Now that the Division Series are over—with each of the two NL series ending in dramatic fashion Friday—let’s review how the Hardball Times’ staff did and compare their picks to those of our readers contest entries.

Among our staff, Ben Pritchett—who was our winner for best predictions of which teams would make the playoffs—picked three of the Divsion Series winners correctly, as did Greg Simons. Nine people were right on two outcomes, eight picked only one correctly…and then there’s Steve Treder. Poor Steve whiffed on all four series, but he can take comfort in the fact that his favorite team won the World Series last year.

Three of us have both our World Series entrants alive, 12 have one of them, and five are shut out from here on out. And exactly half of the 20 voters have their predicted World Series champion still in contention.

How does this stack up against our readers’ picks? Well, **three** of you picked three Division Series out of four: Matthew Warden (Texas, Milwaukee and St. Louis), Trip Von Minden (Detroit, Texas, Milwaukee) and Eugene Douglas (Detroit, Texas, Milwaukee). One of them will win a 2012 Hardball Times Annual. Next tiebreaker: The League Championship Series.

Jeffrey Gross said...

Just shoot me now. I’m awful at predicting games/series. Don’t gamble on my recommendations!

gdc said...

How many readers submitted picks?

2/20 staff have 3/4; 3/? readers do. If totally random 1/16 should get all 4, but 0 of (20+?) did.

Derek Ambrosino said...

GDC,

But, it’s not totally random, right? I mean totally randomly 1/2 would have picked the Seahawks to beat the Giants yesterday, but there was any wisdom in the totally random, the point spread wouldn’t have been 10 points. I assume a lot of the sharps cashed a Seahawks ticket yesterday, but even among those who won their bets, I doubt 10% of them would have bet the money line.

Sorry, don’t mean to bring this to football and gambling, but I think it’s a good way to illustrate the point.

What this does highlight, yet again, is the black swan effect. I mean, this is a horrible bastardization of Taleb’s actual point, but I’m speaking colloquially. Especially in a pool type environment prone to group think, a Cardinals pick is probably a good value play if there were real stakes here. But that’s because the dynamics of a pool are different, being “right” doesn’t really confer much of an advantage if 80% are on your side – it’s more of a do-over. But, being right when you’re in the minority is a huge advantage.

So, the question for something like this is whether you want to put together a bracket that you think will be most correct on an X out of Y percentage, or whether you want to put together a bracket that has a wider range out of outcome but perhaps a better chance of winning the whole thing. …It’s the question of playing to place versus deciding that 2nd and last are the same thing.

This is the type of thinking that plays into home run pools, March Madness brackets, NFL suicide pools (sometimes), and even fantasy baseball in dribs and drabs.

Greg Simons said...

Correction: Mat Kovach also picked three out of four Division Series correctly, missing on the Rays. The final recap will reflect his brilliance.