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   1. Jay Seaver Posted: September 25, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2187285)
I love that someone connected to professional baseball other than as a fan is pushing the "sudden death wild card" idea; it's one I've always liked.

The doublehader things surprises me, though. I was under the impression that no-one in baseball (besides the fans) likes them, from the owners only selling one ticket to the managers who have to do wierd things with the lineup to the players who get worn out.
   2. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 25, 2006 at 07:20 PM (#2187289)
Of course he wants a second wild-card this season.

The sudden-death idea is totally stupid, by the way. The outcome of a baseball game is almost as random as a coin-flip.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: September 25, 2006 at 07:23 PM (#2187291)
ugggh i hate this idea.

i say shorten the season back to 154, so you start a day or too later, end a day or too earlier, and have a couple extra off-days in the season.
Contract about 4 teams and go back to an AL & NL East and West. No wildcard.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: September 25, 2006 at 07:24 PM (#2187293)
...also, no sudden death in the NFL for overtime. Just play an extra 5 minute period.

and most importantly: abolish the off-sides rule in soccer. thats the worst sports rule i can think of.
   5. bunyon Posted: September 25, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2187309)
They should contract the Twins. They clearly can't compete.
   6. Flynn Posted: September 26, 2006 at 12:30 AM (#2187528)

and most importantly: abolish the off-sides rule in soccer. thats the worst sports rule i can think of.


Unequivocally not. The result would be each team stationing their forwards inside the penalty box, which means teams would be stationing their defenders inside the penalty box, which means more 0-0 games.
   7. Darren Posted: September 26, 2006 at 12:35 AM (#2187534)
Doesn't Francona have more important things to think about? Like not playing injured players, learning when to take starters out, how to construct a lineup, etc.
   8. Darren Posted: September 26, 2006 at 12:37 AM (#2187537)
Also, I hate this idea. If you want to punish the WC team, reduce their # of home games. No more teams in the playoffs, please.
   9. BDC Posted: September 26, 2006 at 12:44 AM (#2187542)
the off-sides rule in soccer. thats the worst sports rule i can think of

It's one of the most elegant rules in any sport, along with the strike zone and ... heck, there are not a lot of elegant rules in sport, most of them force players to do contorted, unnatural things.

The bad thing about both the offside rule and the strike zone is that they are heavily dependent on an official's judgment. But in theory, and largely in practice, they are beautiful things.

If a "play-in" game is an attempt to capture the magic of an old-time single-game playoff every year, then after a few years the magic will evaporate. If it's an attempt (as seems here) to hobble the wild-card teams vis-a-vis the division winners, it has some flaws (one of which is that the WC teams may well have better records than one or two of the division winners; another is that rest and finely-tuned matchups are harder to capitalize on in baseball than in football).
   10. Rough Carrigan Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:01 AM (#2187558)
Ugh. No more playoff teams. Please! I hate the nba and nhl playoff systems in which, literally, most teams make the playoffs. WTF? Football has moved too far in that direction as well. Fine, there's a wildcard. Don't cheapen the regular season by adding more teams. Sometimes a really good team gets left out. That's life. If you want a candy factory version of life, go to the nba or nhl.
   11. PJ Martinez Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:05 AM (#2187564)
I think going back to the 154 game schedule makes sense given all the extra playoff games-- but I think the league should be strengthening its existing franchises and aiming for 32 total, like the NFL, so you can have 4 divisions of 4 teams in each league. More people should be able to see major league baseball in their hometowns.

That way, you have no WC, just four division winners. With 8 fewer regular season games, you could make the all the playoff series 7 games if you wanted.

The challenge here, I assume, is that 8 fewer regular season games means the teams that don't make the playoffs will make less money. But I don't think there's any reason why MLB, if run well both at the league and franchise level, couldn't support 32 teams.
   12. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:11 AM (#2187572)
Of course he wants a second wild-card this season.

Tito is a big White Sox fan?
   13. Flynn Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:18 AM (#2187583)
That way, you have no WC, just four division winners.

