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Monday, October 29, 2012

Ratto: Giants are the new platinum standard of modern baseball

And fly like Ratto from non-sinking ships. Ratto overboard!

And they became one of the genuinely special operations of the past 40 years. Only four franchises, Oakland, Cincinnati, New York (twice) and Toronto have won multiple World Series so close together, and if you want to quibble about the definition of dynasty, then by all means do.

But two in three means you’re no longer lucky, and you’re no longer merely grinders. You’re a team with a high profile, something that makes Sabean’s teeth grind.

...You see, one championship is a party. Two in three years is a statement. In the new baseball, which looks more and more like hockey in this way, the real trick is not to dominate the regular season but to create some space by the start of September and then go foot-to-floor for as long as one can manage it.

This is the real Giants Way. The fundamental truth that stands the game’s principal dynamic on its head. Specifically, the postseason starts on August 1, and doesn’t get serious until September 1. And it ends, or at least it could have ended, on November 1.

The Giants in 2010 and 2012 have won 61 of 90 games from September 1 forward. That’s how postseasons are owned.

...They are a tough out now, these Giants. A piece of post-expansion history, with those A’s and those Reds and those Yankees and even those Blue Jays. They are the new platinum standard of modern baseball.

Repoz Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:25 AM | 117 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4287156)
If the Giants are the new standard for baseball, it's time to start watching arena football.
   2. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4287165)
The Giants aren't notably shittastic or anything, but a few more reach-arounds like this thing and we'll find some reason to hate them soon enough.
   3. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4287177)
The Giants are my 2A team and I'm happy to see them doing well. That said, in addition to being a crapshoot, the postseason has become too much a product of momentum -- to both the upside and downside (Yankees).

We know the Giants are good, but we have no way to legitimately compare them to other two times in 3 year "World Champions." "World Series" wins just don't signal much these days. Nice work, Bud.
   4. BDC Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4287193)
I think one can compare them to other champions – why not; they are a team and they won, the format doesn't invalidate the winning, certainly. Offhand I might compare them to the 1959/63 Dodgers. The first team, though with excellent pitching, had a squirrelly lineup. But by the time of the second team, the pitching was largely intact and actually improved, and they'd torn down the lineup and rebuilt it with one that would go on to win a couple more pennants. Time will tell if this Giants lineup will succeed as much. (And if they win a few more Western Divisions with ~95 wins, I'd say they have, agreeing that playoff success is more tenuous these days.)

There were four years between the two Dodger champions I mentioned instead of two, but things moved more slowly in the days before free agency. These Giants have also accomplished something pretty solid, and it should be appreciated.

I do agree that the rapture over their inability to do anything wrong is both hyperbolic and premature. To take nothing away from their achievement, to be one of five teams that has won two of three Series six times in 40 years is coming close to business as usual.
   5. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4287197)
The Giants won their second WS tournament in no small part due to excellent pitching from Barry Zito.

Yeah. That's not random luck or anything.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4287202)
bob

these giants are hurt in terms of perception because folks look at offense and think san fran's offense is average or below average when this team led the nl with runs scored on the road.

that and people too often still ignore defense

like people at bbtf for example.

   7. bjhanke Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4287205)
I don't know that I've ever seen a postseason team like the Giants. They were down 3 games to 1 to the Cardinals, when their pitching just plain stopped giving up runs. ALL their pitching. Starters, closers, middle-relief guys. It wasn't just Zito. They all just stopped giving up runs, when there was no reason to expect it. My hat is off to them. I thought the Cards would win at least one big-scoring game in the last three, but they didn't score at all. And you never assume a World Series sweep - the other team is the best team in the other league. - Brock Hanke
   8. dr. scott Posted: October 29, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4287218)
Ratto is the SF writer I never click on. He got his own show a year or so ago and he's just insufferable. He makes an interesting point, but I'm not sure one can plan to win like that, it's just the way teams do win. Everything clicked for the Giants in the second half despite mr spoilt melk. The biggest improvement, however, was what Harveys mentioned. Defense. Giants started off the year with nearly an error a game. PAgan looked lost in center, Crawford was booting everything, huff was still playing (anyone remember his fatefull inning at Second base?), random 3rd baseman of the day looking terrible when Pablo was out..(giants traded one of them for Scutaro). It was terrible. Then something happened and Melky, Pagan and Blanco were on fire, Crawford turned into BC, Panda put stability back at third, and Belt started hitting enough to get his good defense in the game.

Wonder who of the one year deals stays this offseason?
   9. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4287221)
I don't know that I've ever seen a postseason team like the Giants. They were down 3 games to 1 to the Cardinals, when their pitching just plain stopped giving up runs. ALL their pitching. Starters, closers, middle-relief guys. It wasn't just Zito. They all just stopped giving up runs, when there was no reason to expect it. My hat is off to them. I thought the Cards would win at least one big-scoring game in the last three, but they didn't score at all. And you never assume a World Series sweep - the other team is the best team in the other league.


Sometimes Pete Kozma hits for you. Sometimes Barry Zito pitches well. Baseball is random.
   10. Delino DeShields & Yarnell Posted: October 29, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4287222)
So in years where a team does well there is a stretch where they win a lot of games. Especially the games they have to win to determine if it's a year in which they did well. Got it.
   11. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4287256)
Baseball is random.


