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New Playoff System Revealed as Total Joke in Year One


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#1 Plympton91


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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:18 PM

So, the Detroit Tigers would be in 4th place in the AL East and 3rd place in the AL West. They'll finish well behind the eventual 2nd wild card gift claimant, let alone the real wild card team. Yet they will get a bye and will set up their top heavy rotation, and rest their thin bullpen, while two better teams play a coin flip game for Bud Selig's amusement

Meanwhile, in the NL, there are 4 really strong teams. But the Cardinals, who would finish 7 games behind the real wild card if the season ended tonight, will get to play a coin flip game to see if their season continues. Utterly ridiculous.

The argument for having one wild card is that the second best team will not be denied a postseason berth due to an accident of geography. No such justification exists in any sport for having more than one wild card. Baseball ruined the integrity of it's postseason with this change.

I so hope it further blows up in their face by having the Yanks and O's tie and need a 1 game playoff for the Division. Then the advantage of winning the Division is minimized by playing the extra game, and the loser of the playoff is compromised in the made-solely-for-TV wild card game. With the added bonus for Red Sox fans of it screwing the Yanks and O's.

#2 ossie schreckengost

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:22 AM

yes.

and what do you think about that 2nd wildcardslot, dh3?

Edited by ossie schreckengost, 30 September 2012 - 12:23 AM.


#3 LondonSox


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:38 AM

The irony to me is that this whole thing snowballed because the wild cards were locked in last year early, and supposedly the run in was going to have to drama as the sox and braves were so far clear and no division races.
Well we all know how that ended up with the two most dramatic final day races for the wild card in years. If there had been two wild cards last year the drama would have been basically zero.
So in the end the no drama turned into huge drama, and that drama would in fact have been destroyed by the new system.

But instead of taking the two largest play off collapses in recent history (simul fucking taneously no less) as a sign from the baseball gods that all was well and don't fuck with it, they did anyway. For reasons I really don't understand, I assume money though as always.

#4 Rasputin


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:47 AM

Baseball ruined the integrity of it's postseason with this change.


This is complete and utter horseshit on the face of it.

Is the winner of the World Series going to somehow not be considered the winner of the World Series anymore?

The notion that regular season record is a completely reliable measure of which team is better is ludicrous.

The notion that the winner of the championship is always supposed to be the best team is infantile and antiquated.

I would think that the fact that it really matters which team ends up with the best record would be a good thing, as would be the fact that the team that ends up with the best record has a better chance of winning it all.

The fact that the new playoff system has only provided a few more compelling games and not a ton more compelling games is hardly a devastating criticism.

Here's the facts. The new playoff system has been a success. A mild one because the way the cookies crumbled this year, a lot of the teams would be playing compelling games even under the old system, but there have been a higher number of compelling regular season games.

If the Yankees and the Os, or any other two teams have to have a 163rd game to see who wins the division and who plays the wild card game that's not going to be a black mark against the new system, it's going to be super fucking awesome cool. MORE COMPELLING GAMES!

The people who are against this are the same people who were against giving women the right to vote, allowing blacks in the military, allowing gays in the military, the DH, instant replay, talkies, movies, radio, and basically every innovation ever, crotchety old men who have an absurd arbitrary standard that is only vaguely related to reality.

#5 TheYaz67

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:02 AM

Will it be viewed a success if the team with the best record in the AL or NL gets swept out of the playoffs in the AL/NL DS because they had to play their first two games on the road? Win the entire League, and your reward is one home game? I'm hoping it does not come to pass, because if it does alot of folks are going to be pissed they didn't plan this better to allow for a 2-2-1 DS format....

That's apparently changing next year, or so we are promised, but may be cold comfort for someone this year.

#6 Trotsky

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:12 AM

This is complete and utter horseshit on the face of it.

Is the winner of the World Series going to somehow not be considered the winner of the World Series anymore?

The notion that regular season record is a completely reliable measure of which team is better is ludicrous.

The notion that the winner of the championship is always supposed to be the best team is infantile and antiquated.

I would think that the fact that it really matters which team ends up with the best record would be a good thing, as would be the fact that the team that ends up with the best record has a better chance of winning it all.

The fact that the new playoff system has only provided a few more compelling games and not a ton more compelling games is hardly a devastating criticism.

Here's the facts. The new playoff system has been a success. A mild one because the way the cookies crumbled this year, a lot of the teams would be playing compelling games even under the old system, but there have been a higher number of compelling regular season games.

If the Yankees and the Os, or any other two teams have to have a 163rd game to see who wins the division and who plays the wild card game that's not going to be a black mark against the new system, it's going to be super fucking awesome cool. MORE COMPELLING GAMES!

The people who are against this are the same people who were against giving women the right to vote, allowing blacks in the military, allowing gays in the military, the DH, instant replay, talkies, movies, radio, and basically every innovation ever, crotchety old men who have an absurd arbitrary standard that is only vaguely related to reality.

Pretty much agree with this completely.... but the point that Detroit will have a worse record than possibly two teams that are in tougher divisions and still make the playoffs... and STILL get to set up their rotation sort of sucks. They're being awarded by being the best team (barely) in a sucky division.
I still prefer the two WC's (although I think a best 2/3 makes more sense) over the previous playoff scenario, I do think this, more than anything, calls into question the 3 divison breakdown. I'd love to see two divisions with 4 wild cards. The problem is still there with a potential shitty division leader getting awarded, but 4 WC's and two divisions reduce that probability. WC games being 2/3.