The fundamental problem with this is that you'd have to twist and turn to put the Red Sox and Yankees into a different divisions, which would either dilute the rivalry or leave one marquee team out of the playoff race.
   14. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#2187604)
So you want to penalize the WC team? Easy. Make them leave their best starting pitcher off the roster for the first round of the playoffs.
   15. TerpNats Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:35 AM (#2187608)
Have four division winners plus a wild card, which would face the division winner with the worst record in a best-of-three -- that winner would then face the division winner with the best record.
   16. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:55 AM (#2187626)
There's a simple way to restore the purity of the regular season. In the playoffs, make the wild card team wear swimfins instead of shoes.
   17. Urban Faber Posted: September 26, 2006 at 02:08 AM (#2187642)
The World Series is going to start on Tuesday beginning in 2007. I don't know if they're going to a seven-game division series or what.
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#2187671)
Doesn't Francona have more important things to think about?

Like why he wears a dugout shirt that makes him look exactly like Big Nate's sidekick Francis, with that dorky little "B" on his chest.
   19. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:34 AM (#2187720)
The offside rule is not the problem. The PASSIVE OFFSIDE rule is the f'ing problem. If you're offside, your whole team is offside. None of this "not involved with the play" BS.
   20. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#2187734)
The offside rule is like democracy, it's the worst system...except for all the rest
   21. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 11:13 AM (#2187892)
So you want to penalize the WC team? Easy. Make them leave their best starting pitcher off the roster for the first round of the playoffs.

That's a nice idea. But how do we define "best"?

If it's Wins, I think a team like the Yankees, who kind of knew they'd be seeing the postseason in August, would be yanking their top starters in the fourth routinely and bringing in Jaret Wright to vulture the wins.

There'd be howls from teams with a dominant ace - take Santana away from Minny and tell me what you're left with.
   22. Kanst Posted: September 26, 2006 at 12:53 PM (#2187924)
Well I dont like the idea at all but having a one game playoff for the two WC teams then having them play in the ALDS would be a serious handicap. Since they are going to have to use there best pitcher in that 1 game playoff which would mean they wouldnt have them until game 4 or 5 of the ALDS.

Personally I think there is no reason for the wildcard and I think it just diminishes the importance of winning a division. I would really like the 4 division winner idea.

The think I want most changed is the unbalanced schedule. I dont wanna see the Yankees and the Red Sox play 19 times a year it is a little excessive. I would rather play everyone in the AL almost the same amount.
   23. BDC Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:18 PM (#2187944)
they are going to have to use there best pitcher in that 1 game playoff which would mean they wouldnt have them until game 4 or 5 of the ALDS

Sure, unless they used their best pitcher in game #160 and their second-best in 161 and their third-best in 162, all of which were must-win games just to get to the play-in, where they win miraculously with their fourth-best, leaving their ace fresh as a daisy for the LDS. This kind of thing has unintended consequences.
   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:27 PM (#2187955)
You're either a playoff team or you aren't. Trying to penalize the wildcard teams beyond the normal home field advantage to their opponents is counterproductive, suggesting that wildcard participation is illegitimate. It's like starting all their games with the score 1-0 in favor of the other team.
   25. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:36 PM (#2187967)
It's kind of tough to argue with an assertion like that in #24, but I'll give it a shot:

Making the playoffs a more or less completely level playing field makes baseball's long regular season interminable - with very little incentive for this year's Twins and Tigers (or last year's Yanks/Sox) to actually win their division, the fans are robbed of important, meaningful baseball in September.
   26. bunyon Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:47 PM (#2187978)
suggesting that wildcard participation is illegitimate.

By george, I think he's got it!

And there is no incentive for the twins and tigers. The AL Central is over. Could have been a fun race.
   27. CrosbyBird Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:50 PM (#2187981)
Personally I think there is no reason for the wildcard and I think it just diminishes the importance of winning a division. I would really like the 4 division winner idea.

