Statistics of World Series Streaks

Baseball is characterized by a high level of equality between teams; even the best teams might only have 55% win percentages (contrast this with college football, where teams go undefeated pretty regularly). In this regime, where 2 outcomes (Giants win/Giants lose) are approximately equally likely, we can model the win/loss chances with a binomial distribution. 

Using the binomial distribution, we can calculate an interesting little result: what's the chance of the world series going to only 4 games? 5? 6? All the way to 7? Then we can compare to decades' worth of world series data, to see how well the data follows the binomial assumption. 

The result tells us a lot about sports psychology--if each game is independent of the others, 4/5/6/7 game series are equally likely. The data shows a different trend: 4 and 7 game series are significantly more likely than 5 or 6. There's a powerful psychological effect at play--everybody loves the 7th game of the world series, or a good sweep. And it turns out that the baseball teams, whether they intend it or not, oblige our love of short (4) and long (7) world series!

Link: Phil Birnbaum: Winning the world series in X games