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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Why The Wild Card Game Should Be A Two-Game Series

But adding an extra game would push the World Series to Christmas!

Wha’? A two-game series? Erm…don’t know how to tell you this, Nico, but…um…two is an even number. I know. And the wild card game should, for many reasons at once, be a two-game series. Here’s how I think it should work, and why…

To advance to the ALDS, the 2nd wild card team should have to beat the 1st wild card team twice. That “two chances to win one” backdrop gives the 1st wild card team a significant advantage over the 2nd wild card team. This is important because the difference in record between the 1st and 2nd wild card teams can be large, potentially even larger than the spread between a division winner and a 2nd place team.

Never has this been more evident than in 2014, where the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim, if you didn’t know) are currently in the 1st wild card slot despite currently being on pace to win 97 games. Leading the 2nd wild card race, at the moment, are the Toronto Blue Jays, currently on pace to win all of 86 games.

A team 11 games worse should not be on such equal footing as to have only to snatch one game, albeit an away game, in order to advance. Consider a team like the Seattle Mariners, also in the thick of the wild card hunt just 2 games back of Toronto, that is on pace to win only 83 games but has King Felix Hernandez as a tremendous “one-game wild card” weapon.

In order to create sufficient incentive to win the 1st wild card, and not just “any wild card,” making the 2nd wild card sweep a two-game series in order to advance is more fair to the 1st wild card winner.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2014 at 11:47 AM | 72 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, blue jays, mariners, royals, wild card, yankees

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   1. rufus was here Posted: August 05, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4764766)
I like this idea for 2014.

But what if the two wild card teams are only separated by a game or two? Does it still make sense to give the top wild card team so much of an advantage?
   2. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 05, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4764770)
But what if the two wild card teams are only separated by a game or two? Does it still make sense to give the top wild card team so much of an advantage?


What if they're tied?

Like the second wild card itself*, it's a stupid idea, a solution to an occasional instance of "unfairness" that ignores the other issues it would create/potentially create.

* OK, the second wild card isn't as stupid as many other playoff solutions. It just creates a new problem in equal measure to the one it solves.

   3. DKDC Posted: August 05, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4764771)
In 2012, the Rangers and Orioles had the same record, but the Rangers were the #1 wild card team because of tiebreakers.
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: August 05, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4764775)
Is this what the baseball playoffs have devolved into? Worrying about what's "fair" for a 2nd place team?
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: August 05, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4764776)
it's a stupid idea, a solution to an occasional instance of "unfairness" that ignores the other issues it would create/potentially create.


That one sentence sums up a huge chunk of Selig's legacy.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 05, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4764779)
Guess I'm in the minority but I like this. I like the idea of creating legitimate incentives for teams to keep playing hard and finish as high as they can in the standings.
   7. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 05, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4764781)
I don't think being the best non-division winner necessarily *deserves* to have any special advantage.
   8. Spahn Insane Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4764787)
lolwut
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4764790)
Guess I'm in the minority but I like this. I like the idea of creating legitimate incentives for teams to keep playing hard and finish as high as they can in the standings.


Except it doesn't guarantee this.

Going into the last weekend of the 2014 season, the standings look like this.

Oak 99-60
Ana 97-62

Balt 95-64
Tor 91-68

Under the current scenario (itself with its own problems that I've tediously gone over), Anaheim is more likely to go all out to catch Oakland (and avoid the one-game playoff) than if they know they'll have a substantial edge against Toronto in the 1970s NBA-inspired 2 to win 1 playoff.

   10. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4764801)
We'll need to create something that gives a team that's way back in the race for the first wild card and well ahead for the second wild card incentive to keep playing hard.

I don't dislike this idea, though. I don't think it's remotely necessary, but having an extra playoff game is more baseball, and that's good. And if they scheduled the potential second game on the normal travel day between the Wild Card game and the ALDS, then it creates a penalty for a team that has to go to the second game to advance.
   11. #6bid is partially elite Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4764807)
Isn't a home team 55% to win a priori? That's all the advantage that the 1st wild card should need.
   12. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4764812)
This comes down to Incentives vs Fairness. Under the current system, the incentive to win the Division title is huge. With a best-of-three, the incentive becomes slightly less, and the fairness factor increases.

