PDA

View Full Version : Why 6 teams in the NL Central?



kaldaniels
06-07-2008, 11:25 AM
I'm sure the answer is widely known and probably related to Bud Selig and the Brewers...but why put the Reds and the other 5 teams in the division at a competitive disadvantage to make the playoffs when the AL West could use a team?

Yachtzee
06-07-2008, 11:50 AM
To have teams divided 15-15 between the leagues would require an interleague game every day. Not exactly the best solution. Some would say that while the NL Central has to compete against more teams to make the playoffs, the division has been set up so that the small market teams in that division only have one major market team, Chicago, to beat in order to get there.

westofyou
06-07-2008, 12:20 PM
Time zones, the central teams don't want a majority of their away games coming on at 9PM, it kills their market share capabilities.

Plus the Rustbelt makeup is one that throws the teams with similar payrolls into teh same group.

PuffyPig
06-07-2008, 12:32 PM
Some would say that while the NL Central has to compete against more teams to make the playoffs, the division has been set up so that the small market teams in that division only have one major market team, Chicago, to beat in order to get there.

That had nothing to do with the developement of that division.

Yachtzee
06-07-2008, 12:32 PM
Time zones, the central teams don't want a majority of their away games coming on at 9PM, it kills their market share capabilities.

Plus the Rustbelt makeup is one that throws the teams with similar payrolls into teh same group.

Never had much sympathy for the Rangers crying about 9 pm starts, considering all those years of 10 pm starts the Reds had playing in the NL West.

Personally, I'm in favor of balancing the schedule and I would even propose cutting the divisions to two and seeding the playoffs with the top two teams from each division. To deal with the late starts for teams playing across country, I would propose that when West Coast teams play East Coast and Central teams, they start games at 6:30 pm and likewise when East Coast and Central teams host West Coast teams, they push the start time back to 8:00 or 8:30 pm.

Of course I would also speed up the game by cutting the downtime between innings and limiting reliever warm ups. They've been throwing in the pen, they should be warm. Give them a few throws to get their bearing and it's go time. I'd also limit batters time between pitches. Let them step out and step back in, but if they start pulling a Sean Casey or Nomar, tell the pitcher he's free to pitch at any time.

I think fans want to see more teams coming to town more often rather than the same divisional opponents week in-week out, and it makes the Wild Card a much fairer race.

kaldaniels
06-07-2008, 01:08 PM
Never had much sympathy for the Rangers crying about 9 pm starts, considering all those years of 10 pm starts the Reds had playing in the NL West.

Personally, I'm in favor of balancing the schedule and I would even propose cutting the divisions to two and seeding the playoffs with the top two teams from each division. To deal with the late starts for teams playing across country, I would propose that when West Coast teams play East Coast and Central teams, they start games at 6:30 pm and likewise when East Coast and Central teams host West Coast teams, they push the start time back to 8:00 or 8:30 pm.

Of course I would also speed up the game by cutting the downtime between innings and limiting reliever warm ups. They've been throwing in the pen, they should be warm. Give them a few throws to get their bearing and it's go time. I'd also limit batters time between pitches. Let them step out and step back in, but if they start pulling a Sean Casey or Nomar, tell the pitcher he's free to pitch at any time.

I think fans want to see more teams coming to town more often rather than the same divisional opponents week in-week out, and it makes the Wild Card a much fairer race.

The 2 divison idea is intriguing...I agree, let the fans see more teams. Have the NL teams play each other a minimum of 9 times...playing divisonal opponents more of course. I may get an idea of how a player such as Troy Tulowiski is doing by looking at the stats or watching his 5 seconds on Sportscenter...but I learn the most about players/teams/organizations watching them against the Reds...I feel short changed when it comes to the NL East/West. I don't care one way or the other about whether interleague is here (don't kid ourselves it is here to stay...cha-ching)...but I did enjoy the mystique of the AL vs NL not playing until the World Series and the interesting matchups you used to see in the All Star game (which has gone downhill since interleague).

westofyou
06-07-2008, 01:13 PM
You can't sell a tenth place team in August and September

Joe Cronin on why the AL was going from 1 league to 2 divisions.

BCubb2003
06-07-2008, 01:13 PM
Of course, it would be kind of dismal to be in seventh or eighth place. It would be like the old days of eight-team leagues.

redsrule2500
06-07-2008, 01:34 PM
It's terrible. The Reds have 16.67/100 chance and Rangers have 25/100 chance, assuming equal probability. Completely unfair.

Unassisted
06-07-2008, 01:56 PM
It's terrible. The Reds have 16.67/100 chance and Rangers have 25/100 chance, assuming equal probability. Completely unfair.Considering the Reds lack of success with west coast road trips, I'd say the unbalanced schedule and big division give them an advantage. They are able to fit in fewer such trips each year, since they must play so many games against Pittsburgh, et. al.

Yachtzee
06-07-2008, 02:26 PM
Of course, it would be kind of dismal to be in seventh or eighth place. It would be like the old days of eight-team leagues.

Kind of like being the fifth or sixth place team in a 6-team division. Doesn't change the fact that your team stinks.

