Tag Archives: Baseball divisions


Parity is something discussed incessessantly in professional sports. How can you make things “even” between competing teams. This discussion explains from the quintessential baseball movie “Moneyball”

imageIn 2012, Major League Baseball expanded it’s number of teams making the playoffs from 8 to 10. This resulted in each of the thirty teams having a one in three chance of securing a spot in the postseason.

At the same time, the National Football league allows 12 of its 32 teams in the playoffs. This results in 37.5% of the teams making the cut, or three out of every eight teams. More teams get in than in baseball, but not nearly as many as in the parity driven NBA……

If you play in the National Basketball Assosciation, your team has an astounding one out of two chances to be in the postseason and maybe that explains why they drag on for two months.image


Baseball has it about right and any further moves to add more teams into the mix will only serve to water the playoffs down further by creating superficial fan interest in teams that are simply not very good to begin with.

In other words, don’t fix something that ain’t broke………..and besides……this format is thriving……

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If the 2016 season is proving anything, it’s that the already risen cream is staying at the top. The Orioles, Cubs, Rangers  and Nationals have led their divisions virtually wire to wire and show no signs of letting up. image
At the same time, both the Indians, who haven’t lost since the Cavs and LeBraun won their championship, and the Giants put together a strong run over the last month to solidify their hold at the top. 

Clayton Kershaw imageis even better than ever and is making it look way too easy, even though we know it’s not. Jake Arietta is proving that last year was not a fluke and leads the Cub’s staff along with Jon Lester who is (now) really liking the National League which aligns itself nicely with his pitching repertoire. 

 Jose Altuve is assembling a MVP season and imageMiguel Cabrera continues to be a hitting machine. Daniel Murphy has taken his playoff run last year for the Mets and played it forward for the Nationals. David Ortiz has to be pleasantly surprising even himself and wondering if he should make an announcement similar to Mark Twain’s “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”…………while Xander Bogaerts and Manny Machado have moved into an elite spot among players today.

So, is there any reason why we should watch and pay attention to the Leader Boards?

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Around this time in the season things begin to sort themselves out. What we thought might be real for some teams turns out to just being a mirage imageand hope against hope that these teams could and would continue to overachieve.

Conversely, what seemed to be real for some teams is real and goes even further than expectations during the pre season.

Not always, but often what explains this phenomenon is team chemistry. And you can’t almost have it – a team either has it or it doesn’t. And it doesn’t have to mean that players are buddy buddy and they go out to dinner with each other or their wives go shopping together. It can (mean that) but it doesn’t have to.

More likely, imageit shows up in the dugout and on the field while disharmony shows itself off the field and in the newspapers. Take what happened in San Diego a few days ago when their GM publicly called out James Shields and subsequently traded him for a bag of peanuts the next day. Think that wasn’t noticed in the clubhouse?

So who’s got it and who doesn’t………and who are the contenders and who are the pretenders……

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No doubt the Yankees hitting has been dismal to start the season. And their ability to hit with men in scoring position has been worse than that – abominable in fact. That’s scary enough, but their starting pitchers with the exception of Mashiro Tanaka have been missing in action, and there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of this dark tunnel.

During theimage
off season, Brian Cashman (left) and Joe Girardi believed they had a workable plan, albeit with a bit of luck in avoiding injuries. It was a simple plan that only asked for five starters to give the team five plus innings each start. Behind that would be the tandem of Chapman, Betances, and Miller ready to meet the challenges of any hitting lineup in the league and beyond. Chapman, of course, has been serving a suspension and hasn’t pitched yet this season – but that hasn’t really been a factor in the woes of the Yankees.

Yes, they are hanging in there in a division that reeks of mediocrity. And theimage hot start by the Orioles who have their own pitching problems might be tenuous at best as the season moves along. But still, no team can afford to wait around for a collapse by another team – you have to go out there and get it yourself. And right now, the Yankees are stumbling around while shooting themselves in the foot, in search of answers that don’t exist – at least given the present composition of the team. 

imageTo understand that even better, tune in to any Yankee home game telecast and take a look at all those empty prime seats in the lower level. Because more than anything, that tells you the depth of their problems this year…….

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Change is a fact of life. We replace, tweak, amend, and create “new” things. With respect to Major League Baseball, any fan can easily list at least five or even ten ways the game has changed since they began to follow the sport. 

And we know that nearly all of the changes made in baseball have fallen under the heading of being gooimages (55)d “for the fans”. Getting rid of the “deadball”, the creation of the DH, lowering the pitching mound, expansion, the addition of Wild Card teams…….and the list goes on. But here’simages (56) the trouble……..Unlike our culture in general, baseball never looks back to re-analyze and re-consider the possibility that maybe things were better (for the game and fans at well) the way they were.

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