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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

October 7, 2003

Sam has some minor problems with the NLCS this year.  And God, too.

Jesus.  You have got to be kidding me.  I waited all year for this?  I watched every game I available, poured over websites daily, dumped stats into Excel, actually computed Pythagorean records, and all for this?  I spend six months priming myself for a truly magnificent showdown of 100+ win titans, Burly Barry?s Bat vs. St. Smoltz? Slider in a beat down, drag out to end the ages, and I get this; an 88-win champion of the weakest division in baseball vs. a 91-win also-ran who finished ten games out? 


That is just pathetic.


And before you get started, save the "clutch performance" crap, or the "cowboy up" load, because it?s no more meaningful or relevant today than it was last month, or in April, which is to say that it?s still a steaming pile.  You can drop all of that sort of stuff into the comments section if you want, but it will flubber back at you faster than you can say Eddie-Murphy-remake.  Just so you know.


I hate Bud Selig and everything he represents.  With every fiber of my being, with my last dying breath I spit at him and the mockery of the game that he?s created.  It is sad, terribly, heart-wrenchingly sad, to see something so beautiful die.  And all for this, all for one team so bad it needed half the Pirates roster and help from the freaking Brewers just to make the second season and another that couldn?t even be bothered to show up for the first?


I tell you what.  I?m going to put this thing up until tomorrow morning and try again then. ? 1:13AM, 10/06/03


12:17PM, 10/06/03 ? Nope.  Not any better now, either.  In lieu of a National League Championship Series, Major League Baseball will present the following alternate programming:  The NL Central Amalgams vs. Jeff Loria?s Opening Gambit Towards Killing Baseball In Florida Just Like He Did In Montreal.  Do try to enjoy yourselves, kids, because, you know, real, live, championship quality baseball teams wouldn?t be nearly as entertaining as this crap.


1B: Eric Karros vs. Derrek Lee:  Derrek Lee is a semi-talented baseball player.  Eric Karros is only entertaining when Robert Fick is attacking him.  Lee is better offensively, defensively, and he doesn?t have the stupid haircut either.  The Cubs might even the position out if they played Hee Seop Choi, but they won?t do that because Dusty Baker is an idiot.  Prediction: Karros hits two game winning homeruns, because actual talent doesn?t really matter in these situations and God hates me.


2B:  Mark Grudzielanek vs. Luis Castillo:  As a weak-hitting, no-power ladybug who occasionally walks and gets on base and can run fast once he?s there Luis Castillo is preferable, as Mark Grudzielanek is a weak-hitting, no-power ladybug who doesn?t walk or get on base and can?t run for ####.  Neither player is notably interesting as a defender, either.  Prediction:  Grudzielanek uses the excess consonants in his name to confuse Braden Looper at least once and hit a meaningful late-game homerun.  Because actual talent doesn?t really matter in these situations and God hates me.


3B:  Pittsburgh Ramirez vs. Mike Lowell:  Mike Lowell is on the active roster for the Marlins, isn?t he?  Didn?t they bench Jeff Conine in order to make him a spot?  Yeah, he?s on there.  Mike Lowell is a good player.  He?ll go play for a real team after the post-season is over and Loria does his best Wayne Huizenga impersonation and dumps every player on the roster that makes real money.  Until then, he?ll be the best hitter in the faux-NLCS.  Aramis Ramirez will stare confusedly around himself and wonder where the river behind the outfield went, and the boot a ball or two for good measure.  Prediction:  Lowell ups his free agent cost by a couple or three million by producing in on Fox, where four people from Florida will actually be watching.


SS:  Alex Gonzalez vs. Alex Gonzalez:  Alex Gonzalez will play best.  Prediction:  Tim McGarver will say something incredibly inane about two shortstops with the same name.  700 times!

LF:  Moises Alou vs. Miguel Cabrera:  You know, for all the hype about how great a young player he is, Miguel Cabrera should really have posted something better than a .782 OPS.  Alou?s the better hitter, but has his father?s knees and is just as likely to break something in a bizarre, poorly-reported training room incident as he is to significantly impact this travesty of a series.  Prediction:  Alou cracks his skull open running into the walls in Wrigley and lies writhing in semi-consciousness for 20 minutes; Cubs fans are too drunk to notice.


