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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

MLB, Not the NBA, Needs Its Own Separate In-Season Tournament

I’m surprised the powers that be haven’t kicked the tires on this yet (though I’m far from the first person to pitch it). You would think Rob Manfred would take an easy win anywhere he could get one right now. And it really is just that, at least from the fan’s perspective.

Implementing a cup competition would open up the possibility of seeing the game’s prospects in MLB parks, playing against MLB players, and help start their hype train when they’re usually out of sight and out of mind for the casual fan. Conversely, it would bring MLB teams to iconic minor league parks. Imagine, say, a matchup between the Boston Red Sox and Durham Bulls at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Blue Monster. The novelty factor of seeing the sport’s biggest stars play at some of the nation’s coziest minor league venues may be even more entertaining, as we saw with last year’s Field of Dreams game.

Speaking of that, how about having the newly constructed Field of Dreams stadium serve as the location for the championship game? That beauty should be used by MLB more than once per year. If we really wanna get crazy with it, the competition could include independent clubs and the Savannah Bananas. Imagine Shohei Ohtani playing Banana Ball! Even the random draw to determine matchups could be an event for fans to tune into on MLB Network. Let Portland Pickles mascot Dillon T. Pickle announce the results! (Teams would be blocked from playing against their minor league affiliates.)

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2022 at 05:24 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tournament

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   1. sanny manguillen Posted: May 18, 2022 at 05:37 PM (#6077380)
So you don't have to: he wants an FA Cup-type competition that includes the major league and the 120 remaining minor league teams.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: May 18, 2022 at 06:26 PM (#6077383)
I wrote up something like that years ago. I think it would be a great way to break up the season, and give some also rans something to play for (as well as give a minor league team the opportunity to beat a major league club, which would happen from time to time).

   3. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 18, 2022 at 06:26 PM (#6077384)
If the Cardinals don't even want to use their 7th-best relief pitcher at the end of a 15-3 game in May, so they preserve him by using Albert Pujols instead, why would any team support using their major (or minor) leaguers for a tournament during the season?
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 18, 2022 at 06:44 PM (#6077385)
Like the All-Star Game skills competition (remember that?), this would last until the first time a star player has to come out of a game with a slagged elbow.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: May 18, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6077403)
Whither the WBC these days?

This would be a fine idea if the minors were independent (or more independent) teams.
   6. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 19, 2022 at 07:23 AM (#6077454)
If the Cardinals don't even want to use their 7th-best relief pitcher at the end of a 15-3 game in May, so they preserve him by using Albert Pujols instead, why would any team support using their major (or minor) leaguers for a tournament during the season?


Yup.
   7. Stevey Posted: May 19, 2022 at 08:53 AM (#6077458)
why would any team support using their major (or minor) leaguers for a tournament during the season?


You would have to make it worth something. Another trophy? A couple of spots in the postseason for the finalists? You can make it worth more than just purely exhibition matchups.

This could be some of the funnest 5, 6, 7 games of the season for a lot of fanbases. I think you'll find more of a problem with scheduling the games than getting the players to try hard. The occasions where the Dodgers get drawn to play in BFE on the opposite coast in the middle of a road trip would be problematic, much less a rainout for one of the rounds.
   8. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 19, 2022 at 10:27 AM (#6077461)
Is there a chance you could do something like this without the major league teams? I'm still not sure it would work, but you could do something like The Basketball Tournament: An open-application, single-elimination tourney of basketball teams that people put together and then play in a 64-team bracket, with the winner getting a million dollars. Some of the teams are sort of randomly assembled, but I think it has definitely picked up steam, and is now a pretty popular TV product on ESPN. For example, (I follow this a little as a Syracuse alum) a team called Boeheim's Army has qualified for the tourney every year since about 2015, made up almost entirely of Syracuse basketball players who generally didn't make it as pros, but are still in their 20s. The coaches are generally ex-players who are a little older, maybe have some coaching background since their playing days.