4 divisions! We're already getting really soft regular-season teams sneaking into the playoffs by merit of playing in a weak division. With a little bit of luck, the Phillies could actually make the wild-card with the 2nd best record in the NL this year and the Cardinals (or Astros, believe it or not) could actually win the Central with a .500 record.

The wild-card isn't the problem so much as the three-divisional format with the unbalanced schedule and interleague play.

The problem is the number of teams. It's getting to the point where 2 divisions, while desirable, is not really feasible anymore.

A lot of the issues with extending the playoffs could be resolved by returning to double-headers on the schedule.
   28. Cris E Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:53 PM (#2187990)
Most years the run to the wild card is hairier than the division race since you've going against more teams with fewer head-to-head matchups. That should be hard, and if it isn't that means the WC team is pretty good and has earned a break much like a runaway division winner earns the right to coast into the playoffs.

If you think wild cards need a handicap, consider a 3-2-2 series in the first round for the wild card teams (instead of 2-3-2 for the div winners.) That gives the WCs a max of 2 home games and rewards the best division winner as well. I think it's too much, but it would certainly give the Yankees something more to play for this week.
   29. Danny Posted: September 26, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#2187999)
Isn't the Wild Card winner generally better than at least one of the division winners? Is there really a need to punish them?
   30. Cris E Posted: September 26, 2006 at 02:04 PM (#2188002)
The reason Tito is suddenly in favor of doubleheaders is that he suffered through a five game weekend straight out of the deadball era and found it teh suck. Even if they'd split he probably not wouldn't be a fan, as they had a lot of moved games this year and could have used more open dates than just those the Yankees games required.

I like them because they challenge a team's depth mid-season instead of creating these death marches through August and September. If they were all bunched together like interleague play (Double-Header Weekend!) it would be a little fairer since half the teams wouldn't caught out tired afterwards. You could use the Mon and Thur following to give back the earned off day. Plus you could avoid those four or two game series against division rivals.
   31. Kanst Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:05 PM (#2188074)
Planned double headers arent that bad. If in scheduling they just decided every team has to have 5 double headers than teams could just try and plan there off days as the days after the double headers. If you want to shorten the season that is one way to do it.
   32. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:18 PM (#2188088)
Of course he wants a second wild-card this season.

Uh, the Red Sox are in fifth place in the WC race right now. The second berth wouldn't do them much good.
   33. JustDan Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#2188094)
Uh, the Red Sox are in fifth place in the WC race right now. The second berth wouldn't do them much good.


So take the WC+4 ?
   34. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#2188346)
Like why he wears a dugout shirt that makes him look exactly like Big Nate's sidekick Francis, with that dorky little "B" on his chest.

Are you joking, or do you not know he has a medical reason for that?
   35. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#2188349)
Are you joking, or do you not know he has a medical reason for that?

I don't know, but I can't imagine what the medical reason is for wearing a pullover instead of a uniform top. What's the reason?
   36. VG Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:27 PM (#2188356)
Tito is a big White Sox fan?

The White Sox used to employ Terry Francona. He was Michael Jordan's manager.
   37. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:35 PM (#2188361)
Isn't the Wild Card winner generally better than at least one of the division winners? Is there really a need to punish them?

I don't think of it as "punishing" the Wild Card as rewarding the division winners. It really depends on what you think the purpose of the playoffs is - if you see it as a way to get the best teams in, then the current structure works poorly, but it sort of works.

If you see it as a "tournament of Champions", then, well, the Wild Card is the champion of nothing.

That said, the idea of a "Play in" is really dumb. I can say without fear of contradiction that the White Sox have not earned the right to a shot at the postseason. They've gotten beat six ways to sundown - why should they get another chance?
   38. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:57 PM (#2188376)
Jerry's, I think you're missing a lot of the point. Sure, the White Sox haven't "earned" their way into the postseason (although that win total is pretty shiny), but using today's AL Central standings, the Tigers and Twins would fight to the death to avoid that play-in game instead of quietly kneeing the ball and running the clock out on the season.
   39. DLew On Roids Posted: September 26, 2006 at 08:11 PM (#2188389)
I don't know, but I can't imagine what the medical reason is for wearing a pullover instead of a uniform top. What's the reason?

