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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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   101. Shock Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:53 PM (#3966309)
I think Sam is being perfectly reasonable in this thread.
   102. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:53 PM (#3966310)
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.

But the World Series wasn't set up to sort these things out; that's what the regular season was for. The World Series was set up to pair up the National League champion and American League champion.

It no longer really is. It's now "the finals," which aren't close to as compelling.
   103. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#3966313)
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.

Of course. No one ever suggested otherwise.

The only thing that really matters is who's left standing at the end of October.


That's the only thing that really "matters" now, under the stupid playoff system baseball has adopted. Bug, not feature.
   104. Shock Posted: October 17, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3966325)
The dumbest thing is that the series that really ought to be the longest is the shortest, giving an undeserved edge to wild-card teams.
   105. Karl from NY Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:05 PM (#3966337)
Cool, I get to be the first to express admiration for a Jack Keefe appearance.

And #104 is correct, although we quickly forget that the LCSes were also always 5 games from 1969 through 1984.
   106. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3966339)
Or, is it only the fans who care who are the losers, the players aren't?


Players compete. Players compete every at bat, more or less. Hell, when you're out there playing, and the adrenaline's pumping, a 2-out at bat with the tying run out second in the 4th inning of a co-ed softball game is all-consuming. So players care. As they ought to. And of course, afterwards, they tell themselves the same comforting narratives that the fans tell each other to justify their vicarious thrills from the exploits of other men. None of which makes those narratives true. But people like fairy tales and epic sci-fi, because otherwise you're left with ####### Camus and Beckett, and no one likes reading Camus or Beckett. No one.

Baseball is a DAY IN THE PARK. There's nothing remotely akin to a day in the park concerning "playoff baseball."
   107. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3966349)
And #104 is correct, although we quickly forget that the LCSes were also always 5 games from 1969 through 1984.

Yet there was only one real fluke -- Mets over Reds in 1973. Every other result was easily lived with; indeed, 88 and 89 win teams were 0-7 in the LCS from '69-'93.

The 4 team LCS era as a whole was remarkably fluke-free. You had the Mets in 1973 and the Twins in 1987, and the Twins were obviously a product of the Dome.

The eight-team playoffs are more of a crapshoot than the four-teams than even the differentiated records would predict.
   108. LionoftheSenate (Pirates v A's World Series) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:23 PM (#3966373)
MLB baseball just isn't as unique as it once was in American sports. It's been too NFL-ized.

There is this obsession with "getting it right" and crowning only "the best" teams in sports. Baseball was the only major sport that approached this (crowning a "true" champ) in it's history....the main driver other than $$, that pushed baseball towards a multi-round playoff format was the media drum beat that baseball needs to be like NFL football, etc, etc, etc.....

This is why I don't ever want to see College Football change much by adding a multi round playoff. Currently in no sport does the best team win the championship as often as it happens in College Football, in fact it isn't even close. It happens nearly every single year in college football. The only people that disagree with this are the same people that think a "true" champion is the one that can navigate a multi-round playoff.
   109. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3966395)
How did Greinke, who was unbeatable at home, get stuck with Game 5 instead of Game 6? Can any Brewers' fan explain this?

Several things to note.

1. The Brewers manager clearly had no faith in Narveson or Estrada or whomever to start Game 6. Why would he then turn to either of those guys for Game 5?

2. Greinke has publicly fussed about starting on extra rest. RR was clearly working to optimize his performance

following is Harvey only observation

Zack got a ton of run support, especially at home. HIs home/road split is of little statistical significance. And if you are going to trade a squadron of talent for a guy THAT guy should be able to pitch on the road when the team needs it. Besides, Zack wasn't awful. The defense was awful. What was weird was that a strikeout guy didn't strike anyone out. The Cards hitters are hot but that is still peculiar.
   110. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:40 PM (#3966397)
Adjusting for league, the Cards have the better offense.

