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Monday, October 17, 2011

Cardinals outslug Brewers to cruise into World Series

An afterthought in early September, the St. Louis Cardinals are taking their wild ride all the way to the World Series.

David Freese hit a three-run homer in the first and manager Tony La Russa turned again to his brilliant bullpen for seven sturdy innings as St. Louis captured its 18th pennant with a 12-6 victory over the bumbling Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday night.

Albert Pujols and the wild-card Cardinals took out the heavily favored Phillies in the first round, then dispatched the division-rival Brewers on their own turf in Game 6 of the NL championship series.

Looking for its second title in six seasons, St. Louis opens the World Series at home Wednesday night with ace Chris Carpenter on the mound against the AL champion Texas Rangers.

Repoz Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:04 AM | 145 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, cardinals, game recaps

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   1. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:06 AM (#3965902)
Well, the HELL with the Cardinals.

Let's go Cardinals!

#### Texas.
   2.     Hey Gurl Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:09 AM (#3965904)
Best teams dropped in first round. Horrendous end to ALCS, even worse end to NLCS, and now a World Series matchup that I can't even think of an interesting thing to say about.

Is this the price we have to pay for the epic day-162? We should have ended it there and skipped the post-season.

Bah.
   3. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:21 AM (#3965906)
I wonder what Tony Plush has to say about these developments.

I do not like Tony LaRussa. Yet I am begrudgingly in amazement of the results he gets from his team every season. Some may chalk it up to luck, but LaRussa has been doing this for too long for it to be a fluke. The guy just seems to have a knack for plugging guys into the right roles and situations. There has not been a big league manager in my lifetime who seemingly gets more from his players, especially those with marginal talent. As a fan of the team that annually used injuries as an excuse to play substandard baseball, I give a tip of the cap to Tony, who's never plucked the injury card from his pocket to excuse playing poor fundamental baseball. It amazes me that in a season during which the team was without its second best starting pitcher, the Cardinals are going to the Fall Classic.

For the Brewers, it's a disappointing end to a magical season. They're a fun team to watch when the defense isn't too horrendous. I don't think the overall best team is moving forward, but that does not mean the Cardinals do not deserve to be there. They've done the unthinkable and surpassed two incredible ball clubs, taking two games in the opposition's ballpark in both series, including the elimination games. They're looking a lot like the October 2006 Cardinals at this point.
   4. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:25 AM (#3965909)
It amazes me that in a season during which the team was without its second best starting pitcher, the Cardinals are going to the Fall Classic.


First-best.
   5. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:30 AM (#3965911)
4: Agreed, though I didn't know if Carpenter's turnaround midway through the season had changed that perception.
   6. rr Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:30 AM (#3965912)
I expect a lot of long, high-scoring games with numerous pitching changes, and an entertaining week of(mostly muted)baseball.

This matchup is a good example of why my least-favorite Seligian adjustment is the ASG determining WS HFA. As a division champ with the better W-L, Texas should have HFA.

The post-season has gone just like I thought--with the glaring exception that Philadelphia lost Game 5 to St. Louis, and I had Philadelphia beating Texas in the WS. I thought St.Louis would beat Milwaukee, and I think I am going to pick them over Texas in 7. But I will need to look at some of the macthups a little more closely.

No real rooting interest, other than a little for Texas, since they have never won.

Like many people here, I was kind of rooting for Milwaukee and Harveys. I think Prince Fielder will be a Cub by December, but as long as Melvin is there, Milwaukee will put competitive teams on the field.
   7. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:36 AM (#3965914)
This matchup is a good example of why my least-favorite Seligian adjustment is the ASG determining WS HFA.


Without the Seligian adjustment, the HFA for this year's World Series would have belonged to the Cardinals.

And congrats to Dayn, cfb, Greenback and the rest of the Cardinal contingent here. This is one hell of a run your team is on.
   8. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:41 AM (#3965916)
Congrats to the Cards and of course CFB, Dayn, etc...

Holy smokes though, wouldn't have picked that happening a 4 weeks ago...funny game baseball.
   9. Austin Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:44 AM (#3965917)
For some reason, I don't find the 2011 Cardinals compelling in any way - really, I find them downright boring. A Rangers-Brewers World Series would have been quite exciting, but I'm having a hard time getting very worked up about Rangers-Cardinals.
   10. rr Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:46 AM (#3965919)
Without the Seligian adjustment, the HFA for this year's World Series would have belonged to the Cardinals.


He made the wrong adjustment. Division champ should get it against a Wild Card, and other than that it should be based on better record. I assume MLB would say they can't do that for reasons of ticket sales/scheduling, but I think they could if they wanted to.

But I would prefer it just alternate year-by-year like it did in days of yore rather than being determined by the All-Star Game.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:47 AM (#3965920)
4: Agreed, though I didn't know if Carpenter's turnaround midway through the season had changed that perception


Nope, Carpenter is now a wily veteran with good moments, but he's not a true ace anymore like Wainwright.
   12. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:50 AM (#3965921)
As a wise man said, "it's not enough to win; others must lose." I love it that my Cardinals are winning; I didn't much like it that it's at the expense of the Brewers who, Nyjer Morgan aside, are a classy team with a classy fanbase. This NLCS felt like the 06 WS to me -- hollow in that my team beat up on a deserving team with a long-suffering (but not fetishistically or ostentatiously long-suffering -- and you freaks know who YOU are) fanbase. Even if the Cardinals beat the Rangers, it won't feel as good to me as the '06 NLCS. Beating honorable opponents is never as satisfying as beating bullies, ########, and ##########.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:05 AM (#3965929)
agreed Retardo.
   14. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:11 AM (#3965932)
Nicely done by STL. TLR put a ton on the bullpen and they did it. My hopes were dashed after game 5, I figured after game 2 that Milwaukee had to get to 3 wins before STL, to avoid this elimination game. I guess I'm more accepting of this outcome as the defensive meltdowns were high on my list of ways the Brewers would be eliminated. The SP was disappointing to say the least, particularly given how much they gave all year.