Francona has a circulatory disorder that's almost killed him once or twice. He uses the pullover to stay warm.

Keep up the fashion tips, though. Very germane.
   40. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 08:36 PM (#2188402)
Francona has a circulatory disorder that's almost killed him once or twice. He uses the pullover to stay warm.

Is that the reason for the bald head, too? Does Francona wear a uniform top under the pullover, or does he have a dispensation from MLB?

Did they know about this during his playing career, or was it later onset?
   41. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 26, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2188413)
Jerry's, I think you're missing a lot of the point. Sure, the White Sox haven't "earned" their way into the postseason (although that win total is pretty shiny), but using today's AL Central standings, the Tigers and Twins would fight to the death to avoid that play-in game instead of quietly kneeing the ball and running the clock out on the season.

Of course, getting rid of the Wild Card entirely would accomplish the same thing...
   42. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 08:56 PM (#2188421)
Of course, getting rid of the Wild Card entirely would accomplish the same thing...

I'm on the same page as you are. But I think MLB has fallen in love with the TV money from the playoffs, and most fans seem to like the WC. A play-in game preserves both of these. Even non-fans watch Game 7s sometimes, and a play-in game would probably attract a substantial audience. I know that I would find a one-game playoff completely watchable and exciting.
   43. Bob T Posted: September 26, 2006 at 08:57 PM (#2188423)
I think many managers wear a pullover or jacket in the dugout all the time so the coaches can picke them out in the dugout for the purpose of relaying signs.
   44. CrosbyBird Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:08 PM (#2188436)
the fans are robbed of important, meaningful baseball in September.

In exchange for other, meaningful baseball in September.

Two weeks ago, there was a legitimate 4 team race for the NL wild-card, with the Astros, Phillies, Marlins, and whoever didn't win the NL West. No wild-card, and the Marlins and Phillies are playing meaningless games (and it sure looked that way for the Astros, until St. Louis collapsed).

The wild-card both adds a race and diminishes a race. But the 1997 Marlins, for example, absolutely were a great team that showed significant success in the regular season, and was deserving of a playoff spot. They would have been robbed of that opportunity with no wild-card. Houston wasn't nearly as good, and they showed how outmatched they were in the playoffs, getting swept in the NLDS (game 2 wasn't even competitive).

This year's weak field notwithstanding, without the wild-card, legitimately good teams are often completely eliminated because they are unfortunate enough to play in the same division as an even stronger team, while a very weak division sends a team into the playoffs.
   45. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:17 PM (#2188448)
In exchange for other, meaningful baseball in September.

The problem is that it sometimes moves the exciting races down a tier - from the very best teams to the pretty good teams. Watching the Twins and Tigers battle for a playoff spot would be, to be frank, a heck of a lot more exciting than watching the NL teams try to out-collapse each other. As it stands, though, the AL field was pretty much set with a week left in the season.

This year's weak field notwithstanding, without the wild-card, legitimately good teams are often completely eliminated because they are unfortunate enough to play in the same division as an even stronger team, while a very weak division sends a team into the playoffs.

This fails to bother me. I've never thought of the playoffs as the place where the "best" teams play.
   46. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2188459)
I've never thought of the playoffs as the place where the "best" teams play.

Again, to newcomers, Jerry's and I are in agreement on this issue for the most part.

But I lost you there. I figured the playoffs as the place where the "best" teams play. My difference is that I had no assurance that the playoffs were the place where all of the "best" teams play.

