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09 WBC venues, pools, and rules changes announced

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  • #31
    im excited that there are games in toronto, i will hopefully be heading down there to cheer on the canucks

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by spark240 View Post
      Also, if Pool A came out as I described there, there are indeed two matchups that we don't get to see. There would be no Japan-Taiwan game and no Korea-China game. It's not just missing out on the "best" team playing the "worst" team; this would be missing both the 1-3 game and the 2-4 game (assuming Taiwan beats China in their game). So we lose two pool games, gain an unnecessary rematch, and have the theoretical possibility of a truly weird ending...

      They should have consulted here first!
      Scratch paper helps. Good work. And you're right: it's indeed possible--even likely--that two matchups won't take place in pool play under this system. I didn't catch that before. And I agree that it's problematical. But there's one way it can be fixed at least part way: with your much derided pool championship game. Here's how.

      Let's use your Pool A example above. Japan plays China and Korea plays Taiwan in the opening games. Japan wins, Korea wins. China and Taiwan drop to the Loser's Bracket. In the second round of games, Taiwan beat China and Japan beats Korea. And Korea drops to the Loser's Bracket to play Taiwan.

      At this point, Japan's undefeated and, under your reasoning, should be dubbed the pool champion irrespective of the outcome of the Taiwan-Korea game. That, as you say, should be the end of it. But of the six possible matchups, only four have taken place so far: Taiwan-China; Japan-China; Korea-Japan; and, in the last regular pool game, Taiwan-Korea. Japan didn't play Taiwan. And Korea didn't play China (and, given China's quick departure from the tournament, never will).

      Now, back to games. We left off before the critical Taiwan-Korea matchup began. This time, unlike in your scenario above, Taiwan wins in an upset. Now if this indeed were the end of it, Japan would win the pool without ever having played Taiwan, the runner-up! This obviously won't do, and a pool championship game here would not only not be redundant, it'd be crucial to determine who the top team from the pool really is.

      Here's my crude graphical rendition of this scenario:

      1 JAP
      --------JAP
      1 PRC
      -------------JAP
      2 KOR
      --------KOR
      2 TAI

      L1 PRC
      --------TAI
      L2 TAI------TAI
      ...........KOR

      I've wracked my brain, and this is the only way a pool championship game makes practical sense to me. More often than not, it'll simply be redundant. But more baseball is good, right?

      Comment


      • #33
        This will be the tournament bracket (for the ones that haven't seen it yet):
        http://www.honkbalsite.com/events/wb...schema_wbc.gif

        Comment


        • #34
          Two out of Three

          Does anyone else feel that the final should have been a best of three series?

          Comment


          • #35
            The one confusing thing about all this is the two loss elimination. I assume that a round-robin will be played amongst the teams simply to maximize ticket sales.

            My question comes in regarding the Pool Championship Game. It is guaranteed that at least one team playing in that game will come in with one loss. Based on this two losses and you're out rule, the loser of the Pool Championship Game should be eliminated. However, since top two move on they won't be.

            I love how MLB decided that no explanation is necessary and assumed people would understand all the variables. However, since the tournament is essentially a year away, there is lots of time to figure out what's what.

            Since the first round runs from March 8-12, I assume the schedule format will look like this (using Pool C as an example):

            March 8 - Canada/US, Venezuela/Italy
            March 9 - Canada/Italy, Venezuela/US
            March 10 - Canada/Venezuela, Italy/US
            March 11 - Off or 2nd/3rd tie-break
            March 12 - Pool Championship Game

            I will definitely be in Toronto for the duration of this First Round. I wonder if game tickets will be sold per individual games or whether you buy a session ticket (like the NCAA Final Four tournament)? I'd think a session ticket would be the better way for it to go. That way, any games that would otherwise be played in empty stadiums (i.e. Australia/South Africa or perhaps even Venezuela/Italy) would still have the seats paid for and thus not costing organizers as much.

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by Roger View Post
              This will be the tournament bracket (for the ones that haven't seen it yet):
              http://www.honkbalsite.com/events/wb...schema_wbc.gif
              I don't like it. The easiest way would be to have a round-robin for Round 1. Each team plays the other once and the winners play in the Pool Championship Game. If teams are tied, you use the off-day for the tie-break game. So in theory there will be 7 games played per pool with a possibility for an 8th game.

              But then again, does MLB ever make sense? They never have the most logical ways of doing things, which is why the All-Star Game determines home field advantage in the playoffs.

