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Games away from .500
Posted by James Andrew on Wednesday, Jul. 20th, 2011 at 8:37 PM

Here's one for the statmasters out there: if a team is 20-10, are they 10 games over .500 or 5 games over?

30 games played means that a .500 record would be 15-15. But a team at 20-10 can afford to lose 10 straight games and still be at .500. Which is the correct calculation to use here?

Readers Comments

A record of 20-10 would mean the team is 10 games over a .500 winning percentage.

Brian Beerman on Thursday, Jul. 21st, 2011 at 5:59 AM
 

The "over" or "under" .500 is as Brian says.  The idea of the stat is not how many games the team has won or lost vs. a .500 team at that point in the season.  The idea of the phrase is to indicate how many straight games a team would have to lose or win to end up at .500.  A team "four games under .500" has 4 more losses than wins and would have to win 4 straight to get to .500.  A team "10 games over .500" would have to lose 10 straight (as in the 20-10 example you give) to drop to a .500 win percentage.

Mostly it's used as a frame of reference to easily state how many more wins or losses a team has than the other stat.  It rolls better off the tongue in conversation or in announcer-speak to say, "They are currently eight games over five hundred," as opposed to saying, "They have won eight more games than they have lost so far this season."

Kevin Martin on Monday, Jul. 25th, 2011 at 9:03 PM
 

As I suspected, but not as I like. To my mind the first method is pure and correct. It is good, however, to know how to use the phrase properly, so thanks.

James Andrew on Monday, Jul. 25th, 2011 at 11:54 PM