#7 Rasputin


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:18 AM

Will it be viewed a success if the team with the best record in the AL or NL gets swept out of the playoffs in the AL/NL DS because they had to play their first two games on the road?


Considering that it is completely irrelevant to the goal, and a temporary situation, yes, if the best record in the league gets swept and has one home game in the post season, the change is still a success.

#8 Rasputin


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:25 AM

Pretty much agree with this completely.... but the point that Detroit will have a worse record than possibly two teams that are in tougher divisions and still make the playoffs... and STILL get to set up their rotation sort of sucks. They're being awarded by being the best team (barely) in a sucky division.


The only way to fix this is to not have divisions. I'd be a bit surprised if any non biased observer thought the Tigers were among the top six teams in the AL. Eh, make that top five. I think making a case that they're better than Baltimore is reasonable.

To fix it, though, you'd have to eliminate divisions and play as balanced a schedule as possible and simply take the top four teams. I'd be fine with that. The fact that all the AL Central teams would be out of it by the All Star break is just tough titties as far as I am concerned but it's not going to happen.

I still prefer the two WC's (although I think a best 2/3 makes more sense) over the previous playoff scenario, I do think this, more than anything, calls into question the 3 divison breakdown. I'd love to see two divisions with 4 wild cards. The problem is still there with a potential shitty division leader getting awarded, but 4 WC's and two divisions reduce that probability. WC games being 2/3.


A three game series would be vastly preferable.

#9 Hendu for Kutch

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:34 AM

This is complete and utter horseshit on the face of it.

Is the winner of the World Series going to somehow not be considered the winner of the World Series anymore?

The notion that regular season record is a completely reliable measure of which team is better is ludicrous.

The notion that the winner of the championship is always supposed to be the best team is infantile and antiquated.

I would think that the fact that it really matters which team ends up with the best record would be a good thing, as would be the fact that the team that ends up with the best record has a better chance of winning it all.

The fact that the new playoff system has only provided a few more compelling games and not a ton more compelling games is hardly a devastating criticism.

Here's the facts. The new playoff system has been a success. A mild one because the way the cookies crumbled this year, a lot of the teams would be playing compelling games even under the old system, but there have been a higher number of compelling regular season games.

If the Yankees and the Os, or any other two teams have to have a 163rd game to see who wins the division and who plays the wild card game that's not going to be a black mark against the new system, it's going to be super fucking awesome cool. MORE COMPELLING GAMES!

The people who are against this are the same people who were against giving women the right to vote, allowing blacks in the military, allowing gays in the military, the DH, instant replay, talkies, movies, radio, and basically every innovation ever, crotchety old men who have an absurd arbitrary standard that is only vaguely related to reality.


First, this is sorta kinda total bullshit. I fucking love the DH and everything else on that list. But a one-game playoff in baseball is essentially worthless as any sort of real test of two teams' baseball skills. One-game playoffs are fine as tie-breakers because if two teams couldn't separate over 162, then they're close enough that any method of breaking the tie is essentially a coin flip anyways. Atlanta has proven they're a better team than St. Louis already but has to coin-flip anyways.

Now, I'm not totally against a system that rewards the best teams and makes it easier for them, as you say. This system doesn't do that though. Detroit, with the 7th best record (7TH!!!) is in position to get a bye into the divisional round, while the 3rd and 4th (or potentially 2nd and 4th) best teams face a coin-flip game and the 5th and 6th best teams miss the postseason entirely. And Detroit gets this advantage because they played in the weakest division in the AL, making their 7th best AL record look even weaker.

Now, if they were to seed the playoff participants on merit instead of geographical alignments, your point would have merit. The best teams would get the smoothest path and the fringe teams would have to fight their way through.

And the excitement argument? Sure, I'll grant you that. One-game playoffs are exciting. But that doesn't have anything to do with ruining the integrity of the playoffs. That's exactly what they're doing, trading integrity and fairness of competition for excitement and ratings. Which is fine, but call a spade a spade here. There are lots of "exciting" things they could add to the playoffs that would impact the integrity of the playoff system. How about a lottery where one under-.500 team gets thrown back into the playoffs after the LCS round for a one-game faceoff with the almost league champion. How exciting would that be!

#10 Rasputin


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:38 AM

But a one-game playoff in baseball is essentially worthless as any sort of real test of two teams' baseball skills.


The fact that it's one game sucks, no question, but a) MLB doesn't give a shit whether the best team wins and b) the fact that the additional round of playoffs is one game is much less important than the fact that there is an additional round of playoffs, so focusing on that aspect seems silly to me.

#11 Hendu for Kutch

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:40 AM

And just for the record, since the Red Sox aren't in it, I'm rooting for a total clusterfuck of ties and one-game playoffs. Because it is exciting. But it IS likely that most years inferior teams are going to get advantages over superior teams because they already got the cushion of playing in a sucky division.

#12 Hendu for Kutch

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:44 AM

The fact that it's one game sucks, no question, but a) MLB doesn't give a shit whether the best team wins and b) the fact that the additional round of playoffs is one game is much less important than the fact that there is an additional round of playoffs, so focusing on that aspect seems silly to me.