              Comment


              • #37
                Very interesting discussion here. I understood RM's reasoning that Korea (or any team) could end playing Japan (or any other team) about 4 times (and lose 4 times) and then still face off in the semis or the final, but I never realised that the double-elimination scenario could result in 2 re-matches in place of 2 match-ups in pool play.

                Rally Monkey, the scenario you presented would allow for 5 of the 6 possible match-ups to occur, but that could only happen for all the pools if such a scenario played itself out across all the pools. More than likely this scenario will happen in at least one of the pools for one of the rounds and the dual re-match scenario presented by spark240 will happen as well.

                Either way though the possibility exists for pool champions from the first round to play against one team from their first round pool 2-3 times (or even 4 times as you pointed out) before moving on to the semis. For example in the scenario you outlined below Korea would be eliminated and would only have played Japan once, but Taiwan would have played Japan once in the first round for the pool championship and then might play them again in the second round once or twice provided Taiwan doesn't get eliminated by the other two teams before facing Japan in the second round.

                I like the aspect of double-elimination which removes the match-up between the best and the worst teams in the pool and some of the rematches set up in double elimination would be intense and vital games, but its a bit of a bummer that the possibility exists for that games between the number 1 and number 3 teams in a pool might never be played. On the other hand, if China lost to Japan and then pulled off a massive upset and then beat Taiwan and then beat Korea/Japan to remain in the tournament they would most certainly have deserved it since under this system one qualifier from Pool A will only play 3 games but the other qualifier (in this example China) could play 4 games. Of course this means that if Japan were to go through RM scenario of playing Korea four times and beating them and then met them again in the final and won, it would mean Japan would have played 8 matches throughout the whole tournament against just 4 teams with 4 rematches. If Korea won it would mean Korea played 10 matches against 5-7 teams.


                Originally posted by spark240
                Have they really thought this through? I'm starting to think it would have made more sense to stick with straight round-robin, plus a formula for adding a single (seventh) tiebreaker game in each pool.
                A round-robin with playoffs may have prevented fans from missing the team 1 v. team 3 match, but then it would mean that up to three rematches would have to be scheduled giving a max of 9 games in a pool. For example in Pool C with a round robin the results could end up like this:

                USA 3-0
                Venezuela 1-2
                Canada 1-2
                Italy 1-2

                In those cases to determine who goes through without using statistics other than the one with the most wins there would need to be rematches between Venezuela, Canada and Italy which might give the following:

                USA 3-0
                Venezuela 3-2
                Canada 2-3
                Italy 1-4

                Of course if Venezuela and Canada were both on 2-3 each then there might have to be yet another rematch if the organizers didn't want to use statistics to differentiate the teams. At that rate, it would have been better off to do a double round-robin or a double-elimination. All things considered, I would prefer a double-elimination or a single round-robin (with stats used to differentiate teams). To avoid having even the remote possibility of two teams facing off 4 times in the pool stages, I would have preferred a complete mixing of the teams after Round 1 whether it was double-elimination or single round-robin.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
                  Let's use your Pool A example above. Japan plays China and Korea plays Taiwan in the opening games. Japan wins, Korea wins. China and Taiwan drop to the Loser's Bracket. In the second round of games, Taiwan beat China and Japan beats Korea. And Korea drops to the Loser's Bracket to play Taiwan.

                  At this point, Japan's undefeated and, under your reasoning, should be dubbed the pool champion irrespective of the outcome of the Taiwan-Korea game. That, as you say, should be the end of it.
                  That's not quite what I said.

                  Originally posted by spark240 View Post
                  Korea drops to the losers' bracket to play the winner of China-Taiwan; assume Korea wins that game. China and Taiwan have now lost two games each and been eliminated. That should be the end of it. The pool has yielded two qualifiers for the next round, and they have already faced each other, so their seeding for the next round should be clear.
                  That's the end of it if both criteria are met: the two qualifiers have been determined because the other two teams have been eliminated, and seeding for the next round is possible because the two qualifiers have already faced each other.

                  Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
                  We left off before the critical Taiwan-Korea matchup began. This time, unlike in your scenario above, Taiwan wins in an upset. Now if this indeed were the end of it, Japan would win the pool without ever having played Taiwan, the runner-up! This obviously won't do, and a pool championship game here would not only not be redundant, it'd be crucial to determine who the top team from the pool really is.
                  You're right. In some situations the sixth game is necessary.