CF:  Kenny Lofton vs. Juan Pierre:  God, could someone just shoot me now?!?  Please?  Kenny freaking Lofton and Juan "I hit like a girl in Colorado for God?s sake" Pierre?!  This is championship baseball?  @#%@^^^@#$%!!!  Prediction: Both of these players homer in crucial situations, because actual talent doesn?t really matter in these situations and GOD HATES ME!!!


RF:  Corky vs. Juan Encarnacion:  Do cork trees grow in Miami?  Even if they don?t, surely they can get the ?roids through customs down there, right?  Prediction:  Continuing a plan hatched in 1999?s Tigers clubhouse, Encarnacion too tries to kill Eric Karros.


Benches:  You call those benches?  Whatever.


Starting pitching:  Prior/Zambrano/Wood/Clement vs. Beckett/Penny/Redman/Willis:  If not for my absolute and unwavering disgust for the very fact of this series? existence, I might actually enjoy watching these guys go at one another.  There?s a hell of a lot of talent in these rotations.  Any of the eight of them can dominate any team on any given day.  Prediction:  Assuming my voodoo dolls work better than they did in the DLS, Kerry Wood?s left eyeball will, in fact, explode violently as he delivers a pitch.  I won?t ruin it for you by telling you which pitch.


Bullpens:  Bleh.  Both teams have decent pens.  Look it up if you want details.  They?re bullpens in the playoffs.  They giveth.  They taketh away.  They usually smell funny.  Prediction:  Ugueth Urbina will give up one of those crucial homeruns.


Managers:  Jack McKeon vs. Dusty Baker:  Jack McKeon is vaguely likable in a Gandalf the Grey sort of way.  Baker is just an annoying, pompous ass and a just God would choke him to death on that freakin? toothpick.  Prediction:  There is no just God.


Series prediction:  Does anyone really care?  Even if they do, do they really think you can predict the outcomes of short series baseball?  Have they not been paying attention for the last freakin? decade?


The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 07, 2003 at 06:00 AM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Lest we forget Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:45 AM (#613279)
with that kind of reasoning, dennis eckersley should have struck out kirk gibson in '91.

Maybe, although it's not clear to me why that should have happened in 1991.

I don't feel so different from Sam. As well, my wish list for this post-season included seeing Pedro vs. Barry in the WS.

Damn, damn, damn, damn...

These NL results reveal once again the uncertainty of the playoffs and how the importance of a dominant regular season just ain't what it used to be.
   2. Bob Allen Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:45 AM (#613281)
Bad news for the home plate umps! Apparently both teams will pkay without catchers, which may lead to a lot of passed balls and would rule out great pitching duels.

True, this no clash of the titans, and the two best teams in the NL aren't playing, but it could still be a competitive and potentislly exciting series, perhaps leading to the WS matchup of the new century: Cubs/Sox, where somebody's curse would have to end.
   3. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:45 AM (#613282)
I'm not sure that this is any consolation, or that I agree with your logic, but your article was funny enough to make me spew milk over several important documents at work. Take that as you will.

Is there a good word for what happens when you spray a beverage out of your mouth through laughter? There must be one.
   4. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613286)
Catchers? Oh, fine:

Pudge Rodgriguez vs. Damien Miller or Paul Bako or some equally pathetic option: Paul Bako will rip a screamer down the line with Sosa on 2B. Encarnacion will come up firing and Pudge will do that thing that Pudge does. There will be a collision of cosmic scale and everyone will be stupefied when Sosa rebounds violently and ends up halfway down the LF line himself. Because, cork, you know, it bounces.
   5. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613288)
From Cody: So Sam, you must have hated to see the Angels in 02, the Yankees in 00, the marlins in 97, the yankees in 96, the Twins in '91, the Reds in '90, the Dodgers in '88, the Twins in '87, the Royals in '85...