Wait, I'm confused by this. Texas scored close to 100 more runs than St Louis did this year. Park and DH adjustments likely cut into that a bit, but I'd be surprised if it counted for even half of that difference. Further, it doesn't seem like Texas is going to be hurt that much by losing the DH -- I'd think Napoli moves to C, and Young to 1B, right? So the defense behind the plate takes a hit, but Moreland is a below average 1B bat, so his loss isn't huge.
   111. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:48 PM (#3966410)
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


The Yankees are the only team you truly despise? I'm much more ecumenical in my sports hate. At a glance, I'd say I truly despise the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, White Sox, Twins, Angels, Marlins, Mets, Marlins, Cardinals, Astros, Dodgers. I'm not too keen on the Padres, Blue Jays, Indians, A's, and Tigers. I grudgingly tolerate the rest.
   112. Morph Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:50 PM (#3966415)
When Mike Young is affecting your ability to watch the World Series, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate whether you should let what broadcasters and journalists say bother you so much. Remember, watching baseball is supposed to be fun. Besides, Young had a great year this year and deserves a little credit. If it’s over the top, who cares? Put some music on in the background and press mute. Is the World Series always going to always give you a matchup between the two best teams? No. But as a barometer of who played best under pressure [part of the job description of every baseball game, the playoffs magnifies this] and who was playing the best at the time of the tournament, it is not an insignificant measuring point. I mean ####, it beats the hell out of corporate titled Bowl Games.
   113. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 17, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3966425)
The Yankees are the only team you truly despise? I'm much more ecumenical in my sports hate. At a glance, I'd say I truly despise the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, White Sox, Twins, Angels, Marlins, Mets, Marlins, Cardinals, Astros, Dodgers. I'm not too keen on the Padres, Blue Jays, Indians, A's, and Tigers. I grudgingly tolerate the rest.


Yup. There are some players and managers I hate and certainly I like some teams more or less than others but other than the Yankees I can't think of a team I truly root "against.". This series for example, I dont particularly care if the Cards lose but I want to see Texas win so I'm rooting for Texas. In other circumstances I'd be rooting for the Cardinals.
   114. BDC Posted: October 17, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3966446)
it doesn't seem like Texas is going to be hurt that much by losing the DH -- I'd think Napoli moves to C, and Young to 1B, right? So the defense behind the plate takes a hit, but Moreland is a below average 1B bat, so his loss isn't huge

Napoli caught a lot in the regular season and has done almost all the postseason catching anyway. Torrealba has actually done more DH'ing than catching this postseason (he DH'd a good deal in the regular season). And Napoli isn't perceptibly worse on defense, or indeed bad at all. I always assumed he was a butcher, but that was just out of inordinate respect for Mike Scioscia.

Moreland gave them a LHB alternative to one of the catchers during the regular season, but I agree it will be hard for him to get into the World Series lineup. Young will play every day, somewhere: first base in St. Louis, unless God forbid Beltre's legs give out.
   115. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 17, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3966452)
BDC - might there be a case to have Young play third for a day in St. Louis just to give Beltre a day? Is there a pitcher on the Cards tht might be a better matchup for Moreland where Wash decides to give Beltre the start off then bring him as a PH?
   116. BDC Posted: October 17, 2011 at 07:16 PM (#3966459)
Wash does like to do things like that, Jose. Personally, I think the defensive difference between Beltre and Young is so great that I wouldn't like to see it; but it's also important to keep Beltre healthy. If he's got hamstring and knee issues his defense will suffer anyway.
   117. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 17, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3966489)
The only thing that really matters is who's left standing at the end of October.

That's the only thing that really "matters" now, under the stupid playoff system baseball has adopted. Bug, not feature.


That's the only thing that's ever mattered, for crissakes. How they got those rings is relevant only to a small minority of purists, nostalgia freaks, and sour grapes addicts. Why else do you think Dodgers' fans said "Wait till next year" after winning pennant after pennant? And whether you bought into the story or not, what do you think that "the Curse of the Bambino" was supposed to represent? Do you think that the Red Sox fans were any more consoled after 1946 or 1967 than they were after 1975 or 1986? And how many of them look at 2004 with any less satisfaction than 2007, simply because they won the championship via the wild card rather than by winning the AL East?
   118. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#3966505)
That's the only thing that's ever mattered, for crissakes. How they got those rings is relevant only to a small minority of purists, nostalgia freaks, and sour grapes addicts. Why else do you think Dodgers' fans said "Wait till next year" after winning pennant after pennant? And whether you bought into the story or not, what do you think that "the Curse of the Bambino" was supposed to represent? Do you think that the Red Sox fans were any more consoled after 1946 or 1967 than they were after 1975 or 1986? And how many of them look at 2004 with any less satisfaction than 2007, simply because they won the championship via the wild card rather than by winning the AL East?

