GotowarMissAgnes wrote:The best measure used is neither winners or play-off teams, but what's called the Noll-Scully measure (basically, it looks at how every team performs over the course of the season).

The book shows a number of things, including the fact that over the last 20 years football has had the most competitive balance. But, baseball is not far behind. Baseball's competitive balance has also been improving, not worsening. Furthermore, there's almost no relationship between the success of a league (in terms of revenue, attendance, etc.) and competitive balance.

GTWAR, I've just perused a couple snippets about this measure including here (http://www.wagesofwins.com/WOWCh5.htm), but can you tell me if I'm understanding it correctly?

It's the ratio of the std. dev. of the actual league versus what one would expect under a league of all equally talented teams?

Does it take account of the fact that low-scoring games such as baseball are subject to more variance than a high-scoring game such as basketball? In other words, a dominant baseball team dreams of a .600 winning percentage whereas the Bulls in the '90's won somewhere around .900 if I remember right. And I've always attributed that to a higher sample size, that if you have a better team in basketball, you have about 100 scoring chances, all with equal weight, of proving it. (And 100 chances to defend against an inferior team). Whereas in baseball, you might only have ten or so in any given game. Also, one missed pitch that is sent down the center of the plate can provide 4 runs which is a lead that is not insurmountable, but very significant. Whereas in basketball the most you can do on one random event is a 4-pt play where you hit a 3, get fouled, and then sink the free throw. Which is something you can make up quite easily.

I think this would be all folded into the standard deviation of scoring... that a team is expected to score say 5.4 runs with a std dev of 2.2 (to pull numbers out of my head). Which would make baseball games innately more unpredictable. Just want to see if I'm getting what they're talking about. Or is the std dev of expected wins? In which case you would still suffer from this league scoring bias.

Ok, further investigation makes this look like the Noll-Scully measure simply assumes random outcomes for each event (which would be equally random across leagues) and then compares the actual win-loss records to the expected outcome? Am I reading this right? And so wouldn't this be subject to the low-scoring / high variance nature of baseball versus other sports, particularly the NBA?

I'm pretty sure you are right, Matthias. Another commonly used measure, the Competitive Balance Ratio, takes into account the factors that you cite, I believe.

GTWMA, do you have a citation or discussion of this? I tried googling it, but everything I found just either mentioned it and then cited to the article that discusses it or I needed to buy a subscription to an Econ/Econometrics Journal. But I would like to know the formal math for it.

With Soriano gone, a bigger market for Manny? With Soriano now off the market, where will his would-be suitors turn for a big bat? A serious market may now open for Ramirez's services, or so it would seem (the $38 million owed to him over the next two years doesn't look so bad in this market), with the Angels likely at the top of the list after Los Angeles lost out on the Soriano sweepstakes after reportedly offering a five of six-year deal worth around $14 million annually. "That's a big number, and beyond where we thought his value was," Angels GM Bill Stoneman told the LA Times after inking relief pitcher Justin Speier to a costly four-year, $18 million deal.

I found ONE manager who seems to agree with me that some of these guys are asking for more then they are worth.

number of champioships is one way sports economists measure competive balance, another useful tool is the standard divation of winning percentage. I have a couple of papers on this subject somewhere. I will post the other methods when i find them.

Here are a couple of methods i remember off the top of my head..

The standard divation of winning percent is:

SQR Root of ((sumation of (each team's actual win% - ideal win%, which is .500%)^2)/ number of teams)

You can also use gini coefficients to measure competive balance.

"I do not think baseball of today is any better than it was 30 years ago... I still think Radbourne is the greatest of the pitchers." John Sullivan 1914-Old athletes never change.

thedude wrote:number of champioships is one way sports economists measure competive balance, another useful tool is the standard divation of winning percentage. I have a couple of papers on this subject somewhere. I will post the other methods when i find them.

Would appreciate it.

thedude wrote:Here are a couple of methods i remember off the top of my head..

The standard divation of winning percent is:

SQR Root of ((sumation of (each team's actual win% - ideal win%, which is .500%)^2)/ number of teams)

Yah. This sounds similar to the Noll-Scully measure brought up by GTWMA. I guess my fundamental issue with this as a measure is that it takes each game in each sport as an equal event and doesn't weigh it by scoring opportunities.

Put another way: say we have a coin-flipping contest. Or rather, a league of coin flippers. And say someone has an unfair coin that comes up heads 53% of the time (and heads wins). If we have a league where everyone flips the coin once and record win, loss, or tie, the league would be much more "competitive" over a 100-game season than if, at each match, we had to flip each coin 100 times and whoever had the most heads, won. Because in any given match, over the course of the 100 flips, the unfair coin would have a higher probability of prevailing.

And that's basically baseball vs. basketball. So it's interesting to consider the variance of winning %age but I think that answer is incomplete until it considers the different circumstances that the league is operating under. Put differently, some of the competitiveness of the different leagues is attributable to parity of teams (and the factors that create them). And some of it is attributable simply to the different nature of the games themselves. And what I've seen so far has looked at these components parts as a whole. When what I think people are really concerned about is the first component.

But I'd be interested in getting any lit anyone has about the subject.

This market is flat out nuts. I'm a ranger fan, and I haven't thought twice about the 3 guys we let go. There's no way they are worth what they are getting paid. Anybody else out there thinking a lot of teams would be better off not signing anybody this offseason? I think teams are really going to regret some of these contracts.