Tag Archives: baseball playoffs format

PARITY BE DAMNED – MLB HAS IT RIGHT

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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MLB’S MANUFACTURED “CHANGE ” DEBACLE

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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THE 163rd GAME – BASEBALL’S CRAPSHOOTI

In less than a month, after concluding a six month 162 game season, four teams will take the field for the 163rd time. Two of those teams will be heading home – their season over a mere three hours later. For the other two teams, they’ll be boarding a plane to the next city to meet one of the Division winners in a best of five series away from their home field. One game decides their season – sudden death as they say in the NFL – do or die. 

This may work for the average fan and it’s destined to be a ratings bonanza for the television networks……….But is it really good for baseball?

If the regular season ended today, the Texas Rangers would visit Yankee Stadiumimages-4
images-14 to play the Yankees. Cole Hamels would be the “no brainer” starter for the Rangers. Meanwhile, Joe Girardi will have to choose between Tanaka (a proven big game winner in Japan ) and Evaldi, a fourteen game winner so far, but with a somewhat bloated over four ERA. No matter, for both teams it’s a crapshoot.

Meanwhile, over in the National League the Pirates would fly to Chicagoimages-2images-3 to face the Cubs. In this matchup, the Cubbies winter addition of Jon Lester – the man hired to put them over the top- would be tested as he will be pitted against the ace of the Pirates staff – Garrett Cole. A suspense driven game to be sure…….but consider this…….

If not for the greed of owners and baseball itself, there are better ways to end a six month season. However, it would involve shortening the season to (perhaps) 154 games. This would allow for a two of three series to decide which of the wild-card teams move on.

The loss of revenue for those eight games – but really only four home games for each team – is easily offset or at least reduced by the addition images-31of two extra games for the TV networks to fight over. But the real bonus is that baseball will revert back to their original 154 game schedule and there would no longer be a need to argue about whether Roger Maris really broke the Babe’s record in the coming years. The asterisk would be gone.

Rob Manfred  (upper right) has a vision for baseball. His agenda should include adding a new format to the playoff schedule. Owners will resist but fans will rejoice…….and isn’t that what it’s supposed to be all about……the Fans…..or am I mistaken in that?