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Monday, July 05, 2021

A case for radical realignment and the end of interleague play

With 32 teams, MLB will likely have to decide between eight- or four-team divisions within its two leagues. The preference here: eight-team divisions with division winners earning something more - perhaps a first-round bye in the postseason. This will almost ensure a mediocre team or one with a losing record doesn’t reach the playoffs. This plan sees the East and Central divisions make up one league, and the Midwest and West the other.

There are plenty of other pairings that could heighten rivalries, if only they played more often and were playing for the same thing: division titles, playoff appearances, and pennants.

A 2015 study by the University of Arkansas found “geographic proximity and a shared history of comparable success” is what leads to rivalries at the college level. Think Duke-North Carolina, Alabama-Auburn, and Ohio State-Michigan. In MLB’s top 10 rivalries, nine teams either shared the same state or were within 300 miles of each other.

The top three rivalries all have strong geographical ties. In addition to Dodgers-Giants, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are of course northeast neighbors, and the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are separated by a four-hour drive (with no traffic). There’s potential for more like these.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 05, 2021 at 09:22 AM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: realignment

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   1. AndrewJ Posted: July 05, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6027713)
I like the proposal.
   2. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: July 05, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6027715)
I think they used to talk about this idea on Effectively Wild sometimes. My knee-jerk reaction is that I don't like it. But on further reflection, the leagues are hardly different anymore, and interleague play pretty much makes them pointless.

I do worry about the effect this might have on the second bananas of the world -- the Angels, the White Sox, the Mets. What's the point of having two teams in one city if they play in the same league and division? I know they're good now, but I've long suspected that that was why the Clippers had such a hard time developing an identity and a fanbase of their own.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 05, 2021 at 05:36 PM (#6027716)
Travel might be a little easier, but the real attraction is probably having more games in your own time zone, which should help TV ratings. I doubt 8-team divisions would be popular with owners - no one wants to finish worse than 4th, and getting agreement on 4-team divisions won’t be easy. Even more important, there aren’t two viable expansion possibilities, even if the existing teams would very much like to divvy up some expansion fees.
   4. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 05, 2021 at 05:38 PM (#6027717)
the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are separated by a four-hour drive


Which is over twice the length of the drive between the Cubs and Brewers stadiums, which can be made in an hour and a half on a good day.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: July 05, 2021 at 05:42 PM (#6027719)
Which is over twice the length of the drive between the Cubs and Brewers stadiums, which can be made in an hour and a half on a good day.


By that line of reasoning, Los Angeles is much closer to San Diego than it is to San Francisco.
   6. AndrewJ Posted: July 05, 2021 at 05:51 PM (#6027721)
Most (not ALL) fans have gotten onboard with the wild card; the play-in games have become a neat little tradition. But I'm surprised that, almost 25 years into interleague play, many managers and players still aren't crazy about it. Maybe realignment and the end of interleague play wouldn't be so bad.

I doubt 8-team divisions would be popular with owners - no one wants to finish worse than 4th, and getting agreement on 4-team divisions won’t be easy.

As TFA article says, eight-team divisions and an unbalanced schedule would decrease the odds of 81-81 teams getting a playoff berth. And a first-round bye would be a nice incentive to win the division outright.
   7. Jay Seaver Posted: July 05, 2021 at 06:09 PM (#6027723)
I do worry about the effect this might have on the second bananas of the world -- the Angels, the White Sox, the Mets.


I wonder if they're the votes that would keep this from happening. I think, in most cases right now, the four areas where this is a potential issue are in good shape - LA and Anaheim aren't really that close, Oakland and San Francisco have a bay between them (and the A's have probably been weighing the benefits of being the smaller fish in a big pond versus a big fish in a smaller one for decades), Chicago and New York are big enough cities that the teams can draw on local identities - but it's a good long-term question.

even if the existing teams would very much like to divvy up some expansion fees.


