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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Atlanta, GA (Buckhead)

    Baseball and the Wild Card

    In baseball, more than any other sport, a bad team has a shot at beating a really good team on any given night or during any given series. I like the wild card, but with the recent rash of success of wild card teams in the postseason (again, like no other sport), something MUST be done.

    If you were commissioner, what would you do to give the wild card team the disadvantage it has "earned" come playoff time? How about the wildcard team would have to win 4 of 7, while the pennent winner would only have to win 3 of five? I don't know. Just a random Monday rant.

    -EarlJam

    P.S. My team, the ZerO's have no chance at any playoff this year.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by EarlJam View Post
    In baseball, more than any other sport, a bad team has a shot at beating a really good team on any given night or during any given series. I like the wild card, but with the recent rash of success of wild card teams in the postseason (again, like no other sport), something MUST be done.

    If you were commissioner, what would you do to give the wild card team the disadvantage it has "earned" come playoff time? How about the wildcard team would have to win 4 of 7, while the pennent winner would only have to win 3 of five? I don't know. Just a random Monday rant.

    -EarlJam

    P.S. My team, the ZerO's have no chance at any playoff this year.

    I don't understand your starting point. If the wild card team plays well in the post season, why is that a bad thing?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Dillon, Colorado
    The real problem is when you have a crappy division where the winner goes 82-79 or whatever. Wild cards are the SOLUTION to the problem, not the problem itself.
    Between me and every ideal I always find Scheisskopfs, Peckems, Korns and Cathcarts. And that sort of changes the ideal. -- Joseph Heller

  4. #4
    Just make the series best of 7 which allows more time for the cream to rise to the top.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    St. Louis

    The wild card is the problem.

    Having a wild card is appropriate in a sport like football where you only play 16 games and there are lots of ties for division champ slots. IMHO, if you can't prove your superiority over the other teams in your division over 162 gaves, you don't belong in the playoffs, period. Of course, part of the problem in baseball is the fact that there are too many divisions, with too few teams in them, especially the AL West. Of course, I was one of the purists who didn't even like the expansion to 12 teams with 2 divisions in 1969, but learned to live with it because there was still a legitimate division with 6 teams in it, and because the better team usually, although not always, advanced to the World Series. (There were exceptions like the 1973 Mets.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Hot'Lanta... home of sports teams that disappoint in the playoffs
    The notion of requiring one team to win fewer games to advance seems truly strange to me. I cannot figure out how it would work. I can't see the logic in saying one team can win the series in 5 games but the other can only win it in 7 games.

    I think you just make all the rounds into a best-of-7 series, that's the best I can come up with. I think that tests your bullpen and starting pitching more and more closely simiulates the elements it takes for success in the regular season.

    One thing that bothers me about baseball is that its post-season is so different from the regular season in terms of time off. As a result, the pitching rotation and roles for a team in the post-season are often very different than they are for the regular season. I hate that. There is one set of rules and strategy that works for the regular season and then once you reach the playoffs you are suddenly playing by a different set of rules. What sense does that make?

    Baseball is already more random than any other sport. By this I mean that bad teams beat good teams more often in baseball than any other sport. Look at the top teams in other sports. The best teams routinely win 70%+ of their games in the NBA and NFL. It is not at all uncommon to have a team win 3 out of every 4 games. The worst teams all win less than a third of their games.

    Now, look at baseball standings. If you win 60% of your games, you are a stud team. It is not at all uncommon for a team to win their division by winning just 55% of their games or so. Heck, teams sometimes win their division playing barely above .500. It is soooo much easier for a bad team to beat a good team in baseball.

    My point in all this is that by its nature, baseball is going to have more playoff "upsets." The only way to counteract this is to stretch the post-season series out a tiny bit so we have a better chance of the better team winning. It may not help much, but it might help a little tiny bit.

    One more thing-- in my opinion it is not such a terrible thing when the Wild Card team does well. Quite often the Wild Card team is the better team or at least is the equal of some of the Division winners.

    A piece of me wishes baseball had 3 wild cards and did their playoffs the way the NFL does, though that would be a real mess in terms of scheduling because the top 2 division winners would get a ton of time off and that could be a problem for them in terms of staying sharp. Maybe if you made those opening round series best of 3... though that would make them insanely short.