That's fair. I'm with you on A. I think we're talking about two different things in that regard, because I certainly concede MLB could give two shits about fairness vis a vis ratings.

As far as the 1-game vs. more games, I think at least with multiple games there'd be a chance for the better team to assert themselves, but you're right. 3 games isn't a great sample size either, and the better team is still getting screwed by the extra round.

#13 inoffensiv philosophy

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:01 AM

The fact that it's one game sucks, no question, but a) MLB doesn't give a shit whether the best team wins and b) the fact that the additional round of playoffs is one game is much less important than the fact that there is an additional round of playoffs, so focusing on that aspect seems silly to me.

Your a) is an 'is' not an 'ought' -- I don't think anyone who dislikes the new playoff system would disagree with that sentiment, but they don't care. They're talking about the problems with the present system and what kind of system they'd prefer -- MLB's desiderata has no place in that discussion. As for b) -- well, apparently not. Many people, both when the new system was first announced and now, have said that they'd be fine with an extra round if it could be five games, or three, or whatever. So for them it is the length of the round not the fact that there's a fourth round. I don't see anything wrong with that perspective.

Edited by inoffensiv philosophy, 30 September 2012 - 08:02 AM.


#14 redsoxcentury

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:42 AM

Will it be viewed a success if the team with the best record in the AL or NL gets swept out of the playoffs in the AL/NL DS because they had to play their first two games on the road? Win the entire League, and your reward is one home game? I'm hoping it does not come to pass, because if it does alot of folks are going to be pissed they didn't plan this better to allow for a 2-2-1 DS format....

That's apparently changing next year, or so we are promised, but may be cold comfort for someone this year.


The 2 games on road, 3 at home system is was the system for a long time in LCS play before it became a best of 7. was anyone complaining about it then? it sucks but the better team should win a friggin road game, or just take all 3 at home.

They probably should have done a 3 home game, 2 on the road system this year but then people will complain about the better team not getting a potential game 5 at home. at least next year they can return to a 2-2-1 system,

#15 getfoul

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:45 AM

I'll say it again...

Eliminate Divisions.
Houston stays in the NL.
Move the Rockies or Dbacks to the AL. Both leagues equal by time zone--7 east, 4 central, 4 pac/mtn

Play your 4 former division teams 11 games over 4 series
Play the other 10 league opponents 10 games over 3 series
Play 18 interleague games; 6 against a local/regional rival if you have one. East and Central time zone teams can't play more than one series in the west time zone.
Max 7 series/23 games in the west time zone, but usually 6 series/20 games. No more than 12 games at 10:05pm eastern, per central/east teams.

Top 3 teams make the playoffs.
4 and 5-seeds play a one game playoff as a second chance, and to keep more teams in the race later into the season.
Teams clinch when they secure at least the 3-seed. 4 and 5 seeds don't celebrate until they win the Play-In Game (Hear that, Chipper?)

Higher seed gets homefield advantage for the World Series, so there would be an incentive to get the 1-seed in your league. If same seed make the WS, higher win total is tie breaker.

This is a close-to-balanced schedule. It wouldn't be awful for travel if they scheduled road trips that make sense.

Right now, you could still have teams playing to get in the top-3 and 5-spot. The Braves and Giants would still be in a legitimate race for the 3-seed, assuming their records would be similar (we don't know).

To me, a balanced schedule is just so much more interesting. The playoff teams will get their on merit; not geography. And when it comes to batting title, awards, etc., it's based on a balanced schedule.

Edited by getfoul, 30 September 2012 - 11:29 AM.


#16 Plympton91


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 09:08 AM

The people who are against this are the same people who were against giving women the right to vote, allowing blacks in the military, allowing gays in the military, the DH, instant replay, talkies, movies, radio, and basically every innovation ever, crotchety old men who have an absurd arbitrary standard that is only vaguely related to reality.


I'm so in favor of the DH that I think they should add more DHs so that teams could play defensive specialists more.

If you work through the entire possibility tree, the new system does not reward the best teams at any greater frequency than the old system. It's all about money, but since it's not the Red Sox, I'm boycotting the coin flip games. Just like I refuse to watch "the game of the week" nonsense unless it's the Red Sox.

#17 axx

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 09:42 AM

The point of the second wild card is to hurt the chances of either Wild Card team winning the WS. The extra gate is a nice bonus.

Win the entire League, and your reward is one home game?


I was under the impression that this was only for this year because the change was made so late.

#18 bob burda

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:20 AM

....Now, I'm not totally against a system that rewards the best teams and makes it easier for them, as you say. This system doesn't do that though. Detroit, with the 7th best record (7TH!!!) is in position to get a bye into the divisional round, while the 3rd and 4th (or potentially 2nd and 4th) best teams face a coin-flip game and the 5th and 6th best teams miss the postseason entirely. And Detroit gets this advantage because they played in the weakest division in the AL, making their 7th best AL record look even weaker.

Now, if they were to seed the playoff participants on merit instead of geographical alignments, your point would have merit. The best teams would get the smoothest path and the fringe teams would have to fight their way through.....