I'm not sure it tops the '96 NLCS for vomit baseball to end a series, but it wasn't pretty.

re: Prince awkward interview. It was, but that's about as much as he gives. He's a not a jerk, or very interested in being open, not evasive, just shy. Though if I'm in his shoes tonight, I'd like to think I'd be prepared to offer a bit more on the 'big picture,' reflections on the past or tomorrow.
   15. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:41 AM (#3965933)
Go Rangers!
   16. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:42 AM (#3965934)
He made the wrong adjustment. Division champ should get it against a Wild Card, and other than that it should be based on better record. I assume MLB would say they can't do that for reasons of ticket sales/scheduling, but I think they could if they wanted to.

But I would prefer it just alternate year-by-year like it did in days of yore rather than being determined by the All-Star Game.


I agree they could if they really wanted to. The NBA and NHL do it without incident.

I disagree that the alternate year was better. The alternating year bit was much dumber than the A-S game, which at least has a tinge of merit to it, and is straightforward to boot. Deciding the HFA by the last integer in the calendar year does not make it fair - it simply makes it brainless.

As long as interleague play exists (and if the Astros or some other NL entity get shifted, dragging and kicking, to the AL it will exist in perpetuity, to my chagrin), I'd prefer a best 2 of 3 (A-S game, best record in interleague play and best record of the teams in the series). If one league wins both the A-S game and the most games in interleague play, it's earned the right to HFA in the only other competition between the leagues. If those two are split, then the team with the best record breaks the tie. I don't like simply awarding it to the team with the best record because league-quality issues could mean giving it to an inferior team, which is precisely what you're trying to avoid. The best 2 of 3 would give a) some meaning to the A-S game; and b) some reason to pay attention during the tedium that is IL play.
   17. phredbird Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:46 AM (#3965936)
WOOT WOOT WOOT

I AM ON THE DAVID FREESE BANDWAGON

*showers cfb, salvomania, dayn, greenback, et al. with champagne*
   18. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:55 AM (#3965939)
The elation for St. Louis won't be long-lived in the starting pitching doesn't step up compared to the NLCS. Their bullpen coming through in the championship series after being the team's Achilles Heel most of the season is a great story. I'm not sure if Tony can rely on going to the pen in the 5th inning every game for another series.

Given what the Rangers' starting pitching has looked like this postseason, though, I expect some real slugfests.
   19. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:56 AM (#3965940)
Well, that ends my interest in the 2011 baseball season. Wake me for spring training.

I have no doubt the Cards will win, Wild Card teams that have no business being in the post season to begin with seem to rule these things. How ridiculous.
   20. rr Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:32 AM (#3965945)
I'd prefer a best 2 of 3 (A-S game, best record in interleague play and best record of the teams in the series).


That's a pretty good idea. Interleague play on its own would be better than the ASG, since the interleague games at least involve teams that are trying to win.

I don't like simply awarding it to the team with the best record because league-quality issues could mean giving it to an inferior team, which is precisely what you're trying to avoid.


The "best team" in some Platonic sense is often a tricky thing in baseball. But I don't have a problem with a team that won 95 games being awarded HFA over a team that won 94, although, admittedly, that system works a bit better, albeit imperfectly, in the NHL and the NBA for reasons of schedule. The team that won 95 won more games; there should be a reward for that IMO.

But your idea would be an improvement what they do now.

I am not trying to take anything away from St.Louis. My gripe is with Selig, not with the LaRussians.
   21. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: October 17, 2011 at 07:59 AM (#3965953)
I can't really understand people who are huge baseball fans who say that a World Series between two 90+-win teams holds no interest for them. The St. Louis Cardinals are led by the best baseball player of this generation, who remains, if anything, underrated by the national press. Seeing Milwaukee in the World Series would have been a lot of fun, but the Cardinals aren't imposters. They won 90 games despite not having their best starting pitcher for the entire season and despite facing nearly insurmountable odds that would have caused many teams to give up hope.

I think some recognition should also go to TLR and Mozeliak for addressing St. Louis' biggest weakness, which was the bullpen. The Cards have completely revamped their bullpen since Opening Day, with only Motte and Boggs remaining and both having assumed different roles than they had in April. The front office brought in Salas, Rhodes, Dotel, Rzepzynski and Lynn, to cover the main names. The price they paid for Dotel, Rzep and Edwin Jackson was controversial and could come back to haunt them is Rasmus develops like his 2010 season suggested he would. However, I don't think the Cards make the playoffs without Jackson in the rotation, the two relievers in the pen and Jon Jay starting in CF, given how Rasmus hit in Toronto (albeit which may have been affected by such factors as adjustment to the AL or shock at the trade which he wouldn't had to deal with in the NL). And, even if they did, given the team's reliance on the bullpen during this series, it's even more unlikely the Cards win this round without their new bullpen. Credit where credit is due for recognizing the team's biggest weakness and throughly addressing it, even at a controversial price.
   22. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 08:45 AM (#3965955)
Chins up, Brewers fans. A great season, a fun team and a valiant effort. In all seriousness, sorry to see you go. Prince or no Prince, I think you'll be back.

I don't understand the concept of not watching a World Series, but do what you must do. This has been one of the most gripping and compelling seasons I've ever witnessed, and I'm glad there's another four-to-seven games of it. Go Cards. Go baseball.
   23. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:15 AM (#3965956)
Congrats to the Cards and their fans. LaRussa has really done a terrific job. I really wanted to see the Brewers get in but this should be a compelling series and with these two managers the opportunity for the best part of being a fan, the ol' second guess, is likely to be quite high.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:45 AM (#3965960)
I can't really understand people who are huge baseball fans who say that a World Series between two 90+-win teams holds no interest for them.


