Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Loss Column

As baseball winds down, the usual ifs come into play as to who will win the Wild Card and the division, and it gives us The Magic Number, a nifty way of figuring out a combination of wins and other teams' losses that will clinch a playoff spot. But one area in which broadcasters and experts emphasize waaaaaaay too much is "the loss column."

The stress is upon the fact that a team cannot improve their station in the loss column. If you have 67 losses, then you cannot make it less than that. And if the team ahead of you has 65 losses, then the team ahead of you is 2 ahead in the loss column. There could not be a dumber emphasis in sports than this.

It's true that a team cannot make up their losses, but the team ahead of them can always falter. The emphasis on the loss column seems to suggest that a team in first place has a decent chance of running the table for the rest of the year.

The only day that the loss column matters is when it is mathematically impossible for a team that is ahead to lose enough games to fall from their spot. And this is what The Magic Number is for, and makes way more sense than all this putrid discussion of "the loss column." But watch any coverage of the pennant/wild card race and the day's games, someone will bring up that loss column like it is the end-all factor, when it is just a mere piece to the puzzle.

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At 9/15/2008 07:20:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Yep, might as well say the win column. They have games that you have to make up! Who cares? The Magic number is fine.

And hey, the Titans magic number for the division is 14! I calculated that yesterday.


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