Sorry to cut up your post - but it seems like this is the part that gets to the core issue (as I see it, anyway); the goal of rewarding "better teams" that win a division, and hampering the also ran WC teams.

In the abstract view it is OK to make the WC teams play an additonal game for the right to go to the "real" playoffs in the ALDS. There are going to be years where you have a really weak div. champ sitting and resting - I can live with that.

An important point noted in Plympton 91's original post has to do with the need for tied division champs to play an extra game to determine the division. This is being done because it is now so important to distinguish div. champs from WCs.

What I don't understand is how you could take the potential two top records in the league if they happen to be tied in the same division, and make them play an extra game - and then make the loser of that game then play a WC play in game (making it now more likely they will lose to an inferior WC#2 who gets to rest); and all the while some inferior div. champ (like Detroit in this case) rests and sets up while these better teams exhaust themselves or get eliminated.

This kind of scenario is not far fetched - take a look at the standings today (or recall 2005). This year there is the possibility of needing to play down both the AL East and AL West for division winners, then having the losers playing the WC game. All the while Detroit sits on the sidelines for days enjoying the extra games and travel among teams that were demonstrably better all season. This appears to be done in the effort to make div.champ titles meaningful, but it raises that value supreme of above all other values - and is at variance with trying to give a play off advantage to the best team during the regular season. It also gives an advantage to the worst team, WC #2. That's crazy.

Then there is this last question - if you are one of the best two teams in the league finishing tied for your division, do you do a secret coin flip with the other team to determine who forfeits the div. playoff? That is, if you are going to have to play one game to get to the ALDS, are you better off saying "fine, then let's make that only one game, and let's make it the WC play in against an inferior unrested opponent." Or maybe it gets like Olympic badminton, and both teams put AAAA line-ups out, get time for bench players, and barely compete during the game unless it is close at the end. At that point you could maybe avoid more travel with minimal effort in the final innings.

#19 Rasputin


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:37 AM

The point of the second wild card is to hurt the chances of either Wild Card team winning the WS. The extra gate is a nice bonus


Pretty sure you have that backwards.


Then there is this last question - if you are one of the best two teams in the league finishing tied for your division, do you do a secret coin flip with the other team to determine who forfeits the div. playoff? That is, if you are going to have to play one game to get to the ALDS, are you better off saying "fine, then let's make that only one game, and let's make it the WC play in against an inferior unrested opponent." Or maybe it gets like Olympic badminton, and both teams put AAAA line-ups out, get time for bench players, and barely compete during the game unless it is close at the end. At that point you could maybe avoid more travel with minimal effort in the final innings.


No. Even if getting the bye wasn't a huge advantage, it would be wrong in almost every way imaginable to fix a 163rd game.

#20 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:46 PM

If the point is to just have the best team's win it all; then why even have a playoff at all? I mean, over the course of 162 games, is the difference of 2-3 wins really mean anything about the quality of the teams? If the Rays miss the playoffs at 89 wins, while the Tigers get a bye at 86...so what? Life isn't fair, neither is baseball.

#21 getfoul

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:29 PM

If the point is to just have the best team's win it all; then why even have a playoff at all? I mean, over the course of 162 games, is the difference of 2-3 wins really mean anything about the quality of the teams? If the Rays miss the playoffs at 89 wins, while the Tigers get a bye at 86...so what? Life isn't fair, neither is baseball.


When it comes down a one-game Play-In, I'd rather know the teams playing in it are the 4th and 5th best teams. Like I mentioned, the Giants and Braves could still be playing for the 3-spot. If one of them has 94 wins, and they face the Cardinals with 87 wins---it's still a big 7-game spread, but at least the Braves and Giants would have competed for the 3rd spot based on a balanced schedule.

#22 MakMan44


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 03:11 PM

In response to the likelihood the two AL Wild Card teams will have a better record than the AL Central Division champion, Rosenthal suggests the playoffs qualifiers with the two worst records meet in the Wild Card game. Rosenthal admits winning a weak division would be less meaningful, but such a team hardly would be in position to argue since it would be lucky to reach the playoffs in the first place.

#23 getfoul

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 03:18 PM

In response to the likelihood the two AL Wild Card teams will have a better record than the AL Central Division champion, Rosenthal suggests the playoffs qualifiers with the two worst records meet in the Wild Card game. Rosenthal admits winning a weak division would be less meaningful, but such a team hardly would be in position to argue since it would be lucky to reach the playoffs in the first place.


Then eliminate divisions and play a close-to-balanced schedule then! The point of having divisions is to reward those teams for winning. If they just reseeded based on record, then just go without divisions.

#24 Rasputin


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:26 PM

If the Angels can win their nightcap, the AL will go into the last series with eight teams still alive.

Eight.

That's a lot.

#25 Plympton91


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:41 PM

If the Angels can win their nightcap, the AL will go into the last series with eight teams still alive.

Eight.

That's a lot.


Maybe next year Buddy can institute a rule that everybody who has a winning record gets a trophy. Then it would be just like little league for the boys all over again. There are no winners or losers, they all just tried their best and had fun!

#26 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:51 PM

I'm just glad 2004 didn't have this nonsense. Unbalance the schedule and bring back 2 divisions with a wild card from each. Each division winner can face the other's wild card.

