August 8th, 2015

How to calculate the Mets “Magic Number”

A magic number. An amazing word to hear for any Baseball fan, it’s the measurement that tells you how far your favorite team is from a postseason birth. The Mets are in first place, and while there is still two months before the season ends, it’s important to understand the concept of a “Magic Number”.

The “Obsolete Computer Museum” gives us this accurate definition of the popular term: “It’s simply the number of games that the team leading a division needs to win to ensure winning the division. If you’re leading the division with ten games remaining and your Magic Number is three, you only need to win three of those ten games to ensure winning the division. Each time you win, your Magic Number goes down by one. Each time your nearest divisional competitor loses, your Magic Number also goes down by one. When your Magic Number hits zero, you’ve clinched the division.

The beauty of magic numbers is that they cannot go up, so once it reaches zero, you have secured a spot. Magic Numbers tend to drop fast, as it can potentially drop by two on any given day, and is expected to go down by one on average per day.

So here’s the question: When should I start obsessively tracking my teams magic number every day? In the Mets case, I’d probably do it in early September, (barring us still being in first place), however my go to stat is “games behind”. It can easily be found in the standings, and is easier to understand. Of course, we should worry about staying in first place instead of worrying about when we are going to clinch….