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Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Want more MLB drama? Adopt a split-season schedule

Let’s go to a split-season schedule in Major League Baseball.

Hey, it works in the minor leagues. It was pretty cool in 1981 after the players’ strike. And, man, does it ever give new life to teams who are hopelessly out of it by the All-Star Game.

It will strongly discourage teams from tanking. It will permit teams who suffered a rash of early injuries to recover. And it gives renewed hope to everyone who stunk the first half.

Certainly, it helps the small-market teams. They may not be able to compete for an entire 162-game season, but surely they have a shot to contend for 81 games.

“I know people roll eyes at it,” Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz says, “but it works in the minor leagues. Teams can now compete in the second half instead of just dumping everybody. How are you going to tell your fan base that you’re not going to try in the second half? Who says you can’t have a nice second half? You could see teams reconstructed and change philosophically.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2019 at 01:40 PM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: split schedule

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   1. The Duke Posted: March 06, 2019 at 02:45 PM (#5820720)
I like it - do the teams who win the first half just coast ? What’s their incentive in 2nd half ?
   2. Karl from NY Posted: March 06, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5820721)
How about the second wild-card being determined by second-half record?

That actually sounds like it would do what people want: keep more teams in contention for longer, and get one hot second-half team into the playoffs, while not cheapening the full-season schedule for anyone else. (Except whoever would be the full-season 2nd WC, but a team that far down the pecking order doesn't really get to complain.)
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: March 06, 2019 at 02:55 PM (#5820725)
I don't know of ANYONE who thought the 1981 debacle was "pretty cool."
   4. . Posted: March 06, 2019 at 02:55 PM (#5820726)
Been in favor of it for some time and have said so here. Still am.
   5. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 06, 2019 at 02:58 PM (#5820727)
Not as dumb of an idea as a ghost runner to start an extra inning, but close.
   6. Bhaakon Posted: March 06, 2019 at 02:59 PM (#5820728)
I thought this was going to be about major league split-squad games.

Which would be terrible, but also amazing.
   7. SandyRiver Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:03 PM (#5820730)
Didn't the Reds have the their division's best record for all of 1981, while winning neither half and thus being shut out of the PS?
   8. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5820732)
No, no, no, no, no, no, no and ... no...
   9. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5820733)
Didn't the Reds have the their division's best record for all of 1981, while winning neither half and thus being shut out of the PS?


The 1981 NLCS would have been Reds/Cards without the split. Instead, it was Dodgers/Expos.
   10. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5820735)
Didn't the Reds have the their division's best record for all of 1981, while winning neither half and thus being shut out of the PS?


They had the best record in all of baseball and were shut out from the postseason.
   11. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:10 PM (#5820737)
The 1981 NLCS would have been Reds/Cards without the split. Instead, it was Dodgers/Expos.


To make matters worse for Cincinnati, the Dodgers won the first half of the season by a half-game over the Reds. The Dodgers played one more game than the Reds.
   12. TDF, trained monkey Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5820738)
Let’s go to a split-season schedule in Major League Baseball.

Hey, it works in the minor leagues. It was pretty cool in 1981 after the players’ strike.
As a Reds fan, I can say unequivocally that it wasn't "pretty cool".
Didn't the Reds have the their division's best record for all of 1981, while winning neither half and thus being shut out of the PS?
No. They had the best record in baseball by 2 1/2 games (best in the NL by 4 games) and missed the playoffs.

EDIT: And I'm still so mad about it, I'm not giving anyone any Cokes.
   13. . Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:13 PM (#5820741)
They had the best record in all of baseball and were shut out from the postseason.


The Expos had the best record in the National League for the combined 1979 and 1980 seasons and were shut out of the postseason. Not quite exactly sure what this adding up of not-applicable units is supposed to be demonstrating.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:18 PM (#5820744)
total NL standings, 1981

EAST
Cardinals 59-43
Expos 60-48
Phillies 59-48

WEST
Reds 66-42
Dodgers 63-47
Astros 61-49
Giants 56-55

the Expos beat the Phillies and the Dodgers beat the Astros, so at least the second-best teams in each division reached the NLCS.

granted there were many bonus points for a half-season being played without any discussion of such a split-season plan. the Phillies and Dodgers just woke up one day and found out they could rest up for a half-season.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:18 PM (#5820746)
This almost certainly ensures that teams with losing records - for a half or for a full season - will make the playoffs. And this is good....why?

It also won't discourage tanking. Teams aren't gonna stop tanking so they can finish .500 and get a chance to lose to the Yankees in the Wild Card.
   16. PeteF3 Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:20 PM (#5820750)
I like it - do the teams who win the first half just coast ? What’s their incentive in 2nd half ?


In '81, teams that won both halves would play the second-half, second-place finisher, with the division series having a 1-away-4-home schedule instead of the then-standard 2-3. No idea how they'd do it now.
   17. bbmck Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5820751)
From 1996-2018, pretty much every season is at least 160 games so most wins in Games 1-80 or 81-160 that miss the playoffs:

53 - 2006 CHW
52 - 2006 LAA, 2003 SEA
51 - 2002 SEA
50 - 2006 BOS, 2002 LAD, 1996 BOS
49 - 2018 SEA, 2018 TBR, 2008 NYM, 2005 CLE, 2005 WSN, 2002 BOS, 2001 MIN, 1999 CIN
48 - 2014 MIL, 2010 BOS, 2008 HOU, 2006 PHI, 2002 HOU, 1998 LAA, 1997 LAD
   18. Walt Davis Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5820752)
Not quite exactly sure what this adding up of not-applicable units is supposed to be demonstrating.