#27 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 30 September 2012 - 09:16 PM

How about no divisions, balanced schedule, top 4 make the playoffs? I'm assuming the fear is that hope would be completely lost in many markets, particularly those in the central.

#28 MentalDisabldLst


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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:33 AM

How about no divisions, balanced schedule, top 4 make the playoffs? I'm assuming the fear is that hope would be completely lost in many markets, particularly those in the central.


I do believe that's the theory at play here: you have to throw the Detroits of the league a bone now and then just to prop up baseball as a truly national pastime, and not a "top-10 metropolitan area" pastime. Sure, some percent of the time you'll let an inferior team into the playoffs, and with a better seed than they would have had even if they'd been able to qualify as a wildcard... but is that really such a degrading compromise? Consider the evolution of MLB playoffs from a justification perspective:

- 1969: balanced schedules no longer make sense as expansion has proceeded nationwide and would be almost logistically impossible, not to mention unnecessarily tiring to the players. So we have 2 divisions, champions play each other in best of 5 because it's still an inferior series to the World Series.
- 1985: OK, maybe we can still play best-of-7 in the LCS without insulting the WS. And the following year, Dave Henderson is very glad they did.
- 1995: Coming off a strike year, we need to do something exciting to get the attention of the country again! Let's realign into 3 divisions because it makes divisional rivalry games more interesting, add a wild-card in case the 2 best teams in the league come from the same division, and play a best-of-5 division series.
- 2012: there aren't enough exciting playoff chases, teams are ambivalent between winning their Division and getting the wildcard; let's ensure one-game playoffs every year by adding another wildcard, and increase the incentives to go for the division by having the two teams fight to the death.

There has to be a reason all the other major sports choose to organize in divisions and the top teams automatically advance to the post-season. Something involving a combination of wanting to instill rivalries, give middling teams fewer obstacles in their path to the postseason (i.e. just division-mates), maybe even TV revenues. I don't think it's nearly as much of a black-and-white issue.

#29 cannonball 1729

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:02 AM

- 1995: Coming off a strike year, we need to do something exciting to get the attention of the country again! Let's realign into 3 divisions because it makes divisional rivalry games more interesting, add a wild-card in case the 2 best teams in the league come from the same division, and play a best-of-5 division series.

The wildcard system was instituted before the '94 season, not the '95 season.

#30 Orel Miraculous

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:13 AM

The wildcard system was instituted before the '94 season, not the '95 season.


Right, it was instituted after everyone was enraged that the 103 win Giants didn't make the playoffs. Which is hilarious, because MLB knew that they were deliberately destroying division races by adding the wildcard, and then all of a sudden seemed shocked at what they had done, necessitating the second wild card.

1993: "Oh shit! The Giants are the second-best team in the league but didn't make the playoffs. Screw the division race, that's not fair!"

2010; "Oh shit! There's no division race between the Yankees and the Rays because of the wildcard. Screw fairness to the second-best team in the league, that's not exciting!"

#31 dynomite

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:57 AM

This year has been a triumph for the new Wild Card system, and produced one of the most exciting Septembers in the AL I can remember. There are tight Division races in all 3 Divisions and an ongoing race for the 2nd Wild Card.


If the Yankees and the Os, or any other two teams have to have a 163rd game to see who wins the division and who plays the wild card game that's not going to be a black mark against the new system, it's going to be super fucking awesome cool. MORE COMPELLING GAMES!



That's right.

I watch sports to be entertained. The 2012 regular season has been one of the most exciting in years, and I can't wait for the one-game playoffs. The Pennant, Division, and Wild Card races are entertaining. A one-game playoff is entertaining.

This new format is good for the league, good for TV revenue, and good for people who like watching meaningful late-season baseball.

#32 jon abbey


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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:20 AM

This year has been a triumph for the new Wild Card system, and produced one of the most exciting Septembers in the AL I can remember.


I keep reading this in different places, but how is this true? Right now, with three days to go, the teams getting into the playoffs are essentially all locked in (OAK's magic number is 1 over TB and LAA). Under the previous system, we would have had NY/BAL/OAK fighting for two spots all month instead of three (and LAA/TB similarly on the outskirts), that would have been decidedly more exciting.

#33 Fishercat


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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:30 AM

I don't think this season will do much to dissuade anyone off of their positions. The people who like this format mainly like it because it rewards divisions winners and it makes September more exciting and meaningful for a greater number of teams and fans. The people who don't like this format dislike it because it doesn't address the idea that the WC isn't necessarily the worst team in the playoffs (isn't usually) and it puts WC teams at a substantial disadvantage going into the playoffs for no reason beyond not playing Cleveland, KC, and Minnesota 60 times a year.

So what happens? At least half of the league is still in the race with teams like Baltimore and Oakland in the mix with the division winners being decided later than usual, and the division disparity means Detroit will probably get to throw Verlander in Game 1 v. Texas while teams with better records will waste their best guy in the play-in or not even make the play-in. It's what both sides expected and wanted/feared.

I still dislike the system greatly and this year has done little to change my opinion.

#34 glennhoffmania


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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:51 AM

I watch sports to be entertained. The 2012 regular season has been one of the most exciting in years, and I can't wait for the one-game playoffs. The Pennant, Division, and Wild Card races are entertaining. A one-game playoff is entertaining.