Caveat Emperor
06-07-2008, 02:45 PM
It's terrible. The Reds have 16.67/100 chance and Rangers have 25/100 chance, assuming equal probability. Completely unfair.

A crappy team is a crappy team, no matter how you slice the pie up.

If you suck in the AL West, you finish 4th. If you suck in the NL Central, you finish 5th or 6th. Last place is last place, no matter what number you want to put next to it, and the teams from both divisions end up doing the same thing in October.

Win more ballgames and it won't matter how many teams are in your division.

KronoRed
06-07-2008, 02:48 PM
Kind of like being the fifth or sixth place team in a 6-team division. Doesn't change the fact that your team stinks.

Yep, fans aren't dumb enough to think "we're only in 5th we're still in it"

The NL should be four 4 team divisions, no wild card :D

kaldaniels
06-07-2008, 04:12 PM
A crappy team is a crappy team, no matter how you slice the pie up.

If you suck in the AL West, you finish 4th. If you suck in the NL Central, you finish 5th or 6th. Last place is last place, no matter what number you want to put next to it, and the teams from both divisions end up doing the same thing in October.

Win more ballgames and it won't matter how many teams are in your division.

A simple way to explain the situation...yes. However, that does not change the fact that being in a 6 team division does make it harder to win the division than being in a 4 team division.

RBA
06-07-2008, 04:30 PM
Easy, make it 15 divisions with the Reds being in the Southwest Ohio Division. Reds finish first and make the playoffs every year.

KronoRed
06-07-2008, 04:32 PM
Easy, make it 15 divisions with the Reds being in the Southwest Ohio Division. Reds finish first and make the playoffs every year.

Sounds like something the NBA would do.

jmcclain19
06-07-2008, 04:59 PM
Easy solution - expand by two more teams in Portland and Charlotte

8 divisions with four in each. No more wild card - less seeing the same team 19 times a season.

IslandRed
06-07-2008, 06:21 PM
To deal with the late starts for teams playing across country, I would propose that when West Coast teams play East Coast and Central teams, they start games at 6:30 pm and likewise when East Coast and Central teams host West Coast teams, they push the start time back to 8:00 or 8:30 pm.

That proposal would get approximately zero votes among MLB owners. You're essentially saying it's more important to set start times for the convenience of the visiting team's TV viewers than the home team's ticket buyers. Just not gonna happen.

KronoRed
06-07-2008, 11:54 PM
Easy solution - expand by two more teams in Portland and Charlotte

8 divisions with four in each. No more wild card - less seeing the same team 19 times a season.

More bad teams? gross...Portland deserves a team but they should take some other team, the Marlins come to mind.

macro
06-08-2008, 12:02 AM
...but without a wildcard, we get this:


1993 NL West Final Standings

Team Name G W L T PCT GB RS RA
Atlanta Braves 162 104 58 0 .642 - 767 559
San Francisco Giants 162 103 59 0 .636 1.0 808 636
Houston Astros 162 85 77 0 .525 19.0 716 630
Los Angeles Dodgers 162 81 81 0 .500 23.0 675 662
Cincinnati Reds 162 73 89 0 .451 31.0 722 785
Colorado Rockies 162 67 95 0 .414 37.0 758 967
San Diego Padres 162 61 101 0 .377 43.0 679 772

Mario-Rijo
06-08-2008, 01:44 AM
Whatever the outcome of this discussion is will be secondary to the fact that this is the type of discussion that makes Redszone such a fine site. Real good question and ensuing debate which both have their pros and cons. If it can be figured out, it will get figured out here. :thumbup:

Let's see expansion isn't the answer the pitching is already diluted enough. Retraction has been laying low, too much red tape. Can't move just one team to the AL then ya got 1 team in each league w/o an opponent everyday. Can't stretch out the schedule to give teams time off (as opposed to being w/o a competitor) and then manipulate it so it evens out.

Wait, send Houston to the NL West, Colorado to the AL West and then make the Rays and Marlins play each other everyday for the entire season for a AAAA crown. :p:

But seriously is there even an answer to this question w/o retraction? I don't think so.

redsrule2500
06-08-2008, 03:13 AM
A crappy team is a crappy team, no matter how you slice the pie up.

If you suck in the AL West, you finish 4th. If you suck in the NL Central, you finish 5th or 6th. Last place is last place, no matter what number you want to put next to it, and the teams from both divisions end up doing the same thing in October.

Win more ballgames and it won't matter how many teams are in your division.

Aew you joking:? You can't defy logic and not back it up. If you win 92 in our division its less likely to be effective then the AL west

reds44
06-08-2008, 03:27 AM
Sounds like something the NBA would do.
:lol:

Caveat Emperor
06-08-2008, 03:41 AM
Aew you joking:? You can't defy logic and not back it up. If you win 92 in our division its less likely to be effective then the AL west

No, I'm not joking.

Your position is illogical -- it postulates that increased number of competitors significantly decreases likelihood of making the playoffs. That might be true if we assigned playoff spots by picking out of a hat (1 in 4 v. 1 in 6) but it has little to do with who wins and loses in a division.