They might like that, but I seem to recall reading Manfred all but admitting somewhere that most ownership groups are in it for the long haul to the point where they see it as a bad trade for splitting things 32 ways rather than 30 in the future. Like, okay, say an expansion fee is $600M - the very low end of what a team might sell for - that's $20M/team. A quick Googles says teams received $118M each in 2018. Boosting to 32 teams brings that down to $110.6M, so you're taking a loss in three years. Bringing the expansion fee to $1B only gets you another year or two.
   8. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 05, 2021 at 07:13 PM (#6027734)
the leagues are hardly different anymore

Especially since "the leagues" haven't technically existed in over 20 years.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: July 05, 2021 at 08:19 PM (#6027738)
I do worry about the effect this might have on the second bananas of the world -- the Angels, the White Sox, the Mets.

the Mets have been sold to a billionaire - this isn't your father's Fred Wilpon Mets.
as I have noted before, NYC baseball fans are quite fickle.

if the Mets become the "it" team for even a few consecutive years, they'll take overall ownership of the region just as they did in the mid/late 1980s (winning the attendance battle from 1984-93). plenty of baseball fans around here haven't rooted for a losing team in 25 years - and they won't do it in coming years, either, if there's an alternative within the 5 boroughs.

not particularly a badge of honor for the Big Apple, perhaps, but it is what it is.

the Mets had the better record than NYY 13 times through 2015 - and outdrew the Yankees on 12 of those occasions.
   10. AndrewJ Posted: July 05, 2021 at 08:24 PM (#6027739)
if the Mets become the "it" team for even a few consecutive years, they'll take overall ownership of the region just as they did in the mid/late 1980s.

And in retrospect, just as the Mets did during most of the time CBS ran the Yankees.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: July 05, 2021 at 08:50 PM (#6027742)
the Mets outdrew the Yankees from 1964-75 but for a variety of reasons - both Dodgers and Giants fans needed a new team, lovable losers, Yankees collapse, Miracle Mets, You Gotta Believe....
   12. Jack Sommers Posted: July 05, 2021 at 09:57 PM (#6027750)
From MLB's perspective, they simply need to decide if they wish to increase emphasis on post season, or increase the importance of the regular season. Once you make that decision then you decide what to do next. The decades long trend has been towards the former over the latter of course.

So going forward should MLB increase emphasis on post season, or should they reverse the trend and increase importance of regular season. ?

They'll do whatever will make them more money, and I have to assume more post season emphasis will increase revenues. But I'm not sure about that.

EDIT: Just scrolling back up and reading Jay Seaver's comment in #7, I've read something similar before as well.


   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 05, 2021 at 10:06 PM (#6027753)
The Mets haven’t outdrawn the Yankee since 1992. It could happen again, but even in 2016, when the Mets were a playoff team coming off a World Series appearance, while the Yankee didn’t make the playoffs that year, the Yankees still outdrew the Mets by 274K.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: July 05, 2021 at 10:21 PM (#6027755)
or to put it another way, the mighty 2015 Mets won 90 games while the hapless, rebuilding Yanks won..... 87.

that's not going to move the needle, obviously.
   15. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: July 05, 2021 at 11:34 PM (#6027766)

Which is over twice the length of the drive between the Cubs and Brewers stadiums, which can be made in an hour and a half on a good day.


Been awhile, but I've often attended a matinee at Wrigley and a night game in Milwaukee on the same day. I think I've only once bothered to do to the DH b/t Comiskey and, at the time, County Stadium.
Used to head to Wrigley to catch some NL ball, don't really feel compelled to chase after an AL game once the Brewers switched leagues. Though now live in IN, so more likely to head to Cincy for a quick MLB fix.
   16. Jay Seaver Posted: July 05, 2021 at 11:40 PM (#6027767)
EDIT: Just scrolling back up and reading Jay Seaver's comment in #7, I've read something similar before as well.


Of course, in doing the math I didn't really figure on how MLB would be getting two of those fees, but that still means that, if the numbers stay the same, it's still just five years before teams have received less from a 32-team league than they would have from a 30-team league. Basically, expansion would have to seem likely to increase league revenues significantly for it to be a net positive for teams, and what cities would do that? I don't know that there's any area in the USA where having a local team would move the needle for national numbers, and I kind of suspect that expanding to Montreal wouldn't allow them to add a new national contract in Canada for French-language broadcasts. Maybe if they expanded to Mexico?