                  Originally posted by ShawnC View Post
                  A round-robin with playoffs may have prevented fans from missing the team 1 v. team 3 match, but then it would mean that up to three rematches would have to be scheduled giving a max of 9 games in a pool. For example in Pool C with a round robin the results could end up like this:

                  USA 3-0
                  Venezuela 1-2
                  Canada 1-2
                  Italy 1-2

                  In those cases to determine who goes through without using statistics other than the one with the most wins there would need to be rematches between Venezuela, Canada and Italy
                  I know, having (in effect) a new round-robin among three tied teams is a bit much, especially since it isn't guaranteed to break the tie. In a situation like this, I think you'd still have to use some secondary statistical criteria to determine who plays who. For example, if the ranking by RA/9 (or some other measure) was the order you gave, you could have Canada and Italy play again, with the winner of that playing Venezuela to determine the second qualifier out of the pool. This still uses the secondary stats, but it doesn't actually advance or eliminate anybody on such criteria; you still have to win games to go on.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Okay, here's my summary of the effect of the changes.

                    There were three structural weaknesses that emerged as the '06 WBC played out--three places where things didn't seem quite right to some of us watching. These were:
                    * Canada did not advance from first-round Pool B despite having a winning (2-1) record in the pool and being tied with both USA and Mexico. The three-way tie was split by a formula of runs allowed per nine innings.
                    * Japan did advance from second-round Pool 1 despite having a losing (1-2) record in the pool and being tied with both USA and Mexico. Again, the three-way tie was split by the RA/9 formula.
                    * In the semifinals, Korea and Japan met for the third time in the tournament. Korea's record to that point was 6-0, including two wins over Japan, while Japan's was 3-3. However, the semifinal round put the two teams on equal footing, and Japan's win here eliminated Korea. Korea's final winning percentage was still better than either team in the championship game.

                    I'm sure there were other considerations, but the announced changes for the structure of the '09 event are at least in part the tournament organizers' effort to correct these apparent flaws in the system.

                    The double-elimination system in the first two rounds does indeed remove the possibility of a team with a winning record being eliminated, or a team with a losing record advancing. The two eliminated teams will have records in the pool of 0-2 and 1-2. Depending on how the games go, advancing teams may have records in the pool of 3-0, 3-1, 2-1, or 2-2. So it's now possible to advance with a .500 record--there were no .500 records in '06, because round-robin gave every team exactly three games in the pool--but that's clearly better than either of the other outcomes. Moreover, advancement and elimination is now determined entirely by wins and losses on the field, not by any tiebreaking statistical formulas. So on these points, the new system is unquestionably an improvement.

                    This clear gain, however, must be set against some loss. There will now be either one or two potential pairings, in each of the six pools, which will not take place at all. There will be a tendency for these to be weaker pairings than many of the games that do take place, but I still feel this is regrettable. If the WBC is intended in part to foster interest in the game in the lower-tier countries, I'm not sure that giving the weaker teams an even quicker boot than before is helpful. This is especially true because it may deprive them--and all of us--from seeing specific standout performances, like the no-hitter thrown by Shairon Martis of the Netherlands. In the new system, the Dutch team wouldn't even have the opportunity to play that game. The sixth game in each pool will sometimes be a useless rematch between teams which are both advancing and have already faced each other in the pool. While these may be fine games to watch on their own merits--they will, after all, be the better teams in the pool--it seems odd that a short tournament should use a time slot this way. I think I'd rather see the next Shairon Martis.

                    The quirk represented by the '06 semi between Korea and Japan has not been eliminated. Perhaps the crossover after the second round was intended in part to address this, and indeed it does make the quirk less likely to appear; but, if it does appear, it will be in the final game! We could see a 7-0 team playing the final against a 5-4 team which it has already defeated four times! However, if two teams from the same first-round pool do meet again in the championship, it won't necessarily be under these extreme circumstances. If Korea and Japan play for the '09 tournament title, they could just as easily have a 2-2 record between them. That circumstance would make the title game appear compelling indeed, but it would be a kind of lucky accident, not really a credit to the new structure. Perhaps it is mildly interesting that it is possible for two teams from the same first-round pool to play for the championship--as if two teams from the same MLB division might end up facing each other in the World Series, whereas in '06 they could only get as far as the LCS.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by spark240 View Post
                      Okay, here's my summary of the effect of the changes.

