If MLB is going to insist on playing a prolonged schedule of 162 games, they should at least do everything they can to insure that every game played “counts”. As things sit now, you could have a good argument in saying that the REAL season doesn’t begin until August 1st when the trading deadline has passed and teams have tweaked their roster to the point they believe they need to be at to make “a run” to the finish and steal a Playoff spot in spite of how they have performed until then (hello Rangers and Blue Jays).
The Pittsburgh Pirates won 98 games during the regular season, and yet they have vanished from the Playoffs following a one game playoff against the Cubs and Jake Arietta who pitched the game of his life with a “Namath like” guarantee beforehand. I’m not taking sides here because if the Pirates had won, the Cubs would have gone home with the third best record in the Majors with 97 wins.
The point is this…….only two of the three teams with the best record over the course of the season are still in the hunt. The teams in the National League Central are being punished for being really good because they are the powerhouse Division right now. But, that can change as it has over the past few years when the American League East was stacked with the same kind of talented teams.
I’m not a mathematician and I don’t get paid to do this, but surely the suits at MLB can figure this out so we have a better chance of seeing the best of the best in the Playoffs and (ultimately) the World Series.
In the meantime, the Yankees who won 87 games over the course of the season and would have qualified (with more wins than – for example – the Rangers) for a “Playoff” spot under different circumstances as well as the aforementioned Pirates who have packed their bags and are heading home.
MLB and specifically Rob Manfred (right) has tweaked the Playoffs before, most recently with the addition of two Wild Card teams who play a one game shootout at High Noon. Very dramatic ( a real show in prime time for television $$$), but does it really do the game justice………or….. (and they’ll never admit this) is the April through July “season” merely an extension of the Spring Training season. It’s a valid question and it needs to be answered.