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Replay Helps, but Better Team Would Still Lose Often
jrh286@cornell.edu
| May 5, 2011
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A bad call prompted Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said last night that major league baseball should increase the use of instant replay. Proponents of increasing the use of instant replay are right that it would make the game fairer by getting more calls right. Increasing instant replay though, would have no effect on the many other ways in which all sports are unfair, causing the better team to lose fairly frequently, particularly when it matters most in the postseason.A bad call prompted Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said last night that major league baseball should increase the use of instant replay. Proponents of increasing the use of instant replay are right that it would make the game fairer by getting more calls right. Increasing instant replay though, would have no effect on the many other ways in which all sports are unfair, causing the better team to lose fairly frequently, particularly when it matters most in the postseason. Baseball statisticians have long said that the better team will lose roughly 45% of the time. This means that in a five or seven-game playoff series, the team that is not as good will win the series fairly often. Obviously, this problem is even worse in the NFL or the NCAA Basketball Tournament. In baseball, you can rely only on your top 2 or 3 starters more often in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter how bad your 4 or 5 starters are, like it does during the regular season. Obviously, all sports feature injuries, which can cause the better team to lose. Matchups can cause a team that’s better than nearly every other team to lose to a mediocre team in the playoffs because of the styles the teams play. There are all sorts of other factors that cause the best team to lose. Among all major sports, the true best team probably only wins the championship about a third of the time, maybe less. This doesn’t mean sports is meaningless, but that in sports, like anything else in life, you need to be both good and lucky to excel.
Originally Aired: Thursday, May 5, 2011. This is a part of the 93-Second Sports Shot series. 93-Second Sports Shots air weekday evenings at 6pm.
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