                      There were three structural weaknesses that emerged as the '06 WBC played out--three places where things didn't seem quite right to some of us watching. These were:
                      * Canada did not advance from first-round Pool B despite having a winning (2-1) record in the pool and being tied with both USA and Mexico. The three-way tie was split by a formula of runs allowed per nine innings.
                      * Japan did advance from second-round Pool 1 despite having a losing (1-2) record in the pool and being tied with both USA and Mexico. Again, the three-way tie was split by the RA/9 formula.
                      * In the semifinals, Korea and Japan met for the third time in the tournament. Korea's record to that point was 6-0, including two wins over Japan, while Japan's was 3-3. However, the semifinal round put the two teams on equal footing, and Japan's win here eliminated Korea. Korea's final winning percentage was still better than either team in the championship game.

                      I'm sure there were other considerations, but the announced changes for the structure of the '09 event are at least in part the tournament organizers' effort to correct these apparent flaws in the system.

                      The double-elimination system in the first two rounds does indeed remove the possibility of a team with a winning record being eliminated, or a team with a losing record advancing. The two eliminated teams will have records in the pool of 0-2 and 1-2. Depending on how the games go, advancing teams may have records in the pool of 3-0, 3-1, 2-1, or 2-2. So it's now possible to advance with a .500 record--there were no .500 records in '06, because round-robin gave every team exactly three games in the pool--but that's clearly better than either of the other outcomes. Moreover, advancement and elimination is now determined entirely by wins and losses on the field, not by any tiebreaking statistical formulas. So on these points, the new system is unquestionably an improvement.

                      This clear gain, however, must be set against some loss. There will now be either one or two potential pairings, in each of the six pools, which will not take place at all. There will be a tendency for these to be weaker pairings than many of the games that do take place, but I still feel this is regrettable. If the WBC is intended in part to foster interest in the game in the lower-tier countries, I'm not sure that giving the weaker teams an even quicker boot than before is helpful. This is especially true because it may deprive them--and all of us--from seeing specific standout performances, like the no-hitter thrown by Shairon Martis of the Netherlands. In the new system, the Dutch team wouldn't even have the opportunity to play that game. The sixth game in each pool will sometimes be a useless rematch between teams which are both advancing and have already faced each other in the pool. While these may be fine games to watch on their own merits--they will, after all, be the better teams in the pool--it seems odd that a short tournament should use a time slot this way. I think I'd rather see the next Shairon Martis.

                      The quirk represented by the '06 semi between Korea and Japan has not been eliminated. Perhaps the crossover after the second round was intended in part to address this, and indeed it does make the quirk less likely to appear; but, if it does appear, it will be in the final game! We could see a 7-0 team playing the final against a 5-4 team which it has already defeated four times! However, if two teams from the same first-round pool do meet again in the championship, it won't necessarily be under these extreme circumstances. If Korea and Japan play for the '09 tournament title, they could just as easily have a 2-2 record between them. That circumstance would make the title game appear compelling indeed, but it would be a kind of lucky accident, not really a credit to the new structure. Perhaps it is mildly interesting that it is possible for two teams from the same first-round pool to play for the championship--as if two teams from the same MLB division might end up facing each other in the World Series, whereas in '06 they could only get as far as the LCS.

                      You have been seriously doing great posts on this. I understand why this system was put in place because we Canadians were upset that our elimination was decided by a statistic tiebreaker, but I also don't like that some teams will get the boot quickly. At the same time though, do we need a South Africa and China losing 15-0 which will probably happen. To me, this hurts teams like The Netherlands or Australia more if lose a chance at playing an extra game at such a high competitve level. Actually I'll say any team who loses a chance of exposure to top level talent loses out.....but I'm just assuming The Netherlands or Australia are the ones with better chances of winning.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Remember one thing

                        This is being put on by Major League Baseball. They are taking away stars form Spring Training, and, allegedly, hurting the bottom line there. There is NO WAY they won't all play each other. That's $$$ for MLB, and also it is less likely players for those weaker teams are going to take the time and hassle to fly to flaming Tokyo or Mexico City to play 2 games and come home. They'll play out the string. They better. I don't want to fly to Mexico City either, which is my plan right now, and then not get to see a game because South Africa or Australia is already eliminated. Screw that. Play them all. It's good for business, it's good for the fans, and its good for teams like South Africa to face Mexico's and Cuba's as often as possible.

                        I think Australia can put together a pretty good team, but I would have to think Cuba and Mexico are the favorites in that pool.

                        I think Korea's professional league is further advanced than in Taiwan, and a lof of the Taiwanese position players are pretty low levels right now. It could go either way, but I would pick Korea over Taiwan in that pool, to advance with Japan.