Anyway, the sheer amount of money MLB brings in through league-wide revenues makes me think they'd need to be in a position to require an immediate cash infusion, and if 2020 didn't do that, what will?
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 06, 2021 at 12:29 AM (#6027771)
Manfred all but admitting somewhere that most ownership groups are in it for the long haul to the point where they see it as a bad trade for splitting things 32 ways rather than 30 in the future.
IIRC, in the last expansion the new teams didn’t get a full cut of the national media money until some years after they started, which gave the established owners a bit more incentive to expand. Of course, if there were good expansion locations, an argument could be made that they would enlarge the revenue pie, even if it was split more ways. Conversely, the prospect of adding marginal franchises that would soon be revenue sharing recipients should discourage expansion.
   18. Jay Seaver Posted: July 06, 2021 at 01:08 AM (#6027772)
Of course, that was way back in 1995, when they were just coming out of a strike, internet streaming didn't exist, and the combined value of the upcoming national TV contracts were something like $160M/year, so they'd be diluting from $5.7M/year to $5.3M/year. The Rays and Diamondbacks each paid $130M, so that's $9.3M/team if you don't assume any's going to the central fund, so it would take 20+ years for teams to start seeing that as a net-negative - and who wants to bet on still owning the team 20+ years from then?

The TV/cable/internet contracts are just so huge now, and I think the last value floated for an expansion fee was something like $2.2B, and while that would probably be enough for the existing clubs, that's a crazy amount to shell out even before investing in a stadium, staff, etc. Who can afford that?
   19. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 06, 2021 at 02:12 AM (#6027777)
This is not a bad realignment plan, as these things go, but I have a few quibbles:

1. The Central and Midwest divisions should swap names. Though "Midwest" implies west of the center, it really means "Great Lakes" or "Big Ten country." Also, most of the teams currently placed in his "Midwest" are in the Central time zone (I think all except the Rockies), so the "Central" name would make sense.

2. Atlanta and the Florida teams are hard to place, but I think it would be better to keep the Florida teams together and have Tampa Bay and Miami in the East (lots of retirees/transplants with rooting interests in teams from the East).

3. The Braves could then be tossed into the Central (which I would re-label the Midwest), where they could build new rivalries. Not great for them, but someone has to be the odd team out. They do have ties to Milwaukee (which, unfortunately, would not be in the same division), and if an expansion team went into North Carolina or Tennessee instead of Montreal, that could be a natural rival.

4. In the natural order of pro sports, I feel that Detroit and Chicago should always be in the same division. But that's hard to do if the Chicago teams have to stay together, and have to be with the Cardinals (who have to be with the Royals), and probably should be with the Brewers.
   20. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 06, 2021 at 03:00 AM (#6027778)
The main problem I have with this realignment is is that, as I understand it, West Coast teams never play on the East Coast, and vice versa. Mike Trout, for example, would never play a regular season game on the East Coast, meaning that millions of fans would never be able to see him play live. That's entirely different from having the AL and NL as they are now. With no interleague play, sure he'd never play in Philadelphia, but that's entirely different than skipping the entire Eastern time zone. With both AL and NL teams playing in several time zones, as it is now, that's entirely different from having it completely segregated geographically.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: July 06, 2021 at 03:00 AM (#6027779)
I think if you replace Las Vegas with Nashville, you get a much more natural alignment.

East:
Mon
Tor
Bos
NY
NY
Phi
Pit
Det

South:
Atl
Balt
Was
TB
Mia
Nash
Cin
Clev

Central:
Chi
Chi
Mil
Min
Stl
KC
Tex
Hou

West:
LA
LA
SD
SF
Oak
Sea
Ariz
Colo

All of the teams in the East are in the Eastern Time Zone, all of the teams in the Central are in the Central, the west are in the Mountain/Pacific, and all but Nashville in the South are in the Eastern.

Detroit may be the one that is most out of place, but Toronto is a natural rival and they have a history with both Boston and NY.

   22. DL from MN Posted: July 06, 2021 at 08:30 AM (#6027788)
I'm okay with radical realignment but I think they would have to continue interleague play. You can't play 162 games against just 7 teams and sustain fan interest.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: July 06, 2021 at 08:35 AM (#6027790)

I'm okay with radical realignment but I think they would have to continue interleague play. You can't play 162 games against just 7 teams and sustain fan interest.