I think it's kinda funny that so many people complain about this, but whenever a team wins multiple championships in a short span (which is an argument AGAINST the postseason being random), people get sick of them fast and wish that someone else would've won instead. Yankees win 3 straight and 4 of 5 and people were definitely sick of them. Red Sox win 2 in 4 years and people start comparing them to the Yankees. Cardinals win 2 in 6 seasons and people start bashing them. Now Giants win 2 in 3 years and people are already starting to tire of them too.

Do we want randomness where a different team wins every season, or do we want legit teams with good cores that aren't just one year flukes? Make up your minds already.

As cool as it was to see new teams make playoff cameo's like the Reds, Nats, O's, and A's, it would've looked much more random if one of them had won the WS than the Giants.
   12. puck Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4287274)
SPLRWADTWES and SPLLTWGC.
   13. TerpNats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4287301)
Imagine if the Cardinals had won it all for the third time in seven years despite three rather lackluster regular-season records; that might have been the weakest "dynasty" ever. So at least we have the Giants to thank for that not happening.
   14. cmd600 Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4287303)
or do we want legit teams with good cores that aren't just one year flukes?


I think a big part of the issue is that the Giants 4/5 starters, who combined for a ~77 ERA+ this season, were huge reasons why the Giants won. Not that the Giants don't have a good core, but the way the won seems to lean toward the latter, not the former.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4287305)
Do we want randomness where a different team wins every season, or do we want legit teams with good cores that aren't just one year flukes? Make up your minds already.

As cool as it was to see new teams make playoff cameo's like the Reds, Nats, O's, and A's, it would've looked much more random if one of them had won the WS than the Giants.


I don't see this at all, I guess because two WS titles in three years isn't enough to convince me the Giants are all that good. I think they just hit the random lottery twice.

They needed a Padres collapse to win the NL West in 2010, and this year they had the weakest record of the NL division champs (and weakest pythag mark of any of the NL's playoff teams). And hell, if the Reds don't lose their Cy Young contender one inning into the NLDS, they may get swept in three. As juggers go, they're not.

   16. Nasty Nate Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4287310)
I think a big part of the issue is that the Giants 4/5 starters, who combined for a ~77 ERA+ this season, were huge reasons why the Giants won. Not that the Giants don't have a good core, but the way the won seems to lean toward the latter, not the former.


But part of the reason for that is that their 4/5 starters are incredibly talented compared to other teams 4/5 starters, despite their poor regular season. Also, every champion has meaningful contributions from weird corners of their roster, that's just the nature of the beast.
   17. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4287312)
As juggers go, they're not.


I see what you did there.
   18. DL from MN Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4287316)
Some of the Giants players are all that good - Posey for one. That was abundantly clear after this Series to me. He's just really damned good at every aspect of the game.
   19. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4287317)
I think a big part of the issue is that the Giants 4/5 starters, who combined for a ~77 ERA+ this season, were huge reasons why the Giants won.


The Giants 4/5 starters are also veteran pitchers with terrific records of success. Lincecum's 2012 season was more of a one-year fluke than his postseason performance.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4287326)
Barry Zito has a terrific record of success, but anyone betting on him to pitch well last week, or next year, is making a poor bet. He's not good anymore.

The Giants have a very good team, and then they played extremely well in the playoffs. So they won the championship! good for them, good for their fans. This doesn't have to be terribly complicated.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4287331)
Some of the Giants players are all that good - Posey for one. That was abundantly clear after this Series to me. He's just really damned good at every aspect of the game.


Sure. They have many good to great players. But they're just been one of the teams that was capable of winning a title over the past several years, and they happened to do it twice. That they happened to do it twice is wonderful for them and their fans and the entitre city of San Francisco, but it doesn't make them better than the 90ish win teams they were in both those cases.

This isn't the Yankees or Braves of the 90s, teams that were year-in, year-out one of the two best teams in their leagues. It was just a good team that navigated the playoff process twice in three years (while missing it entirely in the middle).
   22. BFFB Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4287335)
Being good enough to stay in the 4/5 spot all season puts them above most other teams 4/5 pitchers without looking any deeper.
   23. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4287336)
Do we want randomness where a different team wins every season, or do we want legit teams with good cores that aren't just one year flukes? Make up your minds already.


If it's not my team, I want someone different each year. If it's my team, I want a dynasty. Else I complain. /channeling typical fan
   24. cmd600 Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4287339)
But part of the reason for that is that their 4/5 starters used to be incredibly talented


Maybe Lincecum's regular season was a huge fluke, but Bochy certainly didn't treat it like one.
   25. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4287347)
I don't see this at all, I guess because two WS titles in three years isn't enough to convince me the Giants are all that good. I think they just hit the random lottery twice.


It seems that two in three years is about the closest we're going to get to a repeat these days. I admit to thinking that I thought the Giants seemed pretty random in 2010 - especially after their sub-par 2011 - but their best position player was also injured for most of last year. They don't seem flukey to me at all, anymore.