Any set elinination system (like a sports playoff) is going to have variations of the quality of the teams "left behind" based on the year and the races. For what it's worth, I completely agree with Jerry's first statement in #45 - "The problem..."
   47. CrosbyBird Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#2188468)
The problem is that it sometimes moves the exciting races down a tier - from the very best teams to the pretty good teams. Watching the Twins and Tigers battle for a playoff spot would be, to be frank, a heck of a lot more exciting than watching the NL teams try to out-collapse each other. As it stands, though, the AL field was pretty much set with a week left in the season.

In this season, that's especially true. But it wasn't in 2005, when the Astros were every bit as good as the Atlanta Braves and better than the Padres. You could make an argument that they were the 2nd best team in the NL.

The AL has been less interesting lately because the wild-card has destroyed the significance of the Yankees/Sox race. But in many years, a good number of divisions are all but mathematically decided long before the season is over. The wild-card creates interest in an otherwise completely dead September.

Take the 2006 season. Two of the three divisional races in the AL and two of the three in the NL were all but over in early September (arguably, the Tigers also looked close to a lock for the AL Central on 9/1). So instead of practically no interesting baseball, we had a few dogfights for wild-cards.

I've never thought of the playoffs as the place where the "best" teams play.

I suppose I have always thought the regular season's purpose was to weed out the non-best teams, and run-off between the rest of them.
   48. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:35 PM (#2188469)
I'm not a fan of either team, but the 1993 Giants/Braves race (was it '93?) had something that even playoff baseball couldn't match - seeing two very good/great teams over the long haul beating inferior competition to varying degrees of success and looking forward to head-to-head matchups. The fans checked the late scores every day through much of the late summer/fall. Again, I'm familiar with it, so don't smack my homerism around; but an unbelieveable last few days of the 2005 season for the Yanks and Sox turned into a frustrating rest-your-ace-a-thon.

We can compare one instance where the WC would have siphoned all of the fun out of something and one instance where it made a race that didn't exist before - that'll keep on happening either way this gets decided. The purist in me wants the WC to go completely away, but the pragmatist in me knows that pandora's box cannot be closed. So further expansion of the playoffs is inevitable IMO, but it can be done in a way to increase drama and also to appeal to the purists - that being the best in your division over 162 still means a great deal.
   49. TH Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2188473)
What annoys me even more then the Wild Card is the stupid 2-3-2 format for 7 game series. It gives little or no advantage to the team that has supposedly won the right to home field advantage*. If the series goes 4 or 6 games then both teams have an even number of home games. If it goes 5 then the worse team actually gets the extra home game and only when a series goes the full 7 does the team with home field advantage get the extra home game.

I don't know of an easy way to fix this due to the condensed nature of MLB playoffs compared to other sports (2-2-1-1-1, would likely be completely unfeasable in baseball). Maybe have the series be 2-5?

*A quick check of all 7 game playoff series since the strike (arbitrary endpoint, I am lazy) shows the team with homefield advantage has played 93 home games and 94 away games. Basically in a 7 game series you are slightly more likely to get more home games if you do NOT have home field advantage.
   50. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2188476)
In this season, that's especially true. But it wasn't in 2005, when the Astros were every bit as good as the Atlanta Braves and better than the Padres. You could make an argument that they were the 2nd best team in the NL.

I'm sure I'll get baseball chick all mad at me, but the Astros should have thought of that before playing terrible ball until the ASB.

If you're going to judge it by how good the team is at the right time, I'm sure that the Royals or Pirates have won 6-of-7 at some point in the last few years in the autumn. Should a playoff system "reward" this with a chance to unseat a 95-win team in the playoffs?
   51. PleasePassTheGravy Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:40 PM (#2188477)
How about a BCS format with the Yankees playing the role of Notre Dame...?
   52. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2188479)
I think home field advantage simply isn't much of an issue in baseball. If I had the choice, of course I would want a critical game to be at my team's ballpark. But it just isn't worth fighting for; not like it is in the NFL. The lukewarm pursuit of teams playing for HFA and that's all over the last ten years let you know that baseball managers largely agree with me.
   53. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:49 PM (#2188488)
Take the 2006 season. Two of the three divisional races in the AL and two of the three in the NL were all but over in early September (arguably, the Tigers also looked close to a lock for the AL Central on 9/1). So instead of practically no interesting baseball, we had a few dogfights for wild-cards.