It wouldn't be just 7. It would be 15. You'd play the teams from the other half of your league, just not the other league (similar to MLB from 1969-1996).
   24. SandyRiver Posted: July 06, 2021 at 09:04 AM (#6027791)
#22. Though it would mess up the time zones a bit, I'd swap the TX teams with the OH teams. Having a team at 41° N in the "South" is geographic dissonance.
   25. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: July 06, 2021 at 09:17 AM (#6027792)
I'm okay with radical realignment but I think they would have to continue interleague play. You can't play 162 games against just 7 teams and sustain fan interest.


I don't know about that. I think the idea of familiarity breeding discontent would come into play. One of the fun things about the current NHL season was it was only divisional games so there was a lot of animosity. Different sports of course and hockey lends itself to that stuff but I think you'd get some of it.

There are reasons to hate it and I share the comments from many of the criticisms others have already leveled. But I think the hatred of opponents would build which would create interest rather than diminish it.
   26. KronicFatigue Posted: July 06, 2021 at 09:25 AM (#6027793)
Seeing my team on the road is a fun thing, and more opportunities to do it conveniently is great. I'm in NY, and recently went to DC on vacation. I had "some" flexibility with planning the timing of my vacation, but couldn't align it with the Mets playing the Nats. Luckily, we're seeing them in Philly next month.

It would suck for Trout never to visit the east coast, but how many fans actually get to see him in person when he does? And there's always the chance for him going 0-4 when he does. The vast majority of fans experience individual superstars one clip at a time. Their teams, however, are watched in real time, and it sure would be nice not having to stay up for a 10 pm wednesday start when the Mets are on the west coast.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: July 06, 2021 at 09:41 AM (#6027796)
#22. Though it would mess up the time zones a bit, I'd swap the TX teams with the OH teams. Having a team at 41° N in the "South" is geographic dissonance.



You could solve this by going the old NHL route and name the divisions after people, rather than locations. Clemente (East), Lajoie (South), O'Neil (Central) and O'Doul (West).
   28. bunyon Posted: July 06, 2021 at 10:13 AM (#6027798)
There isn’t anything in the article (which I skimmed) about the playoffs. I’d prefer the old 4 division schedule but I doubt MLB would.

So, how do you do wild cards?

You could do 8 four team divisions without Inter league play just as easy. 18 games in division, 9 against the other teams in the league.

Or, do four divisions but pair the division winners with second place teams for the LDS with each division winner starting 1-0. Or you could add a play in for those 4 slots; 2s vs 3s with no days off. Just saying MLB will want their larger playoff.

Or, my favorite idea since they started wild cards and playins: no divisions, league winner advances to LCS where they matchup against the survivor of an 8 team single elimination tournament formed by the 2-9 place teams. That tournament starts the day after the last regular season game and the winner gets no time off before the LCS.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: July 06, 2021 at 10:35 AM (#6027806)
So, how do you do wild cards?


I would assume it's division winners get byes, four WCs per league play for the two spots in the championship series.

   30. bunyon Posted: July 06, 2021 at 11:11 AM (#6027812)
I’m in the camp that too long of a break isn’t a reward. If the wild cards are single games, that’s fine. But if it’s a series, no.
   31. KronicFatigue Posted: July 06, 2021 at 11:12 AM (#6027813)
4 divisions in 2 leagues. I like #21's settup so let's go with that. 7 intra division opponents, 8 intra league opponents, and 16 inter-league opponents.

12 games x 7 intra division teams = 84
6 games x 8 intra division teams = 48
4 games x 8 inter league (alternating each year) = 32

That's a 164 game season. Make the interleague games all coincide at the same time, so that all the east coast teams are on the west coast at the same time, etc. "interleague month" or whatever. Bake in off days to account for rain-outs.

First and last months of the season are all intra-division games. Makes the races more exciting.

4 division winners get a bye to the elite-8. 8 next best records "play in" to get to the elite 8. Do it in a way so that the same division teams avoid each other as much as possible in the elite 8.

