Idiots breakout the probability tables. If they can call the 2003 Marlins the worst team to win the World Series in 30 years, I can call them idiots.
"The world of sports provides an ideal laboratory for modeling competition because game data are accurate, abundant, and accessible," answers the study in the journal Physical Review E. "Even after a long series of competitions, the best team does not always finish first."
READ THE STUDY: Efficiency of competitions
LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LAB: Randomness in competitions
The problem, say study authors Eli Ben-Naim and Nick Hengartner of the Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory, is that the baseball season, at a mere 162 games, is too short. Instead, the number of games that would keep a lucky-but-lousy team from dethroning a statistically superior team is 265.
The study authors, who specialize in studying random behavior in complex materials, plugged the odds of low-seed teams beating high-seed ones, 44% in baseball over the last century, into a mathematical model of a typical season.
The more games played, the better the chances that the higher seeded teams will become champions, according to the study. And it becomes less likely that a weak team will weasel its way to the top.
But to ensure that the best Major League Baseball team wins, a longer World Series, say 11 games, would be mathematically appropriate. "The same is true for other competitions in arts, science and politics," write the study authors.
A more efficient competitive process would be to schedule a preliminary series of competitions to cull the obviously bad teams, and then follow with a longer season devoted to only the good ones.
"In real life, we have to compete all the time, rank people, rank proposals and other things," Ben-Naim says. The study suggests a more efficient approach in such cases would be to throw out the worst competitors immediately and "spend all your energy evaluating only the few obviously best ones."
Tough luck for the Marlins in that case. Statistics indicate they were the worst team in 30 years to win a World Series, say the authors.
Where to start. First off the Marlins had the best record in baseball from some date in May, I don't have the time to lookup the exact date, but their record from that time forward was even better than the Yankees. And who is to say that if the season was their magical 265 games that the Fish wouldn't have had the best record in baseball. Which does brings up the point, who are these clowns kidding, do they not know that the game is played by humans and not robots? Could you imagine a 265 game season, all the rules concerning the movement of players would have to be changed in order to make sure a team had enough players to complete the season.
The other thing is that the Marlins were the hottest team in baseball when the playoffs started and they could have played an eleven-game series with the Yankees and the outcome would have been the same. Raw statistics thrown into a simulator program makes for great bar talk, but it doesn't always represent reality.
If I have to go into this further, I will.