In reality, the odds of 92 games winning a 6 team division are just as good as the odds of 92 games winning a 4 or 5 team division. In fact, the NL Central Champ had the lowest win-total in 2007 of the NL Playoff teams (85 wins -- which would've been good for 3rd place in the AL West), in 2006 (and again, would've been good for 3rd in the AL West), in 2003 (ditto), in 2002 (ditto), and tied in 2000.

Crying about the NL Central's 6 team format is idiotic -- it's been far and away the easiest division in baseball to win for the better part of this decade.

RedlegJake
06-08-2008, 06:53 AM
No, I'm not joking.

Your position is illogical -- it postulates that increased number of competitors significantly decreases likelihood of making the playoffs. That might be true if we assigned playoff spots by picking out of a hat (1 in 4 v. 1 in 6) but it has little to do with who wins and loses in a division.

In reality, the odds of 92 games winning a 6 team division are just as good as the odds of 92 games winning a 4 or 5 team division. In fact, the NL Central Champ had the lowest win-total in 2007 of the NL Playoff teams (85 wins -- which would've been good for 3rd place in the AL West), in 2006 (and again, would've been good for 3rd in the AL West), in 2003 (ditto), in 2002 (ditto), and tied in 2000.

Crying about the NL Central's 6 team format is idiotic -- it's been far and away the easiest division in baseball to win for the better part of this decade.

:thumbup: I'm surprised more people don't see the truth to this. There is no correlation to winning more or less in a 6 team division than there is in a 4 team division. You still have to win 90-92 games to have a shot unless you're in a division with weak teams (see NL Central) where you only need to win 86-88 games most years. If you win 92 games and another team wins 96 in your division you have a very, very good shot at being a wild card team.

GAC
06-08-2008, 08:31 AM
Easy solution - expand by two more teams in Portland and Charlotte

8 divisions with four in each. No more wild card - less seeing the same team 19 times a season.


Please, please! No more expansion. :p:

westofyou
06-08-2008, 11:17 AM
Crying about the NL Central's 6 team format is idiotic -- it's been far and away the easiest division in baseball to win for the better part of this decade.
Yep.... but what do you expect from the peanut gallery?

Real live thinking?

*BaseClogger*
06-08-2008, 01:42 PM
Yep.... but what do you expect from the peanut gallery?

Real live thinking?

This post reads as very arrogant to me. Did I successfully avoid a personal attack?

MarioRijo commented on how enjoyable this thread's discussion has been, and I agree with him. Then, you have to post that. It was unnecessary IMO...

BCubb2003
06-08-2008, 01:43 PM
I'm thinking three-team doubleheaders are the key to this.

westofyou
06-08-2008, 01:45 PM
This post reads as very arrogant to me. Did I successfully avoid a personal attack?

MarioRijo commented on how enjoyable this thread's discussion has been, and I agree with him. Then, you have to post that. It was unnecessary IMO...

Then report it, I have a wife I don't need YOU questioning my motives.

kaldaniels
06-08-2008, 02:28 PM
:thumbup: I'm surprised more people don't see the truth to this. There is no correlation to winning more or less in a 6 team division than there is in a 4 team division. You still have to win 90-92 games to have a shot unless you're in a division with weak teams (see NL Central) where you only need to win 86-88 games most years. If you win 92 games and another team wins 96 in your division you have a very, very good shot at being a wild card team.

The Reds would have won the AL West in 1999 with 96 wins. I would venture to say the amount of wins needed to win the NL Central over time is higher than the amount of wins on average needed to win the AL West. Just my theory.

kaldaniels
06-08-2008, 02:36 PM
No, I'm not joking.

Your position is illogical -- it postulates that increased number of competitors significantly decreases likelihood of making the playoffs. That might be true if we assigned playoff spots by picking out of a hat (1 in 4 v. 1 in 6) but it has little to do with who wins and loses in a division.

In reality, the odds of 92 games winning a 6 team division are just as good as the odds of 92 games winning a 4 or 5 team division. In fact, the NL Central Champ had the lowest win-total in 2007 of the NL Playoff teams (85 wins -- which would've been good for 3rd place in the AL West), in 2006 (and again, would've been good for 3rd in the AL West), in 2003 (ditto), in 2002 (ditto), and tied in 2000.

Crying about the NL Central's 6 team format is idiotic -- it's been far and away the easiest division in baseball to win for the better part of this decade.

Seriously...if one of the statmasters on this site could prove or disprove that statement it would help this discussion tremendously. To me, there is no way that could be correct, but I have been known to be wrong. :D I get it that the NL central has been rotten here recently...but I would expect over time that trend would balance out. I just don't see, wildcard aside, how it is just as easy to finish first in a division with 6 as it is with 4 teams. Any help???

BCubb2003
06-08-2008, 03:00 PM
On one side is an argument similar to the one you sometimes hear: "We're only five games out" "But we have three teams to jump over and one of those teams is always winning."