IMO the Incentives win out. We get much more heated Division races and the thrill of a guaranteed one game showdown, in return for losing a bit of Fairness. But any team that's good enough to make it to the postseason should be able to find a way to beat another team's Ace. In 2012 Yu Darvish was beaten at home in the shootout by Joe (Who's he?) Saunders. In 2013 the great "ace" Johnny Cueto was clobbered by the Pirates. Good teams can find a way to beat any pitcher, even if they have to do it by 1-0.
   13. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4764821)
I don't think "incentive" should play into it, unless it significantly depresses the incentives created by making a Wild Card Game in the first place. I just like the idea of more baseball games.
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4764831)
Under the current system, the incentive to win the Division title is huge.


Under the currents system, the incentive to win one division of three is much bigger than it was.

The incentive to win one of the other two is smaller than it used to be.

And so it goes.

   15. Nasty Nate Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4764833)
I don't think "incentive" should play into it, unless it significantly depresses the incentives created by making a Wild Card Game in the first place.

What do you mean?
   16. villageidiom Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4764838)
In order to create sufficient incentive to win the 1st wild card, and not just “any wild card,” making the 2nd wild card sweep a two-game series in order to advance is more fair to the 1st wild card winner.
But there is no need to create sufficient incentive to win the first wild card. The second wild card exists to give the first wild card team incentive to win the division. The disincentive of potentially getting knocked out in a play-in game is the whole reason to have a second wild card.

If the first wild card winner thinks it unfair, win your division.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4764839)
the incentive to win one division of three is much bigger than it was.

The incentive to win one of the other two is smaller than it used to be.


Incentive or not, it's really hard to win a division that you are not in.... (sorry)
   18. eddieot Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4764854)
What's missing in this argument is perspective. The union proposed the one-game playoff format because it would maximize TV revenue. The players, MLB and networks all signed on because they knew an elimination game would generate the biggest audience without stretching the postseason yet another two days. The share of revenue for that one-game playoff benefited the players as a compromise for accepting the realignment plan, which the players thought would add way more fairness by leveling the playing field to make the postseason. They did not like the fact that NL teams had 16 teams competing for playoff money as opposed to 14 AL teams. The whole format was a compromise and that's why everyone hates it.
   19. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4764856)
What do you mean?


Oh, if for some reason you changed the system so that being the first Wild Card was almost always an automatic pass to the ALDS, then much of the incentive to win the division is eliminated again.
   20. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4764857)
Incentive or not, it's really hard to win a division that you are not in.... (sorry)


Cute.

The second wild card improves one division race per league. OTOH, it weakens one of the other two (but not both).

   21. Nasty Nate Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4764863)
Oh, if for some reason you changed the system so that being the first Wild Card was almost always an automatic pass to the ALDS, then much of the incentive to win the division is eliminated again.


I understand that part, but then why did you write that incentive shouldn't play into it?
   22. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 05, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4764874)
I understand that part, but then why did you write that incentive shouldn't play into it?


Because I don't think we should care if it creates an incentive to win the First Wild Card over the Second Wild Card. The decision to add games to the Wild Card round should be based entirely on entertainment value - does it make the playoffs more interesting, does it create too long a break between the regular season and ALDS? If one game is unfair to the team that is the first Wild Card, big deal.

But if you do something that makes the postseason more entertaining, but rolls back the incentive for winning the division, then in *that* case incentive should play into it.
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4764895)
Because I don't think we should care if it creates an incentive to win the First Wild Card over the Second Wild Card.


Ahh, I understand now.
   24. dr. scott Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4764919)
But if you do something that makes the postseason more entertaining, but rolls back the incentive for winning the division, then in *that* case incentive should play into it.


