Monday, November 23, 2009

Series as Building Blocks - Part 2

When a schedule request specifies to some degree the number of games per opponent my first step is figuring out how to break them down into series, preferably mostly 3-game series and some 4-game.  If the games per opponent are not prescribed, I gravitate toward numbers that make for an easier series breakdown.

That may even mean sacrificing perfect balance like in home/away (H/A) games per opponent.  If some opponent is to be played 10 times in total, nice balance would be 5 H and 5 A.  But 5 is not a preferable number for making series.  I will use 2-game series as needed, and if this is the only opponent to play 10 times then I may go with a 2-game series and a 3-game series both H and A for an even 5/5 split.

My inclination though is to split the 10 games into two 3-game series (both either H or A) and one 4-game series (A or H, which ever the 3-game series are not).  That alone would mean an uneven H/A split of 6/4 or 4/6.  But if there are 4 teams to be played 10 games, then there could be two with the 6/4 split and two with the 4/6 split.  That would mean an even split of H/A across the whole set of opponents even though the split is not even for any single one of them.  This 6/4 or 4/6 split still something I am not particularly fond of as I intend to describe later down the line.

I can understand wanting perfect symmetry with home and away.  But a request for playing all 5 division opponents 16 times, split 8H/8A, is not a recipe that I like because it means 2+3+3 or 4+4 to get to 8.  It depends on how the rest of the games fall into series, but one way I might do 16 games against each of 5 division opponents is 8/8, 7/9, 9/7, 7/9, and 9/7.

On the other side of not enough 3-game series can be too many 3-game series.  For example, take 12 teams divided into 2 divisions of 6 teams each.  For 162 games you could have all 3-game series with 18 games per division opponent (18*5=90) plus 12 games per opponent in the other division (12*6=72).  For 18 games you could have three home 3-game series and three away, and for the 12 it could be two home 3-game series and two away.  It may seem ideal, except the total series equals 54, which introduces issues from part 1 - all series taken as half-weeks means a season that is a week and a half longer than modern MLB because there is an offday for each team every week rather than the majority of weeks.

If requests are for all 4-game series so that the schedule is not simply 2 series per week or for all 3-game series with a offday for all teams each week, that can generally be accommodated.  They though may not be as beautiful in the eye of this beholder, a minor concern.  However more importantly they may not be as easy to develop by this creator.

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