                        Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic should come out of Puerto Rico fairly easily.

                        I think there is potential for an upset in Toronto. I think it is possible for US-Canada, I think it is possible US-Venenzuela, and I think it possible for Canada-Venezuela.

                        Just hurry up and annouce the second round, and tell me it is in San Diego so I can attend all the games, and maybe work some O.T. patrolling some of the events surrounding the tourney!

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          It seems like the lower ranked nations are the only losers with the new format. They’re likely to get one less game on the WBC stage. This discussion has brought that to the surface. My question is “Can there be a better format?”
                          The following doesn’t deviate too much from the previous format:
                          In a pool of four teams the three way tie is the problem. Let’s look at the only the two 3-way tie scenarios possible, from the 2006 WBC. Both are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

                          PHP Code:
                          1)Pool B        Tiebreaker
                             Mexico 2
                          -1    1-11.59 RA/9
                             USA    2
                          -1    1-14.00 RA/9
                             Canada 2
                          -1    1-17.50 RA/9
                             RSA    0
                          -
                          The team with the lowest Runs Allowed per 9 innings (RA/9), in this case, Mexico advances to the next round, but a tiebreaker game where the USA hosts Canada is played to determine the second berth. This format wouldn’t take more than 7 games and every team would play each other. The other scenario is more complicated, because there is only one berth available.

                          PHP Code:
                          2)Pool 1          Tiebreaker
                             Korea   3
                          -0
                             Japan   1
                          -2    1-12.50 RA/9
                             USA     1
                          -2    1-12.64 RA/9
                             Mexico  1
                          -2    1-13.50 RA/
                          In this case Mexico would be eliminated, because it has the highest RA/9, therefore Japan hosts the USA in a tiebreaker game to advance to the next round. Again, this format wouldn’t take more than 7 games and every team would play each other. There is a double standard, but remember a team with a winning record will only be eliminated on the field and a team with a losing record can be eliminated by a formula.
                          Last edited by SouthwestAmAZins; 03-26-2008, 03:02 PM.

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                          • #43
                            Knockout is a poor choice for baseball as we know it, where major league teams have at least five pitchers and lower level teams have at least three, rather than one as in the 1870s. This point probably cuts deepest regarding the ultimate matchup of two "finalists" that determines the champion. After the first championship series in 1884 (three games), major league baseball experimented with playing series longer than seven games but never with shorter than best of seven.

                            Double-elimination has some poor features if the field is tiny (four or fewer) or the purpose is to identify two or more winners rather than one (as in a qualifying round). For determining one champion in a field of five or more, as in the college world series before the 1990s(?), I think it's pretty good. The uncertain end date or uncertain ending in the first or second game of a doubleheader is a commercial problem.

                            If run as a pre-scheduled round-robin whose games are simply canceled if one or both teams have two defeats, then the final standing relative to round-robin depends on the sequence of matchups. It's difficult to argue that a team eliminated in two or three games was the best performing team in the event, so it may seem fair to all if the agreed purpose is to crown a single champion. On the other hand, it's commonly obvious that a team was an early loser mainly because it faced strong opponents early, which is an unhappy compromise if the purpose is to identify two winners or first and second, and a competitive disaster if third place and lower final rankings matter.

                            If organized as a winners bracket and losers bracket rather than the adjusted round-robin just described, then double-elimination seems to me (1) a great way to identify first and second in a preliminary round, (2) a good way to determine a single winner, and (3) with some numbers, a good way to determine larger numbers of winners/survivors.

                            --
                            As others have mentioned:
                            For WBC first round, taking for granted groups of four, scattered over the globe,
                            (a) double-elimination of any kind has the commercial and promotional disadvantages that some teams and fans travel a long way at great expense to play only two games, and some showcases are not showcased
                            (b) taking for granted the primary competitive purpose to identify two advancers among four teams, double-elimination has the advantage of avoiding three-way ties from which one or two should advance, which must be common under round-robin as soon as there is a significant degree of balance in the field.

                            No one has mentioned
                            the other competitive advantage of double-elimination with a winners bracket and losers bracket as a way to identify two advancers from a field of four.
                            (c) It avoids matches between one team whose fate has been decided and another whose fate is in the balance. --where the former has the "free" opportunity to help its friend or hurt its enemy and also, if it is a certain advancer, has an incentive to rest its good pitchers. (The incentive to rest depends on the time lag between rounds and between games in the entire tournament.)