Maybe... if you make the post season more entertaining by making the regular season less so, I'm not sure that is a win. The incentive to win the division is important as it can make the regular season more entertaining.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4764943)
(1) No matter how many teams make the playoffs, there will always be the chance that some team narrowly misses the playoffs. The fewer playoff spots available, the more likely that a very good team will miss the playoffs.

(2) You can reduce the possibility of (1) by increasing the number of teams that make the playoffs. But then you also increase the possibility that a mediocre team will make the playoffs and win the whole thing.

(3) The more divisions you have, the greater chance that an inferior team makes the playoffs while a superior team is left out.

(4) By adding more wild cards, you can reduce (but not eliminate) the possibility of (3) while at the same time increasing the possibility of (2).
   26. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4764957)
I don't think "incentive" should play into it, unless it significantly depresses the incentives created by making a Wild Card Game in the first place. I just like the idea of more baseball games.


How would you feel about switching to an NBA or NHL type playoff system? More games!
   27. Ziggy Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4764963)
I realize that no one but (maybe?) Ray will agree with me, but I'd prefer a single 30-team league. The team with the best record after 162 games wins, and that's it. I don't need a playoff race to make baseball exciting, when I'm watching a game I'm interested in who is going to win THIS game.

The post-season feels like a gimmick to me, a way for MLB to make yet more money, which also has the effect of decreasing the likelihood that the best team wins the prize that people care most about.
   28. Ron J2 Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4764971)
Since it's more important than the regular season, the wildcard really should be best of 163.
   29. eddieot Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4764975)

The post-season feels like a gimmick to me, a way for MLB to make yet more money,


It's a business. Making more money is the point. Fans love the post-season so more post-season is what they get.

You and Ray should form your own league with the one winner being the champ. You can call it the Galt League.
   30. AROM Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4764976)
Under the current scenario (itself with its own problems that I've tediously gone over), Anaheim is more likely to go all out to catch Oakland (and avoid the one-game playoff) than if they know they'll have a substantial edge against Toronto in the 1970s NBA-inspired 2 to win 1 playoff.


I don't think it makes a difference. Either way you'd much rather have a first round bye than to play a series. Sure the 2 game idea gives them an advantage but 2 game losing streaks are common even for the best of teams.
   31. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4764991)
Sure the 2 game idea gives them an advantage but 2 game losing streaks are common even for the best of teams.


Not when you consider the various costs to doing so. Going all out comes at a cost (starting pitcher availability). Avoiding a do-or-die is going to get you to take more risks than avoiding a do-or-do-or-die, which is the exact opposite of what Jose says will happen.
   32. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4765001)
How would you feel about switching to an NBA or NHL type playoff system? More games!


The regular season would mean a lot less, though. So it's a balancing act. You want the regular season to mean a lot, but you want as much of the regular season to matter as possible. I think the current system isn't too bad.
   33. Moeball Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4765025)
I realize that no one but (maybe?) Ray will agree with me, but I'd prefer a single 30-team league. The team with the best record after 162 games wins, and that's it. I don't need a playoff race to make baseball exciting, when I'm watching a game I'm interested in who is going to win THIS game.

The post-season feels like a gimmick to me, a way for MLB to make yet more money, which also has the effect of decreasing the likelihood that the best team wins the prize that people care most about.


1. That's why they invented Strat-O-Matic and other games - so you can set up your own 30-team league and do it however you want. DH, no DH, playoffs, no playoffs, whatever you want is possible. You're the commish!

2. Making more $$ is what this whole setup is about - more playoff games = more $$, plus the increase in probability of an inferior team winning all the marbles is viewed as a good thing because it gets more casual fans invested in caring about the outcomes and therefore investing more of their $$ in MLB activities.

We live in a world that openly encourages mediocrity. Why work really hard to be the best when you can coast along, still make the playoffs and win the prize if you get briefly hot and/or lucky? It's what we all want! Let's all be the NFL!

So now I'm off to buy a lottery ticket so I can become a bazillionaire without having to work for it!