Yes; yes; yes; yes; not at the time, but in retrospect yes; ohmygodyes!; mostly; yes; and yes.
   6. DanG Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613290)
Geez, when did Jim Rome start writing under a pseudonym?
   7. David Brazeal Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613295)
Thank you, Sam. You have mirrored my own venom and vitriol for the current state of the playoffs, distilled it into a couple thousand words, and displayed it on my computer screen where I can admire my own inner demons in a safe, productive, humorous and psychologically healthy manner. Kudos!
   8. Sam M. Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613299)
Well, that certainly epitomized southern charm. It's nice to know those of us born and raised in the crass, classless north can always turn to our more civil, better-raised southern friends for lessons in dignity in the face of defeat.

OK, sarcasm over. First, Cabrera's .782 OPS is actually pretty awesome for a 20-year old rookie (as I have little doubt Sam H. would have pointed out were he the Braves' rookie third baseman, and had the Braves advanced to be facing the Fish).

Second, if you'd done a position-by-position work-up for those wonderful 100 win Giants, you'd have seen about as much talent-less dreck littering their roster as you see on the Cubs and Marlins. Cabrera's OPS fits right in with Alfonzo (.726), Cruz (.779), Grissom (.790), Aurilia (.736), and even Durham (.807) and Snow (.806). OK, we don't get Barry without the Giants. But you know what? We wouldn't get Prior and Wood without the Cubs. God giveth, God taketh away.

Third, a more general point. This awful system that produces these terrible teams has produced interesting, compelling, even riveting (though sometimes horrendous) baseball through one round. If the NLCS and ALCS even come close, we will be lucky. I think the likely drama of the ALCS speaks for itself. And as for the NLCS, frankly, I think a Giants-Braves (or a Marlins-Braves) series would have been less interesting than what we're going to get. The Braves faced the one team in the NL who actually matched up well against them, the Cubs; any subsequent series, including one against the Giants, would have set them up against (a) pitching they could have handled much better and (b) a line-up their pitchers could have managed about as well as they did the Cubs. A Braves' stroll through the NLCS would not have been my idea of a fun time.
   9. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613305)
Prior/Beckett (though it looks like it's actually going to be Zambrano/Beckett) isn't worse than Schmidt/Maddux. As a matchup of individual players, it might even be better. But championships are not about individual players, they're about teams, and championship series should feature the two best teams in a given league.

This one does not.
   10. emancip8d Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613312)
Curse of the Balboni eliminates the Yankees (Giambi), Red Sox (Manny), and the Cubs (Sosa). Only team left with all players hitting less than 36 HR this season is Florida. Oh, sure, ARI beat NYY in 2001 when the Yankees were the only postseason team with all players hitting less than 36 HR. BUT ... ARI's the Diamondbacks. Snakes. How do draw a snake? You scribble out a little squiggly line. A scribble. Anagram of "Curse of the Balboni" = "A SCRIBBLE HE FUN TOO". So *clearly* it was foretold in the Curse of the Balboni that there would be a Year of the Snake. The Curse of the Balboni is still intact! Fear the Marlins!

   11. Shredder Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613317)
I think it's pretty clearly the case that the Cubs weren't the best team in the NL this year, and the Marlins as well.

But Sam, I'd like to hear your irrefutable argument that the Angels weren't the best team in the AL last year. I'm not saying they definitely were, I'm just saying that a pretty strong case could be made that they were.

Best pythag record.
Better record than the A's when you eliminate interleague play
Four wins behind the Yanks in a division that was at least 7 or 8 games tougher than the AL East (+ Mets).
Beat the crap out of the Yanks in the ALDS.

I think it comes down to Angels vs. A's for 2002's best AL team, but there's a case to be made either way.
   12. Repoz Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613319)
Sam....This was almost as funny as Bluestone's "The Oral Passions of William Howard Taft"....great stuff!
   13. Alan Shank Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613322)
The current playoff setup, especially the best-of-five Division Series, favors a different type of team than the regular season. With the off day, a team with two great pitchers can get three starts from those two pitchers, as the Cubs did, enabling them to beat the Braves, who had the NL's best offense. Even if the Braves' five starters were as good, overall, as the Cubs' five, that doesn't matter. The five-game series puts a premium on front-line pitching talent.

Each increase in the number of series played, from no playoffs before the World Series, to the League Championship Series, and now to the Division Series, lowers the probability that the best team from each league will play in the World Series. The small divisions give a mediocre team (like Minnesota) a chance to be a division "champion" and enter the "crapshoot" of the playoffs.