                            In a four-team round robin with two to advance, the standing after two rounds will commonly be
                            2-0
                            1-1
                            1-1
                            0-2
                            where 2-0 and 0-2 have already met. In those cases, if 2-0 plays first and loses or 0-2 plays first and wins, the fate of the other has been decided before its final match, yet that final match will determine the fate of its opponent --one may say "half" of the fate in that a 3-way tie is one of the two outcomes.

                            Double-elimination with winners bracket and losers bracket avoids that potentially ugly, always disconcerting "incentive failure" by ruling that regardless of how the four teams reach those standings, 2-0 is IN and 0-2 is OUT and 1-1 meets 1-1 to determine the other advancer.

                            Beside (b) there is another corresponding disadvantage.
                            (d) It ensures that the ideal first-round scenario never unfolds: four teams at 1-1 with two do-or-die matches.

                            There is another advantage depending on the constraints concerning total numbers of games played.
                            (e) To illustrate the general point, suppose 16 teams and only two alternatives:
                            i - two prelims with groups of four followed by 4-team knockout:
                            : : advance two of four from each group by double-elim with losers bracket (16 => 8)
                            : : advance two of four from each group by double-elim with losers bracket (8 => 4)
                            : : 4-team knockout
                            -ii- one round-robin prelim with groups of four followed by 8-team knockout
                            : : advance two of four from each group using playoffs or pencil and paper tie-breakers (16 => 8)
                            : : 8-team knockout

                            The former provides at least 20 first-round and 10 second-round matches where the latter provides at least 24 and 4. In other words, under some circumstances, a move to two double-elim prelims curtails the round-robins that involve all teams in favor of more matches among the eight quarterfinalists.
                            Last edited by Paul Wendt; 03-30-2008, 02:54 PM. Reason: clarify i and ii

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by NewEnglandAmazins View Post
                              It seems like the lower ranked nations are the only losers with the new format. They’re likely to get one less game on the WBC stage. This discussion has brought that to the surface. My question is “Can there be a better format?”
                              The following doesn’t deviate too much from the current format:
                              In a pool of four teams the three way tie is the problem.
                              . . .
                              this format wouldn’t take more than 7 games and every team would play each other. There is a double standard, but remember a team with a winning record will only be eliminated on the field and a team with a losing record can be eliminated by a formula.
                              I agree, this is a good suggestion. Break three-way ties once by pencil and paper, determining the first of two teams to advance or the first of two to be eliminated; and once on the field, determining which of the other two advances and which does not.

                              By the way, those six or seven games played match the number in a traditional double-elimination among four teams, played to the conclusion that produces one winner.

                              --
                              Here is another suggestion, more radical but feasible for the first of two prelim rounds, for a sport like baseball that can be played daily. In the US we are accustomed to off-days for some teams and to different numbers of games played by different teams who advance.

                              Schedule the first prelim in advance, sell tickets and air time, and play it out as scheduled. If there is a 3-way tie then all advance! Get on the plane, away to the second-round prelim site(s), although we need to do a little paperwork to decide who plays whom where. --can't do fixed so-called cross-scheduling that depends on one first place and one second place advancing from each prelim.

                              In effect the three tied teams --of whom organizers hoped that only one or two would advance-- do advance but they also suffer a second-round disadvantage because they begin playing first.

                              You can work out some possibilities with pencil and paper. This can't provide a fixed number of teams in round two or provide any fixed cross-schedule games at particular second-round sites. It requires everyone at a single second-round site ("Omaha"); or variable, unknown in advance, numbers of teams and games at multiple second-round sites; or second-round sites within a medium-size host country with easy travel, that is effectively one site.

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                              • #45
                                This is an excellent discussion. Lots of good points. I think these posts underscore the complexity of designing an ideal sporting tournament. There are a host of considerations--competitiveness, travel, rest, predictability, fan interest etc.--which factor into the mix. It seems to me there's no perfect way to balance all of those.

                                My personal preference is to maximize the number of high stakes games. The major factor, I think, that makes the NCAA basketball championship so captivating is its single elimination format. Every game matters, as does what happens on the court: Win the game and you advance, lose and you go home.

                                International baseball doesn't have 64 teams to draw from--or even 32 like the soccer World Cup. But the double-elimination format, I think, allows the tournament to come as close as possible to the excitement of a single elimination tournament with only 16 teams. It's not perfect, by any means. There will be redundancy. And, yes, some matchups won't take place. But there will be many, many nail-biting moments where a single pitch or at-bat will make or break a team's chances.

                                I can't wait.

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