   34. AROM Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4765039)
Not when you consider the various costs to doing so. Going all out comes at a cost (starting pitcher availability). Avoiding a do-or-die is going to get you to take more risks than avoiding a do-or-do-or-die, which is the exact opposite of what Jose says will happen.


You can save your 2 best pitchers for the WC games or pitch them in games 161-2. If you save them for the WC game, they won't be able to start games 1-2 of the division series. Assuming it takes 2 games to win. I think I'd prefer to maximize my chances to win the division.

Now for things like pitching your ace reliever 3 innings in a tie game - I don't think I'd do that unless it was a series final game.
   35. bookbook Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4765042)
Instead, I think the second wild card team should have to play defense without their gloves.

Alternatively, they only get seven players on defense (two outfielders and no shortstop)

Or maybe the pitcher has to throw with Bud Selig on his back, piggyback style.
   36. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4765049)
Why not just have the second wild card team play a man down? Or spot their opponents two runs before the game starts? Those ideas are no worse than having to win both games of a two-game playoff. Once you make the playoffs, the competition should be fair, with nothing beyond home field advantage rigged to favor one team.
   37. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4765051)
I realize that no one but (maybe?) Ray will agree with me, but I'd prefer a single 30-team league. The team with the best record after 162 games wins, and that's it.


As a soccer fan, I've always felt this way. The championship team should be the team with the best regular season record, IMO. In the EPL, each team plays every other team twice, once each home and away. The schedule is balanced, and the team with the most points at the end of the season wins the league (yes, I know about goal difference as a tie-breaker). But there's also the FA Cup, which although not as important as the league, offers the same type of excitement as playoffs do, with the possibility of any team simply getting hot at the right time and going all the way (see Wigan Athletic, 2013). To me, it's the best of both worlds.
   38. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4765053)
Why not just have the second wild card team play a man down? Or spot their opponents two runs before the game starts? Those ideas are no worse than having to win both games of a two-game playoff. Once you make the playoffs, the competition should be fair, with nothing beyond home field advantage rigged to favor one team.


Why should they have home field advantage? Play in a neutral site.
   39. villageidiom Posted: August 05, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4765073)
Why should they have home field advantage? Play in a neutral site.
Play in the Superdome. During whatever other event they have booked there at that time.

NFL game? Taylor Swift concert? Monster truck rally? No matter... Play ball!
   40. Srul Itza Posted: August 05, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4765087)
Play the Wild Card games in Hawaii. The travel time will be a great disadvantage to the winners. And the losers can console themselves by hanging out in Hawaii for a few days. It's off peak, too.

One suggestion: Don't do it when two tropical storms/hurricanes are heading for the Islands back-to-back. That's a double header you can do without.
   41. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 05, 2014 at 05:40 PM (#4765100)
Fans love the post-season so more post-season is what they get.

The playoff ratings disagree with you.

I'm starting to really dislike MLB playoffs. Its a crapshoot, and they're just letting in more and more teams. I can't wait until a 3rd wild card is introduced with some additional terrible game theory "logic".

   42. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 05, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4765106)
You can save your 2 best pitchers for the WC games or pitch them in games 161-2. If you save them for the WC game, they won't be able to start games 1-2 of the division series. Assuming it takes 2 games to win. I think I'd prefer to maximize my chances to win the division.


And it all depends on what the odds are of winning the division.

This is all risk/reward (as was the old system, with the risk (not being fresh for the playoffs) too often not being viewed asworth the reward (HFA). There will be situations where the value of the proposed fallback (2 to win 1) would outweigh the risks associated with trying to win the division when in the old system the division attempt would have more value than the fallback (1 to win 1). It's impossible for this not to be the case.

   43. Jeltzandini Posted: August 05, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4765118)
the team with the most points at the end of the season wins the league


But they also have other things to keep everybody interested. Placements in the Champions League and the Europa League. And relegation at the bottom. Plus they're playing in all those cups and leagues at the same time.

Absent any of that, with two whole months to go in this MLB season, you'd have the A's and Angels in an awesome race, a few more teams with outside hope, and more than twenty teams with no more interest in the year.