I guess the other side depends on where you start counting. If you start from the bottom, yes, there are more teams to jump over. But if you're capable of winning 90 games, it doesn't matter how many teams are behind you. There's probably nothing that says that in a five-team division, a certain number are going to win 90, a certain number will win 80 and a certain number will win fewer, and if you add a team, that increases the chances of more teams in the 90 bracket. Especially when in real-life, the extra team comes from the small-market Midwest. Would we rather face three AL East teams or the Pirates?

RedlegJake
06-08-2008, 03:05 PM
Also, it is a red herring to say in 99 the Reds would have won the AL West. In any division you might have a year where 1 team has a 100 win season and another loses out despite winning 96 games. With the wild card format I think that's an very unusual year (not getting in with 96 wins). That kind of fluke could happen any year in any division.

Yachtzee
06-08-2008, 03:18 PM
Seriously...if one of the statmasters on this site could prove or disprove that statement it would help this discussion tremendously. To me, there is no way that could be correct, but I have been known to be wrong. :D I get it that the NL central has been rotten here recently...but I would expect over time that trend would balance out. I just don't see, wildcard aside, how it is just as easy to finish first in a division with 6 as it is with 4 teams. Any help???

I would say the answer to that is that each team in a 6 team division and a four team division has to play 162 games. You might have more teams in your division, but you also play fewer games against each team. As a hypothetical, imagine a four team division with the Reds, Yankees, Red Sox, and the Kansas City Royals. You play 162 games, with 19-20 games each against your division opponents. On the one hand you have some of those games against the small market and perennial doormat Royals, but then you also have the same amount of games against the Yankees and Red Sox. In years where both of those teams are at the height of their power, the Reds are going to have difficulties winning games, even if they have a great team. Thus, getting to 92 wins may be difficult. On the other hand, if you had a division with the Yankees, Red Sox, Reds, and Royals, but then add a few more teams in the mix, like the Astros and Brewers. You still have to play the Yankees and Red Sox, but you play them 15-16 games a season instead of 19-20. In place of those games, you have games against the Astros and Brewers. You also have a wider mix of respective strength of teams. But overall, I think the advantages and disadvantages of having a 6 team division vs. a 4 or 5 team division balance out.

If you want to discuss some actual unfairness, you might have a better argument questioning how Interleague play affects the Wild Card and/or division race. When you have one or even a half game separating Wild Card from team staying home, having a home and home series totaling 6 games against a good Indians team could spell trouble when your main contender has a home and home 6 game series against a bad Royals team.

redsrule2500
06-08-2008, 03:41 PM
Yep.... but what do you expect from the peanut gallery?

Real live thinking?

Are you joking? Just because it has been easier to win recently doesn't mean that trend will hold. Arguing with people that complain about it is beyond idiotic, as statistically the Reds are far worse off than any other team in a different division. I guess "real live thinking" doesn't include statistics courses, huh?:rolleyes:

Caveat Emperor
06-08-2008, 11:19 PM
Arguing with people that complain about it is beyond idiotic, as statistically the Reds are far worse off than any other team in a different division. I guess "real live thinking" doesn't include statistics courses, huh?:rolleyes:

OK -- prove why it's more difficult for the Reds to win the required number of games to make the playoffs in 6 team division v. a 4 team division.

How is it any more difficult to get to 93-95 wins in the NL Central than anywhere else?

kaldaniels
06-08-2008, 11:25 PM
OK -- prove why it's more difficult for the Reds to win the required number of games to make the playoffs in 6 team division v. a 4 team division.

How is it any more difficult to get to 93-95 wins in the NL Central than anywhere else?

I would say it is not more difficult to get 93-95 wins. However I would theorize (I've asked for stats...but so far none...so it remains that, a theory) that being in a 6 team division makes it harder for said 93-95 wins to be the top of the heap. (Over an extended and statistical sufficent amount of time, assuming the division is not weak over that amount of time)

vaticanplum
06-08-2008, 11:30 PM
I would say it is not more difficult to get 93-95 wins. However I would theorize (I've asked for stats...but so far none...so it remains that, a theory) that being in a 6 team division makes it harder for said 93-95 wins to be the top of the heap. (Over an extended and statistical sufficent amount of time, assuming the division is not weak over that amount of time)

But all the other teams in the division face that same obstacle too, right? So doesn't it even out? That's a genuine question, by the way -- I don't have the greatest head for math, and this thread is making my head spin a little bit. Somewhere on this board lurks a mathematician who can really explain this well. I think it does even out, but I'm not sure how.

One could argue, too, that Pittsburgh doesn't count as a whole team. Maybe .6 of a team.

kaldaniels
06-08-2008, 11:31 PM
OK -- prove why it's more difficult for the Reds to win the required number of games to make the playoffs in 6 team division v. a 4 team division.

How is it any more difficult to get to 93-95 wins in the NL Central than anywhere else?

And another way to look at it...

We are not just talking 90+ wins. What about a season where the Reds win let's say 85 games. What are the chances they'd be #1 in the NL Central vs AL West. I say they'd be more likely to win the AL West.

kaldaniels
06-08-2008, 11:35 PM
But all the other teams in the division face that same obstacle too, right? So doesn't it even out? That's a genuine question, by the way -- I don't have the greatest head for math, and this thread is making my head spin a little bit. Somewhere on this board lurks a mathematician who can really explain this well. I think it does even out, but I'm not sure how.