I'm willing to bet the people on this thread who said that, will at least pay attention to the World Series if they don't watch it. But I can understand not caring too much, if this was two coastal teams playing, I doubt I would be that interested either. Arguably the most boring/least that I cared about, world series ever was the Yankees vs Phillies. I could understand other people thinking the same about any series. The Royals/Cardinal world series was dubbed nationally as the who cares series.
   25. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2011 at 10:54 AM (#3965963)
I can understand LESS interest. I can't understand NO interest.


My general antipathy for the wild card aside, I'll be rooting for Texas simply on the basis of not having won before.


But, mostly, I'll be rooting for some good baseball games. Which means seeing a starter advance past the third inning occasionally. On this score, I worry deeply about this World Series. I know these things aren't easily predictable, but based on LCS results, one can imagine a brutish, 15 runs per game type Series. Ugh.


All I want is 7 games, two pitcher's duels, one slugfest, and one walkoff play, preferably to stave off elimination. Too much to ask?
   26. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 11:12 AM (#3965965)
2nd place team gets undeserved chance to roll dice, beat team that beat them fairly over a real sample size. Does so. Idiot sportswriters write idiot sports stories about "heart" and "genius" managers. News at 11.
   27. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 17, 2011 at 11:23 AM (#3965967)
I don't find the 2011 Cardinals compelling in any way - really, I find them downright boring.


If it does nothing else, this series will feature 15 to 30 Albert Pujols plate appearances. If you don't find it compelling to watch the best hitter in the game hit, then you just don't like baseball.
   28. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2011 at 11:23 AM (#3965968)
I just came from Vermont, and there ISN'T ENOUGH CHEESE THERE TO GO WITH ALL THIS WHINE.
   29. Greg K Posted: October 17, 2011 at 11:35 AM (#3965970)
Best teams dropped in first round. Horrendous end to ALCS, even worse end to NLCS, and now a World Series matchup that I can't even think of an interesting thing to say about.

This of course leaves out that there were three terrific game fives in the LDS, and that the Tigers-Rangers games were all close save for the anti-climactic finale. Two went to extra innings for heaven's sake!

Both LCSes ended rather ignobly, but up until the last couple days these playoffs have been well above average in terms of excitement.

I guess it can seem like a let down after the infamous Day of 162, but I don't see how you can be a baseball fan and not have enjoyed the last couple weeks.
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 17, 2011 at 11:37 AM (#3965972)
This is nothing but a pointless series of exhibition games, since it's already been determined that the Yankees are the best team in baseball: 0.2 RPG better than the Rangers and a whopping 1.2 RPG better than the LaRussas. The SRS don't lie, folks, and it's every bit as reliable as coolstandings.com. and the boys at Baseball Prospectus.
   31. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 17, 2011 at 11:37 AM (#3965973)
I just came from Vermont, and there ISN'T ENOUGH CHEESE THERE TO GO WITH ALL THIS WHINE.


Relax. They've got plenty in Wisconsin.
   32. musial6 Posted: October 17, 2011 at 11:40 AM (#3965974)
2nd place team gets undeserved chance to roll dice, beat team that beat them fairly over a real sample size. Does so. Idiot sportswriters write idiot sports stories about "heart" and "genius" managers. News at 11.


In the Wild Card era, the Cardinals have been eliminated from the postseason by a 2nd place team on 4 different occasions - including the 2005 Astros who finished 11 games back in the NL Central.

We get it. It sucks. But it's only fitting that Selig's former team be victimized by his creation.
   33. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 11:47 AM (#3965977)
We get it. It sucks.


It does. That is the only note worth sounding here.
   34. AndrewJ Posted: October 17, 2011 at 12:14 PM (#3965990)
But it's only fitting that Selig's former team be victimized by his creation.

This.
   35. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2011 at 12:33 PM (#3965994)
It gets easier and easier to understand why sabermetric sites get mocked, with threads like these.


All I want is 7 games, two pitcher's duels, one slugfest, and one walkoff play, preferably to stave off elimination. Too much to ask?

Apparently so.
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 17, 2011 at 12:40 PM (#3965996)
The playoffs have been slowly diminishing in interest since Game 162. The divisional series featured a whole bunch of exciting game 5s, and the championship series had a few good games then petered out in boring, slow game 6s. I predict the Rangers take the World Series in 5.
   37. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2011 at 12:40 PM (#3965997)
In the Wild Card era, the Cardinals have been eliminated from the postseason by a 2nd place team on 4 different occasions - including the 2005 Astros who finished 11 games back in the NL Central.

Yeah, that one sucked too. I could take the wild card a lot better if there were no divisions. Because this year in the NL (and 2005), a team that was soundly beaten in the regular season came back to win a short series against the team that beat them and advance. It makes no sense.

If the Cardinals had swept this series, they'd still trail the Brewers on season record to date.
   38. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 12:52 PM (#3966000)
It gets easier and easier to understand why sabermetric sites get mocked, with threads like these.


Do you have a point?
   39. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: October 17, 2011 at 12:58 PM (#3966002)
I assume MLB would say they can't do that for reasons of ticket sales/scheduling, but I think they could if they wanted to.


Of course they could. Up till last night, they didn't know for sure if game 1 of the WS would be in St. Louis or Milwaukee. What's the difference in not knowing till yesterday if it would be in Milwaukee or Arlington?
   40. Delicious Cake Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:02 PM (#3966003)
Every team I've rooted for this postseason has lost. Phillies, Rays, Tigers, Brewers...if this pattern holds, I will root for the Cardinals because I hate Tony LaRussa.
   41. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:05 PM (#3966004)
Do you have a point?