This new format is good for the league, good for TV revenue, and good for people who like watching meaningful late-season baseball.


Entertainment is one part of watching sports but it's not the whole story. I watch tv shows and movies to be entertained too. Sports is supposed to be an unscripted contest that people who have an interest enjoy watching. Of course the best team doesn't always win, but the more gimmicks you add to the system the less realistic (or unscripted) it becomes.

MLB, by further tweaking an already flawed system, may attract more of the pink hats because of the all of the manufactured suspense (although I agree with JA that it's not really any more exciting than it would've been under the old system). If that was MLB's goal, fine. But to the diehard baseball fans, like those who post about it daily on message boards, this is a horrible development.

Baseball is not a one game playoff sport. It's the one sport that can be essentially be played daily, with twice as many regular season games as any other sport. Yet instead of using this scheduling flexibility to its advantage, by either shortening the season to allow for extra playoff games or making the schedules more balanced so the WC races are actually somewhat fair, they've done the worst possible job of identifying the teams that deserve a playoff spot and the teams that deserve to play in the LDS and LCS.

If you're looking for exciting entertainment go watch an action movie. For those of us that actually want to see the best teams compete in an exclusive playoff tournament and see the championship earned properly, this sucks.

Edited by glennhoffmania, 01 October 2012 - 11:51 AM.


#35 Laser Show

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:22 PM

The one game playoff is complete bullshit. Atlanta is clearly better than St. Louis. It's basically like saying in 2004 "Hey, we know the Red Sox beat the A's by 7 games in the Wild Card, but let's have a one game playoff between them just because it's exciting." I hope "Coin Flip Game" becomes the accepted name for it.

As a baseball fan, I love the amount of exciting baseball coming this week. But if I was a Braves fan I would be pissed.

#36 getfoul

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:37 PM

The one game playoff is complete bullshit. Atlanta is clearly better than St. Louis. It's basically like saying in 2004 "Hey, we know the Red Sox beat the A's by 7 games in the Wild Card, but let's have a one game playoff between them just because it's exciting." I hope "Coin Flip Game" becomes the accepted name for it.

As a baseball fan, I love the amount of exciting baseball coming this week. But if I was a Braves fan I would be pissed.


That's why there shouldn't be divisions. The Braves and Giants could be in direct competition with each other for the 3-seed, with the loser having to play the Cardinals. There would still be that gap in win total, but that would be a consequence of finishing outside the Top 3. Now you could say the Braves are playing as a consequence of not winning the division, but again, not every division is the same. The Tigers are given a pass for winning a bad division, and then two 90+ win teams play one game to reach that level? Not good. I want the teams seeded the way they played over 162, and that means no divisions and a more balanced schedule.

#37 jimc

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:54 PM

Will it be viewed a success if the team with the best record in the AL or NL gets swept out of the playoffs in the AL/NL DS because they had to play their first two games on the road? Win the entire League, and your reward is one home game? I'm hoping it does not come to pass, because if it does alot of folks are going to be pissed they didn't plan this better to allow for a 2-2-1 DS format....

That's apparently changing next year, or so we are promised, but may be cold comfort for someone this year.


I'm generally pro the new format but this aspect this year is a trainwreck waiting to happen. The mere possibility of the Nats going back to DC down 2-0 to the Cardinals in the NLDS is making me grouchy.

#38 cannonball 1729

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:23 PM

That's why there shouldn't be divisions. The Braves and Giants could be in direct competition with each other for the 3-seed, with the loser having to play the Cardinals. There would still be that gap in win total, but that would be a consequence of finishing outside the Top 3. Now you could say the Braves are playing as a consequence of not winning the division, but again, not every division is the same. The Tigers are given a pass for winning a bad division, and then two 90+ win teams play one game to reach that level? Not good. I want the teams seeded the way they played over 162, and that means no divisions and a more balanced schedule.

I'd be in favor of just having 3 divisions and 2 wildcards and then having the worst two of those five teams play the coinflip game (or a best-of-three).

#39 trekfan55


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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:11 PM

The modern sports era has practically assured us that the playoffs will be a tournament and that sometimes team will sneak in go deep.

In 2006 the 83-78 St Louis Cardinals won their division and the World Series, while the decimated Red Sox had a better record at 86-76 while finishing 3rd in the AL East. And in the NL, the Phillies had a better record than them, but not good enough for the WC.

How about the 7-9 Seahawks winning the AFC West and hosting a playoff game?

While I do not like the idea of a one game elimination, playoff tournaments make more money for the leagues, so they are here to stay.

#40 Plympton91


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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:51 PM

Baseball is not a one game playoff sport. It's the one sport that can be essentially be played daily, with twice as many regular season games as any other sport. Yet instead of using this scheduling flexibility to its advantage, by either shortening the season to allow for extra playoff games or making the schedules more balanced so the WC races are actually somewhat fair, they've done the worst possible job of identifying the teams that deserve a playoff spot and the teams that deserve to play in the LDS and LCS.

If you're looking for exciting entertainment go watch an action movie. For those of us that actually want to see the best teams compete in an exclusive playoff tournament and see the championship earned properly, this sucks.


This is just super, extraordinarily well stated. Exactly.


