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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cardinals edge Rangers to open World Series

Nelson Cruz sprinted over to the foul line, desperately trying to run down Allen Craig’s tailing liner. The right fielder came up just short, and so did the Texas Rangers.

Craig’s pinch-hit drive landed an inch or two in front of Cruz’s outstretched glove for a go-ahead single off reliever Alexi Ogando in the sixth inning that carried the St. Louis Cardinals over the Rangers 3-2 Wednesday in a chilly World Series opener.

On a night when all the runs were driven in with opposite-field hits to right, Lance Berkman put St. Louis ahead with a two-run single in the fourth against C.J. Wilson.

Rangers catcher Mike Napoli watched in dejection as Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday scored, but a few minutes later celebrated in the top of the fifth when he tied it 2-all with a two-run homer off Chris Carpenter.

...Game 1 has been an indicator of success in recent decades: The winner has captured seven of the last eight titles, 12 of the last 14 and 19 of the last 23. In addition, the team hosting Game 1 has won 20 of the last 25 World Series.

Repoz Posted: October 20, 2011 at 03:40 AM | 105 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, game recaps, rangers

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   101. Shredder Posted: October 20, 2011 at 10:46 PM (#3969694)
The NCAA tournament is not designed to find the best team. It is designed to entertain.
This is essentially true of every sport with a playoff system. The goal is to produce a champion, not necessarily determine the best team.
It wasn't as clear, based solely on results, that, say, UNC wasn't as good.
It was probably clear that USC was better than Furman, Miami of Ohio, and Duqesne, yet they were all invited.
The reason to keep that USC team out is that they were not as good as UCLA
In 1989, Illnois beat Michigan twice in the regular season, by double digits each time. Was it clear that Michigan, the team that won the National Championship that year, was not as good as Illinois (especially considering they beat Illinois in Final Four)?
   102. Shredder Posted: October 20, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#3969697)
The more whining about this "best team" business the more I think the obvious solution is just a league and concurrently running tournament all year. Or all 30 teams play a balanced schedule with each other to determine a suitable best team, followed by a tournament of some kind that people are free to ignore if they so choose.
Even that wouldn't lay the "best team" argument to rest. What it would do is tell us which team had the best season. But the best team at any given time is always changing. That's why any system which claims to identify the best team over six months of results is stupid. No playoff system is designed to identify the "best team". They're designed to identify champions. We can argue until the cows come home whether the Cardinals were the "best team" in 2006, but there's no argument about the fact they won the World Series.
   103. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: October 20, 2011 at 11:00 PM (#3969701)
As long as we're going to have a post-season that is more participatory than one team from each league, we should at least try to get the best teams from each league into the playoffs, and there's no real reason to put additional barriers (other than what already exist) in front of a wild card team.

But they're not really trying to get the best teams in- if they were they would get rid of the divisions and just take the top 4 in each league. But, again, I don't see that as a reasonable possibility. Accordingly, they have, and will continue to have, divisions. And I think they should mean something. Not everything, but something. Additionally, I wasn't advocating the pre69 approach, just suggesting that a team getting a "bad" deal because of the vagaries of geography and/or league caliber has long been a part of baseball. That doesn't mean people can't dislike that situation, I'm just saying that it's not something new.

In any case, I think the play-in WC is a nice compromise between what I want (a pretty big premium of regular season success- albeit tempered by divisional and geographical flukiness) and the current scenario where you just want to make it in somehow and once you know you're in, it doesn't really matter much if you win your division or are the the team with the most wins. Those 2 WC slots (in the play-in scenario) will be a much worse deal than winning your division and so no one will want to coast into a WC spot if they can still claim their division. I can live with that. Once they try it for a couple of years- and see what happens in that scenario- they can tweak that approach if necessary.
   104. bumpis hound Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:34 AM (#3970308)
Wherein "silly" means "blantantly obvious to anyone with even a modicum of basic human intelligence and even a third-grader's understanding of the game of baseball." Which isn't what "silly" normally means, but fans will go to great length to justify their second place team's "right" to a "championship" post hoc.

For the record I'm a Giants fan, I have no dog in this WS...except for baseball itself, which is pretty sweet right now. Sorry you're too silly to enjoy it.

The more whining about this "best team" business the more I think the obvious solution is just a league and concurrently running tournament all year. Or all 30 teams play a balanced schedule with each other to determine a suitable best team, followed by a tournament of some kind that people are free to ignore if they so choose.

The whole "best team" thing is yet another weird investment in counting stats, which is bizarre given the almost absolute disregard for such things in terms of MVP, Batting Champion, Cy Young, etc. Just because the Yankees or Phillies won a bunch of games doesn't mean they're a lock to win it when it counts. There's something to be said about getting a team ready to play for reals when it's all on the line.
   105. Karl from NY Posted: October 21, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3970451)
The "no intradivisional LDS" rule is to get a wider geographical interest for each LDS. It's to avoid a first round series like Chicago - St Louis or Los Angeles - San Diego that would pull in hardly any viewers from outside those areas and easily get buried nationally under higher-profile matchups.
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