I already made it, too much whining about what did happen in relation to what should happen. Wah wah wah.

And as long as you're asking, why you would even show up in a post-season thread is beyond me.
   42. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:07 PM (#3966005)
I'm bored. When I'm bored, sometimes I go hippie-punching. It happens.
   43. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3966006)
I don't particularly care for either team in this series but it should be a fun series. If you want to ##### about the injustices of the wild card knock yourself out but I can't comprehend a baseball fan not being interested in the World Series
   44. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:16 PM (#3966009)
I'm bored. When I'm bored, sometimes I go hippie-punching. It happens.

If you think that people who don't hate post-season baseball somehow count as hippies, you need to get out more. Don't you know any vegetarians or something?
   45. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:19 PM (#3966013)
If you think that people who don't hate post-season baseball somehow count as hippies, you need to get out more.


I will acquire my own targets, thank you very much.
   46. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:19 PM (#3966014)
Don't like the Cardinals and can't stand the Michael Young/Josh Hamilton lovefest so...when does ST start?
   47. BDC Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:21 PM (#3966017)
If you dredge up the prediction thread, you will see that I picked the winners of all three AL series and the exact number of games in each. I will accept congratulations now. Please ignore the part where I said that the Phillies just beat the Diamondbacks in five :)

I'm not sure what to make of the World Series; St. Louis looks kind of unpredictable at the moment. Walks Clog makes a good point above, that the Rangers' starting pitching needs to step up. Probably the best start any of them made in the AL series was Colby Lewis against the Rays (6 1 1 1 2 6); after that maybe Matt Harrison in the ALCS (5 3 2 2 3 3). Curt Schilling that ain't. The bullpen has been fabulous, and may well continue to be; but somebody needs to shut the Cardinals down for 7 or 8 innings if the Rangers expect to win.

As to being uninterested in the World Series ... I remember a time in 1987 when I was watching playoff baseball in a bar – Jeffrey Leonard had just hit another home run – and I remarked to a friend that they were going to have to offer something better than the Twins versus the Giants if they expected me to be interested in the World Series. My friend said "why should they care what you think?" It wasn't the most brilliant conversation of the 20th century (alcohol may have been involved), but it has stuck with me. My friend's remark brought home that the guys out there playing deserve some attention and credit for winning, no matter how random the matchup seems based on the regular season or my aesthetic preferences. (And who knows why, anymore, I wanted to see a Cardinals/Tigers Series; anyway, the one I got instead was pretty entertaining.)

I've been pretty keenly interested in every Series since. The dullest matchup I can remember was 2007: last-minute Wild Card entry vs. dominant Red Sox. (The Red Sox are my least favorite team.) The outcome was pretty stultifying, but even at that I came away impressed by that Boston team; they were really, really good.
   48. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:22 PM (#3966019)
If it does nothing else, this series will feature 15 to 30 Albert Pujols plate appearances. If you don't find it compelling to watch the best hitter in the game hit, then you just don't like baseball.

Why would I want to watch a great hitter when he plays for the team I want to lose? I've never gotten the appeal of "the best" if he's not on my team.

I loved Michael Jordan when he was racking up points on a .500 Bulls teams, but once he was anointed "the greatest" couldn't stand him. There's no drama at all in rooting for the "greatest". Can not understand for the life of me people who rootesd for Tiger Woods to lap the field by 10 strokes.

Nothing more obnoxious than the "greatest" whatever, unless he's wearing your laundry.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:25 PM (#3966024)
I could take the wild card a lot better if there were no divisions.

Why? It makes even less sense with no divisions and a balanced schedule. Then the "better" team is more clear.

At least with the divisions you can argue that the 2nd best team in a strong division is "better" than a weak division winner. In a balanced league setup (like the old 8-team single division leagues) letting a 2nd place team in is even dumber.
   50. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:26 PM (#3966025)
Snapper - I love watching the truly elite in any sport. Obviously if they play for a team I truly despise (I.e.. The Yankees) thats one thing but while I'm rooting for Texas for the next ten days seeing someone like Pujols excel is exciting to me. I wanted Milwaukee to beat the Cards but that five RBI game was a sight to behold.
   51. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:29 PM (#3966027)
I guess what it comes down to is that unless I'm actively rooting "against" a team I can appreciate the greatness.
   52. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:35 PM (#3966031)
The playoffs cater to an atmosphere that is antithetical to the enjoyment of the game of baseball. Baseball should not be similar to an NFL game.
   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3966036)
Snapper - I love watching the truly elite in any sport. Obviously if they play for a team I truly despise (I.e.. The Yankees) thats one thing but while I'm rooting for Texas for the next ten days seeing someone like Pujols excel is exciting to me. I wanted Milwaukee to beat the Cards but that five RBI game was a sight to behold.

Funny, unless I'm actively rooting for a team, I'll always root against the elite player. Much rather see the schlub beat the star.

With the exception of Don Mattingly, my favorite Yankees have never been the "stars" of the team. And I always like the guys who appear to be bad athletes more, e.g. Lou Piniella.
   54. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 17, 2011 at 01:48 PM (#3966040)
Don't get me wrong I enjoy a David vs Goliath scenario as much as the next guy. I just find that I can similarly enjoy seeing a superstar reach the pinnacle of greatness.
   55. rr Posted: October 17, 2011 at 02:06 PM (#3966054)
If you dredge up the prediction thread, you will see that I picked the winners of all three AL series and the exact number of games in each. I will accept congratulations now


Cough, cough, excuse me, pardon me, coming through, excuse me. Thank you.