#41 Orel Miraculous

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:38 PM

Baseball is not a one game playoff sport.


Not to take this on too much of a tangent, but I want to discuss this point for a moment, because this discussion has always fascinated me and its directly relevant to the legitimacy of the new playoff system. It's always been taken on gospel that one game doesn't mean anything in baseball. And indeed, in the history of baseball as we know it, this has always been the case. We all know that the best teams in baseball don't win as much as the best teams in football or basketball, and the worst teams don't lose as much, which seems to show that baseball isn't a "one game playoff sport," because there's too much luck or random variance for one game to tell us anything meaningful.

But I've wondered whether this is inherent in the nature of the baseball, or only inherent in the way the game has developed and played in MLB (and thus, in most of the world). I started wondering this after watching Cuba play the Dominican Republic in the semifinals of the 2006 WBC. In that game, the Cuban manager had a relief pitcher warming up in the bullpen before the first pitch was even thrown. Never seen anything like it before in my life. When it comes to do-or-die games, we always talk about the starting pitcher being on a short leash, but the Cuban team had taken it to new extremes. As it turned out, the starter didn't get into trouble or even allow a run, but they still took him out in the 5th and the pitcher they replaced him with finished the game, which was also very unusual and basically unheard of in MLB.

I heard an expert on Cuban baseball explain this highly unusual bullpen usage by theorizing that, because for half a century Cuba's most important baseball games were played in the biannual Baseball World Cup and the Olympics, the Cuban baseball establishment had developed a different way of playing the game that was based on winning short tournaments stocked with do-or-die games. I don't know enough about Cuban baseball to say whether this is actually the case, but if so it would be a fascinating Galapagos-like situation of baseball strategy mutation.

For one hundred years of organized baseball in America, the game and its strategy were developed in the context of winning the most games over 6 months of baseball. 40 years ago playoffs became a reality, 17 years ago short series gained added importance, and now, one-game playoffs have been institutionalized. Unquestionably MLB baseball is not currently a "one game playoff sport," but that could only be because the MLB establishment hasn't figured out how to play that way yet. In 20 years we might feel differently.

#42 glennhoffmania


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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:12 AM

For one hundred years of organized baseball in America, the game and its strategy were developed in the context of winning the most games over 6 months of baseball. 40 years ago playoffs became a reality, 17 years ago short series gained added importance, and now, one-game playoffs have been institutionalized. Unquestionably MLB baseball is not currently a "one game playoff sport," but that could only be because the MLB establishment hasn't figured out how to play that way yet. In 20 years we might feel differently.


I disagree. Baseball is the only game where the most important player on the field changes each day. A playoff "series" that's only one game shouldn't be decided based on which team got luckier with how their rotation lined up. This aspect of baseball will never change, and therefore baseball will never be a one game playoff sport. Bud can treat it like one but that doesn't make it so.

#43 Fishercat


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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:34 AM

I just want to go through what would have happened if this season went down the exact same way but with the wild card playoff system that we had the past couple decades.

ALE:
Yankees (93-67)
Orioles (92-68)
Rays (89-71)

ALC:
Tigers (87-73)

ALW:
Rangers (93-67)
A's (92-68)
Angels (89-71)

At this point, NY/BAL and TEX/OAK would be fighting for their divisions. None of those teams would currently be guaranteed a slot in the playoff system. Two would win their divisions, one would win the WC, determined by the last two regular season game.

In the new system...the exact same thing is happening, except that the final game of the season quite possibly won't matter since teams are possibly gonna be locked into their WC slot (so instead of 1 team guaranteed a slot right now, all five are in the new system). In the old system, you are guaranteed a final game that matters for at least two, and possibly four of these teams. In this case, if the cards fall right, Game 162 will be irrelevant across baseball, and Game 163 will be what teams plan for.

Additionally, this would happen in both cases, but we've determined that not only does the #7 team make the playoffs, but they aren't even forced into a play-in game to do it. Except in the new system, we have said a play-in game is mandated for the two wild cards, who will be a minimum of three games better than the Tigers. The old system would have at least one of them locked into a series based on their regular season performance.

The NL is worse

NLE:
Nats (96-64)
Braves (93-67)

NLC:
Reds (96-64)
Cards (87-73)

NLW:
Giants (93-67)
Dodgers (85-75)

So the three division winners are locked in. In the old system, the Braves would be locked in. As the WC was designed to do, the four best teams would be in the playoffs on relatively equal footing, with the Braves not being punished for not being part of the NLW (where they and the Giants would be in a dogfight for the division, even if the NLE is a bit better). It's really the ideal solution.

But in the new system, a team six games better than the #5 game is put into a one game playoff against the Cards, who have a great run differential but not nearly as good a record. Somehow, that one game will overrule the six game lead Atlanta has built up.

Love it.

#44 Orel Miraculous

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:48 AM

I disagree. Baseball is the only game where the most important player on the field changes each day. A playoff "series" that's only one game shouldn't be decided based on which team got luckier with how their rotation lined up. This aspect of baseball will never change

Well, what I was getting at was that we don't actually know if it will never change. Is it true that it will never change because there's something inherent in the very nature of the game that makes it so? Or is it just that we can't imagine it changing because its the way we've always done it?