    -Jason "don't forget more playoffs = more money" Evans

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    One thing that bothers me about baseball is that its post-season is so different from the regular season in terms of time off. As a result, the pitching rotation and roles for a team in the post-season are often very different than they are for the regular season. I hate that. There is one set of rules and strategy that works for the regular season and then once you reach the playoffs you are suddenly playing by a different set of rules. What sense does that make?
    What? This isn't true at all. The teams play 2 straight games at the better team's stadium, have a day off to travel (like the regular season), then play 3 straight games at the other team's stadium, have a day off to travel (like the regular season), and then finish up the last 2 in a row. Since division winners play eachother, they are naturally in different geographic areas (east, west, etc.) Unless you want teams finishing up a game at 11 PM, getting on a cross country flight, getting in at 5 in the morning, then having to play a game that same day, you have to have 1 day off for travel. This isn't extreme at all.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Hot'Lanta... home of sports teams that disappoint in the playoffs
    Quote Originally Posted by tombrady View Post
    What? This isn't true at all. The teams play 2 straight games at the better team's stadium, have a day off to travel (like the regular season), then play 3 straight games at the other team's stadium, have a day off to travel (like the regular season), and then finish up the last 2 in a row. Since division winners play eachother, they are naturally in different geographic areas (east, west, etc.) Unless you want teams finishing up a game at 11 PM, getting on a cross country flight, getting in at 5 in the morning, then having to play a game that same day, you have to have 1 day off for travel. This isn't extreme at all.
    The days off you are illustrating are very different than in the regular season. No team gets 2 days off each week (2 + 1 off + 3 + 1 off). The reality is that with the way the playoffs work no team needs to EVER use its 5th starter and teams often try to get by using only 3 starters. No matter what, in a 7 game series there is no way the 4th starter will pitch more than once.

    Having decent 4th and 5th starters in the regular season is a huge advantage. In the post-season it is almmost meaningless.

    -Jason "4th and 5th starters get 55 or so starts per year... and then they almost never start a game in the post-season... that is playing by a different set of rules" Evans

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    This thread raises a bit of a broader question that has been bothering me for a while. Why is setting up a system to ensure that the "right" teams win championships so important? Who, in the grand scheme of things, loses when a team like the 2006 Cardinals wins the World Series? (obviously, the Tigers lose, but that's not what I mean) Why is it so offensive that a wild card team has post-season success?

    I think this every year during BCS controversy, when people are so obsessed with making sure the "right" two teams play for the national title. Besides fans of the respective schools, who really cared whether Michigan or Florida played OSU in the title game? And why? Would the entire college football season of 116 schools have been somehow less meaningful or cheapened if Michigan played OSU rather than Florida? Why can't people simply accept that "Champion" doesn't always equal "Best Team"? Seriously, who cares if the best team isn't the champion for that particular season?
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

    You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner

    You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Raleigh, NC
    Plenty of NCAA basketball championships have been won by teams that did not win their conference. Anybody want to go back to the old days when only one team per conference got a bid? Didn't think so.

    Exclusive of the wild card, there are plenty of examples of superior baseball teams losing to lesser baseball teams in a short, postseason series. Last year's Cardinals are a vivid example, but hardly the only one. Even in the days when the World Series was the only post-season, there were stunning upsets. Look at the 1954 World Series. It's the nature of the game.

    There are ways to tweak the system, using home field advantage. But in general the wildcard keeps more teams in the playoffs longer, generates more fan interest, and has been good for the sport.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by pfrduke View Post
    This thread raises a bit of a broader question that has been bothering me for a while. Why is setting up a system to ensure that the "right" teams win championships so important? Who, in the grand scheme of things, loses when a team like the 2006 Cardinals wins the World Series? (obviously, the Tigers lose, but that's not what I mean) Why is it so offensive that a wild card team has post-season success?
    I lose, as a serious baseball fan. Because MLB plays a 6 month regular season with 162 games, and I've tuned in to probably 40-50 over that span and then have to watch a team like the Cardinals win a horrible division by playing .500 ball (they wouldn't have won 75 games in any other division last year) and then get hot at the right (wrong) time when over the course of the season they haven't proven themselves to be worthy of the chance to get hot at the right time. Determining a champion in college football is a game of craps - you can't possibly get all the teams to play each other, and you only play a dozen games, so everyone's already aware of the fuzziness of crowning a "champion." Contrasting, what's the point of playing a game nearly every day for half the year and then allowing teams that win just 3 more than they lose to have a chance at your trophy? If you want the spectacle of The Playoffs to be like that of the NBA, fine, but don't waste 162 games of my time to get there. The regular season IS baseball in a way that doesn't apply to other sports. Don't tell me we need to play 162 games but that the goal of that is not to weed out the pack. The "champion" in such a long and grueling schedule should be a lot closer to the "best" team than in the NHL.

