I’ll let Jordan explain…“What’s discussed there is a back-of-the-envelope measure of “excitingness"in which you compute the total variation in win probability (as measured by FanGraphs) over the course of a game. So a game where this probabilityswings back and forth a lot, as with last night’s Tigers-Twins game, gets ahigh score.”
The total variation in win probability over the course of a game is a good way of quantifying how much back-and-forth there’s been between the two teams. You might take it as a loose measure of “excitingness.”
In this game, the Twins have gone from an 80% chance of winning to 20% to 73% to 20%, again up to 83% and then back down to 50%. That’s a total variation of at least 2.62, all since the 6th inning!
I wonder what the all-time record for total variation in a single game is? It would have to be a game with multiple extra innings in which runs scored, I’d think.
And we go to the bottom of the 11th, still tied 5-5. Minnesota with a 64% win probability per FanGraphs. Joe Mauer coming up third this inning. Now that my own team is done playing for the year, I am allowed to say: go Twins.
Update: In the comments, Michael Lugo proves by science that the Tigers-Twins playoff (total variation: 7.69) was more exciting than game 7 of the 1991 World Series, but less exciting than this.