One could argue, too, that Pittsburgh doesn't count as a whole team. Maybe .6 of a team.

But if tommorrow Pittsburgh hired the best GM and manager in the game there goes your argument. But seriously, I know you are tongue in cheek but others have used the "weak" NL Central to support their case. However, that is an issue that could change in 1-2 years.

vaticanplum
06-08-2008, 11:39 PM
But if tommorrow Pittsburgh hired the best GM and manager in the game there goes your argument. But seriously, I know you are tongue in cheek but others have used the "weak" NL Central to support their case. However, that is an issue that could change in 1-2 years.

That's not my "argument". That was a joke.

The argument that sways me, without full understanding, is that all baseball teams play the same amount of games, and there's a pretty standard number of wins that's going to get you in the playoffs, and every team has the same amount of chances to get that number of wins. Actually, the past few years the NL Central winner has been way UNDER that standard number (i.e., if the team were not encroached in the Central, it wouldn't have even taken the wild card...I may be exaggerating but not by much), so there's an argument to be that parity actually helps teams in the NL Central.

kaldaniels
06-08-2008, 11:40 PM
That's not my "argument". That was a joke.

The argument that sways me, without full understanding, is that all baseball teams play the same amount of games, and there's a pretty standard number of wins that's going to get you in the playoffs, and every team has the same amount of chances to get that number of wins. Actually, the past few years the NL Central winner has been way UNDER that standard number (i.e., if the team were not encroached in the Central, it wouldn't have even taken the wild card...I may be exagerrating but not by much), so there's an argument to be had for parity in the NL Central.

Thats why I said tongue in cheek...

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2008, 02:49 AM
And another way to look at it...

We are not just talking 90+ wins. What about a season where the Reds win let's say 85 games. What are the chances they'd be #1 in the NL Central vs AL West. I say they'd be more likely to win the AL West.

As I pointed out in my post above, since 2000 the team winning the NL Central would've finished no better than third in the AL west in '07, '06, '03, and '02.

If you want to use 85 wins as the benchmark, that wouldn't have won the AL West in any season since realignment occurred in 1998. In fact, it wouldn't have been good enough for even a second place finish in any of those seasons.

The reason, though, has very little to do with number of teams in division and very much to do with the fact that have simply been a lot of good teams in the AL West over the past 10 years. You had the 116W Mariners squad in '01, 2 consecutive 100+W squads from the A's, and Anaheim / Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim making their run starting in '04. Competition level dictates difficulty, not number of competitors.

The competition level of the AL West has been high, the competition level of the NL Central has been low. Its what happens when you have 3 doormat franchises (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee) renting out the basement for 10 years running. Now that could all change at a moments notice, if every team decided to get serious about winning and decided to get smart about how to do it -- but that hasn't been the case since the current NL Central was created and it certainly doesn't seem to be threatening to happen in the near future.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 11:32 AM
As I pointed out in my post above, since 2000 the team winning the NL Central would've finished no better than third in the AL west in '07, '06, '03, and '02.

If you want to use 85 wins as the benchmark, that wouldn't have won the AL West in any season since realignment occurred in 1998. In fact, it wouldn't have been good enough for even a second place finish in any of those seasons.

The reason, though, has very little to do with number of teams in division and very much to do with the fact that have simply been a lot of good teams in the AL West over the past 10 years. You had the 116W Mariners squad in '01, 2 consecutive 100+W squads from the A's, and Anaheim / Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim making their run starting in '04. Competition level dictates difficulty, not number of competitors.

The competition level of the AL West has been high, the competition level of the NL Central has been low. Its what happens when you have 3 doormat franchises (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee) renting out the basement for 10 years running. Now that could all change at a moments notice, if every team decided to get serious about winning and decided to get smart about how to do it -- but that hasn't been the case since the current NL Central was created and it certainly doesn't seem to be threatening to happen in the near future.

First, using a 10yr timespan to conclude long-term division trends is a small sample size...and I'm sure you agree with that but I did want to point that out.

Second, Oakland never won 100+ games 2 years in a row...recheck that. As a matter of fact during the mentioned decade the NL Central had 3 seasons with a champion with 100+ wins, while the AL West only had 2 seasons with such. But again...small sample size.

Third...my argument is based on the fact that all teams in the divison over a long time are going to be relatively equal. If you ran a simualtion with equal teams over a long time...it just stands to reason that in the NL Central the Reds would be champions 16.6 percent of the time vs 25 percent of the time if they were a part of the 4 team AL West.

I agree that in a given season the competion level along with the number of teams fighting for a division crown are the 2 factors to consider. But over time, I think the competition level will even out, leaving the NL Central more difficult than the AL West...remember Pittsburgh won 6 division titles in the 70's...they are not going to be awful forever.

vaticanplum
06-09-2008, 11:47 AM
Second, Oakland never won 100+ games 2 years in a row...recheck that.

