Wild Card Newsbeat
Friday, October 17, 2014
Shorter Schoenfield: Don’t confuse “fun” with “awesome.”
So these aren’t great teams. So this is arguably the worst World Series matchup ever, as far as quality of teams. Giants fans can disagree, but if this was a great team, why did the Giants put themselves in the dice roll of a wild-card game? Why couldn’t they beat out the Dodgers for the division title? Royals fans can point out that their team has won eight postseason games in a row, but if the Royals are a great team, why did they put themselves in the dice roll of a wild-card game? Why couldn’t they win two more games and beat out the Tigers for the division title?
In the regular season, the Royals were ninth in the AL in runs scored and fourth in runs allowed. The Giants were fifth in runs scored and sixth in runs allowed. There’s a reason neither team won 90 games.
Now, that said: This should be a fun World Series between two evenly matched teams with intriguing reasons to root for each. The Royals, for so long the hapless Royals, are a likable bunch of young players, speed demons and defensive geniuses with that awesome bullpen that puts the fear into opposing teams and fans. You get the feeling that if you don’t beat them in six innings you’re not going to win. Everybody starts anew in the postseason and the Royals have played some of the most exciting baseball we’ve seen in years in going 8-0 in the playoffs. They overcame a 7-3 deficit to beat the A’s in the wild-card game and then beat the 98-win Angels and 96-win Orioles. They deserve to be here.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
I read a couple of tweets about how unfair the Wild Card system is to the fans. The complaint was, it’s a coin flip. No kidding. It’s not a bug. It’s a feature. If you don’t want your season ended on a playoff “coin flip”, win your division.
Posted: October 02, 2014 at 06:39 AM | 55 comment(s)
Friday, September 26, 2014
I don’t even recognize the ‘85 Championship as legitimate, since the Royals would not have made the playoffs that year under a pre-1969 format!
The Royals beat the White Sox 6-3 on Thursday night, a combination of good pitching, lots of hits, a little bit of luck and a touch of speed. It was their 87th win, the club’s most since 1989. They need just one more win or Mariners loss to clinch the franchise’s first playoff spot in 29 years.
That’s the longest drought in North American sports, and longer than many of the players on this team have been alive. Salvador Perez, the Royals’ two-time All-Star catcher, was born five years after the 1985 World Series.
You know all of that, which makes it insane that some of you seem ready to dismiss the significance, just because it’s not the division title. Like ending a playoff drought older than the last Halley’s Comet sighting isn’t worth a group of ballplayers going back to their hotel smelling of champagne and joy.
“These guys haven’t celebrated anything in 20 years,” manager Ned Yost says. “Twenty-nine, 30 years.”
There are doctors younger than the Royals’ playoff drought. There are college graduates whose parents had not even met the last time this team made the postseason. And some fans want to minimize the moment because it’s the wild card, and not a division championship?
Stop it. Don’t talk anymore. Loosen up. Have some fun. Enjoy it a little.
Posted: September 26, 2014 at 11:08 AM | 5 comment(s)
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
But adding an extra game would push the World Series to Christmas!
Wha’? A two-game series? Erm…don’t know how to tell you this, Nico, but…um…two is an even number. I know. And the wild card game should, for many reasons at once, be a two-game series. Here’s how I think it should work, and why…
To advance to the ALDS, the 2nd wild card team should have to beat the 1st wild card team twice. That “two chances to win one” backdrop gives the 1st wild card team a significant advantage over the 2nd wild card team. This is important because the difference in record between the 1st and 2nd wild card teams can be large, potentially even larger than the spread between a division winner and a 2nd place team.
Never has this been more evident than in 2014, where the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim, if you didn’t know) are currently in the 1st wild card slot despite currently being on pace to win 97 games. Leading the 2nd wild card race, at the moment, are the Toronto Blue Jays, currently on pace to win all of 86 games.
A team 11 games worse should not be on such equal footing as to have only to snatch one game, albeit an away game, in order to advance. Consider a team like the Seattle Mariners, also in the thick of the wild card hunt just 2 games back of Toronto, that is on pace to win only 83 games but has King Felix Hernandez as a tremendous “one-game wild card” weapon.
In order to create sufficient incentive to win the 1st wild card, and not just “any wild card,” making the 2nd wild card sweep a two-game series in order to advance is more fair to the 1st wild card winner.
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