I abhor this system, but having said that, I look forward to the Cubs-Florida series because of the fine young pitching staffs that will be facing each other.

In the American League, despite my acute pain as an A's fan, I think the two best teams are facing each other, the traditional rivalry and "The Curse" aside.

Alan Shank
   14. Colin Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613325)
I'd just like to note that the Marlins have the best record in baseball dating from late May, so in terms of being "a better team" than the Braves and Giants, it's hard to argue against them.

I'd like to think we shouldn't just dismiss a few months here or there as suitable in deciding the best team.

Yes, while both of those 100-game winners had better overall seasons, the best team at the end of the summer was indeed the Fish.
And really, isn't that what matters?

What, that you've finagled a way to declare a team that finished ten games out 'better' than the team that finished ten games ahead?

I mean, you see what you're doing - you as a fan no longer particularly care about the 162 game regular season. You only care who's the hotter team 'at the end of the summer'. This is what Bud Selig has wrought.

Oh yeah, and the '97 Marlins didn't "buy" a World Series. People need to get over that. An underdog you didn't like won it. Deal.

A second place team won it. Underdogs I can handle. Even underdogs I don't terribly like that much. But with the fish now having a second shot at a world series without ever having won their division, this completely biased Braves fan is a little ticked off - as much out of frustration at my own team's pathetic play as at the stupid system that lets this occur.
   15. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613329)
You call that analysis? Whatever.

Mike did the analysis piece, actually. They don't let me near the calculators.

Oh, and analysis is pointless in a short series. Analysis is only meaningful in regard to a meaningful sample. Playoff baseball is not a meaningful sample. Anyone who honestly thinks their critically analyzing short series baseball fails to grasp the basic structural build of said.
   16. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613331)
When I think of the World Series I think of two great baseball teams playing each other. Or at least I would like to. When the 2001 Mariners lost to the NYY, it wasn't a travesty or anything like that. But baseball fans lost out on seeing one of the great baseball teams of our time play in the world series.

But since we live with the current set-up, and it will be getting worse and not better, just enjoy the good baseball. Forget about seeing the highest quality baseball, and enjoy the sometimes riveting series. 1995 Mariners vs Yankees. 2001 Yankees vs DBacks. 2003 A's vs Red Sox. Not necessarily great teams, but great baseball nonetheless.
   17. Sam M. Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613336)
Analysis is only meaningful in regard to a meaningful sample.

You know, if I were as bitter about the regular season (where my team has been pukey for the last two years despite spending a bazillion dollars on payroll) as Sam H is about the post-season (where his team has been 8-13 since 2000), I think the acid content of my waste would melt the pipes in my plumbing in about 2.4 seconds. It would then overwhelm the attempts of the local water treatment plant to purify what came through its pipes, causing a region-wide alert calling on people to boil their water or drink bottled water until the problem could be corrected.

Sam H., your team got beat by probably the only team in the NL play-offs that could have done it. They (the Cubs) are built for success under the system that actually governs the sport, which is the only definition of "excellence" that is coherent. It doesn't say much for the Braves that they've built a team that is the "best" under standards relevant to a system that hasn't existed since 1968. Hey, you know what? I think I'll start a business manufacturing spare parts for the Apollo rockets. I'm sure it'll be successful in 2003! And if it's not, I'll blame the government for not making those damned rockets anymore, instead of myself for building an obsolete product.

If you want to bemoan what has befallen the Braves as bad luck, or the result of meaningless post-season outcomes generated by a damnable system, be my guest.
   18. Carl Goetz Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613337)
As a Redsox fan whose sick of hearing about the curse, I'd like to say that if either the Sox or the Cubs make it to the series, I will attempt to turn every game on at the instant it starts so as to avoid the irrating pregame rehashing the various curses before each game. If they're both in it, I will have the volume off the whole game. I only wish we could get Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo to call the playoffs. They would be much better than the National guys.

   19. Shredder Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613343)
I'm not sure this "Teams with two dominant starters are built for the post-season" talk is all it's cracked up to be. Yes, if Wood and Prior, or Johnson and Schilling, or whoever and whoever pitch lights out, then they're going to win. If Wood and Prior both win both of their starts, the Cubs win. If one has an off game though, or gets hurt, they're screwed. Do you really trust Zambrano and his rag arm to pick up the slack, or Clement?