Do the teams have to be athletes who were good enough to be 2nd-round NBA draft picks? No, of course not...but since a bunch of teams are that good, you and your seven favorite gym rats are probably not going to get the Final Four of this tourney...but you never know...which is part of the fun.

If there was a baseball equivalent of this, I think people would watch. Heck, there was an audience during the pandemic for people playing video games of baseball against each other on TV, so imagine a bunch of really good college players, players who got a cup of coffee in the majors, etc., forming teams for a tourney like this. You have eight regions nationally, let people organize teams to play each other, and then you eventually end up with 64 teams that make The Baseball Tournament. You could do it during the off-season so it doesn't compete with MLB, and have most of the tourney games in the South and West. Make it like the NCAA tourney, three weekends of games to get from 64, to 16, to 4, to a champion.

If a senior team of really good retired players thinks it can compete, let them try. Maybe a bunch of former LSU stars get together and do a team. Maybe the Red Sox invite a bunch of their marginal prospects to form a team and get more experience together.

I don't think this is as TV-friendly as basketball, partially because there are a ton of college basketball players that fans get to know, but who never make it big-time in the NBA - so it pretty awesome to see one of these games and actually recognize the majority of the players. But there is also a little bit of "Hoosiers" to the format, where a group of relatively unknown guys can get hot, play well together, and make a run at a million bucks.

There are plenty of sponsors who would contribute towards the prize money, and it would be fun.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 19, 2022 at 11:04 AM (#6077466)

You would have to make it worth something. Another trophy? A couple of spots in the postseason for the finalists? You can make it worth more than just purely exhibition matchups.


I think they should cut back on post-season spots to just two (best in each league) and have a tournament like this for everyone else
   10. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 19, 2022 at 05:44 PM (#6077534)
So you don't have to: he wants an FA Cup-type competition that includes the major league and the 120 remaining minor league teams.

I've actually tried this with OOTP, except the game combines the season stats and "cup" stats together (like, say, if the Yankees were 90-72 on the season and 10-1 in the Cup, their season record would be 100-73); it seems to separate the individual stats, tho, so it's kinda worthless. So, instead I create all-new teams (based on place of birth) that play a mid-summer tournament.

Of course, it would never happen in real life, as [3] pointed out.
   11. John Northey Posted: May 19, 2022 at 08:44 PM (#6077553)
I could see this with just minor league teams - each level having a 1 game 'winner take all' playoff with #1 vs bottom in each league at home park of higher ranked (and so on), then re-rank and do a second round, until you have a winner for each league. Then winners from each play the others at their level (similar ranking to determine based on W/L %, then Run differential, then whatever until a coin toss if needed), then you have an A, A+, AA, AAA champ and have A vs AAA, A+ vs AA. Then the 2 winners face each other for the mid-season title. Big deal for all the prospects involved as it would clearly be a big pride thing with more eyeballs than normal on them, especially for the levels below AAA. Put some cash on the table for the winners too. Could use a central location for it or something, and use the 'field of dreams' for the final or a ML park. The International AAA league probably has the biggest field at 20 teams so 1 vs 20 ... 10 vs 11 for round 1, 10 teams round 2, 5 round 3 (4 lowest ranked play each other to get to 3, then those 2 winners play to face highest ranked). 5 rounds. If done at each teams home park for round 1 then a central location for the rest you'd have 5 games day 2, 2 day 3, 2 day 4 (tough on one team that day playing a double header or split into day 4 and day 5), then IL vs PCL for AAA title on day 6, day 7 is semi-final, day 8 final. If you add a day between day 1 and day 2 (travel), and between day 5 and 6 (travel for all leagues to final location) then you'd be up to 10 days for it all. Have 1 day on each end for the season to stop/start and you'd have it all set to go over 12 days or just shy of 2 weeks. Could be a lot of fun.
   12. Buck Coats Posted: May 20, 2022 at 12:00 PM (#6077637)
I think this makes sense, but you'd have to push it to after the season. And limit it to the top 6 teams in each league (we can give the top two byes). We can call it the Post-Season Tournament.

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