If you want to pretend that the Cardinals of 2011 are as worthy of the World Series as the Cardinals of 1967 or 1982 and that the intelligent public should deem them equally worthy, it's a free country and you're entitled to think that. I don't think that, there are other people on the board who don't think that, and people generally don't pay anywhere near as much attention to the playoff finals as they did the culmination of the Tournament of Champions. Fans peel off in droves from paying attention to the playoff finals as opposed to what should happen -- and what used to happen -- which was people being more interested in the World Series than anything else that had transpired theretofore.(**)

Dodger fans said "Wait till next year" because they didn't win everything. That doesn't mean they were left with the thought that they didn't win anything, as playoff losers of the Bud era are hectored into thinking. Winning the division or league in the old system was seen as far more worthy by itself than it is today, when the division and league championships are worth mere playoff spots and mere playoff advancement.

Your Red Sox example is inapposite; the break in continuity wasn't between 46/67 and 75/86; it was between 46/67/75/86 and 03/09.

(**) And I'll simply point out again that it's a logical impossibility that the Cardinals are the "best" team in baseball. They weren't even the best team in their own division. Nothing that transpires over the next two weeks can alter that logical fail; indeed, that is one of the reasons people will stop paying attention.
   119. JJ1986 Posted: October 17, 2011 at 08:03 PM (#3966508)
Is there a pitcher on the Cards tht might be a better matchup for Moreland where Wash decides to give Beltre the start off then bring him as a PH?


Since Jackson and Lohse are awful, I assume Garcia (lefty) will start games 2 and 6. Beltre's not going to miss either the opener or the finale.
   120. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 08:08 PM (#3966513)
And whether you bought into the story or not, what do you think that "the Curse of the Bambino" was supposed to represent?

... I can only suggest here that you re-watch Games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series, where the historical context and years the Red Sox had gone without winning the World Series went almost entirely unmentioned.(**) Games just weren't "sold" that way then; they stood on their own merits. The "Curse of the Bambino" and all the rest were latter-day inventions added by the marketers to invest the festivities with ersatz "drama."

(**) Before Game 6, Costas does a dugout interview with Marty Barrett in which he asks Barrett whether he bought into the conventional narrative that had grown up around the series -- that the Red Sox would like to win, but the Mets "had" to win. Nothing about the "Curse of the Bambino" or the 68 years the Red Sox had gone without winning it all, from either party. And it's funny, you'd have to admit, that the team that "had" to win was the franchise that had been around for all of 25 years.
   121. BDC Posted: October 17, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#3966530)
I honestly don't think the World Series has decreased much in relative or absolute interest. There haven't been many close ones lately, but 2001 and 2002 (the last seven-gamers) were both very exciting.

What's befuddling to me is the long run-up through the first two rounds. Unless I want to stop working and eating, I can't follow the first round at all. (In a way it's been much better with the Rangers in it; I pay attention almost entirely to their series.) There's a certain amount of playoff fatigue that hangs over the next two rounds, unfortunately. Just as individual ballgames or series, though, October baseball is exciting as ever.
   122. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: October 17, 2011 at 08:51 PM (#3966570)
This is one of those threads I'm saving for when some sportswriter stereotypes statheads and everyone goes blarg blarg about how unfair it is. This, like when so many wished for a strike, and that one thread where a famous sabermetrician said things aren't REAL unless they can be proved with numbers (and so many agreed), confirms that the stereotype is more true than not, and makes me ashamed of saber people in the same way I'm ashamed of Trekkies.