The Reds and especially the Nats look like young up-and-comers that could be contenders for a while, but looking at the O's I still don't understand why they were so good. I expect them to be around .500 next year. If they had won, they'd have seemed like the very definition of a fluke champion to me.

Also, every champion has meaningful contributions from weird corners of their roster, that's just the nature of the beast.


Yep. The only reason I even remember the likes of Mark Lemke, Jim Leyritz, and Scott Brosius is because of their flukish postseason heroics.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4287352)

It seems that two in three years is about the closest we're going to get to a repeat these days. I admit to thinking that I thought the Giants seemed pretty random in 2010 - especially after their sub-par 2011 - but their best position player was also injured for most of last year. They don't seem flukey to me at all, anymore.


I don't think they're flukey. I just don't think this second title elevates them into greatness either.
   27. dr. scott Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4287358)
The giants lost the game where Cueto goes down, so I'm not sure how him pitching that game and game 5 helps the reds sweep in 3.

The playoffs are a bit of a crapshoot, and they always have been. Even in the 20's. The fact that more teams are in the playoffs, and teams win the world series with bad regular season records is basically proof that regular season record is not a great predictor of playoff success. If we want only teams with great regular season records to win the world series then we need to go back to two best records in the league going to the series. You still won't get the best team by regular season standards sometimes, just likely the better team at the time of the series.
   28. DL from MN Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4287359)
I just don't think this second title elevates them into greatness either.


Maybe not the players, but I think it elevates the status of Bochy. Did Bochy make a single mistake this postseason?
   29. Randy Jones Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4287365)
Yep. The only reason I even remember the likes of Mark Lemke, Jim Leyritz, and Scott Brosius is because of their flukish postseason heroics.


Mark Lemke will always be remembered as the Homestar Runner.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4287368)
Maybe not the players, but I think it elevates the status of Bochy.


Absolutely. He's got to be moving quietly (let's face it, quietly is the only way he moves) into the Hall conversation down the road. Six division titles, three pennants and two WS tites will go a long way. He'll probably need to get the W-L record over .500 (some of those Padre teardowns have damaged his overall winning percentage), but he's turning himself into a legit candidate.

   31. Nasty Nate Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4287371)
But part of the reason for that is that their 4/5 starters used to be incredibly talented


Maybe Lincecum's regular season was a huge fluke, but Bochy certainly didn't treat it like one.


What are you talking about? He didn't pull him out of the rotation during the entire regular season, in the playoffs they gave him 1 start and then crucial relief innings, and they have already announced he will be a starter next year.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4287373)
The giants lost the game where Cueto goes down, so I'm not sure how him pitching that game and game 5 helps the reds sweep in 3.


I'm pretty sure Latos wouldn't have pitched in Game 1 (and Arroyo in 2, Bailey in 3 and Leake at all) if Cueto doesn't go down.

The larger point is the Cueto injury was a pretty big blow to the Reds in the series.

   33. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4287422)
Honestly, taking into account the entire season, the regular season and the playoffs, where would you put them in MLB? Sixth or seventh?

Ironically they may actually rate higher than that based on talent and that for the regular season their performance may have undershot their talent (plus Scutaro was a legitimate upgrade on their second base situation). The A's probably played better baseball all totaled, but the Giants likely had the better roster. The same, I guess, with the Orioles. I'd say I'd probably have the Yankees, Rangers, Reds and maybe the Nationals as having better rosters.
   34. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4287429)
Do we want randomness where a different team wins every season, or do we want legit teams with good cores that aren't just one year flukes? Make up your minds already.

We want (unavoidable) postseason randomness to be significantly reduced in importance. Baseball's not really that random over 162 games. The postseason is rapidly approaching "exhibition" status, and may already be there.

This isn't, of course, to say that the Giants aren't a really good team; they probably are. Ninety-four wins is nothing to sniff at. It is to say that their postseason performance is all but irrelevant to measuring whether they're a really good team.
   35. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4287438)
I also think that there's a lot of ways to get at what we mean by having a "great team." There's various ways to weigh and measure what goes into that and the Giants do better in some than others. How exactly do you account for Melky Cabrera or Lincecum or Scutaro or Pence or Angel Pagan? Those guys could all be evaluated differently (either on form or by not being available all year) depending on just how you want to look at it.

In any event, it would hardly be a surprise if the Dodgers went into next season as the Vegas favorites in the West.
   36. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4287440)
If the Cardinals or Orioles had won, people would have complained that they weren't deserving because they didn't win their divisions. If the Tigers had won, people would've complained that they only had 88 wins and won a weak division pretty much by default. That leaves the Giants, Reds, Nats, A's, and Yankees as all being equally worthy, no? I don't see how we can determine between these teams who the "real" best team of the year was. San Fran seems just as legit as anyone.

We want (unavoidable) postseason randomness to be significantly reduced in importance. Baseball's not really that random over 162 games.


How do we do that? Even in the days where the best record in each league automatically met in the World Series, the better team only won half the time. That's baseball (and every sport except the NBA, which IMO has the opposite problem). I just don't really see the point in getting upset about this every single season.
   37. Joe OBrien Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4287443)
As a Giants fan, I really hope we don't see too many dumb columns like this one. If crap like this leads to people disliking the Giants, I would understand why.

