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.
P.S. My team, the ZerO's have no chance at any playoff this year.
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.
As suburban children we floated at night in swimming pools the temperature of blood. -- Douglas Coupland
Just make the series best of 7 which allows more time for the cream to rise to the top.
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.)
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
Hmmm, what about 2 divisions and the top 2 teams in each make the playoffs?
I sorta think that no matter what you do, there is not going to be very much of a reward for being the best team over 162 games. There is a reward for being good enough to make the playoffs but there is almost no reward for being better than the other playoff teams.
-Jason "best of seven first round-- that's the only change I would make" Evans
It should be much harder for the wild card team to advance.
You can't blame a superior team for being in a division with another superior team, when the second place team in that division would have crushed a bad division.
The wild card gets the best teams in the playoffs. I agree, though, that the first round should be 7 games.
Last edited by tombrady; 07-09-2007 at 04:06 PM.
I don't think I can be any more clear: The wild card gets the best teams into the playoffs.
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
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
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.
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.
Thats 5 games in 8 days which NEVER happens in the season. I think Jason's point is that teams make the playoffs with, for instance, a strong 5 man rotation. That 5 man rotation means squat in the playoffs. So a team with a stud 1-2 and a weak 3-5 who scraped by in a weak division can always be set up to beat a solid 1 through 5 rotation in a five game series.
When it all comes down to it, just win the games. But it is different monster in the post season when a team can rig up a three man rotation and hide the weaknesses that caused it to lose games during the regular season.
All in all, though, I wouldn't change a thing. The Wild Card is perfectly fine with me, and if a weak division champion like the Cardinals didn't deserve to win it last year, someone should have beaten them.
The reason the travel is different is that teams don't fly east coast to west coast and back again 3 times a week. It doesn't "change the game" at all, unless you want to see super tired pitchers and players hacking it up like little league.
Everyone's playing by the same rules though (well, except for that whole DH thing...), so just sign a couple great 1-2 starters. No one's forcing teams to spread it out to 5 mediocre guys.
But like I said, those end of the rotation guys go to the bullpen, so they're still being used. As are other starters coming in on 3 day rest, or even 2 day rest.
In the playoffs, you use every part of your team to win each game at all costs. Teams could actually do this during the regular season, but its been proven to not be effective -- this is why teams elect to have 5 man rotations, instead of 3, etc.
The division winner clinched it over a week ago while the wild card contender was exactly that, a contender, right up until the last day. He never let his guard down for those last few games and that put him on top of his game. Wild cards may not be any worse a team than the div champ, may actually have a winning record against the div champ, the real difference is that he started his playoff rounds a week or so earlier than the champ and his game is sharper and more focused.