Fans peel off in droves from paying attention to the playoff finals as opposed to what should happen -- and what used to happen -- which was people being more interested in the World Series than anything else that had transpired theretofore.(**)


OH FFS. At least Sam somewhat admits that he's a weirdo for hating the playoffs; you really seem to think you're in the majority. Fans peel off because a)many are only fans of their home team and b)baseball in general isn't as popular as it used to be. The truth is like Andy said, only a small minority (hugely overrepresented on sites like this) hate the playoffs, only he's being kind about the reasons. It's simple snobbery. In Sam's case it's temperamental snobbery: he wants to wear his bowler and waistcoat and enjoy a languid afternoon at the park in the same way that stuffy people in BBC period films like to make a trip to The Country to get away from the unwashed, low-class rabble in London town. In your case and in most others' here, it's intellectual snobbery cuz OMG stats BZZT! biddy-biddy-biddy STATISTICALLY BEST TEAM MAY NOT BE CHAMPION! DOES NOT COMPUTE! BZZT!. In past years it has been intellectual snobbery plus sour grapes when the A's choked.

Some playoffs are better than others of course but ppl totally unaffected by the drama and storylines of good playoffs (as these have been) aren't baseball fans, they are undiagnosed Aspies using the internet to inflict symptoms of their disease on others. IOW, they are the robonerds living in Mom's basement that sportwriters make them out to be. FFS, as a baseball fan who appreciates stats within reason, STOP MAKING THE STEREOTYPE TRUE.
   123. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 17, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3966581)
If you want to pretend that the Cardinals of 2011 are as worthy of the World Series as the Cardinals of 1967 or 1982 and that the intelligent public should deem them equally worthy, it's a free country and you're entitled to think that. I don't think that, there are other people on the board who don't think that, and people generally don't pay anywhere near as much attention to the playoff finals as they did the culmination of the Tournament of Champions.

And what do you base that last bit on? TV ratings? How many TV choices exist today compared to in 1982? TV numbers are a shell game that are of limited use in cross-era popularity comparisons. The World Series is watched by many more people today than it was 50 years ago, but that's muddled by the fact that those games of 1961 were played exclusively in the day, and it's further complicated by the fact that relative to today, the World Series and baseball in general also received far more national attention compared to the NFL. I doubt if the playoff structure has much to do with this, as the NFL itself had the same two team "Tournament of Champions" back then, and the explosion of the NFL's popularity relative to baseball has continued afoot as the NFL has also expanded its number of postseason teams.

And whether you bought into the story or not, what do you think that "the Curse of the Bambino" was supposed to represent?

... I can only suggest here that you re-watch Games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series, where the historical context and years the Red Sox had gone without winning the World Series went almost entirely unmentioned. Games just weren't "sold" that way then; they stood on their own merits. The "Curse of the Bambino" and all the rest were latter-day inventions added by the marketers to invest the festivities with ersatz "drama."


The "Curse" was a product of an undeniable set of historic facts combined with Dan Shaughnessy's imaginative book title, but with or without the name, Red Sox fans were painfully aware of that franchise's sad history of coming up short in a seemingly endless procession of painful defeats stretching from 1946 to 1986 and then again in 1988, 1990, 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2003. It's only natural that the longer the drought continued, the more it would be commented upon, but it's not as if the drought had gone unnoticed prior to Shaughnessy's book.

As for overall "worthiness", that's a concept that's of relevance to you and "a handful of purists". There are cases where wild cards of obviously mediocre quality manage to win it all, such as in 2006, but the 2011 Cardinals aren't a case of that. Of course they're not objectively as good as the Phillies, and yet they managed to beat the this "better" team head-to-head 9 out of 14 times. And if they manage to beat the Rangers, they certainly would have run a gantlet that's far more impressive than beating the 1967 Red Sox or the 1982 Braves and Brewers, all essentially one year wonder teams of dubious overall quality. The "worthiness" of any given team's championship status is a function of more than one factor, but the quality of the postseason competition is certainly one thing you have to consider.

EDIT: A bourbon coke to RETARDO. Welcome back, my man.
   124. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:00 PM (#3966583)
Zack wasn't awful. The defense was awful. What was weird was that a strikeout guy didn't strike anyone out.