I think most of the people in this thread have it about right. Neither of these championships were exactly a fluke, but they certainly weren't the best team in baseball either year.

With the exception of a few years, the Giants have been one of the top 10 teams in baseball for about 15 years. With that sustained success a team would expect about one title given the current playoff format. This was their sixth postseason appearance in the current format, not counting the '98 wild card tie-breaker. The fact that they won in '10 and '12, and not '02 or '03 is randomness. Sabean was in charge then, he's in charge now. The Giants haven't discovered any secret to winning, any more than Jeter and Rivera forgot how to win after 2000.

Of course as a fan, I don't care about any of that. The Giants won and I'm happy.
   38. SoSH U at work Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4287446)
That summarizes it nicely Joe.

   39. Nasty Nate Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4287453)
I don't see how we can determine between these teams who the "real" best team of the year was.


Letting them play against each other in a mini-tournament seems like a fun way.
   40. Steve Treder Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4287456)
That summarizes it nicely Joe.

Seconded.

And I would add, as a Giants' fan, whether their true talent aligns perfectly with the results of the season/postseason tournament results is the furthest thing from my mind. It's just a blast to win. Every bit as much as it's a ##### to lose. Believe me, as a lifelong Giants' fan, I truly know the latter, and it feels great to finally get to truly know the former.
   41. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4287466)
I don't see how we can determine between these teams who the "real" best team of the year was.

Letting them play against each other in a mini-tournament seems like a fun way.


Heh. Exactly.

I didn't read the article, and if it's claiming that the Giants are an all time great team now, then yes, that's really stupid. I sure wouldn't put them on the same level as say, the 70's Reds, who also won two titles.

Mainly I just don't understand why SF winning seems to bother so many people here. They won their division, and did so with a good regular season record (unlike the Tigers, 2006 Cards, 1987 Twins, etc). In fact, they were within, what, like 4 wins of the best record in baseball? They seem like the exact type of team that people here always say SHOULD be winning.
   42. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4287497)
I was not a real big fan of the expansion of the postseason back before the Giants had won anything, and I'm still not. It does its job, I guess, of randoming up the whole thing so that a larger number of fanbases thinks it's still in it for a longer period of time, but ultimately I also think it detracts from the meaningfulness of really putting together a great whole season. YMMV.
   43. Steve Treder Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4287504)
a larger number of fanbases thinks it's still in it for a longer period of time,

These fanbases aren't being fooled. They don't just "think" they're still in it for a longer period of time. They are still in it for a longer period of time. There is no illusion. It is what it says it is.

but ultimately I also think it detracts from the meaningfulness of really putting together a great whole season.

Of course it does. It must. It's axiomatic. A sport cannot have it both ways.

And I've been among those who've said for, oh, about 20 years now that fewer divisions and fewer playoff rounds makes for a more compelling entertainment for we purists. But if I were running the business of MLB, I would do it largely as they do. They have a different interest than we purists.

Still doesn't mean it isn't a freaking blast when your team wins this thing.
   44. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4287506)
How do we do that?


By repeatedly pointing out the randomness of the playoffs every time we have a chance, until such time as the playoffs are properly understood to be a big, shiny idiot bauble at the end of a baseball season.
   45. BDC Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4287511)
They are still in it for a longer period of time

In Arlington this year, for exactly one day :) But you're right, the game was played and I was there. Beats staying home watching football on TV.
   46. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4287513)
By repeatedly pointing out the randomness of the playoffs every time we have a chance, until such time as the playoffs are properly understood to be a big, shiny idiot bauble at the end of a baseball season.


Eh. Sports are just shiny things for the purpose of entertainment in the first place. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
   47. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4287516)
I was not a real big fan of the expansion of the postseason back before the Giants had won anything, and I'm still not. It does its job, I guess, of randoming up the whole thing so that a larger number of fanbases thinks it's still in it for a longer period of time, but ultimately I also think it detracts from the meaningfulness of really putting together a great whole season. YMMV.

There really isn't much more to say about it than this. It was great watching the Tigers sweep the Yankees, but it doesn't prove they're a better team. The short-lived excitement of that will never outstrip a year like 1984 or, honestly, even 1987. Coming from way back in the last week to overtake the Blue Jays for something real, that takes you 97 wins to earn, is cooler than even sweeping the Yankees as a flawed 88-win team.



   48. DanG Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4287518)
Letting them play against each other in a mini-tournament seems like a fun way.
Wouldn't it be fairer if each playoff team got to play each of the others in some sort of round-robin format?

Anyway, the question is: How often does the best team win the World Series? Given the current playoff format, what are the odds?

In a typical baseball playoff series, how often does the best team win? Two-thirds of the time? Help me out here.

If that's right (actually I think that's a bit high), then doesn't that make it a 30% chance that the best team will win three playoff rounds (.67 x .67 x .67)?

I'm sure someone here has a better answer to the question.
   49. BillWallace Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4287520)
Assumption: Postseason games are not significantly more meaningful than regular season games in determining who the best team was, but they are at least as meaningful.

