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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Wait, MLB tiebreaker games are gone? Here’s what the rule change means for this season

With an expanded playoff format launching this October, MLB decided there wasn’t enough room on the calendar to break ties in that extra-game manner anymore. Instead, a set of tiebreaking rules will now decide not only seeding but also who gets into the postseason altogether if 162 games aren’t enough to determine the 12-team field. This means that the series your favorite team played way back in the first half could have a huge impact on its playoff hopes.

“It’s going to become a big deal when everyone [the fans] wakes up and realizes what’s going on,” Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell said last month….

Though the postseason format is spelled out in the recently signed collective bargaining agreement, there is discretion when it comes to the specifics of the tiebreaker rules that will allow the league to examine the impact and make changes if needed. As players and teams realize the stakes, the new rules could also lead to a further emphasis on head-to-head matchups.

“If they beat us, more than we beat them, it should go to them, so I’m totally fine with the rule,” St. Louis Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “Our job is to not lose, so if someone did that better than us, then you go home.”

That will be highlighted more starting next year when each team will play only 13 games—down from 19—within its own division. And the results in the first year of the new format already show the added importance of beating other teams with playoff hopes in head-to-head intraleague matchups.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2022 at 12:08 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tiebreaking game

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   1. Karl from NY Posted: September 20, 2022 at 03:00 PM (#6097086)
Despite how much we love talking about chaotic tiebreaker scenarios, they really don't happen very much. No three-team tiebreaker playoff ever happened. It's a lot less likely than you think - even if all three teams are tied going in to the last day, there's still only a 1/8 chance that they all get the same result, and of course none if any are playing each other.

We'll miss the few tiebreakers that did exist... but really, if you missed out on baseball's #6 seed by a tiebreaker, well you had 162 chances to win one more game.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2022 at 03:06 PM (#6097089)
We'll miss the few tiebreakers that did exist


The one-game playoffs were not tiebreakers.

Their removal, however infrequent they happened, is another #### move by MLB.
   3. BDC Posted: September 20, 2022 at 03:16 PM (#6097092)
If this rule holds (and it might change again some day), there will have been 12 single-game "tiebreakers." The first three were storied games, or at least storied situations and much-discussed games (1948, 1978, 1980; only 1978 was a great game per se). After that it got to be a little too frequent, though probably for fans of the teams involved it was exciting. I was at one of them in 2013 (Rays-Rangers) and it was stressful, if not much of a contest when it came down to it. The single-game Wild Card was an attempt to produce the same excitement every year, but also got to be too common. I guess I don't have a strong opinion here. "Game 163" was a fun oddity when it happened but I am not sure it will be missed – certainly not if it would be between sixth- and seventh-place teams.
   4. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: September 20, 2022 at 03:22 PM (#6097093)
Agreed. This sequence was fun:

2013 Tampa Bay Rays

Sep 29 Beat TOR @ TOR to force a tie with TEX for second wild card

Sep 30 beat TEX @TEX to win second WC

Oct 1 beat CLE @ CLE to advance to ALDS

3 must wins in 3 different cities in 3 days.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2022 at 03:24 PM (#6097094)
"Game 163" was a fun oddity when it happened but I am not sure it will be missed – certainly not if it would be between sixth- and seventh-place teams.


It wouldn't be limited to sixth and seventh-place teams. If the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds are tied after 162, a crappy tiebreaker (with or without quote marks) is a lousy method of deciding something that valuable. Of course, the major problem is the unending expansion of the playoffs that increases the chances of ties, but that ship has sailed.

   6. Obo Posted: September 20, 2022 at 03:40 PM (#6097101)
even if all three teams are tied going in to the last day, there's still only a 1/8 chance that they all get the same result


1/4

There is a 1/8 chance they all win and a 1/8 chance they all lose.

Assuming, as you noted, that none of them are playing each other.
   7. BDC Posted: September 20, 2022 at 03:51 PM (#6097105)
Heh, as if on cue, David Price retires. His complete-game win in Game 163 in 2013 was one of the best pitching performances I've ever seen in person.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: September 20, 2022 at 04:17 PM (#6097111)
Al Leiter had a 2-hit shutout in 1999 in Game 163, Mets over Reds.
   9. The Duke Posted: September 20, 2022 at 04:49 PM (#6097119)
Ho-hum
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2022 at 04:51 PM (#6097121)
If the 5th and sixth place teams are tied they should both miss the playoffs and a 3rd bye is awarded.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2022 at 04:54 PM (#6097122)
If the 5th and sixth place teams are tied they should both miss the playoffs


Also, if they're not tied.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2022 at 05:11 PM (#6097124)
Also, if they're not tied.

Actually a win floor would be cool. If you don't reach 90, GTFO. Variable number of playoff teams, max 6.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2022 at 05:25 PM (#6097131)
Variable number of playoff teams, max 6.


I would love to see a sports league go to variable-sized playoffs. I long advocated for it in CFB.
   14. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 20, 2022 at 06:04 PM (#6097151)
Go back to the old way of breaking ties...paper, rock, scissors!
   15. Ron J Posted: September 20, 2022 at 09:10 PM (#6097180)
#14 Nah, penalty kicks are a more established way of breaking ties in the sporting world.
   16. RickG Posted: September 20, 2022 at 09:45 PM (#6097184)
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2022 at 10:06 PM (#6097187)
This Game 163 is one of the greatest games ever played, from a tension and atmosphere standpoint.


There were good ones three years in a row: In 2007, the Rockies completed their remarkable late-season run with the 9-8, was he safe play at the plate in the 13th.

In 2008, Thome's massive homer was the only run in the blackout game.

In 2009, the Twins win it in the 11th after Chip Caray gave us this gem earlier: “Line drive. Base hit. Caught out there. The runner tags. Throw to the plate. On target. And in time! A double play.”

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