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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

John Torres: Not wild about the new format

Get my Reminyl-jazzed Shake N Bake BBQ Glazed Over Chicken ready…I’m almost agreeing with John Torres!

That’s when I realized that baseball’s new wild-card format stinks.

Bud Selig tried manufacturing a Game 7 without playing the first six. What we got instead was a contrived do-or-die 7th game that lacked the buildup of drama and storylines from the previous six games. I felt cheated and I had no dogs in this fight. I have as much feeling watching the Rangers and Braves lose as I do watching my clothes spin in the washing machine.

Imagine how their fans must feel? They played 162 games for this, to go out in one? A manufactured seventh game?

...There is also no sudden-death in baseball without a series before it.

The entire season is made up of one series of games after another. The Rays don’t travel to Anaheim for one game against the Angels. They play a three-game series, sometimes four. Teams that win the most series wind up playing in the postseason. Now after winning one series after another to make the playoffs, you play a one-game series? It goes against everything in the sport.

Repoz Posted: October 09, 2012 at 05:07 AM | 49 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 09, 2012 at 05:58 AM (#4260181)
Let's hope a lot of columnists write this column.
   2. Greg K Posted: October 09, 2012 at 06:34 AM (#4260182)
Imagine how their fans must feel? They played 162 games for this, to go out in one? A manufactured seventh game?

I don't have to imagine. My team played 162 games and didn't even get the opportunity to lose a single game. All just because they lost 89 games. Talk about unfair.
   3. John Northey Posted: October 09, 2012 at 06:45 AM (#4260183)
To me it was and still is a great idea. If we must have wild cards make them work their tails off. Or just go to the NHL/NBA method of putting everyone in who is 500 or better as it has become a joke how wild card teams win the WS so often (2011, 2004, 2003, 2002, 1997) - 5 times in the 17 years it has existed before this year or more often than the average division winner (6 division winners get 12 titles, 2 wild cards get 5).

Now, ideally I say we see MLB either go all out ala the NBA/NHL or cut back to division winners only, and since cutting back isn't going to happen might as well go nuts and see baseball in November every year.
   4. Bhaakon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:01 AM (#4260184)
as it has become a joke how wild card teams win the WS so often (2011, 2004, 2003, 2002, 1997) - 5 times in the 17 years it has existed before this year or more often than the average division winner (6 division winners get 12 titles, 2 wild cards get 5).


Not as funny as a 83-win division winner getting a ring. The problem here isn't the wild card (which, at the very least, can't let a bad team into the postseason, unlike divisions), it's that baseball is just too volatile a sport for the cream to rise to the top in a seven game series.
   5. Greg K Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:16 AM (#4260187)
Not as funny as a 83-win division winner getting a ring. The problem here isn't the wild card (which, at the very least, can't let a bad team into the postseason, unlike divisions), it's that baseball is just too volatile a sport for the cream to rise to the top in a seven game series.

Of course whether that's a problem at all is another discussion.

I like the new system. Somewhat similarly to Mr. Northey my ideal is a return to 4 divisions and an LCS round. But that's not happening. I didn't mind the old wildcard format, and I think this one is marginally better.
   6. Bhaakon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:45 AM (#4260194)
I'm just not a fan of small divisions, at all. It's unfortunate that they've returned to odd numbered leagues, because my preferred system would be 2 divisions, 2 wild card per league (with the first round played entirely at the division winners' home parks, if you demand a drawback to being a WC team). 5 teams per division just isn't enough.
   7. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:54 AM (#4260200)
First of all, the Orioles and Rangers would have played a "game seven" under the old format too. I realize that we all know this, but Torres seems to have somehow missed it.

If we must have wild cards make them work their tails off.


Except that you really can't. You have to have an off-day before the play-in, in case there are ties that need breaking. You have to have an off-day after the play-in, otherwise the TV schedule is too much in flux (and you might run afoul of the CBA if there's a cross-country flight involved). That goes a long way toward mitigating any disadvantage that the play-in winner might be laboring under (in terms of pitching, at least). Maybe they're planning to fix some of this for next year (along with the LDS HFA thing), but if that's the case then they should have just waited a year to implement the new format.
   8. bunyon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:02 AM (#4260204)
If we must have wild cards make them work their tails off.



