Professional baseball has witnessed radical reform over the past few years, partially due to management's increasing concern with a diminished public image. One such reform involves the format of baseball playoffs, which is expected to impact on the level of interest in the game through an extended playoff format and closer pennant races. The new playoff structure includes a wild card entrant and one additional tier of playoff games in each league. The analysis here suggests that this format increases the likelihood that upsets will occur. It is also shown that given a fixed number of games within which to conduct multitiered playoffs, allocation rules may be determined so that the distribution of games to each tier may be set in order to maximize the probability that the team with the highest winning percentage advances through all tiers successfully.
Jess S. Boronico is with the School of Business Administration at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ 07764-1898.