EDIT: Play-in round is best of 7, but the series open with a 7 inning double header. Immediately following the regular season.
   32. bunyon Posted: July 06, 2021 at 11:18 AM (#6027814)
That’s a week off for the division winner. Way too long. There is no need to be “fair” to the play-ins.
   33. KronicFatigue Posted: July 06, 2021 at 11:28 AM (#6027816)
What's the ideal amount of time? You'd want to reset your rotation. You can either give the division winners extra home games (5 out of 7? 6 out of 9?) or make the last day of the play in games a double header as well.

Day 1 games 1 and 2: 7 7 higher seed home
Day 2 game 3: 9 higher seed home
Day 3 game 4: 9 lower seed home
Day 4 game 5: 9 lower seed home (day game)
Day 5 games 6 and 7: 7 7 higher seed home

   34. bunyon Posted: July 06, 2021 at 12:28 PM (#6027822)
I don't really know how long a break is too long. For hitters, any break is bad. For pitchers, a week would be lovely.

I'd make your playin series 5 games and play them all in the higher seed's park (do whatever you have to with revenue sharing to make it work). And make the last day a doubleheader if necessary. That's four days off.

Then next seven game series goes: higher seed (division winner) home games 1-3, lower seed home games 4 and 5, higher seed home games 6 and 7.

The difference between winning the division and not should be enormous but that advantage can't (only) come with time off. Time off is not always an advantage and a lot of folks argue it's a disadvantage.
   35. VCar Posted: July 06, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6027851)
You could solve this by going the old NHL route and name the divisions after people, rather than locations. Clemente (East), Lajoie (South), O'Neil (Central) and O'Doul (West).


SOSH, you've opened up a great can of worms. Who would be the 4 names on the divisions? Like hockey, I really like the idea of going with pioneers: Ruth, Robinson, Wagner, Johnson.
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: July 06, 2021 at 02:37 PM (#6027858)
Like hockey, I really like the idea of going with pioneers: Ruth, Robinson, Wagner, Johnson.


I was looking for one rep from each of the cities in the divisions. I like O'Neil (Negro League ambassador) in the Central and O'Doul (perhaps the most important figure in the development of baseball on the Pacific) out west, but I think there are probably better ones in the East and South.
   37. DL from MN Posted: July 06, 2021 at 07:37 PM (#6027968)
That's a 164 game season.


I'm on board with going back to 154 games.
   38. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 06, 2021 at 07:50 PM (#6027970)
You could solve this by going the old NHL route and name the divisions after people

No, no, a thousand times NO! Naming divisions after people was the dumbest of all of the incredibly dumb things the NHL did when it was expanding/realigning. (Didn't I write about this here before? Ah, yes, here it is:)

By the way, how nuts was the NHL in those days?

Very. The NHL screwed the pooch on expansion/realignment right from the get-go in the 60s. First, they should've expanded more gradually -- say, two new teams a year for three years -- but, no, they had to double the size of the league overnight. (This was partly because they facing a threat from the Western Hockey League, who threatened to sign a US TV contract and declare themselves a major league.)

Then, they put all six new teams in the new West Division, despite the fact that Chicago and Detroit were (and are) quite a bit west of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. A better idea would be to put the Hawks and Wings in the West and the Pengos and Flyers in the East -- unbalanced divisions, obviously, but a lot better than what they actually did, which was (literally!) six of one and half-dozen of another. This ensured that a crummy West Division team would be in the Stanley Cup Finals every year, something the Canadiens and Bruins took full advantage of.

In 1970, the NHL added Vancouver and Buffalo, moving Chicago to the West and putting both the Sabres and the Canucks in the East (wait, what?). A more logical move would have been to leave the Hawks alone and put Buffalo in the East, too...of course, that would've created a West Division consisting of not six but seven squads of absolute crap. Two years later, the league added the Islanders (take that, WHA!) and the Atlanta Flames. This would've been the perfect time to switch the Flames (placed in the West) and the Canucks (still stuck in the East), right? Wrong. Stay put, guys. Don't ask why.