84. robinred Posted: September 29, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3945590)

Detroit 3, New York 2
Texas 3, Tampa Bay 1

Philadelphia 3, St Louis 2
Milwaukee 3, Arizona 1

__________________________

TEX 4, DET 2
PHI 4, MIL 1

__________________

PHI 4, TEX 2


Like I have said, my plan to be temporary postseason prediction overlord was foiled by St.Louis beating Philadelphia in Game 5. I thought the Phillies would score a couple of runs for Halladay in that one.
   56. Shredder Posted: October 17, 2011 at 02:10 PM (#3966055)
This was probably my least desired outcome from the first four rounds. Still, as long as Texas loses, I'll be satisfied. I can't say I'm rooting for the Cards, but I'm definitely rooting against the Rangers.
   57. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3966060)

This was probably my least desired outcome from the first four rounds.


Me too. Maybe Bud will let the Yankees or Red Sox in the World Series just for old times sake.
   58. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2011 at 02:27 PM (#3966077)
If you want to ##### about the injustices of the wild card knock yourself out but I can't comprehend a baseball fan not being interested in the World Series

This is me. I hate the wild card. But they could pick the World Series contestents out of a hat and I'll be interested.


I think one thing this thread shows is that there are people who are fans of a team and there are baseball fans. Some, few, are both, but not too many (on this board).

PS Agreed that 2007 was a pretty uninteresting WS. Would have been epic had 2004 not happened - long suffering against flukish upstart.


Also, I have the Rangers in 6. Cards win 2 Carpenter starts, lose four bullpen guys to Tommy John surgery before the series is over.
   59. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3966086)
I think one thing this thread shows is that there are people who are fans of a team and there are baseball fans.


1. If you don't root for someone, you root for no one.

2. You can be a fan of baseball and yet hate playoff baseball. The two have very little to do with one another.
   60. booond Posted: October 17, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3966094)
I have no rooting interests other than a compelling series. Don't care who wins but let's play seven.
   61. Greg K Posted: October 17, 2011 at 02:46 PM (#3966101)
You can be a fan of baseball and yet hate playoff baseball. The two have very little to do with one another.

True, but it seems like a poor life choice. I mean, you like baseball, there's a baseball game on, the teams are two of the best in the world (though perhaps not THE two best), the players are giving it their all and probably more eager to win these games than any other all year, but you're not interested because of the flawed method of drawing up the tournament, or the fact that its marketed in a certain way?

It's a bunch of really good baseball players playing (or at least trying to play) at their best. It seems like it would take actual effort on the fan's part to complicate things beyond that. Which seems counter-productive. Why work to rationalize disliking something?

Bob Dernier Cri as usual seems like the voice of reason on this thread (though I may be horribly misintrepreting his story), why let whatever baseball politics you may hold stop you from enjoying the fact that you can watch some of the best players in the world play their hearts out right now?
   62. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3966117)
What was obvious from the beginning of the series was the following:

--Tony had his guys being aggressive to test the Brewer defense. The Cardinals hit and ran multiple times. I watched them umpteen times and rarely saw a hit and run. Until this series

--The Cards were focussed on going opposite field while at the plate. Other than when swinging at a grapefruit a lot of cards hits were opposite field.

--After the first game Tony was quick to the pen. There was no interest in nursing a starter through 'x' number of innings.

--The Scrabble board/Fielder matchup was an example of the BEST support for a LOOGY. scrabble OWNED Fielder who looked ridiculous at times and never adjusted
   63. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:08 PM (#3966122)
The big difference in this series is the Cards bullpen crushing the Brewer offense.

Folks may remember Bill James talking on how when Quisenberry was good him making games against the Royals six inning games?

Well, the CArds bullpen made these games five innings long. And with the Brewers starters having a first inning ERA of a kajillion the Brewers basically had 15 outs to both OVERCOME a deficit and then get a lead.

That's an incredible barrier to success.
   64. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3966126)
I think one thing this thread shows is that there are people who are fans of a team and there are baseball fans.



1. If you don't root for someone, you root for no one.

2. You can be a fan of baseball and yet hate playoff baseball. The two have very little to do with one another.


Sure. I root for the Braves, like you. My interest in the game doesn't end with their elimination.

I don't like playoff baseball. But, as said above, they're high level games being played by elite players who really want to win. I don't know why someone who fancies themselves a "baseball fan" wouldn't be interested. In the end, it's all personal preferences and I don't think you're wrong to not be interested, I just don't get it.


Otherwise, you must want a league of two teams, to be made up of the 50 best players in the world, playing each other 184 times per year. Which, when I write it, does sound pretty cool.
   65. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3966127)
The Scrabble board


This reminds me. I'll be watching Game 2 on Thursday with Doug Mientkiewicz. Should I ask him if he wants to get The Ball back?
   66. Spivey Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:17 PM (#3966135)
The amount of sour grapes here is astounding, and completely predictable. The Cardinals and the Rangers have been very similar in the playoffs - lots of offense, mediocre to bad starting pitching, and lots of logged innings for the bullpen.
   67. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3966140)
Spivey

I think the Rangers will do better against the Cards bullpen than Milwaukee.

Impossible to do worse. Ha!
   68. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3966141)
The two have very little to do with one another.

The fact that you think this is reality is not compelling enough proof for it to be reality.


This reminds me. I'll be watching Game 2 on Thursday with Doug Mientkiewicz. Should I ask him if he wants to get The Ball back?

I don't care about that, but tell him this Pole enjoyed his time on the Mets tremendously.
   69. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#3966143)
I'm not sure why people keep responding to Sam. I have yet to see a post from him that indicated he isn't a miserable, unpleasant individual.
   70. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3966147)
I think the Rangers will win in 6, but I would not be at all surprised to be wrong. I think Texas gets offense from more places, and while Carpenter is better than any Rangers' starter the rotations and pens are comparable otherwise.

-- MWE
   71. JJ1986 Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3966152)
Who DH's for the Cardinals? I assume they stick Craig in right and DH Berkman, but LaRussa would probably love to do something like DH Punto.
   72. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3966155)
2. You can be a fan of baseball and yet hate playoff baseball. The two have very little to do with one another.