Except that you really can't.


You could give extreme home-field advantage: Game 1 at Wild Card. Games 2-5 at #1 seed. With no travel days after game 1. I don't really think there is any amount of piling on to the wild cards that would be too much.

I wouldn't mind if they played the wild card round best of 3 - doubleheader the first day, game 3 the following day, game 1 of the LDS the day after that.


There are a lot of good stories this season but it's going to really suck if the World Series is Detroit/St. Louis (no offense to those teams). I'm tired of seeing 95+ win teams go home and watching 85 win teams in the world series and LCS. A lot of people have talked about how a playoff would "ruin" the regular season in college football. I'm just about to that point with MLB. I will always watch the regular season - simply because I love watching baseball games. But where teams finish, so long as they qualify for the crapshoot, just doesn't seem that important to me anymore.
   9. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:07 AM (#4260207)
I wouldn't mind if they played the wild card round best of 3 - doubleheader the first day, game 3 the following day, game 1 of the LDS the day after that.


That was my idea, too. But I guess there's too much weather risk.
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:09 AM (#4260208)
There's no solution to this problem that doesn't create problems of its own. When you've got 30 teams, there are simply too many competing interests that have to be taken into account. We've been over these interests a zillion times, but there are still only so many days in the calendar, and as long as baseball insists on expanding the postseason while holding onto its 162 game schedule, it's always going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

You've got three unpalatable options which would allow a best of 5 wild card round: Begin the season even earlier; end the postseason even later; or reduce the regular season by a week or two in order to avoid the first two options. But since baseball won't consider any of these options, there aren't enough days to make the wild card round into anything more than a one game shootout.

Personally I'd reduce the regular season and expand the wild card to 3-of-5, but all that's going to get me is a lot of arguments from the owners. It's an impossible quandry that we're just going to have to live with, like it or not.
   11. bunyon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:17 AM (#4260209)
Sure, Andy. But I don't have to just "live with it". I can watch - and attend - fewer regular season games and not get nearly as wrapped up in the pennant races.

Perhaps it is just my normal aging but I've become less interested in pennant races with every subsequent change to the qualifying criteria. I suppose that is only two changes now but it seems to be a pattern.
   12. just plain joe Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:21 AM (#4260212)
What Andy said in #10; no matter what system MLB adopts for the post-season, there are going to be arguments pro and con. In an ideal world we would not have wildcard teams but we have the world as it is. For me, ever since MLB went to four divisions and the post-season expanded to two rounds, I have found it less interesting than the regular season. Now that there are additional rounds in the post-season, I find myself less interested to a larger degree. I know why we aren't going back to a two team World Series without any preliminaries, but I thought it was much better that way. Yes, I'm an old fart so you kids stay the hell off my lawn.
   13. I Fought Vance Law and Vance Law Won Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:21 AM (#4260213)
I'm sure this argument has been made before, but the reason I sort of like the idea is that if you don't win your division, your record is disregarded (after, that is, the two best non-division-winning records are identified). You're both considered to have finished one game behind the division winners. You lose the right to point to your W-L record, and you have to play a "tiebreaker" game to get in. Purists should in a sense dig this, not be upset by it -- it re-emphasizes winning a division after many years of de-emphasizing it.

I would prefer a 154 game season, then 2 out of 3, then three seven-game series, but if that won't happen, I like this better than how they used to do it immediately prior.
   14. John Northey Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:44 AM (#4260230)
The only way I see a 154 game season again is if they go to 16 teams with 5-7 game rounds. Btw, ran a simple simulation in Excel between a 600 team and a 500 team. Once you get to best of 5 though the results stabilize around the better team winning around 67% of the time unless you go nuts with series length (best of 11 or something). Of course, that doesn't factor in starting rotation depth and the like either.