   44. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 05, 2014 at 08:41 PM (#4765174)
My gripe is the postseason is too different from regular season baseball, unlike other sports. In baseball a decent regular-season team can have a prohibitive advantage in the playoffs based on the construction of it's starting rotation (2001 Diamondbacks). That doesn't happen on a similar scale in other sports, NFL teams don't get to start their best quarterback more often because they always start their best QB. The extra rest in Baseball's playoffs significantly tilts the advantage away from teams with deep rotations & bullpens, to those top heavy with studs but weak at the back end.

Getting rid of divisions and having one 30 team league playing a balanced schedule and crowns the team with the best record Champion at the end of the season would address this, even if a postseason cup tournament was also held. But it will never happen because of baseballs slavish adherence to its historical structures.

A much better solution (that would also never happen) would be to eliminate divisions and play balanced schedules within each league, and for playoffs have the best 4 teams in each league play a 12 game round robin with winner advancing to World Series. Keeps the tradition of the WS alive, but also kerosene teams playing real baseball where 4th and 5th starters and back of pen still matters, and OMG, 4 critical games a day of the very best teams without a single charity case from a terrible division.,
   45. Squash Posted: August 05, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4765183)
Lot of fervor in this thread. Personally I think it's a decent/unique solution to a bad situation, i.e. the wild card game, which is a mess.
   46. AndrewJ Posted: August 05, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4765195)
A much better solution (that would also never happen) would be to eliminate divisions and play balanced schedules within each league, and for playoffs have the best 4 teams in each league play a 12 game round robin with winner advancing to World Series.

Someone once suggested placing the top six teams in each league on Labor Day in a super-division for the final month of the season where they play 30 round-robin games, three home and three away against their five opponents (the bottom nine teams in each league would have their interleague games), with the AL super-division winner meeting the NL super-division winner in Game 1 of the World Series on October 1st.
   47. Koot Posted: August 05, 2014 at 10:01 PM (#4765197)
Step 1 - Reinstate the Montreal Expos and Washington (State) Senators.
Step 2 - Eliminate interleague play (and apologize to the fans for letting such a terrible money-grab continue for over a decade).
Step 3 - Go back to AL East (NY Yankees, Baltimore, Toronto, Boston, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago White Sox), AL West (Oakland, Anaheim, Seattle, Texas, Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington State Senators), NL East (NY Mets, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati) and NL West (LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Arizona, Colorado, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs).
Step 4 - Redo the schedule - every team plays the other seven teams in their division 14 times, the other division 8 times. (This is what drives me the craziest about interleague play! How can MLB (a) move to two 15-team leagues and (b) try very hard to penalize the wild card teams in the name of "fairness" when they have teams within the same division play different schedules?!? Especially since the reason they play different schedules is to make sure that the interleague "rivalry" match-ups are still played every season).
Step 5 - AL East Division Champ plays AL West Division Champ in Best of 7 ALCS. NL East Division Champ plays NL West Division Champ in Best of 7 NLCS.
Step 6 - NLCS Champ plays ALCS Champ in Best of 7 World Series

Also get rid of the "This Time It Counts" BS in the All-Star game. Undo all the crap that has happened in the "Selig Era" and put an asterisk next to his name.
   48. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4765202)
Step 2 - Eliminate interleague play (and apologize to the fans for letting such a terrible money-grab continue for over a decade).

Dear customers, we're sorry you liked our product. We are taking steps to remedy this issue. Step 2 will be to remove the product you like. Thank you and have a nice day.

PS: Step 3 will be the diminishing of your favorite team's chance of ever winning the WS. You can thank us later.
   49. Sunday silence Posted: August 06, 2014 at 01:25 AM (#4765283)
welcome to primates who cant let go of the past.
   50. bookbook Posted: August 06, 2014 at 06:47 AM (#4765312)
You could go to 3-game WC round, 7-game divisionals, and 9-game WS, eliminating the rest/travel days. Everyone should experience a Zmariners schedule.
   51. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 06, 2014 at 07:11 AM (#4765316)
I realize that no one but (maybe?) Ray will agree with me, but I'd prefer a single 30-team league. The team with the best record after 162 games wins, and that's it.

