The European Physical Journal B
, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 473481
First online:
Understanding baseball team standings and streaks
 C. SireAffiliated withLaboratoire de Physique Théorique  IRSAMC, CNRS, Université Paul Sabatier
 , S. RednerAffiliated withCenter for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University Email author
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Can one understand the statistics of wins and losses of baseball teams? Are their consecutivegame winning and losing streaks selfreinforcing or can they be described statistically? We apply the BradleyTerry model, which incorporates the heterogeneity of team strengths in a minimalist way, to answer these questions. Excellent agreement is found between the predictions of the BradleyTerry model and the rank dependence of the average number team wins and losses in majorleague baseball over the past century when the distribution of team strengths is taken to be uniformly distributed over a finite range. Using this uniform strength distribution, we also find very good agreement between model predictions and the observed distribution of consecutivegame team winning and losing streaks over the last halfcentury; however, the agreement is less good for the previous halfcentury. The behavior of the last halfcentury supports the hypothesis that long streaks are primarily statistical in origin with little selfreinforcing component. The data further show that the past halfcentury of baseball has been more competitive than the preceding halfcentury.
PACS
89.75.k Complex systems 02.50.Cw Probability theory Title
 Understanding baseball team standings and streaks
 Journal

The European Physical Journal B
Volume 67, Issue 3 , pp 473481
 Cover Date
 200902
 DOI
 10.1140/epjb/e2008004055
 Print ISSN
 14346028
 Online ISSN
 14346036
 Publisher
 SpringerVerlag
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 89.75.k Complex systems
 02.50.Cw Probability theory
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