Combined regular and postseason records sorted in order of winning %:
Washington .599
Cincinnati .593
San Francisco .590
Atlanta .577
Oakland .575
Yankees .573
Baltimore .571
Texas .571
Tampa Bay .556
LAA .549
Detroit .543
St. Louis .543

Give a small bump to the AL teams for strength of schedule... recognize this is missing other SoS factors. What do you have? A group of teams all of whom are roughly equally deserving. San Francisco is no more than 2 games from the top.
   50. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4287521)
For the most part, I agree about what y'all are saying about the randomness of the postseason. I just (A) Don't really see there being a better alternative to the way things are being done, and (B) think that the Giants are a bad example to use to demonstrate said randomness. There wasn't a clear cut best team in the regular season this year. There were a half dozen or so - including the Giants - that were within 4 or 5 games of each other. They really do have as good of an argument as anyone to being the actual best team rather than just the WS champion.

Edit: or what #49 said. Well put.
   51. tshipman Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4287527)
Give a small bump to the AL teams for strength of schedule... recognize this is missing other SoS factors. What do you have? A group of teams all of whom are roughly equally deserving. San Francisco is no more than 2 games from the top.


Also, the Giants were significantly better with Scutaro and the Nationals shut down their best pitcher.

By the end of the season, SF was no worse than the second best team in majors.
   52. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4287528)
By repeatedly pointing out the randomness of the playoffs every time we have a chance, until such time as the playoffs are properly understood to be a big, shiny idiot bauble at the end of a baseball season.


As opposed to the profoundly deep and meaningful significance of the children's game which is played by grown men the rest of the year?
   53. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4287530)
As opposed to the profoundly deep and meaningful significance of the children's game which is played by grown men the rest of the year?


If you can't tell the difference between the value of results from a game played over 162 events, vs the value of that same game played over 12 events, I can't really help you man.
   54. BDC Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4287532)
In a typical baseball playoff series, how often does the best team win?

So far this century, the team with the better regular-season record has won 6 World Series, the other team 7. That's an initial data set, anyway.

But the question is beset with definitional problems. How much better gives you a how much better chance? With teams playing different schedules in leagues of different strengths, and adding and subtracting players all season, how do the two teams in a series "really" compare? And a lot of the fun of sports is seeing who can come up with the better strategy, anyway, hypothetical talent aside. The four-corner stall and the rope-a-dope and using Ryan Theriot as your designated hitter are all part of the wonder of it :)
   55. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4287538)
By repeatedly pointing out the randomness of the playoffs every time we have a chance, until such time as the playoffs are properly understood to be a big, shiny idiot bauble at the end of a baseball season.


And that accomplishes what, exactly?

Postseason success matters in baseball, and that's been the case for a long time (going back before the days of divisions). The most memorable games in baseball history, with no more than a couple of exceptions, have either occurred on the postseason stage or between two teams who are fighting to get there late in the season. The goal isn't to be the *best team* - it's as Jim Valvano put it, to survive and advance.

-- MWE
   56. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4287548)
If you can't tell the difference between the value of results from a game played over 162 events, vs the value of that same game played over 12 events, I can't really help you man.


Sure, but the attitude that the regular season is all that matters and the playoffs are just meaningless exhibition games (and I know you didn't specifically say that) is just backwards, IMO. Winning the World Series is the goal of every team before and during the entire season. Having the best regular season record only matters in the sense that it gives the team a shot at the WS.

Don't you think the 2001 Mariners players, coaches, and fans would've rather had 96 wins and a title instead of 116 wins and an ALCS exit? I sure as hell would if I were an M's fan. Best regular season record in most years is a fairly irrelevant distinction that few will even remember the following year. World Series champ is a much more memorable distinction.
   57. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4287552)
Postseason success matters in baseball, and that's been the case for a long time (going back before the days of divisions). The most memorable games in baseball history, with no more than a couple of exceptions, have either occurred on the postseason stage or between two teams who are fighting to get there late in the season. The goal isn't to be the *best team* - it's as Jim Valvano put it, to survive and advance.


That it is status quo doesn't make it less stupid. You can support the status quo, or you can support intelligence.
   58. bunyon Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4287559)
The goal is to win, sure. Now, if everyone would stop annointing the WS champ as the "best" team and simply call them the winners, I'd have no trouble with it.

With that said, any Giant fan who, this morning, is upset because some grumps on the internet aren't bowing down to their team needs to get a life. They're at a party and they're unhappy not everyone came?
   59. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4287567)
Anyway, the question is: How often does the best team win the World Series?


Define "best team". And how do you know a priori which team is the best team?

In the broad sense, it really doesn't matter which team is the best team, because that's not the point of the competition. The point of the competition is to be the one left standing at the end of the battle.

-- MWE
   60. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4287571)
Hello? You play to win the game.
   61. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4287585)
In the broad sense, it really doesn't matter which team is the best team, because that's not the point of the competition. The point of the competition is to be the one left standing at the end of the battle.


Exactly. Talking about a team having the best regular season record isn't much different than talking about them having the most HR's or the lowest ERA or whatever. Those things only matter cuz they help a team win games. And winning regular season games only matters cuz it helps a team get into the playoffs, which is necessary for winning the World Series.

