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Post-season Newsbeat

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Passan: Divisions in baseball need to be benched

Imagine a world with no divisions….it’s easy if you try….

Were the postseason to begin today, the National League’s second- and third-best teams would play each other in a single winner-takes-all game for the honor of going on the road and playing a series against the best team in baseball. In the meantime, the teams with the fourth- and fifth-best records in the league would face off for a ticket to the NLCS.

If this seems screwed up, it’s because it is. The wild card opened up a world of possibilities, including the one playing out in the NL Central today: The three best records happen to come from the same division, and baseball’s playoff system is in danger of penalizing teams for having the temerity to exist in relative geographic proximity to other good teams.

This, of course, is ridiculous, and even if the New York Mets ride the weakness of the National League East or the Los Angeles Dodgers the strength of their $300 million payroll to pass up the Central’s St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs or even all three, an odd truth in baseball still will exist: winning a division is more important than winning, period.
Considering divisions are little more than constructs – they didn’t exist until 1969, further split 25 years later and are so subject to whims that teams change leagues without much hullabaloo – their power over baseball is strangely addictive. It held true in other sports, too, until NBA commissioner Adam Silver this offseason said the league plans to award teams with better regular-season records instead of giving division winners artificially high playoff seeds.

“That,” Silver told reporters, “is a vestige of a division system that may not make sense anymore.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2015 at 02:42 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: divisional alignment, playoffs, post-season

 

 

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