I wonder if he had a recurrence of his social anxiety, or if he's injured. I'd never really seen Greinke pitch until the playoffs but in every game I saw him pitch against against AZ and STL his fastball looked totally flat, his slider was crappy, and (the announcers even caught it) he telegraphed his slow curve. His stuff was consistently terrible, IMO.
   125. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:00 PM (#3966584)
At least Sam somewhat admits that he's a weirdo for hating the playoffs; you really seem to think you're in the majority.

I don't hate the playoffs; I hate when a sh!tty, undeserving team goes to the World Series. I hate it even more when a sh!tty, undeserving team goes to the World Series by beating a better team from its own division.
   126. Shock Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:01 PM (#3966585)
Everybody loves an underdog, but when the underdog wins too much it's boring. Ideally, a wild-card team making it to the WS should be a once-a-decade event. It should be truly special -- "OMG, can you BELIEVE the Phillies were knocked out by the CARDINALS?!?!" Instead it happens too often, so it's humdrum. Yeah yeah, best teams knocked out in the first round, yawn. That's only, what, the 4th time that's happened in the past 15 years..
   127. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:14 PM (#3966599)
The "Curse" was a product of an undeniable set of historic facts combined with Dan Shaughnessy's imaginative book title, but with or without the name, Red Sox fans were painfully aware of that franchise's sad history of coming up short in a seemingly endless procession of painful defeats stretching from 1946 to 1986 and then again in 1988, 1990, 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2003. It's only natural that the longer the drought continued, the more it would be commented upon, but it's not as if the drought had gone unnoticed prior to Shaughnessy's book.

The point of the "Curse," ca. 1986 when it wasn't even mentioned by national TV people and ca. 1999-04 when they blabbed about it ceaselessly is more to show how the games have been tarted up by Fox and Bud. That goes hand in hand with the watered-down tournament -- the games and the import of the games no longer speak for themselves.

It wasn't "natural" -- 68 years was plenty long to have developed into a "Curse" and "New England really wants to win" and all the rest. By the time it started getting talked about in those terms by the marketers and blabberers, it was consciously manufactured.

And if they manage to beat the Rangers, they certainly would have run a gantlet that's far more impressive than beating the 1967 Red Sox or the 1982 Braves and Brewers, all essentially one year wonder teams of dubious overall quality.

Who cares? The Cardinals weren't the "best" or even close in running the gauntlet that really matters -- the one from April through September. So they got hot in October, whoopdie-doo; you can peel back through baseball history and find a bunch of even crappy teams that had a run like the Cardinals will have had in October.(**) That's baseball, Susan.

(**) If they win the WS, they'll be something like 11-8 over 19 games. Wow.
   128. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:15 PM (#3966600)
Everybody loves an underdog, but when the underdog wins too much it's boring. Ideally, a wild-card team making it to the WS should be a once-a-decade event.

Look, I'd be cool with the Yankees** and the ever-shifting NL version of the Yankees meeting in the World Series every year, since to me Yankee Stadium is synonymous with late October baseball. But the mark of a true "champion" is its ability to transcend "bad luck", injuries, and overstressed starting pitching, and still remain standing at the end of the month.

And if the Yankees and the Phillies aren't capable of doing that, which this year they weren't, then their fans (like me) should console themselves with more pleasant memories of April through September, and not try to disparage the teams that beat them after that. Excuses are for losers, and anyway, the last few weeks have seen some terrific games that I wouldn't trade for a thousand of Sam's August sleepers underneath the Tomahawk lullaby.

**this year's certifiably "best" team according to BB-Ref's figuration
   129. Shock Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:19 PM (#3966603)
Look, I'd be cool with the Yankees** and the ever-shifting NL version of the Yankees meeting in the World Series every year,


Is that what I asked for? False dichotomy, thy name is Andy.
   130. Rembrandt Q Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3966606)
Baseball is a great game. I promised from my seat last night at Miller Park that I would not watch one inning of this World Series, and less than 24 hours later I am ready to see how these two hot hot offenses fare against a pair of new pitching staffs.