In 1975, the NHL finally had a chance to do it right, adding two more teams in Kansas City and Washington (who won a combined total of 23 games that season) and expanding to four divisions. The WHA had 14 teams that year, adding up to a bloated total of 32 major league hockey franchises, a number that will finally be equaled next year when Seattle becomes the NHL's 32nd club. (Speaking of Seattle, the Penguins almost moved there that summer, while the Seals were threatening to move to Denver. Didn't happen.)

A logical realignment would've been:

West: Vancouver, LA, California, St Louis, Kansas City
Midwest: Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto
Northeast: Montreal, Boston, Buffalo, NY Rangers, NY Islanders
Atlantic: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta

The NHL...did not do this. Or even come up with logical division names (you know, with friggin' directions). Instead, they went with the Adams, Norris, Patrick and Century Divisions, with teams located God-knew-where. (Ha, fooled you: the Century Division was actually used in the NFL in the 60s! Psych...!)

It wasn't until after the merger with the WHA in 1979 they finally untangled this and put teams where they belonged, and it wasn't until 1993 they finally ditched Adams, et. al. and went with geographical division names. (As Gretzky put it in his autobiography, "We have enough trouble just explaining the blue line to people. Just call the conferences East and West.") Then they added some more teams and went to six divisions for a while, but I think we're all pretending that didn't happen, right? Right.

   39. SoSH U at work Posted: July 06, 2021 at 08:17 PM (#6027972)
That's not nearly the compelling argument you think it is.

If you have five teams in California, one in Washington, one in Arizona and one in Colorado, I sure as hell hope you don't need that division to be called "West" to know where it's located.
   40. BDC Posted: July 06, 2021 at 09:47 PM (#6027995)
This year's NHL divisions were Honda West, MassMutual East, Discover Central, and Scotia North.

Whatever happens with MLB realignment, I think the names are going to be along the lines of GoDaddy West, Guaranteed Rate Midwest, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers Southcentral, and Northeast Presented by Market Basket.
   41. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 06, 2021 at 10:41 PM (#6028008)
They'll be the DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Cialis divisions. And none of this FanDuel West, either; Manfred would be afraid that people would end up just calling it "West."
   42. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 07, 2021 at 10:42 AM (#6028046)
wait for

Chevy League

Ford League
   43. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: July 07, 2021 at 12:10 PM (#6028060)
it sure would be nice not having to stay up for a 10 pm wednesday start


I hear a lot of this, but aren't y'all busy before then? (Besides posting to BB message boards, of course.) I live on the east coast but watch almost exclusively west coast teams (usu. Angels) because I can't find time to watch a baseball game before 10pm.
   44. Jay Seaver Posted: July 07, 2021 at 01:55 PM (#6028076)
I hear a lot of this, but aren't y'all busy before then?


Not that busy. Granted, no kids here, working from home so no commute, and no shame about eating my dinner in the living room while watching the game, so I may be a bit of an outlier, but I know I wasn't the only person groaning about Red Sox games not starting until 7:30pm last year.

Besides, it's not really the "starting at 10pm" that's the problem, it's the "ending after 1am".
   45. TomH Posted: July 07, 2021 at 03:46 PM (#6028109)
imperfect plan? Sure. But waaaaaaaaaay better than 4-team divisions.

my playoff plan would be division winners get byes. Worst #3 plays #2 in WC round; #3 needs to win 2 games to advance, #2 only needs 1. Monday is day off for playoffs, then #2-#3 are Tues+Wed. Thurs/Fri begins full round of best of 7.

ADV: #1 gets rewarded, but doesn't sit forever. #2 rewarded over #3.
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: July 07, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6028115)
ADV: #1 gets rewarded, but doesn't sit forever. #2 rewarded over #3.


I know this kind of set-up has some supporters here, but I've never liked it. If you invite teams into the playoffs, I think they have to be on equal footing with their direct opponents, at least in terms of the games themselves. Byes are fine. HFA is inevitable (and may not provide any real advantage in the playoffs). But I can't get behind any plan that requires teams to win a different number of games to advance.

   47. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 07, 2021 at 04:04 PM (#6028116)
If you invite teams into the playoffs, I think they have to be on equal footing with their direct opponents, at least in terms of the games themselves.
Exactly, anything else is a gimmick.
   48. bunyon Posted: July 07, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6028129)
Letting in teams that didn't win anything is a gimmick, yes.

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