But that's way too dependent on luck. The champion should be the team with the best Pythagorean record, with a tiebreaker formula devised by Keith Law.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Play the Wild Card games in Hawaii.

First let Hawaii join the Eastern U.S. time zone, and then we can talk.
   52. bunyon Posted: August 06, 2014 at 07:36 AM (#4765322)
Personal preference would be having two leagues and the team that wins the most games wins. IOW, like it was pre-1969. No interleague. But, as said, MLB is a business and that would cost them a lot of money. So, keep the current system but tighten it up in scheduling:

Season ends on Sunday.

Monday the two wild card teams play a double header.
If necessary, the two wild card teams play a rubber match at noon in the park of the highest seeded division winner.
The winner of the wild card series plays the highest seed at 7pm local time in the high seed's home park.

No off-days except between series. Miami plays Seattle? Tough noogies.


Of course, weather kills this setup.

But, basically, my only real problem with the current setup is that the wild card is (still) treated too much like a division winner. The only reason a wild card should win the World Series is if they really are a great team that, for whatever reason (injuries usually) didn't win their division. I guess I don't think it's possible to put too much of a burden on the wild card team because I don't think it too much of a burden to exclude them from the postseason completely.

Plus, I think this would generate interest. Watch as the wild card Cardinals attempt to run a brutal gauntlet of games!
   53. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 06, 2014 at 07:48 AM (#4765326)
There is no perfect method. There are plenty of advantages to many of the methods mentioned above. But really most of the people above are solving different problems: Inter league play, the wild card, unbalanced schedules, love of postseason, primacy of regular season and so on.

I think the current regime is fine. The all star game counting is dumb and unbalanced schedules are a problem, and I too would love a compelling race in every division every year with no bad teams. Oh well.
   54. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 06, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4765917)
You could go to 3-game WC round, 7-game divisionals, and 9-game WS, eliminating the rest/travel days. Everyone should experience a Zmariners schedule.


I'd love it, not just the extra games, but because this addresses my gripe about the playoffs being too different from regular season, and I'll love it when fans go nuts when their team is forced to start their 4th & 5th starters to open the World Series.

my only real problem with the current setup is that the wild card is (still) treated too much like a division winner


You realize divisions are entirely artificial and terrible constructs that didn't exist for most of baseball history?

A very real problem with the current setup is the worst division winner is seldom as good as the first wildcard team, yet gets a free pass for being in the weakest division. The only reason we have wild cards at all is because picking by division winners sucks, and baseball doesn't want the travesty of a a 98 win team staying home while an 82 win division winner gets to go. Better to go with West/East divisions, now you only need 4 spots, 2 division winners and 2 wild cards start two 7 games series immediately with almost no chance of travesty. Or even better, no divisions and just take top 4 teams.
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: August 06, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4765922)
My gripe is the postseason is too different from regular season baseball, unlike other sports.


Post season hockey is a completely different sport than regular season hockey. Not sure about basketball, as I like sports that aren't fully corrupt. The NFL is different in much the same way that hockey is different but to a lesser degree. The rate of game changing penalties is still reduced, the protection aspect of the players is increased in the post season, but NFL post season is probably the only sport who's post season remotely resembles the regular season.

MLB post season isn't that much removed from the regular season, sure you reduce dependence on a fifth starter, and it's broken up enough that teams don't have to rest their relievers and can over tax them to an extent, but that is what is good about it, you are getting the best of each team and not relying on guys who's only real role is roster depth.

   56. cardsfanboy Posted: August 06, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4765933)
My gripe is the postseason is too different from regular season baseball, unlike other sports.


by terrible, you mean awesome way to involve fans of other teams and promote parity, right?


A very real problem with the current setup is the worst division winner is seldom as good as the first wildcard team,


really? Name some examples..