As for the Brewers without Fielder, I am not optimistic. Prince may have been worth "only" a few wins this year, but what was the ridiculously healthy rotation worth? Can Axford continue to convert 95% of his save opportunities? Can Braun repeat his MVP-caliber season? Do Rickie and Corey have another "leap" in their games? So much depends on what Melvin does over the next four months, but it's hard to shake the sensation that this was THE year.

Hard to figure out Greinke. The Arizona start was all strikeouts and homers (or balls to the warning track). Cardinals 1 seemed like a slightly muddled version of that, and then Cardinals 2 was bizarre. Something like two swinging strikes all game, and not a whole lot of check swings on the slider.

The whole series made me miss Ben Sheets.
   131. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3966607)
And if [the Cardinals] manage to beat the Rangers, they certainly would have run a gantlet that's far more impressive than beating the 1967 Red Sox or the 1982 Braves and Brewers, all essentially one year wonder teams of dubious overall quality.

Who cares?


The Cardinals and their fans. Baseball fans in general who've enjoyed these last few weeks immensely. Apparently not you, but who cares about a few curmudgeons?

The Cardinals weren't the "best" or even close in running the gauntlet that really matters -- the one from April through September.

Back to this tired old chestnut again. Why not just do away with the playoffs altogether and declare the Yankees champions? After all, BB-Ref. says that they were 0.2 RPG better than the runnerup Rangers, and 0.4 RPG better than the lowly Phillies. With that objective metric clearly showing the world who's "best", who needs any more meaningless exhibition games to crown a champion?
   132. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#3966611)
Everybody loves an underdog, but when the underdog wins too much it's boring. Ideally, a wild-card team making it to the WS should be a once-a-decade event.

Look, I'd be cool with the Yankees** and the ever-shifting NL version of the Yankees meeting in the World Series every year,

Is that what I asked for? False dichotomy, thy name is Andy.


Yeah, you're right, you only want to see something like that 9 years out of 10. Of course if some cheese champion of a weak division makes it into the WS over a wild card team from a much stronger division, that seems to satisfy your "no underdogs" definition, but it's a definition that's dependent more on the accident of geography than the presence of quality. According to your lights, you'd find the 83-win 2006 NLC champ Cardinals more legitimate than the 98-win 2004 Red Sox, simply because that latter team was a wild card. To each his own, I guess, but your idea of an "underdog" seems pretty one-dimensional to say the least.
   133. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:36 PM (#3966614)
The Cardinals and their fans. Baseball fans in general who've enjoyed these last few weeks immensely. Apparently not you, but who cares about a few curmudgeons?

And if you'd let the Royals into the "postseason" and they'd excited their fans by "running the gauntlet," that would be ok?

Back to this tired old chestnut again. Why not just do away with the playoffs altogether and declare the Yankees champions? After all, BB-Ref. says that they were 0.2 RPG better than the runnerup Rangers, and 0.4 RPG better than the lowly Phillies.

Because (a) that's silly; and (b) that isn't what baseball rightfully did before 1995, which is to pair up a tiny sample of teams that had the best record in their pre-determined group of teams, where their pre-determined sample of teams played more games against each other. (Yes, I know about the AL after the expansion of the late 70s). When the '54 Indians won more games than the '54 Giants, we didn't know whether that was because the Indians were better than the Giants, or because the Indians played in the AL. The World Series told us. When the '90 A's won more games than the '90 Reds, we didn't know whether that was because the A's were better than the Reds or because the A's played in the American League. The World Series told us.

And so on.

The 2011 Cardinals were not better than the 2011 Brewers, yet the Cardinals go on. That's inane.
   134. Shock Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:39 PM (#3966618)
Yeah, you're right, you only want to see something like that 9 years out of 10.


Did you lose some fingers in the war? There are four teams in each league. One, two, three, four.

I would say that the best team should probably make it maybe 50% of the time, and the WC team 10% of the time. So you'd have a 25% chance of Yankees-Phillies this year. That's just off the top of my head, but feels right.
   135. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#3966621)
According to your lights, you'd find the 83-win 2006 NLC champ Cardinals more legitimate than the 98-win 2004 Red Sox, simply because that latter team was a wild card. To each his own, I guess, but your idea of an "underdog" seems pretty one-dimensional to say the least.

