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I’m more curious how many fewer games can be played before reasonable inferences can be made.
I know I'm being a no-fun dick by asking, but... isn't this article written right around this time every year?
What exactly does the word "inform" mean here? "Influence"?
Using an unbelievably useful methodology from arch-sabermetrician Tom Tango, I calculated the number of games necessary in each sport to regress a team’s record halfway to the mean — meaning, we’d know half of its observed outcomes were due to its own talent (while the other half results from randomness). For pro basketball and football, the numbers are similar: In the NBA, it takes about 12 games; in the NFL, 11 games. But in baseball, it takes a whopping 67 games for half of the variance in observed winning percentages to come from the distribution of talent and half from randomness.
Or baseball is just more random or has fewer discrete events in a game than other sports.
There are about 80 PAs in a baseball game. Basketball has about 200 possessions per game. The NFL has about 140 plays per game.
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