Why does MLB baseball have four-game series?

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,075
Disclaimer -- I'm not a sports fan, so I am asking this from a completely naïve position.

In baseball the rules of the game do not allow for a tie game -- it goes to extra innings until the game is decided.

Most of the time when a one team plays another it is for a three game series, thus each such series must end with a decision -- one team wins the series and the other team loses the series. But splattered throughout the season schedule are a handful of two-game and four-game series. Why are such series in the schedule? Why aren't all series simply three games? Is there any systematic way of deciding which series will be three-game vs four game when the season schedule is being assembled?
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
6,722
Logically, one would think that. Unless one knew that the results of those series are meaningless, except for the individual games. A team wins points in the standings based on their won loss record irrespective of who they played. That is I could "win" a three game series 2-1, and get two points but there is no "bonus" in winning the series.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,108
During the season, there is no significance to a "tied" series (whether 2 games, 4 games, or a 2X2 split of a 4-game series). Presumably it is because of travel and scheduling considerations.

John
 

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,075
Logically, one would think that. Unless one knew that the results of those series are meaningless, except for the individual games. A team wins points in the standings based on their won loss record irrespective of who they played. That is I could "win" a three game series 2-1, and get two points but there is no "bonus" in winning the series.
I do understand that winning a series is meaningless in terms of ranking and playoff. It just seems like, from a "clean" plan for the fans that they would want each series to have a decision.
 

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,075
During the season, there is no significance to a "tied" series (whether 2 games, 4 games, or a 2X2 split of a 4-game series). Presumably it is because of travel and scheduling considerations.

John
That's my best guess, too. Though it would seem (and there's always more to it behind the scenes) that the scheduling (which already has to be do hugely in advance) could be made to work out if they wanted it to. If so, that means that they either WANT non-three-game series or they just don't care about having them and accept them in order to ease the scheduling problem. I'm just mildly curious which it is (and thought maybe there was a known reason for it).
 

JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,326
the three and four game "series" are for pure economic reasons. Flights between cities, hotel stays, etc. One game at a time would be costly.

In the sixties, when my grandpa took me to Connie Mack Stadium to watch the Phillies play, there were typically a three game home stand for the Phillies ... meaning there were three games before the team went to play another team, or the other team headed to play in Phila. We typically went when Robin Roberts was pitching. Richie Ashburn played center field back then.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
the three and four game "series" are for pure economic reasons.
And for the sanity of the players - and avoiding too much fatigue - and allowing enough time to practice/work out. Baseball has 162 games in the regular season. Imagine playing a different team every game. Travelling between cities is way more tiresome than staying away from home in once city for 2.5 to 3.5 days.
 

tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
I think it has something to do with the fact that most people who are that into baseball usually can't count much over 4.

It's sort of like how Nascar only drives in a left-hand (counter clockwise) circle. Being most of their fans are simple right-handers the act of driving continuously in a left-hand turn at high speed appears to be a supreme and fascinating concept to them.

Or playing 'Peak aBoo' with a 6-month-old. How you can put your hands over your face and just magically disappear while right in front of them is a pure mind blower. :p

If you understand the target audience then you understand the how and why of the games.
 
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