So yes, winning the World Series doesn't necessarily mean a team is the "best." But so what, since "best team" is an irrelevant and generally forgetable distinction anyway?
   62. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4287594)

That it is status quo doesn't make it less stupid. You can support the status quo, or you can support intelligence.


And this is why they hate us.
   63. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4287595)
The goal is to win, sure. Now, if everyone would stop annointing the WS champ as the "best" team and simply call them the winners, I'd have no trouble with it.


I don't know if most people DO call the WS champ the "best" team. Every list I see always labels them the WS winners or the championship winners or whatever. And those titles aren't disputable.

   64. DanG Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4287601)
Define "best team". And how do you know a priori which team is the best team?
Ay there's the rub.

The "best team" is as elusive as the "best player", yet there have been many attempts to define it. If you search, you can usually find someone making a serious attempt to answer it, although I can't point you anywhere at the moment.

You can say that it is the team with the best record, or the playoff champion and leave it at that; if that is the same team in a year few would argue with you. Even if, theoretically, the evidence indicates otherwise.

What evidence? The usual: strength of schedule, "true talent", Pythag W-L, and other statistical analysis woven in with assumptions about what makes teams win.
   65. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4287610)
it's as Jim Valvano put it, to survive and advance.

There's a long drive...it's gonna be, I believe...

THE GIANTS ADVANCE!
THE GIANTS ADVANCE!
THE GIANTS ADVANCE!
THE GIANTS ADVANCE!

There was a time when the regular season champion was considered to be a champion and a meaningful one too. I suppose that's never coming back, but I don't have to be happy about it.
   66. DL from MN Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4287619)
children's game which is played by grown men


You hit the nerve. Baseball is clearly a man's game which is played by children, not the other way around. If you've watched fourth graders try to throw strikes you would know this is the case. What you're thinking of is kickball.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4287628)
But so what, since "best team" is an irrelevant and generally forgetable distinction anyway?

And you're OK with that? If "best" is irrelevant, why have playoffs, regular season or games? Why not go watch the ballet instead, you'll see equally impressive displays of athleticism?

This is one attitude which annoys the crap out of those of us who aren't happy about the expansion of the postseason in number of teams and the glorification of the postseason in terms of importance. The best doesn't matter. The regular season only matters in that it gives you a shot at the playoffs (and in the other sports, that's half the teams so the regular season barely matters for that).

The point of competition, the very reason for its existence, is to determine which person/team is better. If the competition is reduced to the level where its only purpose is to produce a winner for the sake of there being a winner, why should I watch baseball and why should I care who wins?
   68. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4287631)
The point of competition, the very reason for its existence, is to determine which person/team is better. If the competition is reduced to the level where its only purpose is to produce a winner for the sake of there being a winner, why should I watch baseball and why should I care who wins?


The problem is that it's very rare for there to be a clear cut "best." Did the one extra win prove the Braves were better than the Giants in 1993? Were the '78 Yankees clearly better than the Red Sox? If Bobby Thomson swings half an inch lower and pops up are the Dodgers the clear best in 1951?

For me assigning values like "best" and "worst" is a fun intellectual exercise but the objective of the game is to win under the rules as constituted.
   69. thok Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4287633)
The point of competition, the very reason for its existence, is to determine which person/team is better. If the competition is reduced to the level where its only purpose is to produce a winner for the sake of there being a winner, why should I watch baseball and why should I care who wins?


Do you want to know the horrible truth, or would you like to see Pando Sandoval hits some dingers?
   70. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4287639)
And you're OK with that? If "best" is irrelevant, why have playoffs, regular season or games?


I'm "okay" with that because the alternative - having no playoffs and the league winners meet in the World Series every year - is much worse. Yes, having the entertainment of getting to see a few more rounds of baseball is more important to me than making sure the "best" team wins every year. What you're wanting just isn't possible, and it never has been.

The point of competition, the very reason for its existence, is to determine which person/team is better. If the competition is reduced to the level where its only purpose is to produce a winner for the sake of there being a winner, why should I watch baseball and why should I care who wins?


Um, isn't that what the World Series is too - a competition for the purpose of producing a winner for the sake of there being a winner? Even if you went back to the old format and eliminated all rounds of playoffs except the WS, you'd still only see the "best" team win about half the time. Why even have a meaningless exhibition like the WS then? Why not just declare each league champ the winner and leave it at that? Implementing the WS in the first place killed this argument over 100 years ago, IMO.
   71. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4287644)
And I'm guessing that exactly no one cares about "best" team in a season that their team won the championship (in any sport).
   72. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4287653)
Why even have a meaningless exhibition like the WS then? Why not just declare each league champ the winner and leave it at that? Implementing the WS in the first place killed this argument over 100 years ago, IMO.


That it is the status quo does not make it less stupid.
   73. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4287654)
And again, what #68 said. This seems like a weird season for people to be complaining that the best teams rarely win when the team that did win has just as good an argument to being the best as anyone else. With Strasburg shut down and Cueto getting hurt, the Nats and Reds really weren't as good of teams in the playoffs as they were during the season.
   74. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4287663)
Why even have a meaningless exhibition like the WS then? Why not just declare each league champ the winner and leave it at that? Implementing the WS in the first place killed this argument over 100 years ago, IMO.