I can see not being interested in a particular matchup, but any other reason sounds pretty damn stupid, unless you're one of these people who thinks that champions should be determined by Pythagorean comparisons, or with the winners of two entirely separate and divisionless leagues playing in a pre-1969 style World Series. And even then, how can you not be interested if your own favorite team is one of the teams involved?

Obviously much of the current postseason format is contrived for maximum viewership and to keep as many teams in contention until the last possible day of the season, but at the end, you've still got most (if not all) of the best teams in baseball competing, and aside from the weather and the occasional post-midnight finish, what's not to like about the actual games?
   73. Tripon Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#3966160)
If they made a movie about this year's Cardinals, will they call it, "LaRussaBall?"
   74. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3966161)
I'm not sure why people keep responding to Sam. I have yet to see a post from him that indicated he isn't a miserable, unpleasant individual.

In fairness to Sam, if your team got the boot from the postseason for three straight years, in the final game of the season in its own ####### ballpark, you'd probably still be a bit annoyed at the world yourself. I can't say that I blame him.

EDIT: Never mind, wrong Sam, though I can see why he doesn't think much of playoffs, either.
   75. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3966163)
True, but it seems like a poor life choice. I mean, you like baseball, there's a baseball game on, the teams are two of the best in the world (though perhaps not THE two best), the players are giving it their all and probably more eager to win these games than any other all year, but you're not interested because of the flawed method of drawing up the tournament, or the fact that its marketed in a certain way?


You misunderstand my position. Sure, the selection method is atrocious, but that's not the reason I hate playoff baseball. I really, sincerely despise the *atmosphere.* Baseball should be laid back, languorous and genteel. The playoffs are loud, obnoxious, and ill-mannered. They're basically just a bunch of football fans gathered in the wrong stadium. Normal people wouldn't watch them.
   76. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3966170)
Well, that ends my interest in the 2011 baseball season. Wake me for spring training.

I have no doubt the Cards will win, Wild Card teams that have no business being in the post season to begin with seem to rule these things. How ridiculous.


Yep. Absolutely zero interest in watching an illegitimate team in the World Series. The series against Milwaukee was utterly pointless.

I was always into the World Series and find myself rarely interested in the "playoff" finals.
   77. Greg K Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3966180)
You misunderstand my position. Sure, the selection method is atrocious, but that's not the reason I hate playoff baseball. I really, sincerely despise the *atmosphere.* Baseball should be laid back, languorous and genteel. The playoffs are loud, obnoxious, and ill-mannered. They're basically just a bunch of football fans gathered in the wrong stadium. Normal people wouldn't watch them.

So are the fans who go to games all season barred from playoff fixtures? I was too young to be buying tickets when the Jays were in the playoffs and getting your hands on Leafs regular season tickets are impossible, nevermind playoffs (back when such things happened), so I've never been entirely clear on how professional sports teams work their playoff ticket sales.

So you don't watch playoff baseball because you don't like the fans? That seems kind of weird. If I'm judging by radio call-in shows the majority of sports fans are a bit thick, but that doesn't get in the way of enjoying a good game.
   78. bjhanke Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3966183)
I few quick notes from a St. Louis guy.

How did Greinke, who was unbeatable at home, get stuck with Game 5 instead of Game 6? Can any Brewers' fan explain this?

I just watched TLR use not only the Loogy Rzepsinski (Scrabble) with the single mission of pitching to Fielder (whom he owned), but also Dotel as a Roogy against Braun (same result). Whenever the Brewers' Big Two came up in mid-to-late game clutch situations, the OOGIES would appear, and the middle of the lineup would fall.

The Brewers played lousy defense, well below their season standard. I have no idea why. I felt sorry for them. I don't even want to call Nyjer Morgan "Tony Bush" any more.

Colby Rasmus brought us not only the Wild Card, which we do not win without Jackson, but also the two OOGIES. Even if none of these guys resign with the Cards next year, and even if Colby Rasmus rights his ship. that's a good trade.

Lance Berkman is who allowed them to make the Rasmus trade . Most switch-hitters hit better and have more power righty, but Lance Berkman hits best lefty. Therefore, losing Rasmus didn't mean losing all your lefty power potential. Every other power hitter in the Cards' lineup is a righty.

The Cards, as they did last year, played better than expected against good teams and worse against bad ones. One reason may be that they rely heavily on hitters who love a good fastball, and the good staffs have those. I can't be sure. But they did beat the Phillies in the regular season 6 games to 3, and held the Brewers to a 9-9 split of games. Against playoff teams, the Cards are very very dangerous. You could very well have argued them as better than the Phillies and even with the Brewers.

In Texas, Allen Craig will start and Berkman will DH unless Matt Halliday's arm hand is still acting up. Adjusting for league, the Cards have the better offense. Whether Carpenter, the bullpen, and what little Lohse, Jackson, and Garcia have to offer can counter the Texas offense is a hot question. So far, not even the Phillies have been able to cool down the Cards' bats.

It's dangerous to bet against a team whose catcher is hitting .300, with 15-homer class power, and is Yadier Molina with the glove. It's even worse if said Molina, with those stats, is hitting 7th.

Can TLR find an OOGIE for Nelson Cruz, and how fast?

- Brock Hanke
   79. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:07 PM (#3966184)
I can see not being interested in a particular matchup, but any other reason sounds pretty damn stupid, unless you're one of these people who thinks that champions should be determined by Pythagorean comparisons, or with the winners of two entirely separate and divisionless leagues playing in a pre-1969 style World Series. And even then, how can you not be interested if your own favorite team is one of the teams involved?

