Thursday, March 12, 2009

Understanding the World Baseball Classic Brackets

For those of you starved for baseball and not excited about Spring Training, there is the World Baseball Classic this year. 16 teams from around the world compete. It is a truly international cast, perhaps more world series than the World Series, however there are strict rules about player participation, especially pitchers, since afterward most of these players must go back to play in their real jobs in the major leagues. The excitement this year seems to be that the Netherlands is doing better than expected. Remembering that the Netherlands includes Antigua and Barbados and recalling all of the talent in baseball from the Caribbean perhaps explains this, though they had to beat the Dominican Republic twice to move to Round Two.

A friend and I were wondering how the games would progress and who would be in or out if they win or lose so I went to the website to figure it out. After many minutes spent deciphering the pool play procedures I realized that a diagram for each round would be the best way to understand it. You are welcome to read the rules to determine it for yourself. I thought the brackets on the website were less than self explanatory, but easier to understand now that Round One is almost completed.

The diagrams below are state diagrams (or directed graphs or maybe tree diagrams) for the World Baseball Classic. The diagram below shows the order of play for each of the Pools A, B, C, D.

Each game is clear with, for example, W2 refering to the team that won game 2 or L4 referring to the team that lost game 4. Two teams from each Pool advance to Round Two, a winner and a runner up.

In Round Two the first two games match a winner from one pool to the runner up from another. Pool A and B from Round One go into Pool 1 for Round Two and Pool C and D from Round One go into Pool 2 for Round Two. Play then follows much the same process as above. Below is the diagram from Round Two.

Two teams advance from each Pool 1 and 2, a winner and a runner up. As displayed in the diagram below, in the semifinal the winner of Pool 1 plays the runner up of Pool 2 and vice versa. The winners of these games go on the the Finals.

The winner of the Finals receives accolades as shown, while the loser gets a hardy hand shake and a good job.

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