Pretty much no matter what you do, as long as playoffs exist a random factor will too. 600 teams will lose to 500 teams one out of three series and if that 500 team has an ace, strong #2 and weak beyond that (say, Twins in 1987) they could easily shoot past 600 teams that are all decent #2 starters for slots 1-5.
   15. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4260235)
the NHL/NBA method of putting everyone in who is 500 or better

I don't know about the NBA, but that has not been true of the NHL for more than a decade now. Last year, 8 NHL teams who were .500 or better did not make the playoffs. Heck, Clagrary had 8 morewins than loses, Buffalo and Dallas 7.
   16. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4260238)
My interest in the postseason continues to decline; I've actually taken notice how disinterested I am this year even with the Tigers in it and playing well. I barely paid attention last weekend, a weekend in which I usually am into the LDSs.

The fundamental problem remains -- too many games and a postseason that's too long. Even into the 90s, we'd gotten to LCS Game 5 at Columbus Day -- halfway or more to the finish line -- on Columbus Day 2012 we'd barely started a much longer postseason.

I get all the economic and cultural imperatives that rendered things the way they are; they just seem to work less and less for me each year.
   17. Greg K Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4260255)
I don't know about the NBA, but that has not been true of the NHL for more than a decade now. Last year, 8 NHL teams who were .500 or better did not make the playoffs. Heck, Clagrary had 8 morewins than loses, Buffalo and Dallas 7.

I think the OT loss system changes what ".500" means, or at least opens up a discussion. The average point total for an NHL team last season was 92 (total points divided by 30 teams). By that accounting every team above .500 made it to the playoffs and every team below did not. Washington and Ottawa were right at 92 and got in.
   18. BDC Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4260258)
Aside from the imperative to get the Red Sox into a playoff game (which they declined :) I thought that the whole point of adding the 5th team was to get better regular-season races, including ending the complacency of first-place teams clinching fourth so early that September became boring and pointless for them. And it did that, to some extent. The AL clubs continued to scramble for a division (though as noted, they'd all have had to under the 4-team format). And more clubs lower down like Tampa and LA had a spot to keep fighting for late in the year.

As to the play-in games themselves, I went to one and it was dull as reading the phone book, but so what? There have been a lot of dull postseason games since the Temple Cup was first introduced.
   19. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:26 AM (#4260260)
as it has become a joke how wild card teams win the WS so often

The wild card winner is the team with the best record that did not win a division. Often times this team is as good or better than one or two division winners in the league for that year.
   20. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4260264)
The wild card winner is the team with the best record that did not win a division. Often times this team is as good or better than one or two division winners in the league for that year.

Baseball just isn't bullt for playoffs. They're antithetical to the very nature of the sport, where differences in team quality take a distinctly high number of games to exhibit themselves.
   21. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4260266)
I think the OT loss system changes what ".500" means, or at least opens up a discussion. The average point total for an NHL team last season was 92 (total points divided by 30 teams). By that accounting every team above .500 made it to the playoffs and every team below did not. Washington and Ottawa were right at 92 and got in.

I thought about that too. That's actually why I did not say Calgary was 8 games over .500, and Buffalo and Dallas 7. It's also true that when you add OT losses to "normal" losses, less teams play for .500. But at the same time, things have changed and it's no longer possible to make the playoffs with a record well bellow .500 like it used to happen on a regular basis in the 1980s and 1990. For example, the 1988-1989 Blackhawks had a 27-41-12 record yet made the playoffs and made it to the conference finals... With that record, teams would finish at the bottom of the standings now.
   22. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4260269)
Baseball just isn't bullt for playoffs. They're antithetical to the very nature of the sport, where differences in team quality take a distinctly high number of games to exhibit themselves.


Exactly. A 94 win second place in the division team is better than some 85 win divisional winner and if we are interested in getting the best teams into the playoffs then the wild card helps do that.
   23. bunyon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4260280)
But if the 94 team doesn't win their division, there is at least one team better.

It's tough - I don't have much problem if the difference is a game or two and the two teams in question have wins in the mid-90s.

I suspect if we must have multiple rounds (and I agree, we do), then I'd rather just blow away the divisions and take spots 1-4 (or 5, if you insist).


Let's say the World Series this year is the Tigers/Cardinals. I'll watch, because it's the ####### world series. But I will know there are 4-7 teams that are obviously better than either of them. The system, IMO, robs both the regular season and postseason of signficance.
   24. Gaelan Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4260292)
The new format is the greatest thing ever. It transformed the regular season and it improves the playoffs. I can't imagine why anyone would dislike it. It is genius. It is perfect.
   25. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4260301)
But if the 94 team doesn't win their division, there is at least one team better.

