Sunday, September 27, 2009

Giants win the Eastern League - why ties suck in baseball

It was an interesting finish to the Eastern League here in Japan. The Yomiuri Giants had gone on an 11-3 run in September and with 1 game left in the 108-game slate, they were tied for first with both Shonan and Lotte. However, Japanese baseball allows tie games, so their records were not identical. Both Yomiuri and Shonan had 59-46-2 records for a .562 winning percentage, while Shonan was 60-47-0 to stand 3rd at .561. You might wonder how that is: all 3 teams are 13 games over .500 and have played 107 games - their percentages should be the same, right? Nope, ties are ignored in the calculation. So Shonan is punished for not tying two games. Imagine if a team went 1-0-107, tying all but one game. Their percentage would be 1.000 - a perfect season! Another way of looking at it is that 0-0-2 is considered better than 1-1-0. Coming from a hockey background, where ties count 1 point and wins 2, I find this rather silly and unfair. Ties should be included in percentage calculations as 1/2 a win.

Anyway, Lotte and Yomiuri played each other today at Giants Stadium. The winner would notch the championship, while idle Shonan (who close out the season tomorrow against Yakult) could only watch. Interestingly, if Yomiuri and Lotte tied their game today, then Shonan would have a chance for the pennant tomorrow. But sadly it was not to be. The Giants defeated Lotte 9-5 to clinch the title; their 23rd. And with the big-league Giants also winning the Central League, it marks the 15th Kyodai V (brothers victory) in their history. Ugh. I didn't realize the junior team had the same obnoxious attitude as their much-hated CL counterparts, but next season, I'll be rooting for everybody else to put them in their place. Preferably last place.

Sadly, I was otherwise occupied today so couldn't go to the game, but I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed watching the baby Giants celebrate. The Giants will now play the Western League champion Chunichi Dragons next Saturday in Toyama, which is rather far from Tokyo. So I won't be going there either.

I also missed the Big 6 university games on Saturday due to a sudden visit from an old friend, so I'll try to go in the next couple of weeks. I also found out about another college league that plays weekday games, so I might see some of those should I find time this week. Finally, there's also a women's tennis tournament in town this week, so I'm going to try to catch at least one day of action. So it should be a busy week as I return to sports-watching mode. Check back mid-week for updates and some photos.



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