Tag Archives: MLB pennant races

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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The Ups And Downs Of A Basebal Season

In the half century I’ve been following baseball, I’ve never ceased to be amazed by the ups and downs of a l-o-n- g baseball season. Through 81 games in the NBA, 16 in the NFL, nothing compares to the stretch of 162 games played over six months.

Some would say that’s exactly why I don’t follow baseball – the season is too long and the games are even longer. Well to each his own I guess, but let the naysayers be reminded that when you sit down for a 1:00 game in the NFL – that game takes longer to play than the average (under 3 hours now) ballgame.

And don’t even talk to me about about the last two minutes of a NBA game!

But we’re not talking about that. imageWe’re talking about the ups and downs of a baseball season and how that lends itself to continued fan interest over a season. Open a NFL season at 0-5 and you’re done – prepare for the draft and for ESPN solemnly admitting that it made a mistake in scheduling you for the 12th game of the season on Sunday night.

So what are these ups and downs we’ve witnessed so far at the halfway point in the 2016 season and what might be coming in the second half as baseball accelerates to the playoffs and an eventual World Series title……

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BITS AND PIECES AT THE HALFWAY MARK………

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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CONTENDERS AND PRETENDERS…….

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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