Under the old, two-division format, the Twins and A's would be battling for one playoff spot, and the Yankees and Tigers would be neck-and-neck for the other. It would have been a tremendous September.

I suppose I have always thought the regular season's purpose was to weed out the non-best teams, and run-off between the rest of them.

I'm probably in an extreme minority, but I view the regular season as "real" baseball (as far as that goes), and the postseason as a fun bunch of exhibition games.
   54. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: September 26, 2006 at 09:58 PM (#2188494)
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette has a Red Sox notes that includes an interesting item. It says that Terry Francona favors two changes to the playoff setup:

One would add a second wild-card team in each league. The wild-card teams would have a play-in game, giving the division winners three days to set up their pitching.

The other change would have every team playing two doubleheaders in the regular season, resulting in the playoffs starting earlier and the World Series starting on a Tuesday instead of a Saturday.


A third change suggested by Francona would be to add any team in the AL East whose name contains "Sox."
   55. Urban Faber Posted: September 26, 2006 at 10:04 PM (#2188498)
It would have been a tremendous September.


Although the NL West would look like the 1973 NL East. Which may not be all that bad, I guess.

I wonder if I'll live long enough to see the inevitable 16-team postseason format. Because once they move beyond 8 ... that's where it will go.
   56. Kanst Posted: September 27, 2006 at 02:05 AM (#2188694)
Here is an idea. You get rid of the divisions and just have an Al and an NL. The best four teams from each league make the playoffs. You could also get rid of the unbalanced schedule(which I hate). That way no team is at a disadvantage, everyone would play against the same set of teams and be judged against all teams in the league.
   57. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: September 29, 2006 at 11:15 PM (#2191938)
MLB revenue is the tail that wags the dog, and the format will always revolve around that. I doubt that the 154-game schedule will ever return for that reason.

I expect the next change to be to a 7-game Division Series.
   58. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 05:32 AM (#2194257)
The 4 division winner idea is a complete nightmare. You'll have teams under .500 in the playoffs a few times every decade. It would be a total disaster.

Just let the 3 division winners in and give a team a bye.

I know that means a week off, which is time to get rusty. Ask Joe Torre or Willie Randolph if they rather have the rust, or have to face Detroit or LA.

If rust is that big of an issue, play some intra-squad games and let the fans in for free, or play your AAA team, and let the fans in for free, etc..

Then winning the divisions matters (a lot) and having the best record in the league would matter even more. You'd also be guaranteed of having the best team in each league in the LCS and one-step from the World Series, so maybe the team with the best record in baseball might win a WS more often than once a decade.
   59. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 05:38 AM (#2194262)
"but using today's AL Central standings, the Tigers and Twins would fight to the death to avoid that play-in game instead of quietly kneeing the ball and running the clock out on the season."


Uh . . . the Tigers did fight to the death, hell they brought in their Game 1 starter in the 11th inning to try to win that game. The HomerDome was going apesh!t when the Royals pulled ahead in the 8th. I think both teams definitely wanted to win the division.
   60. WillYoung Posted: October 02, 2006 at 05:45 AM (#2194269)
It's one of the most elegant rules in any sport, along with the strike zone and ... heck, there are not a lot of elegant rules in sport, most of them force players to do contorted, unnatural things.

The bad thing about both the offside rule and the strike zone is that they are heavily dependent on an official's judgment. But in theory, and largely in practice, they are beautiful things.


I was a soccer official for eight years before developing tendinitis in both my knees and worked some pretty talented games (I was brought from MN to St. Louis to ref the 16-year old ODP tourney when I was 19, for example). I've told many people that it is actually much more difficult to be the Assitant Referee than the center because your head has to be on a swivel to follow both the ball and the offside position. I loved it because it is a much more technical job than being in the center.

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