That it is the status quo does not make it less stupid.


If you think the World Series is stupid and you consider the season over once the last regular season game is played, that's up to you. I don't see why it should bother you though that not everyone else does the same.
   75. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4287673)
This seems like a weird season for people to be complaining that the best teams rarely win when the team that did win has just as good an argument to being the best as anyone else.


I think the complaint is that Ratto spewed up this "new platinum standard of modern baseball" horseshit more than anything else. As I said, I have nothing particularly against the Giants. They're a perfectly boring baseball team with no really interesting players who are good enough to win their division and ran the post-season tournament. But they're not exactly a "new platinum standard" for anything other than getting a few lucky bounces and a few pitchers hot at the right time.

And the post-season is stupid. People who like it are stupid.
   76. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4287675)
There was a time when the regular season champion was considered to be a champion and a meaningful one too. I suppose that's never coming back, but I don't have to be happy about it.

Yep, again. The worst part of the modern postseason is how it's rendered seasons like the Nationals' an afterthought. Why was that fanbase subjected to a home Game 5 that far removed from the World Series against an obviously inferior team that left their fanbase disappointed, if not embittered?

The old postseason wasn't really meant to determine the "best" team, but instead to act as a Tournament of Champions, by which champions could add additional championships to what had already been a great season. The modern postseason is, obviously, entirely inconsistent with that aim.

NOTE: This has nothing to do with the Giants winning this year.
   77. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4287682)
And the post-season is stupid. People who like it are stupid.

World Series is stupid. Got it.

Yep, again. The worst part of the modern postseason is how it's rendered seasons like the Nationals' an afterthought.


The Nats rendered their own season an afterthought the moment they shut down Strasburg. I was actually cheering for them to make the WS (check my picks in the postseason thread), but it's hard to have too much sympathy for the "best" team losing when they deliberately didn't put their best team on the field.
   78. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4287685)
The Nats rendered their own season an afterthought the moment they shut down Strasburg.

Under the premises of the modern postseason, maybe. Not under the old system, though, when their well-earned NL East championship would have (a) got them a round closer to the World Series; and (b) salved the pain of losing the LCS -- in itself, and also because they wouldn't have lost it to a joke team like the Cardinals. You lose to a 97-win Reds team -- the only team worthy of playing you -- you get over it, hang your hard-earned flag next spring, and celebrate an excellent season.

The National League should have been Nationals-Reds in a 7-game LCS. The post-'93 system sucks.
   79. Steve Treder Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4287690)
And the post-season is stupid. People who like it are stupid.

The grapes are sour. Understood.

Many, many things in life are less than robust equations of manly perfection. That doesn't make them stupid. Chocolate has obvious flaws and shortcomings. So does beer, so does sex, and so does the playing of baseball games for the entertainment of a crowd. That doesn't make people who like them stupid.
   80. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4287692)
The National League should have been Nationals-Reds in a 7-game LCS. The post-'93 system sucks.


Except that even pre-1993, the winner of one division may have been an inferior team to the 2nd place team in a stronger division. And in the format prior to that, the winner of one league may have been inferior to the 2nd or 3rd best team in the other league. The only way to avoid this would be to eliminate the postseason entirely (including the WS), which no one except Sam seems to advocate doing.
   81. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4287695)
Aren't you a Braves fan, Sam? Would you still have considered the entire postseason stupid and refused to watch if Atlanta had gone all the way? I doubt it.
   82. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4287701)
The 2012 Post season Giants were a team that got hot at the right time, took advantage of all the breaks and got all the clutch hits. The fact that this wasn't the same team I watched almost the whole year made it frustrating in that now I am surrounded by a bunch of band wagon fans who "knew" that they were going to win the whole thing like they had some hidden insight. Its like being part of the NCAA March Madness pool and you are the only person that watches college basketball but the winner ends up being a admin who picked all her teams based on the uniform colors and names.
   83. Steve Treder Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4287703)
The 2012 Post season Giants were a team that got hot at the right time, took advantage of all the breaks and got all the clutch hits.

And played superb defense.
   84. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4287705)
The grapes are sour.


No, the grapes are fine. He's just pretending that they're sour because he didn't get any.

Chocolate has obvious flaws and shortcomings. So does beer, so does sex, and so does the playing of baseball games for the entertainment of a crowd.


You are obviously eating the wrong chocolate, drinking the wrong beer, having sex with the wrong people, and watching the wrong baseball games.
   85. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4287706)
Many, many things in life are less than robust equations of manly perfection. That doesn't make them stupid. Chocolate has obvious flaws and shortcomings. So does beer, so does sex,


Ur doin it rong.

and so does the playing of baseball games for the entertainment of a crowd. That doesn't make people who like them stupid.


You're probably right. The arrow of causality is probably reversed on that one. People like it because they're stupid.
   86. bunyon Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4287707)
For me assigning values like "best" and "worst" is a fun intellectual exercise but the objective of the game is to win under the rules as constituted.