Yes, the 83-win Cardinals were more legitimate than the '04 Red Sox. The '73 Mets and '87 Twins were also more legitimate than the '04 Red Sox. The Cardinals won a six-team division, the Mets won a six-team division, the Twins won a seven-team division. The Red Sox didn't win anything over 162. Nothing. You're backdating their wins to try to legitimate them. Doesn't work.

There were instances prior to 1995 when division or even league winners might not have been as "good" in a Platonic sense as a non-division winner who stayed home. But baseball never suggested that that wasn't a possibility. You're assuming that the few times it happened represented, definitionally, a problem that must be solved.

But it didn't. The postseason wasn't there to necessarily identify the best team -- though it identified the best team far more frequently than the post-1993 system. It was there to have division and league champions play each other in front of fans and TV eyeballs. The difficulty of getting there itself legitimized the proceedings.
   136. salvomania Posted: October 17, 2011 at 10:13 PM (#3966646)
(**) If they win the WS, they'll be something like 11-8 over 19 games. Wow.


Yeah, but everybody else was under .500.

This isn't 1920 or 1948 or 1969 or 1993. Right now in baseball, 8 teams make the playoffs. Some of those teams have better records over the 162-game regular season, but all 8 did what they had to do to keep on playing in October.

If you have a problem with October baseball in 2011 maybe you should just stop watching after September.

Everyone saying the Cardinals are a sh!tty team have zero credibility, or else their standards for non-sh!tty are pretty exclusive.

EDIT: OK, the Rangers can lose the series and still be 9-6 this postseason (or 6-6); but the worst the cardinals can be is 11-7 if they win the series.
   137. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2011 at 10:17 PM (#3966648)
115. Jose Can You Seabiscuit Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3966452)
BDC - might there be a case to have Young play third for a day in St. Louis just to give Beltre a day? Is there a pitcher on the Cards tht might be a better matchup for Moreland where Wash decides to give Beltre the start off then bring him as a PH?

116. Bob Dernier Cri Posted: October 17, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3966459)
Wash does like to do things like that, Jose. Personally, I think the defensive difference between Beltre and Young is so great that I wouldn't like to see it; but it's also important to keep Beltre healthy. If he's got hamstring and knee issues his defense will suffer anyway.


Depends what the injury is. If a day or two off before the Series isn't enough to get him healthy, an extra day during the series won't be, either. In which case, either DH him completely or ride him until he breaks.
   138. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 10:21 PM (#3966649)
Everyone saying the Cardinals are a sh!tty team have zero credibility, or else their standards for non-sh!tty are pretty exclusive.

They're a sh!tty 88 pythag win team with no business in the World Series. The system that got them to the World Series is badly flawed, and essentially broken.

This isn't 1920 or 1948 or 1969 or 1993. Right now in baseball, 8 teams make the playoffs. Some of those teams have better records over the 162-game regular season, but all 8 did what they had to do to keep on playing in October.

In the words of the immortal Derrick Coleman: Whoopdie-damn-doo. Replace 8 with "16" or "24" and you could say the same thing.
   139. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 17, 2011 at 10:23 PM (#3966651)
The more playoff teams you allow, the more likely that a 90-win team like the Cardinals -- tied for the 8th best record in baseball, and they played in the weaker league -- will go all the way.

This is a byproduct of the wild card that so many people love so much.
   140. Shock Posted: October 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM (#3966661)

This is a byproduct of the wild card that so many people love so much.


I think it's possible to have a WC and not have them get deep into the post-season every year. There are a lot of options for this...

I can live without the WC if we were to change the divisions up from time to time (horrors, I know.)
   141. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: October 17, 2011 at 10:39 PM (#3966662)
They're a sh!tty 88 pythag win team with no business in the World Series. The system that got them to the World Series is badly flawed, and essentially broken.


