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Thread: Home Field Disadvantage

  1. #1

    Home Field Disadvantage

    Someone needs to come up with a better name for "home field advantage" when it comes to the seven game (2-3-2 format) series in baseball. There is no advantage for the team that gets to potentially play four games at home. Not that every team plays better at home anyway, but assuming they all do, please explain how is this an advantage for the higher seeded team:

    4 game series - 2 home, 2 away (advantage: none)
    5 game series - 2 home, 3 away (advantage: lower seed)
    6 game series - 3 home, 3 away (advantage: none)
    7 game series - 4 home, 3 away (advantage: higher seed)

    Only one of those four scenarios gives an advantage to the higher seed/All-Star game winner representative and it takes almost two weeks to take effect. The odds are higher that there will be 4-6 games played than seven.

    Let's be clear, the Packers playing the Dolphins in Green Bay is a home field advantage. The Celtics playing any other NBA team in the old Boston Garden was a home court advantage. During the regular season in the MLB, the Angels playing at home in the middle of an Orioles 10-game west coast road trip is a home field advantage. During the World bleepin' Series though, there simply is no advantage. That would require a 2-2-2-1 format or virtually anything other than 2-3-2


    So, as a fan of an AL team, if you want to wish for the best chance to see a higher amount of World Series games at home....root for the National League to win the All-Star game.

  2. #2
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    I have often wondered the same thing. Seems to only be an advantage for the higher seeded team if the series goes 7 games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaz View Post
    Someone needs to come up with a better name for "home field advantage" when it comes to the seven game (2-3-2 format) series in baseball.
    It really just means that one team has a home field advantage if the series goes 7 games. If the away team win the first game, you'll often hear people say that that team now has the home field advantage. It's not a secret that a 2-2-2-1 format (or even a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format) would be better, but they don't use those formats for rather obvious reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaz View Post
    Someone needs to come up with a better name for "home field advantage" when it comes to the seven game (2-3-2 format) series in baseball.
    It really just means that one team has a home field advantage if the series goes 7 games. If the away team win the first game, you'll often hear people say that that team now has the home field advantage. It's not a secret that a 2-2-2-1 format (or even a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format) would be better, but they don't use those formats for rather obvious reasons.

  5. #5
    Let me re-phrase then:

    The winner of the All-Star Game should be the lower seed in the World Series because then they would be less likely to have a home field disadvantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaz View Post
    The winner of the All-Star Game should be the lower seed in the World Series because then they would be less likely to have a home field disadvantage.
    How about giving them the choice?

  7. #7
    That'd be a step in the right direction.

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    What about giving the team with "home-field advantage" 5 home games in a best-of-7 series? Either 3-2-2 or 2-2-3 would work.
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    Down here in the minors if a team wins both halves, that team gets 4 home games in the playoffs while the team with the 2nd best overall record gets one home game (it's a 2-1-2 format).

  10. #10
    I don't know, but I always assumed that the 2-3-2 format was intended to _minimize_ any advantage, like the alternating NL AL format. I thought the idea that there _should_ be an advantage originated with the decision to grant it to the winner of the all-star game. That the prize means very little, despite all the hype surrounding it, is kind of fitting, isn't it.

  11. #11
    For fun I ran the probabilities for a .53 to .47 home team advantage. There were 70 possible outcomes, 35 winning series for each team. Each had 1 way to win in 4 games, 4 ways to win in 5 games, 10 ways to win in 6 games, and 20 ways to win in 7 games. Overall, the team with the home team "advantage" won about 51% of the time, as follows:
    4 game series: H .0621 V .0621
    5 game series: H .1175 V .1325
    6 game series: H .1639 V .1489
    7 game series: H .1660 V .1472
    Total . . . . . . H. .5094 V .4906

  12. #12
    does anyone know the real home field edge?

    I know here are a lot of statisticians. what percentage of home games have been won last regular season?
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

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    Was the Cardinals win in Game Seven of the 2011 Series not the tenth consecutive Game Seven Home Team win in the WS? (maybe 9..)

    That's an enormous advantage which has been capitalized on for several generations now without fail. If you win the Series in 5 or 6, great, but if not, you are at home for the last TWO... Which are usually Series Deciding games. Not to mention you opening the Series with two games at home, seeking the proverbial good start.

    I don't see what the problem is. 2-3-2 is fantastic. 2-2-1-1-1 might be interesting, and gives the "road team" a real shot at a Game 6 Home game. I'm not convinced they should even hav a shot a that though. Barring a Series Sweep by one team, Game 5 should be at one location, with 6 and 7 together at the team that has earned or has been given HFA.


    Which brings us to how HFA is awarded. This All-Star Game business is nonsense. I've been saying for years that the league with the best overall record throughout Interleague Play that season has EARNED it and their pennant winner should get HFA in the World Series. It would certainly add some spice to the last two dozen Interleague Games, no? Imagine one league is up by just a few games heading into the last weekend...
    "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    does anyone know the real home field edge?

    I know here are a lot of statisticians. what percentage of home games have been won last regular season?
    You can find home team average wins at baseball-reference.com. Find the MLB year record. You may have to ask for expanded stats. The average for last year was 42-38, or .525. Why the totals add up to 80' I do not know, but they do so for the last ten years, over which teams averaged 43.6-36.4, or .545.

    The .530 figure I used was the figure in the air a few years ago, but obviously it bounces around quite a bit, considering that 30 teams are averaged.

  15. #15
    Here is the breakdown for series win probabilities for evenly matched teams with a home team advantage of .545-.455, the average over the last ten years:


    4 games: no home advantage (.061-.061)
    5 games: home disadvantage (.114-.136)
    6 games: home advantage (.168-145)
    7 games: home advantage (.171-.143)
    all series: home advantage (.514-.486)

    (Edit) I realize these figures include a lot of noise. How relevant is the Pittsburgh Pirates' 2006 home-away breakdown to any of this? I will go back and look at the records for playoff-eligible teams, but I do not think there will be a great deal of difference. The top 6 MLB teams in 2011 had .533 of their wins at home and .467 on the road.

    (Keeping in mind as well that this is just about the behavior of numbers: "Two evenly matched teams" is itself a hypothetical construct that as far as I know no one has successfully described, much less discovered.)
    Last edited by Jackaroo Dave; 03-02-2012 at 08:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    does anyone know the real home field edge?

    I know here are a lot of statisticians. what percentage of home games have been won last regular season?
    Over the last 3 seasons, the home team is 3968-3321, which is .544.

  17. #17
    The greater the real home field advantage the less of an advantage the top seed will have.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Yaz View Post
    The greater the real home field advantage the less of an advantage the top seed will have.
    Not sure I follow this. It sounds, then, as if a null home field advantage of .000 would give the top seed the greatest advantage. Or that a true home field disadvantage would actually favor the top seed. Can this be so?

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