And? That one team better is going to the playoffs.
   26. bunyon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4260302)
Is my sarcasm meter broken?
   27. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4260308)
Is my sarcasm meter broken?

you should be asking if your sarcasm is broken while it would be me who might have a sarcasm meter broken.
   28. bunyon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4260314)
Is my sarcasm meter broken?

you should be asking if your sarcasm is broken while it would be me who might have a sarcasm meter broken.


Is this sarcasm?


My 26 was in reference to Gaelan, by the way.



As far as the one better team going to the playoffs, too, sure. But, if htat one better team finished, say, 10 games better than the 94 win team, we don't have to wonder which is the better team. If the 94 win team sweeps the 104 win team, they're still six back. Now, if the one better team has 95 wins, they're pretty indistinguishable.

It's incredibly hard.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4260330)
You could give extreme home-field advantage: Game 1 at Wild Card. Games 2-5 at #1 seed. With no travel days after game 1. I don't really think there is any amount of piling on to the wild cards that would be too much.


The problem is, whatever extreme disadvantage you pile on the wild card winner is an extreme advantage to their DS opponent. And that team may not warrant it.

This year, you're already giving the Yankees and Nationals whatever edge exists from their opponents having to play a must-win game two days earlier. Now you're going to award them Super HFA. But the Yankees finished just one game better than the A's in an inferior division (the Nats at least finished one game better in a superior division). Hell, you could wind up rewarding a tied team from an infeior division with such an advantage simply because they happened to have the edge in some silly tiebreaker mechanism.
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4260333)

"I'm tired of seeing 95+ win teams go home and watching 85 win teams in the world series and LCS."

It should be more like the NFL, which would never wind up with a team that goes, say, 9-7 and is outscored in the regular season, winning the Super Bowl...

   31. bunyon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4260340)

It should be more like the NFL, which would never wind up with a team that goes, say, 9-7 and is outscored in the regular season, winning the Super Bowl...


I've yet to see a single down of NFL play this year and your point is a big reason why.
   32. Chokeland Bill Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4260393)
The Stanley Cup champions lost more games than they won this year.
   33. Greg K Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4260394)
I thought about that too. That's actually why I did not say Calgary was 8 games over .500, and Buffalo and Dallas 7. It's also true that when you add OT losses to "normal" losses, less teams play for .500. But at the same time, things have changed and it's no longer possible to make the playoffs with a record well bellow .500 like it used to happen on a regular basis in the 1980s and 1990. For example, the 1988-1989 Blackhawks had a 27-41-12 record yet made the playoffs and made it to the conference finals... With that record, teams would finish at the bottom of the standings now.

I suppose it all depends on what we're discussing. If MLB instituted a new rule that said that extra inning losses only counted as half a loss or something like that we'd see fewer teams with more losses than wins. But would that tell us anything meaningful about the calibre of team that regularly finished in the middle of the league?

I do think you're right that that format used up until 92-93 allowed for poorer teams to get in (essentially the four best teams from each division made the playoffs no matter how bad that division was). It is tougher for a poor team to get into the playoffs now than in the 80s/early 90s. But I think it's accurate to say that the NHL system generally puts everyone at .500 (where .500 means league average teams) or above into the playoffs. Apologies if I was just getting bogged down in semantics.
   34. Greg K Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4260397)
The Stanley Cup champions lost more games than they won this year.