2013.. NL worst division winner was 92 win Dodgers, wild card was 94 win Pirates...well within any arguable margin of error. AL worst record division winner(93 win Tigers) came from the same division as first wild card(92 win Indians)

2012 NL worst division winner was 94 win Giants, first wild card was 94 win Braves...sounds about equal to me. AL was 88 win Tigers vs 93 win Orioles...okay one decent example out of four so far.

2011 95 win Tigers vs 91 win Rays and 94 win D-backs vs 90 win Cardinals. It looks to me like again the division winners are at least superficially beating the wild card teams.

2010 91 win Reds vs 91 win Braves...seems to be a push. 90 win Rangers vs 94 win Yankees... okay we now have two arguments vs 6 examples...

I'm not sure what your definition of seldom is, but I'm not really seeing any recent trend to indicate that the best wild card is better than the worst division winner. (You go further back and yes you have a few Red Sox/Yankee years where they were probably the second best team and were relegated to the wild card)
   57. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4766262)
In baseball a decent regular-season team can have a prohibitive advantage in the playoffs based on the construction of it's starting rotation (2001 Diamondbacks).

I think "prohibitive" overstates your case here - the D-backs went to elimination games in both the NLDS and the World Series, and won the latter by about as slim a margin as a team can.

Despite having only 92 wins, they also won their division and were one game out from having the best record in the NL.
   58. The District Attorney Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4766267)
The only reason we have wild cards at all is because picking by division winners sucks, and baseball doesn't want the travesty of a a 98 win team staying home while an 82 win division winner gets to go.
You're adorable.
   59. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4766270)
the D-backs went to elimination games in both the NLDS and the World Series, and won the latter by about as slim a margin as a team can.


In one sense. They also outscored the Yankees by about 427 runs that series, and it was only close because Bob Brenly suffered that debilitating stroke during the celebration after winning the NLCS.
   60. PreservedFish Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4766277)
80% of humans root for the underdog. It's only anal math-loving types like us that really care about the best team winning in the end.
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4766298)
80% of humans root for the underdog. It's only anal math-loving types like us that really care about the best team winning in the end.

Speak for yourself :-) I love the underdog winning (as long as they're not playing my team).
   62. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 07, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4766313)
MLB post season isn't that much removed from the regular season, sure you reduce dependence on a fifth starter, and it's broken up enough that teams don't have to rest their relievers and can over tax them to an extent, but that is what is good about it, you are getting the best of each team and not relying on guys who's only real role is roster depth.


Winning during the season depends on roster depth, then suddenly it doesn't?

Schilling and Johnson started 69 of 162 regular season gamestop the 2001 Diamondbacks. In the playoffs they started 11 of 17 games.
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4766320)
Winning during the season depends on roster depth, then suddenly it doesn't?

Schilling and Johnson started 69 of 162 regular season gamestop the 2001 Diamondbacks. In the playoffs they started 11 of 17 games.


Why should that bother us? It's more fun watching good pitchers and good hitters rather than scrubs.
   64. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4766359)
Why should that bother us? It's more fun watching good pitchers and good hitters rather than scrubs.


If it doesn't matter to you whether it's the same team and same players, why not eliminate the trading deadline and all roster restrictions for the playoffs? If Tulowitski is healthy, why not let him play for the Brewers, you'd rather see him hit than Jean Segura wouldn't you? What is the point of a regular season if you don't care who is actually wearing the uniforms in the playoffs?

In 2001 regular season/playoffs combined, the DBacks were 61-20 in games Schilling and Johnson started (including a rained out game restarted in 3rd inning with Johnson pitching as a de facto starter). They were 42-54 in games started by other pitchers.

Starting two HOF pitchers 65% of the time is not the same team that started them 42% of the time, if the 42% HOF starts team was a true talent 92 win team, the 65% team was a true talent 104 win team. I understand teams pace their best starters during the season and ride them as often as possible in the playoffs, but the playoff schedule should be tightened up so the difference isn't so huge.
   65. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4766385)
by terrible, you mean awesome way to involve fans of other teams and promote parity, right?