Who are the last four playoff teams with a truly dominant top two? Off the top of my head, the 2000 DBacks, the 2001 DBacks, the 2003 Cubs, and you could really throw any A's team in there. Only the 2001 DBacks have won WS, and the Cubs are the only other of those teams to win a short series.

Spahn and Sain may sound great in a short series, but when you're praying for rain in 2 of 5 games, or 3 of 7, I'm not so sure.
   20. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613344)
I may or may not be acidicly bitter, but regardless I think I'm on pretty solid ground with the truism that analysis is only meaningful with regard to a meaningful sample. You can argue that the playoffs are special or super-duper-exciting or testosterone drenched gut-checks where clutch-god real men are seperated from panty-waist pretender-boys or whatever you want, but you can't argue that a sample to small to generate meaningful trends is useful for analysis.

You just can't. It's freaking tautalogical.
   21. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#613345)
I'm not sure this "Teams with two dominant starters are built for the post-season" talk is all it's cracked up to be.

In fact, if it were just a matter of having dominant starting pitching, a team with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, all in their primes, would have had a definitive advantage, would they not have?

It's all freak chance, random luck, and a viscious knee-biter of a diety with a vendetta against rational actors such as myself...
   22. Veee Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:47 AM (#613346)
Sam H, come on, you are just utterly wrong on this issue.
Robin Williams starred in the Flubber remake, not Eddie Murphy. Jeez.

Good point about the playoffs, though.
   23. Sam M. Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:47 AM (#613348)
The "two dominant starters" thing may not be the be-all end-all of the matter, but it sure helps. What's more important, though, is that some of the factors that help you win in the regular season are much less important in the post-season, such as (most crucially) depth in the starting rotation. It's not that other teams are better for the post-season; it's that the Braves are better for the regular season and their edge goes away in the play-offs.

What Sam H. doesn't like (and I wouldn't either, if I were him) is that the factors that have given the Braves a leg up over 162 games for over a decade are not particularly helpful to them in the post-season. And since under the current system the post-season is more of a gauntlet, a team that is especially well-built for the regular season finds itself without its advantages for longer. It's a lot easier to win one crapshoot series without all your advantages than it is three.

Except now there's something else going on as well. Stewart Neill (Braves fan) put it very well in another thread:

During the postseason, it seems like the Braves want to win so badly that they all start swinging for the fences. The Furcal bunt was nice, but it was too little too late after the Cubs had been playing the infield back for almost every hitter throughout the game. Where was a nice, easy swing - just trying to serve a ball for a single? Andruw, I'm talking to you. It isn't about heart, it's about confidence. To be shooting for singles, you have to have confidence that the rest of your team can knock you in. The Braves haven't had a whole lot of confidence in the postseason since about 1996. Without confidence in the team, our hitting goes into hiding.

I think the Braves are playing with the weight of their accumulated post-season disappointments on their backs, and it affects them.
   24. Srul Itza Posted: October 07, 2003 at 02:47 AM (#613365)
One man is born a hero, his brother a coward.
Babies starve, politicians grow fat.
Holy men are martyred, and junkies grow legion.

Why? Why, why, why, why, why?


Blind, stupid, simple, doo-dah, clueless luck!

So for the Red Sox, Fortune smiles. Another day of wine and roses. Or, in their case, beer and pizza!
   25. Carl Goetz Posted: October 08, 2003 at 02:47 AM (#613385)
I do believe the regular season should be more important, but the playoffs are just fun to watch. Maybe you could give a dominant team more home games. Maybe in the division series give a team that's 5 or more games ahead of their opponent 4 home games and a teams thats 10 or more up all 5. Of course, they would probably have to go back to a balanced schedule to make this fair(they should anyway to make the Wild Card races fair) The main thing MLB needs to do is get rid of Interleague play so teams can play more games against teams they're actually fighting for a playoff spot with. Nobody's cared about Interleague play since 1998 anyway.
   26. salvomania Posted: October 08, 2003 at 02:47 AM (#613390)
Is there a good word for what happens when you spray a beverage out of your mouth through laughter?