    I agree with those advocating making the Divisional Series 7 games. I'm on Rasputin's page as a general purist and hater on the Wild Card/3 division concept in general - I've been vehemently against it from the start but learned to live with it, because it's not going anywhere (I also can't deny the positives of more teams still having a fighting chance in September). If you're going to have it, though, what's the point of tricking up the playoffs to further disadvantage the Wild Cards, as EarlJam seems to want? Either a Wild Card team is worthy of being in the playoffs or it's not - you can't have both. To do otherwise makes a mockery of the whole thing. They're already disadvantaged by being stressed out by the push to make it in and then having to play on the road.

    Personally, I think the recent run of Wild Cards making or winning the World Series will, over the long run, turn out to be statistical anomaly. It'll even out over time.

    Jason's gripe about the playoffs operating differently than the regular season resonates with me. It's an inherent problem with baseball as a sport, being so reliant on pitching. If you think it's an issue in MLB, look at your average high school, Little League, American Legion and other playoffs and tournaments, with a single game, bracket approach (sometimes with double elimination). To win a single elimination high school state tournament, you've basically got to win 10 or 12 games in a row. In a double elimination tournament, you can basically pencil the team with the best 1-2 starting pitcher combo into the final. It's not even close to ideal in determining who's "best" as a whole. But what are you going to do? You can't have high school kids playing 80 game seasons.
    Last edited by Mal; 07-09-2007 at 09:12 PM.

  12. #12
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    Feb 2007
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    Seattle, WA
    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post
    I lose, as a serious baseball fan. Because MLB plays a 6 month regular season with 162 games, and I've tuned in to probably 40-50 over that span and then have to watch a team like the Cardinals win a horrible division by playing .500 ball (they wouldn't have won 75 games in any other division last year) and then get hot at the right (wrong) time when over the course of the season they haven't proven themselves to be worthy of the chance to get hot at the right time.
    But why does this result in you "losing"? Do you feel like the 40-50 games you watch were wasted because the Cardinals won the World Series instead of the Mets, Tigers, or Yankees? Or are you just disappointed with the quality of the World Series (which last year may have been more attributable to the way the Tigers played than the Cardinals)? Not that the fact that an allegedly "inferior" team makes the World Series automatically diminishes the quality - the Giants-Angels series (two wild card teams) is one of the best played and most dramatic series of the past 15 years. I understand that you feel ill used by the fact that the Cardinals won the WS last year, or that some wild card teams have made it and won it recently. What I don't understand is why? How does it harm you, as a baseball fan?
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

    You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner

    You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Atlanta, GA (Buckhead)

    Desegnated Hitter

    Now, next issue. In what other sport do you have different rules for different leagues? Far out. I don't know where I stand on the DH issue. Part of me likes the differing rules per league because it adds to the mystique of the game. Still though, seems like both leagues should be playing by the same rules.

    Ya'll think baseball will ever come to a consensus on this one?


    -EarlJam

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Atlanta, GA (Buckhead)
    I badly misspelled "designated." Sorry.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Hot'Lanta... home of sports teams that disappoint in the playoffs
    Quote Originally Posted by EarlJam View Post
    Now, next issue. In what other sport do you have different rules for different leagues? Far out. I don't know where I stand on the DH issue. Part of me likes the differing rules per league because it adds to the mystique of the game. Still though, seems like both leagues should be playing by the same rules.

    Ya'll think baseball will ever come to a consensus on this one?
    If there ever is a consensus it will be to add the DH to the National League. There is just no way that the player's union allows the AL to get rid of the DH. There is a reason most AL teams have higher salaries than NL teams and it is because they are essentially paying for an extra starter. The player's union would never let that go away.

    -Jason "6 of the 7 lowest payrolls in baseball belong to NL teams, 4 of the top 5 belong to AL teams" Evans

  16. #16
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    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    If there ever is a consensus it will be to add the DH to the National League. There is just no way that the player's union allows the AL to get rid of the DH. There is a reason most AL teams have higher salaries than NL teams and it is because they are essentially paying for an extra starter. The player's union would never let that go away.

