Comments on: Bloops: A method for determining the probability that a given team was the true best team in some particular year This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Autin Wed, 27 Apr 2011 18:44:27 +0000 @17, Mike Felber -- Yeah, OK, my last point @16 was just gratuitous dig at a long-suffering Cubs fan. (Given the stretch collapses by my Mets in 2007-08, I don't mind focusing on someone else's pain once in a while.)

I don't think there's a universally acknowledged scientific way to objectively compare two teams. For the '69 Mets and Cubs, their pythagorean win totals were almost the same. When I weigh that fact among the others I cited -- actual records, head-to-head records, and the fact that the Mets went 7-1 in the postseason -- I just can't see any reason to think that the Cubs were "truly" a better club. And isn't the burden of proof on the other side?

By: Mike Felber Wed, 27 Apr 2011 07:59:38 +0000 They were about the same, but are poor or even great records down the stretch necessarily the result of play under pressure? When statisticians look at individual example of player's clutch play, it almost never exists. All here are likely to know about the vagueries of performance due to random variation & sample size.

Why is it likely to be different for teams? We know that a team or individual with ANY sort of record will have times when they are much better or worse than their average performance, certainly over 162 games. If no team EVER performed (assume a perfect world where we magically knew the cause of everything) better or worse due to pressure, some would through the law of averages have records like 8-18 down the stretch.

That does not even consider the causes of this, some luck, close games (since whether runs are scored efficiently or bunched up is mostly random), nor what the strength of the schedules are. And when things like injuries occur, any team may do badly by normal standards.

By: John Autin Wed, 27 Apr 2011 04:21:12 +0000 @14
Wait -- what?!? The '69 Mets beat the Cubs by 8 games in the division race and by 10-8 in the season series. Then they blazed through the postseason at 7-1, flattening the 109-win Orioles.

Run differential is a wonderful tool. But the fact that the Cubs' pythagorean win total was 1 more than the Mets' is scant support for your claim.

If the Cubs were truly better than the Mets, they probably wouldn't have folded like a Mad Magazine cover in September. Great teams don't go 8-18 with the pennant on the line.

By: Neil L. Tue, 26 Apr 2011 21:21:30 +0000 @14
WIne, 1969 was a looong time ago and the Miracle Mets are everybody's darling. Let's not lets a Bloops calculation get the way of history.

By: Wine Curmudgeon Tue, 26 Apr 2011 21:03:23 +0000 Where are the 1969 rankings? Let's lift this albatross from Cubs' neck once and for all, and see if they were -- as all Cubs fans know in their heart -- truly better than the hated Mets.

By: Neil Paine Tue, 26 Apr 2011 12:32:37 +0000 #12 - And I realize this statement sounds a lot like something advocates of the BCS would say:

"...the postseason only exists to settle the "best team" question if there is doubt after the regular season. It shouldn't include teams that didn't take advantage of regular-season opportunities to make their case for #1."

The problem with the BCS is the rigidity of a 2-team format that doesn't allow for the possibility of more than 2 teams having a legitimate chance at being #1. If the BCS were to adopt a methodology like this, where the size of the playoff changed yearly depending on the probabilities of each team being the "true" #1, I wouldn't have any problem with it.

By: Neil Paine Tue, 26 Apr 2011 12:29:28 +0000 #10 - Well, no. Oakland had a 9.1% chance of being the best according to his 2001 sub-page:

On the main methodology page he listed all teams who either had a 10% chance or won the real-life WS. But the cutoff I mentioned earlier was 5% (and you could change that depending on which significance level you wanted to use).

My point was that the postseason only exists to settle the "best team" question if there is doubt after the regular season. It shouldn't include teams that didn't take advantage of regular-season opportunities to make their case for #1.

That said, it's going to be hard to find a scenario where you would need to hand the WS to a team without playing any playoff games, if a season like 2001 or 1998 can't produce that outcome.

By: Jon Tue, 26 Apr 2011 12:08:28 +0000 I have to side with Tbone here. All depends on what you mean by ideal. It would appear, especially given the playoff formats in other sports, that the ideal for most people is a system where lots of teams have a chance to win the championship (including the team for which they root).

But wouldn't that be a blast if something like that were implemented, where if you didn't make that 95% certainty cut you'd be out of the playoff picture, and the greatest Cubs team ever was calculated as false negative resulting in another century of futility?

If we're going to instill a criteria where we eliminate things of which we're 95% sure that they aren't the best, let's start with the Hall of Fame and not the playoffs.

By: tbone82 Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:14:03 +0000 #5- so in the ideal playoff system, the 2001 Mariners would have been handed the WS title after the regular season? not to be argumentative, but...

By: Neil Paine Tue, 26 Apr 2011 03:35:34 +0000 #6 - Right, the probabilities aren't really intended to be compared across seasons -- although they do give an indication of how dominant a team's W-L record was relative to the other top teams of that season.