There are a lot of arguments against a Wild Card. Pythagorean ####### record is not one of them.
   142. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 17, 2011 at 10:43 PM (#3966668)
There are a lot of arguments against a Wild Card. Pythagorean ####### record is not one of them.

Pythag doesn't prove the wild card is bad.

Pythag proves the Cardinals are a sh!tty World Series team. There were three much better options from the National League, and it was idiotic of MLB to set up a system that would spit out the Cardinals.

Wrong answer, MLB.
   143. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 18, 2011 at 01:09 AM (#3966775)
And if [the Cardinals] manage to beat the Rangers, they certainly would have run a gantlet that's far more impressive than beating the 1967 Red Sox or the 1982 Braves and Brewers, all essentially one year wonder teams of dubious overall quality.

Who cares?

The Cardinals and their fans. Baseball fans in general who've enjoyed these last few weeks immensely. Apparently not you, but who cares about a few curmudgeons?

And if you'd let the Royals into the "postseason" and they'd excited their fans by "running the gauntlet," that would be ok?


I'm fine with letting the team with the 2nd or 4th best record in the league into the playoffs. That doesn't mean I'd want to expand them to any NBA or NHL or NFL level. But in terms of postseason quality, weak winners of weak divisions often compromise that more than the wild card.

Back to this tired old chestnut again. Why not just do away with the playoffs altogether and declare the Yankees champions? After all, BB-Ref. says that they were 0.2 RPG better than the runnerup Rangers, and 0.4 RPG better than the lowly Phillies.

Because (a) that's silly; and (b) that isn't what baseball rightfully did before 1995, which is to pair up a tiny sample of teams that had the best record in their pre-determined group of teams, where their pre-determined sample of teams played more games against each other. (Yes, I know about the AL after the expansion of the late 70s). When the '54 Indians won more games than the '54 Giants, we didn't know whether that was because the Indians were better than the Giants, or because the Indians played in the AL. The World Series told us. When the '90 A's won more games than the '90 Reds, we didn't know whether that was because the A's were better than the Reds or because the A's played in the American League. The World Series told us.

And so on.


In fact all the World Series ever tells us is who won the World Series. In many cases we can say with confidence that the better team won, but in many other cases that's a marginal assertion at best. But that's why fans care about the title of "World Champion" more than they care about "Pythagorean Champion". Only the truly insane care about the latter.

According to your lights, you'd find the 83-win 2006 NLC champ Cardinals more legitimate than the 98-win 2004 Red Sox, simply because that latter team was a wild card. To each his own, I guess, but your idea of an "underdog" seems pretty one-dimensional to say the least.

Yes, the 83-win Cardinals were more legitimate than the '04 Red Sox. The '73 Mets and '87 Twins were also more legitimate than the '04 Red Sox. The Cardinals won a six-team division, the Mets won a six-team division, the Twins won a seven-team division. The Red Sox didn't win anything over 162. Nothing. You're backdating their wins to try to legitimate them. Doesn't work.


And you're trying to equate fortunate geography with some risible idea of merit. There are several legitimate reasons to assign teams to divisions by longitude and latitude, but don't pretend the the results don't present problems with providing a level playing field to the postseason.

There were instances prior to 1995 when division or even league winners might not have been as "good" in a Platonic sense as a non-division winner who stayed home.

No, there were instances like 1973 when downright pitiful teams made the World Series. Nothing "Platonic" about it. The 1973 Mets didn't even clinch a winning record until the last regularly scheduled day of the season.
   144. base ball chick Posted: October 18, 2011 at 02:35 AM (#3966852)
this arguing about "best team" is silly - you can't detemine who the "best team" in each league actually IS any more because of buddy boy's almost complete destruction of the leagues - which will be complete when the astros are plowed under in 2013. each team plays a different schedule - and you can make all kinds of statistical category winners but it is not any sort of real contest. you can't have a 100 meter race when you let some runner start 5 meters ahead and make some other runner carry 5 lb weights in each hand, and make another guy run in 1970 shoes, etc
   145. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: October 18, 2011 at 02:46 AM (#3966862)
Replace 8 with "16" or "24" and you could say the same thing.

As you could with "2."
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