2001 and 2002. 102 and 103 wins respectively, bookended by 91- and 96-win seasons in 2000 and 2003.

I think the point is that CE et al. are not talking about "trends". They're talking about the reality of what a team -- any team, regardless of division -- needs to do to win, and then backing it up not with trends but with examples.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 11:57 AM
2001 and 2002. 102 and 103 wins respectively, bookended by 91- and 96-win seasons in 2000 and 2003.

I think the point is that CE et al. are not talking about "trends". They're talking about the reality of what a team -- any team, regardless of division -- needs to do to win, and then backing it up not with trends but with examples.

OK...I was just talking about divisional winners.

Caveat Emperor
06-09-2008, 02:10 PM
First, using a 10yr timespan to conclude long-term division trends is a small sample size...and I'm sure you agree with that but I did want to point that out.

Realignment happened 10 years ago. Before 1998, there was no 6 team NL Central since the Brewers hadn't come over from the AL.

Thus, if the subject of this debate is "does the 6 team NL Central put the Reds at a disadvantage" it doesn't make any sense to look past 1998 -- the NL Central was a normal-sized 5 teams at that point.


Third...my argument is based on the fact that all teams in the divison over a long time are going to be relatively equal. If you ran a simualtion with equal teams over a long time...it just stands to reason that in the NL Central the Reds would be champions 16.6 percent of the time vs 25 percent of the time if they were a part of the 4 team AL West.

I agree that in a given season the competion level along with the number of teams fighting for a division crown are the 2 factors to consider. But over time, I think the competition level will even out, leaving the NL Central more difficult than the AL West...remember Pittsburgh won 6 division titles in the 70's...they are not going to be awful forever.

I'd think you're out of your gourd if you want to claim that the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rays will have an "equal" 20% shot apiece of winning the AL East. They might have nice little runs in them here and there, but that division has been dominated by Boston and New York for most of recent memory and looks to be dominated by Boston and New York even further into the future. Why? Because Boston and New York consistently field better teams than their competition. You could make it a three team division (BOS, NYY, and BAL) and I'd still lay heavy money that the O's get a sniff of the playoffs no more than once every decade. Competition level is far and away more important than number of competitors.

The teams aren't equal -- they haven't been since they started calling ball and strikes. They especially haven't been equal since the free agency era really took off.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 02:19 PM
Realignment happened 10 years ago. Before 1998, there was no 6 team NL Central since the Brewers hadn't come over from the AL.

Thus, if the subject of this debate is "does the 6 team NL Central put the Reds at a disadvantage" it doesn't make any sense to look past 1998 -- the NL Central was a normal-sized 5 teams at that point.



I'd think you're out of your gourd if you want to claim that the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rays will have an "equal" 20% shot apiece of winning the AL East. They might have nice little runs in them here and there, but that division has been dominated by Boston and New York for most of recent memory and looks to be dominated by Boston and New York even further into the future. Why? Because Boston and New York consistently field better teams than their competition. You could make it a three team division (BOS, NYY, and BAL) and I'd still lay heavy money that the O's get a sniff of the playoffs no more than once every decade. Competition level is far and away more important than number of competitors.

The teams aren't equal -- they haven't been since they started calling ball and strikes. They especially haven't been equal since the free agency era really took off.

Just because you can't go back farther than that doesn't mean it is not a small sample size.

Look...you have your theory, I have mine. Until someone who knows their statistics chimes in...we don't know whose theory is correct. This has been pretty civil...the out of your gourd remark was uncalled for.

I don't know what the correct sample size is. But over a one-hundred year period I would lay heavy money that the Orioles would win this three team division you mention (NY,Bos,Bal) more than 10 times. That is where we differ.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 02:29 PM
Not to get too off track..but how about this question. There are 16 teams in the NL, 14 teams in the AL. Each team shooting for 1 of the 4 playoff spots. Which league is it more difficult to make the playoffs in?

I say NL...no suprise on my answer.

BCubb2003
06-09-2008, 02:44 PM
I wonder if it would help to have a chart that compared the four-team division and the six-team division over time and looked at the number of teams above 90 each year, the number of teams above 80 and the average winning percentage.

Even though the six-team division offends my sense of order, I don't see where the number of teams guarantees they'll be evenly distributed. If you win 90 games, there's nothing that says there will be more 90+ teams above you.

Chip R
06-09-2008, 02:45 PM
Not to get too off track..but how about this question. There are 16 teams in the NL, 14 teams in the AL. Each team shooting for 1 of the 4 playoff spots. Which league is it more difficult to make the playoffs in?

I say NL...no suprise on my answer.


Theoretically speaking, you're correct. But if you are in a 14 team league and all the teams are strong, your chances of making the playoffs would probably be better in a 16 team league where every team was lousy.

pahster
06-09-2008, 03:12 PM
Just because you can't go back farther than that doesn't mean it is not a small sample size.


It's not a sample at all; he's talking about the population. If the population was one or two years worth of data, I'd agree with you. 10 years is more than sufficient.


Not to get too off track..but how about this question. There are 16 teams in the NL, 14 teams in the AL. Each team shooting for 1 of the 4 playoff spots. Which league is it more difficult to make the playoffs in?