    -Jason "6 of the 7 lowest payrolls in baseball belong to NL teams, 4 of the top 5 belong to AL teams" Evans
    Agreed -- eventually there will be a DH in the NL. As sports in general become more and more specialized, there is no reason to see pitchers bat when many of them haven't seriously practiced the skill since high school. The overall level of the game rises with the DH -- it brings in a (much much) better hitter in place of the pitcher, and forces the pitcher to pitch to 9 hitters a game, instead of 8 (pitcher is basically an automatic out and rally killer).

    That said, I watch nearly all AL baseball, but I went to a few NL games last week, and with all the pinch-hitting while swapping out pitchers, it really forces teams to focus more on their bench. I like that.

    But, I don't like that managers are sometimes forced to take out a pitcher that is doing well when they feel more pressure to use his spot in the order to get a better hitter in there.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Atlanta, GA (Buckhead)

    Wild Card, DH and now....

    Okay, so far we've made this much progress (congrats everyone!)....

    1. All playoff games go to "best of seven"
    2. The DH is implemented into the National League

    Now, may I enter another motion:

    3. Bring back the GWRBI stat! (Game Winning RBI). It was a fun official stat. Why did they remove it?

    -EarlJam - Hey, when you woke up this morning, did you know you'd be fixing all of baseball's woes?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by EarlJam View Post
    Okay, so far we've made this much progress (congrats everyone!)....

    1. All playoff games go to "best of seven"
    2. The DH is implemented into the National League

    Now, may I enter another motion:

    3. Bring back the GWRBI stat! (Game Winning RBI). It was a fun official stat. Why did they remove it?

    -EarlJam - Hey, when you woke up this morning, did you know you'd be fixing all of baseball's woes?
    I hate Game-winning RBI. How do you awward it? Does it go to the guy who made the score 1-0 in the first in a game won 13-12 in the 13th inning or does it go to the guy who drove in run number 6 in a game that was 6-2 at the time but ends up with a final score of 11-5? I dunno if that made sense but my problem with the stat is that it is too har dto figure out who made the GW hit.

    I would like to see a special stat kept for guys batting averages/runs/HRs/RBIs in games where it is a 2-run or less game and there are fewer than 3 innings remaining. Call it "pressure" stats or something like that.

    -Jason "as an aside, I hate the HR derby when most of the best sluggers sit out-- why was Bonds not there?!?!?!" Evans

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    I hate Game-winning RBI. How do you awward it? Does it go to the guy who made the score 1-0 in the first in a game won 13-12 in the 13th inning or does it go to the guy who drove in run number 6 in a game that was 6-2 at the time but ends up with a final score of 11-5? I dunno if that made sense but my problem with the stat is that it is too har dto figure out who made the GW hit.

    I would like to see a special stat kept for guys batting averages/runs/HRs/RBIs in games where it is a 2-run or less game and there are fewer than 3 innings remaining. Call it "pressure" stats or something like that.

    -Jason "as an aside, I hate the HR derby when most of the best sluggers sit out-- why was Bonds not there?!?!?!" Evans

    AGREED on the home run derby point completely. How could Bonds not participate........in his home city no less!?

    As for GWRBI, why not just award it to the hitter that put his team up for good? Oh, wait a minute. Thinking as I type. I see. The hit could put a team up 3-2, and they could maintain the lead, but end up winning 8-7. Hmmmmmm. You could say award it to the hitter that drove in the eighth run but that could have been done under zero pressure (when the score was 7-3), hence, taking away from the meaning of the stat.

    Okay Jason, you win. I'm sold. No bringing back of the GWRBI. That's THREE baseball issues solved for me today!

    -EarlJam

    P.S. Next issue (mildly related to baseball) - how can I get my hands on some illegal drugs? Narcotics. I'm out. Kidding. EarlJam is now drug free (moderate alcohol use doesn't count) and loving it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post

    I would like to see a special stat kept for guys batting averages/runs/HRs/RBIs in games where it is a 2-run or less game and there are fewer than 3 innings remaining. Call it "pressure" stats or something like that.

    -Jason "as an aside, I hate the HR derby when most of the best sluggers sit out-- why was Bonds not there?!?!?!" Evans
    I suppose you mean something like the "Close and Late" stat.

    Close And Late - results in the 7th inning or later with the batting team either ahead by one run, tied or with the potential tying run at least on deck.

    Close and Late MLB Stats

    If I were Bonds, I wouldn't do it either. MLB has been clear it doesn't really like him -- why should he try to please Bud Selig?

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