[pedantic #### alert]
Not if you include that 16-4 run they went on!
   35. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4260413)
There's no solution to this problem that doesn't create problems of its own. When you've got 30 teams, there are simply too many competing interests that have to be taken into account. We've been over these interests a zillion times, but there are still only so many days in the calendar, and as long as baseball insists on expanding the postseason while holding onto its 162 game schedule, it's always going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

You've got three unpalatable options which would allow a best of 5 wild card round: Begin the season even earlier; end the postseason even later; or reduce the regular season by a week or two in order to avoid the first two options. But since baseball won't consider any of these options, there aren't enough days to make the wild card round into anything more than a one game shootout.
No; you omit a fourth option. Players won't like it, but the season isn't played for the benefit of the players, and it avoids the negatives of each of those three options you cite: more scheduled doubleheaders. Then you can fit a full 162 games into fewer days.
   36. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4260417)
Torres's argument is really an argument against the postseason itself, not against the new format. Baseball is not about a "series" any more than it's about a game. It's about a season. The new format actually makes the season more important -- there was a good reason to care about winning the division rather than just getting in via wild card.
   37. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4260547)
No; you omit a fourth option. Players won't like it, but the season isn't played for the benefit of the players, and it avoids the negatives of each of those three options you cite: more scheduled doubleheaders. Then you can fit a full 162 games into fewer days.

David, I'd love that option. Of course I thought of it, having grown up in the doubleheader era, and I omitted it only because there's no chance of its ever being adopted. But then again since there's no more chance that they'll adopt the other three options, I probably should have added it to my list.

BTW just for the record, are you talking about Old School "bargain bills", or separate admission day-nighters? Each has its own distinctive appeals and problems in terms of finances and logistics.
   38. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4260599)
I usually am into the LDSs


I'm telling Bryce Harper about your immoral activities with Mormon women, Sugar Bear.

I oppose expansion of the playoffs in MLB because I don't want the sport turning into the NBA where the season is held just to eliminate six teams, or whatever, and to scoop in revenues . I also don't like the format where the wild card winner or team with the inferior record is immediately rewarded with two home games, although that hasn't really been a factor yet. The nature of baseball lends itself to inferior teams reaching or winning the World Series (1973 Mets, etc.) The one thing I do like is that winning the division means something (and at this point it just means you don't have to play in the wild card game).
   39. Tippecanoe Posted: October 09, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4260645)
I'm still trying to process the monumental injustice of the 111-win '54 Indians defeat at the hands of the 97-win Giants. And don't even start me on the 1906 Cubs. This "World Series" is just a crapshoot.
   40. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: October 09, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4260710)
I would prefer a 154 game season, then 2 out of 3, then three seven-game series, but if that won't happen, I like this better than how they used to do it immediately prior.


Agree 100% with all of this.
   41. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 09, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4260736)
Players won't like it, but the season isn't played for the benefit of the players, and it avoids the negatives of each of those three options you cite: more scheduled doubleheaders.


I really don't think fans would be all that crazy about more doubleheaders either, not in the days of the three-and-a-half-hour nine inning game. That makes for a really long day. I think people would end up picking which of the two games they wanted to sit through.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 09, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4260784)
I'm still trying to process the monumental injustice of the 111-win '54 Indians defeat at the hands of the 97-win Giants....

If it would help, look at the teams that the Indians had to beat, and see what the Indians' record was against the only three winning teams that they played.** Then look at the makeup of the AL and NL rosters.*** Then look at the results of the 21 games that the Indians and Giants played in Arizona that Spring.**** Sooner or later it might sink in that that was the most comically overrated team in history, whose win total was wildly misleading.

This "World Series" is just a crapshoot.

Much more so now than before the wild card set in. If you look back on past results before 1995 and compare them to the betting odds, you'd find that you'd have done better betting on the favorites each year than on the underdogs. Nearly every "upset" was in fact only a mild one, and cases like 1906 were the exception to the rule.

**Counting the World Series, it was 22-26. The bottom 5 teams in the AL that year (out of 8) were absolutely dreadful. Out of 125 roster spots, Ted Williams was the lone Hall of Famer in his prime.

***You might begin by counting the number of HoFers and other superstars who were in their primes, and comparing the league totals

****Giants 13 games, Indians 8

   43. Tippecanoe Posted: October 09, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4260882)
42 - Well, my larger point, such as I had one, is that any playoff tournament, whether 10 teams or 2, will sometimes produce surprising results. On the specific example of the Indians, mostly good points, though the spring training one is probably a reach.

On the other hand, I don't see any reason why the wild card structure should produce a greater number of upsets in the World Series itself. If in fact we are really dealing with inferior second-place teams that got lucky in the LCS, this should make WS betting favorites easier to identify, not more difficult.
   44. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4261017)
I've yet to see a single down of NFL play this year and your point is a big reason why.

