loss ranking system, uses half-games just like baseball does.

Half-games are the quickest and easiest way to denote a schedule disparity because they modify the main ranking stat that everyone is tracking already anyway.

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DzyMsLizzyposted 3 years ago

Okay, thank you for the information, insights, and explanations.

I 'sort of' get it now, and your time and patience are appreciated in explaining things to this LOL (original meaning of "LOL" = "Little Old Lady.")

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