Atlanta Braves, magic number, MLB:
Atlanta Braves’ Magic Number = 1! Braves beat Cubs, 9-5, after big 9th inning. NL East clinch tonight with a Nats loss. RECAP: http://atmlb.com/16lRrPR
via Atlanta Braves.
In certain sports, a magic number is a number used to indicate how close a front-running team is to clinching a season title. It represents the total of additional wins by the front-running team or additional losses (or any combination thereof) by the rival team after which it is mathematically impossible for the rival team to capture the title in the remaining games. This assumes that each game results in a win or a loss, but not a tie. Teams other than the front-running team have what is called an elimination number (or “tragic number”) (often abbreviated E#). This number represents the number of wins by the leading team or losses by the trailing team which will eliminate the trailing team. The elimination number for the second place team is exactly the magic number for the leading team.
The magic number is calculated as G + 1 − WA − LB, where
G is the total number of games in the season
WA is the number of wins that Team A has in the season
LB is the number of losses that Team B has in the season
For example, in Major League Baseball there are 162 games in a season. Suppose the top of the division standings late in the season are as follows:
Team Wins Losses
A 96 58
B 93 62
Then the magic number for Team A to win the division is 162 + 1 − 96 − 62 = 5.
Any combination of wins by Team A and losses by Team B totaling to 5 makes it impossible for Team B to win the division title.