Tuesday, November 04, 2003

more about any given sunday

In response to today's earlier post on variability in football and baseball games, a reader from Bartmanville, IL writes:

It would seem that any discussion on the variation of performance of baseball teams with respect to football teams must include some discussion of pitching rotations. A star pitcher for a baseball team can strongly bend the odds towards a win, but that pitcher can only play in one out of four games. Football doesn't have anything comparable.

Certainly so. I dodged that issue. It's intriguing to think about how baseball would be different if it were like softball and pitchers could pitch every day without much cumulative wear on their arm. (Or, alternatively, if baseball games were only once a week.) What do you think would happen? My first-pass guess would be that the variation between teams would increase considerably, carrying with it more predictability in the outcomes of individual games. Baseball would also become a lot more like basketball in terms of the identifiability of teams with single players who are considered responsible for carrying much of the teams overall players. The star(ting) pitcher of each team would probably account for 40-50% of the teams' payrolls if no restrictions were placed on the outcome.

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