Going back to that Cuban-DR game, the Cuban manager essentially split the game in half and had his two best pitchers go 4.1 and 4.2 innings. As far as I know, nothing like this has ever been done in MLB, regular season or postseason (what even comes the closest, Randy Johnson saving Curt Schilling's game with the D-Backs?) It was a different way of looking at pitching based on winning one game. Who knows how the game will evolve?

#45 glennhoffmania


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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:53 AM

It will never change because there's something inherent in the very nature of the game- pitching. You don't start a different QB or point guard every game. Unless we get to the point where an ace pitcher can pitch every day, baseball will always be different.

#46 dynomite

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:57 AM

The one game playoff is complete bullshit. Atlanta is clearly better than St. Louis.


LOL boo hoo. Then the Braves should have won their division. They didn't.

Which is it? Do you want tradition, or do you want the 1994-2011 system? Because for the first one-hundred years of baseball, the Braves wouldn't have been in the playoffs at all because they couldn't win their division.


I just want to go through what would have happened if this season went down the exact same way but with the wild card playoff system that we had the past couple decades.


What would have happened? There would have been some drama... if you lived in the local TV markets for BAL/OAK/NY/TEX. Otherwise, you would have seen highlights on SportsCenter.

Again, the "fairness" argument rings hollow to me. Which would have been "fairer": for the 2011 Red Sox and Rays at the end of the season:
1) to play the 69-win Orioles and AAA Yankees respectively (with the Yankees conceding their game by extras by pitching Proctor for 3 innings), or
2) for the two teams to have played each other?


If you're looking for exciting entertainment go watch an action movie. For those of us that actually want to see the best teams compete in an exclusive playoff tournament and see the championship earned properly, this sucks.


I don't know where to start with this argument.

First of all, I reject the notion of "properly" earning a title. If you beat all comers, you've properly won the title. Everything else is a nebulous set of shifting goal posts.

Second, I think this new system is "fairer."

1) The new system gives the best regular season teams an enormous new advantage. In each league, the #1 seed is now rewarded by getting to face a Wild Card team without their #1 starter, off an exhausting one-game playoff.

2) So now the 1994-2011 system allowed you to "see the championship earned properly"? What does that mean? "Proper" in whose eyes? Would it be "proper" to have the #1 seeds from the AL and the NL simply meet in the World Series? Or the top two seeds meet in a Pennant? How many times have you heard NFL fans complain that the 2005 Steelers, 2007 Giants, and the 2010 Packers made the Super Bowl as the #6 seed? How many times during the World Series in 2011 did you think to yourself "I don't care about this World Series, the Cardinals shouldn't even be here"?

3) The fact of the matter is that no system will be perfectly "fair."

These "proper way to win" canards feel like grasping at straws, longing for a bygone idyllic era. And it feels like we're cherrypicking what's "proper" and what's not. These games are played in the messiness of the real world, where schedules are unbalanced and umpires blow strike calls and human frailty leads to random injuries and fielders lose balls in the sun and a thousand variables affect game outcomes, from the length of the grass to a gust of wind blowing a ball fair or foul by a few inches.

Also, this isn't the 1920s. It's 2012, and the New York Yankees have a payroll of $205 million. In the regular season, that $205 million gives the Yankees an enormous "unfair" advantage over their peers, often guaranteeing them a Division title by allowing them to outbid every other team in the league for Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano to replace high-priced failed acquisitions (Burnett and Rivera, who was resigned for 2 yrs/$30M).

And even in the new system, baseball will still have the lowest percentage of teams making the playoffs of any of the major sports:
MLB: (33.3%) 10 of 30
NFL: (37.5%) 12 of 32
NBA: (53.3%) 16 of 30
NHL: (53.3%) 16 of 30

I think this new system strikes an elegant if imperfect balance in an imperfect world.

#47 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:58 AM

The irony of people complaining about the Cardinals is that by expected W-L, they should be up 3 games in their division. The Reds and Braves have atrocious offenses carried by excellent pitching staffs. The Cardinals rotation certainly gets stronger if Carpenter can contribute.

Not that it doesn't make the one game playoff any less ridiculous.

#48 jon abbey


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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:05 AM

1) The new system gives the best regular season teams an enormous new advantage. In each league, the #1 seed is now rewarded by getting to face a Wild Card team without their #1 starter, off an exhausting one-game playoff.


This year that advantage will be largely counterbalanced by the #1 seed having to play the first 2 games on the road. Starting next year, agreed that this will be a large new advantage (although it will still be usually against a team with a better record than the #3 seed).

#49 glennhoffmania


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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:10 AM

This year that advantage will be largely counterbalanced by the #1 seed having to play the first 2 games on the road. Starting next year, agreed that this will be a large new advantage (although it will still be usually against a team with a better record than the #3 seed).


And until the schedules are balanced, the team with the best record is obviously not necessarily the best team. Put Texas or NY in the Central and they'd easily be the number 1 seed. There's zero excuse for not balancing the schedule with this WC format, and like I said before, with the number of games on the schedule this could be easily accomplished even with IL. This is just one of many problems with the current system.

#50 Hendu for Kutch

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:16 AM

The 7th....let me repeat that...the 7TH best team in the American League is the only one who gets to rest players and set their rotation for the playoffs. Divisions really do suck.




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