Well there's that and of course the NFL sucks.

Also, and maybe it's because I live overseas, by why does there seem to be such outrage in the MSM towards PEDs in baseball but not in the NFL? Guys who are fit and 6'1" do NOT way over 250 pounds without some added supplements....

Sorry for the hijack, just askin'
   45. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:27 AM (#4261448)
more scheduled doubleheaders. Then you can fit a full 162 games into fewer days.

No. Not ever.

1) Owners don't want 'em: "We're giving games away for free!"
2) Players don't want 'em: "Guys will get hurt!"
3) TV doesn't want 'em: "Who can sit through seven hours of baseball?"
4) And fans don't want 'em: "Who can sit through seven hours of baseball?"

So, no. Sorry.
   46. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 10, 2012 at 07:58 AM (#4261461)
4) And fans don't want 'em: "Who can sit through seven hours of baseball?"

I went to scores of doubleheaders between 1954 and 1962, and here's what was different: They'd either start at 1:30 and be over with in time to get home for dinner, or they'd start at 6:00 and be over in time to get you home well before midnight. It's not just that the game times are so much longer, it's also that today the average fan lives a lot farther away from the ballpark, which means that he has to leave home much earlier in order to make it in time for the first pitch, and that it takes much longer for him to get home after the game.
   47. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 10, 2012 at 08:11 AM (#4261466)
Also, and maybe it's because I live overseas, by why does there seem to be such outrage in the MSM towards PEDs in baseball but not in the NFL? Guys who are fit and 6'1" do NOT way over 250 pounds without some added supplements....


My theory is three things. First I don't think football fans are truly invested in their teams but merely that the act of the weekly sport with the betting and fantasy, NFL is basically a reality show.. Second football players are faceless because of the masks nobody knows who they are. Third because football doesn't have an appreciation for its history like baseball so fans don't care when records get broken.

But it's not an illusion, the treatment of the two sports is vastly different.
   48. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 10, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4261500)
First I don't think football fans are truly invested in their teams but merely that the act of the weekly sport with the betting and fantasy, NFL is basically a reality show..


No. Not at all. Football fans are highly invested in their teams. They're also invested in their skill players, particularly quarterbacks. There isn't a notable distinction between the passion of Yankee or Red Sox fans for their teams than their is for Steelers or Ravens fans for theirs.

Second football players are faceless because of the masks nobody knows who they are.


This is more true than the first point, especially outside of the skill positions. Very few football fans care who is playing right guard on any given Sunday, unless he's letting an edge rusher pancake the star QB with some degree of regularity. Even fewer care who the nickle or dime extra safety is, at least until Calvin Johnson goes over him and makes him look stupid.

Third because football doesn't have an appreciation for its history like baseball so fans don't care when records get broken.


This is more to the point. Football doesn't care about it's record book the way baseball cares about its record book. This is almost certainly due to the fact that football's record book is much younger, and the game really isn't about history and counting stats the way baseball is.

I'd say the real reason no one cares about steroids in football is because football is *about power.* It's *about violence.* The entire point of the game is to be big, strong and beat the hell out of the other guy. Steroids, as understood by the general public, fits right into that narrative. Baseball is generally considered a "gentleman's game." It's about finesse and intelligence. The constant interplay of pitcher vs batter. Sure, fans ooh and ahh when Craig Kimbrel cranks it up to 98 in the ninth, but baseball is really more "about" Kris Medlen carving hitters up with a 91 mph fastball and a series of sick changes in perfect spots. Steroids are the opposite of that concept of finesse and intelligence, so fans and writers make a big deal about them in the sport that's "supposed" to be about finesse and intelligence.
   49. BDC Posted: October 10, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4261506)
I went to several "twi-night" doubleheaders back when they were a popular offering. The pressure was never on to stay for every last pitch, obviously. Maybe you'd get there in the third inning of the first game, and depending on the events of the second, leave in the sixth of the second. The atmosphere was relaxed and various. My grandchildren will probably refuse to believe that such things existed.

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