Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Baseball 101: Games Back

I've dedicated a substantial portion of my corner of the blogosphere to talking about baseball. I've shared the trials and tribulations associated with being a Chicago Cubs fan, taken my followers to ballparks around the United States and Canada, and I've shared a few tales from games I've played in over the years. What I've failed to do is talk about the game itself.

After bouncing the idea around in my head this afternoon, I decided to provide some insight into the game of baseball. Throughout the MLB 2009 season, I will offer some nuggets of information for the casual fan. I know some of you have played the game at a high level. You'll already understand this. If you fall into this category, go watch a game. There's probably one on right now.

One of the questions that I get asked quite often pertains to the standings. Casual fans often get confused about being half a game (1/2) back in the standings. Simply put, this addresses the issue when an uneven number of games have been played.

Let's look at the current standings in the National League's Western and Eastern Divisions:


In the West, the San Francisco Giants (1-0) and the Colorado Rockies (2-1) are tied for first place. Really? Yes. Even though the Giants are undefeated and the Rockies have lost one game, they are tied due to an uneven number of games played.


How about the East? The Florida Marlins (3-0) and the New York Mets (1-0) are both undefeated, yet the Mets are one game back in the standings. To further complicate the issue, the Atlanta Braves (2-1) have lost one game and are tied for second place with the Mets.

There's a simple calculation to determine games back in the standings:

1. Take the number of games behind in the loss column.
2. Add the games behind in the win column.
3. Take that number and divide it by 2.

That will give you the number of games back in the standings.

Let's look at the West.

1. The Rockies have lost one game compared to the Giants' zero (1).
2. Since the Rockies won two games and the Giants only have one win (-1). Add those numbers and you get zero.
3. Take zero (0) and divide it by two (2), you get zero and a tie for first place.

It's that simple. Of course you can always look online or read the sports section of your local newspaper.

Bill, I always enjoy reading your baseball blogs.

I hope we can all get together for a game this year...
Carrie   Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Good idea Bill. I'm sure I'll have some questions for you during the season.
LimeyGeorge   Wednesday, April 8, 2009
It's probably a little premature to talk about "Magic Number", but maybe come August or September you can discuss how a team's magic number is determined.
stheinz   Saturday, April 11, 2009
I'd love to.
Bill Pearch   Sunday, April 12, 2009
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