BTW: Ironically the 2001 Mariners are probably the best example of how this failed to engage fans of other teams. One of the best teams of all time, #1 in AL Team OPS+ (117), #1 in AL stolen bases and stolen base percentage, #2 in Team ERA+ (117), #1 in AL team defensive efficiency, and the MLB record 116 wins. So baseball had a great story, and fans of other teams could even root for them as a quasi-underdog since Seattle had been a perennial doormat for its first two decades, had never been to World Series, and had been forced to rebuild after the loss of two of the franchises greatest players.

But the playoff format took away this teams greatest strength, depth, narrowing the gap between them and the other playoff teams. The front of the Yankee rotation was Mussina, Clemens, and Pettite, all #1 quality starters with FIPs better than any of the Mariners starters, while Hernandez and Lilly were awful. The Mariners had 5 average to above average starters led by Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele, Jamie Moyer, Joel Pineiro, and Paul Abbot.

And the Yankees could also flog Mariano Rivera far harder than the regular season.
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4766391)
I would say the '01 Mariners greatest strength was their offense (most runs scored among all 30 teams, highest OPS+ by a good margin in the majors).
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4766395)
If it doesn't matter to you whether it's the same team and same players, why not eliminate the trading deadline and all roster restrictions for the playoffs? If Tulowitski is healthy, why not let him play for the Brewers, you'd rather see him hit than Jean Segura wouldn't you? What is the point of a regular season if you don't care who is actually wearing the uniforms in the playoffs?

There's a difference, clearly. BTW, I'd be fine with moving the playoff eligibility deadline (to be in the organization) up to Aug 1, or even Jul 1.
   68. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4766398)

I would say the '01 Mariners greatest strength was their offense (most runs scored among all 30 teams, highest OPS+ by a good margin in the majors).


Yes, not being able to tet starts Paul Abbott and John Halama has never been considered a problem before.

And, really, there's not a whole lot of difference between 01 Abbott and Halama and 01 Lilly and Hernandez, and obviously the latter pair were much better over the course of their careers.
   69. AROM Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4766416)
But that's way too dependent on luck. The champion should be the team with the best Pythagorean record, with a tiebreaker formula devised by Keith Law.


Still too dependent on luck. An improvement would be third order winning percentage, based on the mix of hits, walks, homers, etc. hit and allowed.

But you still have a ton of luck involved. So instead of that, don't even bother playing the games. Give the title to the team with the best pre-season projections.
   70. PreservedFish Posted: August 07, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4766417)
If it doesn't matter to you whether it's the same team and same players, why not eliminate the trading deadline and all roster restrictions for the playoffs? If Tulowitski is healthy, why not let him play for the Brewers, you'd rather see him hit than Jean Segura wouldn't you? What is the point of a regular season if you don't care who is actually wearing the uniforms in the playoffs?


I know that this is the internet and everything, but it would be nice if you didn't use hyperbolic arguments like this. You might as well have asked snapper why he was in favor of using robots or clones in the postseason.
   71. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4766442)
In one sense. They also outscored the Yankees by about 427 runs that series, and it was only close because Bob Brenly suffered that debilitating stroke during the celebration after winning the NLCS.

On the other hand, they were swept in the NLDS by the Cardinals the following year with pretty much the same team. Yes their roster may have been slightly advantaged in the postseason, but calling it "prohibitive" really overstates the case. I also find it hard to believe that anyone other than a Yankees fan would complain about the 2001 postseason.
   72. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 07, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4766469)
On the other hand, they were swept in the NLDS by the Cardinals the following year with pretty much the same team. Yes their roster may have been slightly advantaged in the postseason, but calling it "prohibitive" really overstates the case. I also find it hard to believe that anyone other than a Yankees fan would complain about the 2001 postseason.

I'm a Yankee fan, and my only complaint is we lost :-)

Otherwise, tremendous post-season.

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