The closest term I'm familiar with that covers this is "spit take," which is what in film biz is used to refer, in a "reaction shot", to the act of the spitting out of liquid, usually out of disbelief, shock, etc.

From a web discussion of the film "Holy Man": After seeing the trailer 15 times, I still can not understand what Eddie Murphy says to Jeff Goldblum to incite the latter's spit take.
   27. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 08, 2003 at 02:47 AM (#613393)
Is there a good word for what happens when you spray a beverage out of your mouth through laughter?

Let me suggest "spewforricic."
   28. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 09, 2003 at 02:48 AM (#613420)
Oh, and analysis is pointless in a short series.

I don't think it's pointless (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered) but I do think that the combination of events that we call luck (or random fluctation, or whatever) plays a much larger role than it does during the regular season. You can't ever estimate the impact of things like injuries, flu bugs, odd weather patterns at Wrigley, bad bounces, blown calls by the umpires, and so forth, and having one or two of those things happen at the wrong time could alter the results in a short series. But I'd rather have an educated (or semi-educated) guess than an uneducated one.

-- MWE
   29. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 09, 2003 at 02:48 AM (#613424)
Are you a baseball commentator or Quentin Tarantino wannabe?

No one said I had to choose!
   30. h0mi Posted: October 13, 2003 at 02:48 AM (#613453)
Oh, and analysis is pointless in a short series. Analysis is only meaningful in regard to a meaningful sample. Playoff baseball is not a meaningful sample. Anyone who honestly thinks their critically analyzing short series baseball fails to grasp the basic structural build of said.

Not to really flame, but then what exactly was the point of authoring this article in the first place?

   31. covelli chris p Posted: October 13, 2003 at 02:48 AM (#613454)
i think dusty getting strangled by the wrist bands would be much better way for him to go, than choking on the toothpick.
   32. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 13, 2003 at 02:48 AM (#613456)
h0mi asked, in lieu of analysis, "Not to really flame, but then what exactly was the point of authoring this article in the first place?"

My head has yet to explode. This suggests strongly to me that writing these articles has been a successful endeavor.
   33. strong silence Posted: October 16, 2003 at 02:49 AM (#613473)

Play my game and do a little experiment for me. Answer these questions off the top of your head. Don't analyze it or go look for the answer in a book.

Who was the best team in the following years?

1. 1975 - 1976
2. 1977 - 1978
3. 1981
4. 1985
5. 1994
6. 2001
7. 2002

Below I will give my answers.

Are you ready to read on?


   34. strong silence Posted: October 16, 2003 at 02:49 AM (#613474)

Here are my answers:

1. Reds
2. Yankees
3. Dodgers
4. KC Royals
5. Expos
6. Dbacks
7. Angels

Now, I don't want to assume you are like me. But I will assume the majority of knowledgeable baseball fans are like me and would have answered similarly.

What can we conclude from this little thought experiment? Well, let's analyze the answers. I want to point out, as I'm sure you are aware, all the teams except for one team won the World Series. The Expos of course were not able to play in the World Series but had a record of 74-40 and "won" the NL East.

So here is my point: The best team is the team that won the World Series. I think my little thought experiment goes a long way to showing that reasonable fans believe the best way to prove the best team is a playoff system. As a corollary, if a team did not win even the first round, let alone two more, it has no right making your assertion.

In fact, you never have proven your assertion (or attempted to in this thread) that the best team is the team with the best record. To do that, you would have to examine the effect of unbalanced schedules, strength of schedule, record in 1-run games, to name a few factors.

Sam, were your answers the teams with the best records in the regular season? If so you would have answered:

1. Reds
2. 1977 - Royals with 102. 1978 - Yankees with 100
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. St. Louis with 101
5. Expos
6. Seattle Mariners (116)
7. Yankees or A's (tied at 103)

Did you answer my experiment this way? If so, you would be consistent with your theory that the best team has the most regular season wins and I congratulate you for being consistent.

Anyway, I present this as a starting point for further discussion. We could ask: 1. How can one argue that the Mariners were in fact better than the Dbacks? 2. The team with the best record in 1981 did not make the playoffs. How did that fiasco happen? 3. If the Yankees were so good in 2002, how come they got spanked by the World Series Champion.

Hope to hear from you.

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