Those were always Tournaments of Champions, even the '69-'93 postseasons -- and thus fundamentally different than what we have now.
   80. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:14 PM (#3966192)
You misunderstand my position. Sure, the selection method is atrocious, but that's not the reason I hate playoff baseball. I really, sincerely despise the *atmosphere.* Baseball should be laid back, languorous and genteel. The playoffs are loud, obnoxious, and ill-mannered. They're basically just a bunch of football fans gathered in the wrong stadium.

Sounds to me like you're talking about those Florida State fans who took over Fulton County Stadium in 1991 and have been roosting in Turner Field since the day it opened. Or is that different?
   81. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:19 PM (#3966198)
Baseball should be laid back, languorous and genteel. The playoffs are loud, obnoxious, and ill-mannered.


Baseball can be both, which is one reason why it's a superior sport. Letting a loud stadium dampen your enjoyment of an incredible moment is shunting baseball off into the leisure sports ghetto. Tennis and golf are laid back, languorous and genteel.
   82. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#3966202)
Sounds to me like you're talking about those Florida State fans who took over Fulton County Stadium in 1991 and have been roosting in Turner Field since the day it opened. Or is that different?


Funny, I was thinking the opposite was true, that the Braves represent the one team that's doing it right. Nothing for me defines languorous better than the sleepy drone of an August afternoon's 5th inning tomahawk chop.
   83. BDC Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:25 PM (#3966204)
I may be horribly misinterpreting his story

No Greg, there's no weird or ironic subtext. In '87 I think I just found the Giants and Twins dull, and was moreover a bit underwhelmed by the prospect of the 90-win Giants playing the 85-win Twins in the Series, when the Eastern champs had proven themselves considerably better. But in the end the Cardinals squeaked through and then the Twins did what they had to; it was an amazing World Series to watch. And I think it did teach me to enjoy the postseason "crapshoot" more than I had. The '87 Twins may have gotten in on a quirk, but what they did after they got in was no fluke.

On the theme of getting excited about postseason baseball, I am looking forward to seeing Albert Pujols play for the first time. I've seen every American League star of the past quarter-century several times, but I've only seen a small and random collection of interleague games, so I've missed Pujols, Bonds, Piazza, Chipper Jones. I probably sound like a little kid, but baseball should do that to you :)
   84. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:33 PM (#3966214)
Listening to people whose teams are not participating in the Worlds Series, complaining about the playoff format (or the teams involved), is just hilarious to me. Regardless of the content of your argument, it still comes off as whining if you didn't complain about the same thing when your favourite team made it to the World Series.

The team I root for hasn't sniffed the playoffs in almost 20 years, but I'm still a big enough fan of baseball to enjoy any game that's being played on TV.
   85. Vance W Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:48 PM (#3966225)
I have been a Cardinals fan since I was a child and a Rangers fan since moving to this area 25 years ago. Of all the experiences of fandom, I never expected to have my two favorite teams playing each other in a championship series. I am, of course, wildly prejudiced in favor of this series but it seems likely to generate some really exciting baseball. Lots of great players involved, a strong likelihood of a high scoring environment, a few conspicuous weaknesses on the two teams, a contest between a renowned baseball tactician and a guy that manages from the heart, one of the sport's great fanbases versus an emerging and enthusiastic new fan base. The Cardinals should have an advantage in the games started by Carpenter. If the Rangers can win in game one, it could be a short series.
   86. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3966235)
I can see not being interested in a particular matchup, but any other reason sounds pretty damn stupid, unless you're one of these people who thinks that champions should be determined by Pythagorean comparisons, or with the winners of two entirely separate and divisionless leagues playing in a pre-1969 style World Series. And even then, how can you not be interested if your own favorite team is one of the teams involved?

Those were always Tournaments of Champions, even the '69-'93 postseasons -- and thus fundamentally different than what we have now.


The wild card adds an extra level of dilution, but even before 1994 there were plenty of years when the two best teams were in the same division, and the World Series was sometimes a farce in terms of having the best teams represent the league. 1973 (the Mets), 1987 (the Twins) and 1993 (the Phillies) were three blatant examples of this, and then in 1981 neither of the overall division leaders in the NL (the Reds and the Cardinals) even made the playoffs. So it's not as if the 1969-93 era didn't have problems for those who wanted to see the best possible teams in the postseason.
   87. greenback calls it soccer Posted: October 17, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#3966237)
2nd place team gets undeserved chance to roll dice, beat team that beat them fairly over a real sample size.

I'm not sure of the colloquial meaning of "real sample size", but the standard deviation for performance over a 162-game season is at least six wins. They don't play "win by five" in baseball's regular season, so the sample size for settling the difference between 1st and 2nd place teams generally isn't that meaningful.
   88. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3966251)
The wild card adds an extra level of dilution, but even before 1994 there were plenty of years when the two best teams were in the same division, and the World Series was sometimes a farce in terms of having the best teams represent the league. 1973 (the Mets), 1987 (the Twins) and 1993 (the Phillies) were three blatant examples of this, and then in 1981 neither of the overall division leaders in the NL (the Reds and the Cardinals) even made the playoffs. So it's not as if the 1969-93 era didn't have problems for those who wanted to see the best possible teams in the postseason.

It wasn't necessarily the "best" teams -- though it almost always was -- it was division winners. The "best" teams are determined in 154 or 162 games, not 5 or 7.

And in any event, even the rare occasions the "best" teams weren't in the postseason, it was still a Tournament of Champions. That's a better format, for a lot of reasons including valuing division champions over teams that aren't.

There's simply no point in turning the baseball postseason into something that allows the World Series (**) to be tarnished by a 90-win wild card team.

(**) Which really isn't anymore; it's merely the playoff finals, instead.
   89. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:13 PM (#3966259)
So it's not as if the 1969-93 era didn't have problems for those who wanted to see the best possible teams in the postseason.