I say NL...no suprise on my answer.

No, teams in both leagues play the same number of games. Generally speaking, well constructed teams win more games than those which are poorly constructed; the number of teams in the league is irrelevant.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 03:22 PM
It's not a sample at all; he's talking about the population. If the population was one or two years worth of data, I'd agree with you. 10 years is more than sufficient. You say it is sufficient. I say it is not. I agree to disagree...but there is a statistical way to determine the correctness as I keep saying...I just don't know how to do it.



No, teams in both leagues play the same number of games. Generally speaking, well constructed teams win more games than those which are poorly constructed; the number of teams in the league is irrelevant.

To your second point...of course...if you have a good team you will generally get into the playoffs. But doesn't a higher amount of teams mean that it will be more difficult for said good team to make the playoffs (looking at long term trends)

pahster
06-09-2008, 03:31 PM
You say it is sufficient. I say it is not. I agree to disagree...but there is a statistical way to determine the correctness as I keep saying...I just don't know how to do it.

What are you asking? There are no statistics here, we're discussing parameters. Statistics are mathematical measurements drawn from samples; a sample is a (presumably) representative subset of a population. In this case, the 10 year "sample" is the population. It's not a subset of anything.


To your second point...of course...if you have a good team you will generally get into the playoffs. But doesn't a higher amount of teams mean that it will be more difficult for said good team to make the playoffs (looking at long term trends)

Only if you assume that all teams have an equal probability of making the playoffs which, judging by your statement about good teams, you don't believe.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 03:36 PM
What are you asking? There are no statistics here, we're discussing parameters. Statistics are mathematical measurements drawn from samples; a sample is a (presumably) representative subset of a population. In this case, the 10 year "sample" is the population. It's not a subset of anything.

I am looking for the number of wins that it will take to win the NL Central and AL West in an average year. To do so I suspect you would need 1 of 2 things. The mean average of wins by the divison winner over time. OR The median of wins by the division winner. (I'd favor the median). 10 years of data is not sufficent.

Only if you assume that all teams have an equal probability of making the playoffs which, judging by your statement about good teams, you don't believe.

I do believe if you have a good team you will usually make the playoffs. However I do believe over time that the good team in the 4 team league wins the division more than the good team in the 6 team league.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 03:43 PM
I am not factoring the wildcard into my discussion, nor am I considering the quality of other teams. A fatal mistake??? I don't know. But I don't expect the Pirates/Brew/Reds (sorry) to be doormats forever.

But what if tommorrow baseball announced several retraction/expansion plans? With only the divisonal winners going to the playoffs. (Playoff/bye structure is not important)

24 teams. With 6 four team divisions.
36 teams With 6 six team divisions.
48 teams With 6 eight team divisions.
480 teams With 6 eighty team divisions.

Which, if your only goal is to win the division and get into the playoffs, would you prefer the Reds to be in. Remember the original discussion by me was that more teams, means it is harder to win the division. Some of those examples are ridiculous...but it is just illustrating my thinking.

pahster
06-09-2008, 03:56 PM
Why is ten years not sufficient? Again, this is not a sample, it's a population.

Here are the data you requested.


Records of Division Winners Since 1998

NL Central AL West

Mean 94.4 96.4

Median 96 95

They're essentially the same.


I am not factoring the wildcard into my discussion, nor am I considering the quality of other teams. A fatal mistake???

Yes.

vaticanplum
06-09-2008, 03:57 PM
Theoretically speaking, you're correct. But if you are in a 14 team league and all the teams are strong, your chances of making the playoffs would probably be better in a 16 team league where every team was lousy.

That's where I think parity comes in. And I may be using that word incorrectly...but I just feel that if every team in the league has the SAME chance of making the playoffs, then it evens out, regardless of whether that chance is 10 or 50 percent. They're all facing the same odds.

pahster
06-09-2008, 04:01 PM
That's where I think parity comes in. And I may be using that word incorrectly...but I just feel that if every team in the league has the SAME chance of making the playoffs, then it evens out, regardless of whether that chance is 10 or 50 percent. They're all facing the same odds.

If all teams have an equal chance of winning each game, you are absolutely correct. If all teams have an equal probability of making the playoffs, then you would want your team to be in a league with fewer teams. Teams don't have an equal probability of success, though. Regardless of the number of teams in their league/division, bad teams lose, good teams win.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 04:12 PM
If all teams have an equal chance of winning each game, you are absolutely correct. If all teams have an equal probability of making the playoffs, then you would want your team to be in a league with fewer teams. Teams don't have an equal probability of success, though. Regardless of the number of teams in their league/division, bad teams lose, good teams win.

Put the Boston Red Sox in the NL Central and AL West this year. Heck make it 5 and 7 team divisions. Or...remove the worst team in each league or something. Leave the rosters of the other teams as they stand. Simulate the season 100 times. Do they win first place equally between both leagues?

RBA
06-09-2008, 04:14 PM
Simple odds means it's easier to beat 3 other teams than to beat 5 other teams.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 04:16 PM
Simple odds means it's easier to beat 3 other teams than to beat 5 other teams.

