Baseball, Optimization and the World Wide Web


The competition for baseball playoff spots---the fabled ``pennant race''--- is one of the most closely-watched American sports traditions. Baseball fans, famous for their love of statistics, check newspapers (and now, web sites) daily looking for measures on their team's progress (or lack thereof!). While informative, traditionally reported statistics such as  games back and the ``magic number'' are overly conservative and ignore the remaining schedule of games. By using simple optimization techniques one can model these schedule effects explicitly and determine when a team has locked up a playoff spot or is truly ``mathematically eliminated'' from contention. We describe how we used optimization and the Internet to develop a popular web site to provide automatic daily updates of new, improved playoff race statistics during the 1996, 1997 and current baseball seasons, and how this site fits into a larger operations research web project, the Berkeley Remote Interactive Optimization Testbed. 

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Baseball, Optimization and the World Wide Web(33 pages, 218 KB)
Ilan Adler, Alan L. Erera, Dorit S. Hochbaum and Eli V. Olinick. UC Berkeley manuscript.