Right. Any system that isn't completely separate leagues, World Series by the two best records is not a system trying to identify the "best" team.

Even the pre-1969 didn't do that: if it did, it would have been a single league, 1xx game balanced schedule, best record wins.


What we have is designed merely to entertain. In that job, it does an excellent job.
   90. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3966261)
So you don't watch playoff baseball because you don't like the fans?


The best game of the year in 2011 was a Monday night at Turner Field vs the Blue Jays. Couldn't have been 15K in the stadium all told. Tim Hudson went eight shutout innings and hit a HR to give the Braves the only runs they'd need to win. Over in maybe 2:30 hours. Wasn't ten people in our row at the stadium, and the beer lines were non-existent.

Perfect night. Perfect game.

Playoff baseball is for losers who think baseball is about "clutch at bats" with "the season on the line."
   91. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:16 PM (#3966263)
I'm not sure of the colloquial meaning of "real sample size", but the standard deviation for performance over a 162-game season is at least six wins. They don't play "win by five" in baseball's regular season, so the sample size for settling the difference between 1st and 2nd place teams generally isn't that meaningful.


The Cards lost the Central by 6 games.
   92. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:31 PM (#3966278)
Playoff baseball is for losers who think baseball is about "clutch at bats" with "the season on the line."


Playoff baseball is about determining the champion. If you think it is designed to find the best of anything, you are just as mistaken as the fans you insult so freely.
   93. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:33 PM (#3966282)
Playoff baseball is about determining the champion.


No, it's about determining the last die rolled. It has nothing to do with champions.
   94. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3966283)
Playoff baseball is about determining the champion.

An unproven premise. Until 1995, every playoff team was a champion.
   95. Jack Keefe Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3966284)
Well now every 1 is up set because the playoffs are for the unwashed Masses. Do you know what I think Al. I think the playoffs would be fun if it were not for those stupid Towels. No 1 waves a towel at a regular game but come October every 1 gets a towel and their like Woo Hoo. If you go to 3 or 4 games with your Girl Friend you have 6 or 8 towels more if you steal some off the stacks Al.

Now I called up my friend A.J. Pierogi whom as you know surfs as a TV Anal List. He had a new idea. #### those towels he said using an Unprintable. I have a new Idea Keefe and I will Batten it. Its called the Pierogi Popper. Every fan gets no towel and 1 Popper and lets say your team makes a good Play. You pop the Popper and it pops a Wiffle Ball onto the field with great force. How about that Keefe. After every good play you get forty thousand Wiffle Balls popping and bopping. A.J. is on TV now but you know Al I do not think his evelator goes all the way to the Pent House.
   96. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3966289)
An unproven premise. Until 1995, every playoff team was a champion.

Yes, the 2001 A's were clearly a blight on the playoff landscape that once featured only truly titanic teams, like the 1981 Royals.
   97. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3966290)
even before 1994 there were plenty of years when the two best teams were in the same division


And before 1969 there were times when the two best teams were in the same league. One could have made an argument in 1920, for example, that the Indians, Yankees, and White Sox were better than the Dodgers. In 1915, the three top teams in the AL (Red Sox, Tigers, and White Sox) were arguably better than the Phillies, who won in the NL. In 1967 you could make a decent case that the four top AL teams were inferior to not only the Cardinals but also the Giants.

-- MWE
   98. Lassus Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3966292)
Playoff baseball is for losers who think baseball is about "clutch at bats" with "the season on the line."

So, has this been true for all time? From the John Wards to the Christy Mathewsons to the Yogi Berras to the Johnny Benches, as well as now?

Or, is it only the fans who care who are the losers, the players aren't?

Not being snarky, asking for greater definition.
   99. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#3966300)
The wild card adds an extra level of dilution, but even before 1994 there were plenty of years when the two best teams were in the same division, and the World Series was sometimes a farce in terms of having the best teams represent the league. 1973 (the Mets), 1987 (the Twins) and 1993 (the Phillies) were three blatant examples of this, and then in 1981 neither of the overall division leaders in the NL (the Reds and the Cardinals) even made the playoffs. So it's not as if the 1969-93 era didn't have problems for those who wanted to see the best possible teams in the postseason.

It wasn't necessarily the "best" teams -- though it almost always was -- it was division winners. The "best" teams are determined in 154 or 162 games, not 5 or 7.


No, what gets determined over 154 or 162 games is the regular season team that wins the most games. It doesn't necessarily mean "best" any more than the World Series winner means "best", especially in a close race that gets decided by a few lucky bounces, bad calls or key injuries.

If you've got a team that compiles the best record in the league by more than a few games, and then goes on to win the World Series without any inordinate luck, then you can make a pretty safe assertion that it was the "best" team in baseball that year. But if you've got a team that compiles the best record in baseball in an obviously weaker league, and then gets blown out in the postseason by a team with a worse W-L percentage, at best you've got an argument. And if you've got a wild card winner like the 2004 Red Sox, who came on strong at the end, finished only 3 games back in baseball's strongest division, and then went 11-3 in the postseason, IMO that wild card team doesn't have to concede the "best team" title to anyone.

All of which is to say that the whole concept of "best" team is both debatable and largely meaningless. The only thing that really matters is who's left standing at the end of October.
   100. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3966302)
even before 1994 there were plenty of years when the two best teams were in the same division

And before 1969 there were times when the two best teams were in the same league. One could have made an argument in 1920, for example, that the Indians, Yankees, and White Sox were better than the Dodgers. In 1915, the three top teams in the AL (Red Sox, Tigers, and White Sox) were arguably better than the Phillies, who won in the NL. In 1967 you could make a decent case that the four top AL teams were inferior to not only the Cardinals but also the Giants.

-- MWE


And a pre-emptive coke to Mike for taking the words out of my mouth.
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