Oh no you didn't. :D

pahster
06-09-2008, 04:18 PM
Put the Boston Red Sox in the NL Central and AL West this year. Heck make it 5 and 7 team divisions. Or...remove the worst team in each league or something. Leave the rosters of the other teams as they stand. Simulate the season 100 times. Do they win first place equally between both leagues?

Honestly, I'm not particularly interested in sitting down and writing the 20+ pages of code that R would require in order to do such a thing. :p:

Just think about it; which teams in the AL West are better than the Red Sox? And in the NL Central? None. The Red Sox would likely win both divisions. This is not because of the number of teams in either division, it's because of the quality of said teams.

pahster
06-09-2008, 04:19 PM
Simple odds means it's easier to beat 3 other teams than to beat 5 other teams.

Only if all of the teams are equal to one another.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 04:24 PM
Honestly, I'm not particularly interested in sitting down and writing the 20+ pages of code that R would require in order to do such a thing. :p:

Just think about it; which teams in the AL West are better than the Red Sox? And in the NL Central? None. The Red Sox would likely win both divisions. This is not because of the number of teams in either division, it's because of the quality of said teams.

But if you simualted the season 100 times...surely you would agree they would not win each division every year?

If you don't want to write the code fine...but are you saying you think they would win each divison an equal amount of times?

pahster
06-09-2008, 04:33 PM
But if you simualted the season 100 times...surely you would agree they would not win each division every year?

If you don't want to write the code fine...but are you saying you think they would win each divison an equal amount of times?

If you're only talking about this year, then yes. It may not be exact, but I doubt the difference would be significant. The Red Sox would probably dominate both divisions. They'd arguably do better in the NLC than they would in the ALW considering that the level of competition is (for now) lower in the NL than it is in the AL.

kaldaniels
06-09-2008, 04:56 PM
If you're only talking about this year, then yes. It may not be exact, but I doubt the difference would be significant. The Red Sox would probably dominate both divisions. They'd arguably do better in the NLC than they would in the ALW considering that the level of competition is (for now) lower in the NL than it is in the AL.

I'm thinking the only thing that would matter in terms of the level of competion is the relativity of a team to the teams in the division...not the whole league. Those are the only teams you are fighting against for the division crown. It to me wouldn't matter the quality of NL to AL...just NLC to ALW.

To win the NL Central this year (in all acutallity not fair to just use this year as it is just a snapshot in time.) Boston would have to beat a pretty good Cubs team. A overachieving good Cardinal team. 2 pesky teams in the Brew/Astros. Not to mention the cellar dwellers are only a combined 5 games below .500.

To win the AL West this year...they'd have to beat a pretty good Angels team, a good A's team, a pesky Rangers team, and a horrible horrible M's.

If you simulated a 100 years of the 2008 season. Sure, the Sox would win each division most of the time I bet. The Cubs/Angels would win it a fair share. The Cards/Brew/Astros/Rangers would a couple times to I bet. I'll figure for discussion the Reds/Pirates/M's will not win once (but out of a 100 seasons...you'd probably see it once or twice). Both the Pirates and Rangers are just a game under .500 but if anything I'm tilting power (relative) to the teams in the AL West.

3 middle of the pack teams in the NL Central. 1 in the AL West. Thats where the difference would lie in 100 years of simulation. Those pesky teams aren't going to catch lightning in a bottle most years...but when they do...thats one reason I think over time it would be more difficult to win a 6 team league. Over time you will be up against a higher quantity of overachieving teams...

pahster
06-09-2008, 05:07 PM
The Angels' record is 6 over their predicted pythag. They're alright. The A's, on the other hand, are two games under their pythag; they look to be pretty good. The rest of the AL West is bad. In the NL Central, the Cubs are quite good. The Reds, Astros, Brewers, and Pirates are bad. The Cards aren't good at all. Honestly I don't think they're much, if at all, better than the other NL Central teams (other than the Cubs). I'd be surprised if they were over .500 by the end of the year. Ludwick isn't gonna slug .700 all year and eventually they're going to lose Pujols to season ending surgery. Their rotation is no great shakes aside from Wainwright.

As for going up against a higher number of overachievers... it's possible, but you're talking about quite a confluence of events.

westofyou
06-09-2008, 05:10 PM
Over time you will be up against a higher quantity of overachieving teams...

A real life example of that is the National League in the first 2 decades of the 20th century. Pretty much controlled by the Giants, Cubs and Pirates the other 5 teams all had 1 taste

1919 - Reds
1914 - Braves
1915- Phillies
1916 - Brooklyn

With the Cards being the only team missing out on the random luck factor.

So they decided to take another approach and try and take the market on differently, which was with Rickey and the farm system.

For the next 2 decades they replaced the Pirates as a dominate team and until the Reds copied them no other team but the Giants/Cards/Cubs/Pirates got in the World Series.

The common theme is that unless the market had deficiencies (like in the teens) or your team found a new angle to exploit the chance of random luck you were likely outside looking in come World Series time, when the rich teams were still playing.