To me, the system should be set up so that the teams that make the entertaining postseason should have a claim to the throne. Then it is a short tournament between legitimate candidates for best. You mention 1951 and 1993. I think either LA (51) or SF (93) would have been fine combatants in the postseason tournament. SF would have, in fact, been better than the Phillies.

But what we have now is a system where, very often, it is obvious that one of, if not the, last teams standing is NOT the best. Not arguably not the best, obviously not the best. The Tigers weren't the best team in the AL and everyone knew it. Same for St. Louis last year. That sucks.

The Giants, this year, are a completely legit champ.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'd rather leave a good team home than have a bad team advance. Eventually, everyone has to be eliminated.

I get that I'm in a clear minority.
   87. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4287708)
Aren't you a Braves fan, Sam?


Of course.

Would you still have considered the entire postseason stupid and refused to watch if Atlanta had gone all the way?


Of course.

I doubt it.


You haven't been paying attention, then.
   88. Steve Treder Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4287712)
You're probably right. The arrow of causality is probably reversed on that one. People like it because they're stupid.

Your abject defeat on the merits of the argument is duly noted.
   89. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:39 PM (#4287718)
Yes, and played great defense unlike the A's when they make the playoffs who treat the baseball like a hot potato
   90. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4287723)
I think people are getting it wrong. Sure, having a postseason tournament militates against the best team winning. But baseball just isn't important enough to make a fuss. There's only one sport whose towering significance requires that the best team as far as it can be determined, win the championship without a playoff.

College football.
   91. Booey Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4287724)
You haven't been paying attention, then.


So you really wouldn't consider any Braves championship meaningful unless they were clearly the best team in baseball that year?

My bad, then. I do believe you're in an extreme minority on that one, though.
   92. DL from MN Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4287727)
You playoff naysayers were probably big fans of pre-BCS college football. I'll take the system where a team has to win to be champion and I'm perfectly fine with champion != best team. That's the way it works in sports - you have to win the games to get the trophy.
   93. Flynn Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4287731)

So you really wouldn't consider any Braves championship meaningful unless they were clearly the best team in baseball that year?

My bad, then. I do believe you're in an extreme minority on that one, though.


To be fair to Sam, the Braves generally played postseasons like they believed that themselves.
   94. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4287735)
And in the format prior to that, the winner of one league may have been inferior to the 2nd or 3rd best team in the other league.

But they were different leagues so you really couldn't be sure. The champions of the National League were the Champions of the National League, not the World Series qualifiers from the National division.

The point is that adding layers upon layers of playoffs pretty much has to have a significant effect on how success in the regular season is perceived. And many of us feel that the overall result lessens our enjoyment of the season. Going to the division setup was a small step backward, but as long as the schedules were unbalanced you could live with it. But now we've got two more rounds of playoffs and likely additional playoffs in the future.

Not that it matters, but I don't like it.
   95. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4287738)
That's the way it works in sports

Manchester City celebrates what must have been a historic win in the championship game:

Man City are playoff champs!
   96. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4287755)
Sure, having a postseason tournament militates against the best team winning.


I honestly don't understand how you people intend to determine the "best" team. In the NL this year, was the best team the 98-win Nats or the 97-win Reds? Is one game really enough to tell, especially given that they played different schedules? Are we talking about the Nationals with or without Strasburg? The Reds with or without Joey Votto? Can you be sure the 94-win Giants weren't the best team once they got Marco Scutaro? Does your opinion change if Scutaro hits .233 next year?

Barring the odd case like the 1998 Yankees, there's just no such thing as an objective "best team in baseball." It exists only in someone's supposition.
   97. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4287759)
The pre-'94 system wasn't trying to determine the best team in baseball; instead, it set up a system by which teams played for various championships. The "best team in baseball" meme has crept into discussions now, because no one can figure out why the postseason is as it is. It's more of a negative concept, by way of pointing out that the postseason doesn't determine it.

   98. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4287760)
I honestly don't understand how you people intend to determine the "best" team.

We don't, or at least I don't. What I prefer is for success over 162 games be prioritized over success over 16. The "best" team still might not come out on top after 162 (even if you could know such a thing), but I think the team that does come out on top will have done more to deserve it.

As I pointed out directly above, it isn't like such a setup is unworkable in modern sports, there are probably more professional sports leagues in the world who do it that way than not. Ironically enough, the English league is set up that way because it modeled its league structure and scheduling after professional baseball.
   99. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4287762)
What's the problem with a baseball team that does the best over 162 games not necessarily being the "best" team? It's always sort of assumed that's a problem, but it's difficult to see why. Players get hurt, great prospects aren't ready until June, and on and on. No big deal.
   100. Chris Fluit Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4287785)
Harking all the way back to post #30:

Absolutely. He's got to be moving quietly (let's face it, quietly is the only way he moves) into the Hall conversation down the road. Six division titles, three pennants and two WS tites will go a long way. He'll probably need to get the W-L record over .500 (some of those Padre teardowns have damaged his overall winning percentage), but he's turning himself into a legit candidate.


Bochy's winning percentage is already over .500, though not by much. He's at .502 (1454-1444) after the 2012 season. Even so, I generally agree with your point. He's turning into a legit candidate but it would help to an even higher winning percentage- which he could do with a few more seasons in San Fran.
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