Oh c'mon now, nobody thinks you're that dumb. You know exactly what it's demonstrating -- how stupid it would be to have a split season. Your puerile attempt to suggest that ignoring the natural break of winter and how 142 of 143 seasons of baseball have operated leads to a similar conundrum is desperate even by your standards.
   19. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5820762)
In '81, teams that won both halves would play the second-half, second-place finisher, with the division series having a 1-away-4-home schedule instead of the then-standard 2-3. No idea how they'd do it now.


No, they would have played the overall season runner up. Which nearly led to the White Sox being in a position to advance to the playoffs by intentionally losing games to the A's (first half winners). The Sox had no chance of catching the Royals for the second half crown, but they were 11 games better than the Royals in the first half (and wound up 2.5 games better overall), so their only shot was for the A's to win both halves, and Tonly Larussa actually speculated out loud that intentionally losing to the A's would help them. The math ended up not working as the Sox slipped behind the Rangers overall. But it could have.
   20. RoyalFlush Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5820769)
Oh c'mon now, nobody thinks you're that dumb.



I beg to differ.

   21. . Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:50 PM (#5820770)
You know exactly what it's demonstrating -- how stupid it would be to have a split season.


Right, that is what it's "demonstrating" which is why I used sarcasm. Once the rules are that the season is to be split, adding up two seasonal units into an inapplicable unit becomes meaningless -- whether it's the two halves of 1981 or the 1979-80 seasons. OK, the Reds had the "best record" if you add the two applicable halves. Big deal. Those weren't the rules. Just as the rules weren't to add '79 and '80, in which the Expos had the "best record."

Your puerile attempt to suggest that ignoring the natural break of winter and how 142 of 143 seasons of baseball have operated leads to a similar conundrum is desperate even by your standards.


Winter's a natural break, but that doesn't render other breaks unusable or unworkable.
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:53 PM (#5820774)
iirc the rules when 1981 season started was that the team that won the most games over the entire season won the division. then the Reds and Cardinals won the most - but didn't win the division.
   23. . Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5820779)
Right, but then the rules changed. Them's the breaks. If a split-season was adopted consciously at the beginning, even that problem goes away.

Bizarre, but unsurprising, that people are defending the current system, with the tanking and "let's play for September seeding" borefest so vociferously.

The All-Star break should be turned into a time where everyone gets to reboot and start all over again. A team that can win a division over a full 81-games is every bit as deserving as an 86-win wild card team. More, really.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: March 06, 2019 at 03:58 PM (#5820780)
Walt stands corrected.
   25. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:04 PM (#5820782)
Among all the other reasons why it's a bad idea, is that there's no way to guarantee all teams play the same number of games in each half. Who is the first half winner, the team that goes 54-27, or the one that goes 52-26? Because that was the AL East top 2 on Jun 27, 2018 after the Red Sox played their 81st game. At that point, the Twins had played only 76, while the Astros and Rangers had played 82.
   26. . Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5820783)
Walt stands corrected.


I just have a generally better vision of the aesthetics and essence of the sport, and express them. Sometimes that will rub people the wrong way. Comes with the territory. Such is life.
   27. . Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5820785)
Among all the other reasons why it's a bad idea, is that there's no way to guarantee all teams play the same number of games in each half.


Umm ... set up the schedule so they do?

Only in baseball do these stupidities continue to persist and persist and persist. Hell, even golf realized it was getting stale and moved the schedule all around this year. All the other sports are relentlessly on the prowl for ways they can make their product better. Only baseball persists in watching it get continually worse, hidebound to a bunch of "traditions" that aren't even really traditions.
   28. PreservedFish Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5820787)
Guys, remember when SBB quit the site for a few months?
   29. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5820788)
Umm ... set up the schedule so they do?
Sure, as long as you can make sure it never rains anywhere.
   30. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:13 PM (#5820789)
Sure, as long as you can make sure it never rains anywhere.

So all the open-air stadiums now have to be torn down and replaced with brand new domes. From MLB's standpoint, that's a feature rather than a bug.
   31. Gary Truth Serum Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:26 PM (#5820796)
No, they would have played the overall season runner up. Which nearly led to the White Sox being in a position to advance to the playoffs by intentionally losing games to the A's (first half winners). The Sox had no chance of catching the Royals for the second half crown, but they were 11 games better than the Royals in the first half (and wound up 2.5 games better overall), so their only shot was for the A's to win both halves, and Tonly Larussa actually speculated out loud that intentionally losing to the A's would help them. The math ended up not working as the Sox slipped behind the Rangers overall. But it could have.

That was the original plan, but they changed it to the runner-up in the second half once LaRussa speculated about those shenanigans. As a result the Royals had to travel to Cleveland for a double-header after the end of the regular season in order to determine whether they won the second half, and got the second home game in the divisional series, or finished second to Oakland and got the 1-4 split. The Royals won the first game of that double-header to clinch the second half and the second game was called off. But yes, the Royals did travel to Cleveland just to determine whether they'd get one more home game in a playoff series where they were ultimately swept.
   32. Hysterical & Useless Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5820798)
Two or three decades ago, in the Republican primary for Governor of New York, one of the candidates was a business big-shot, no experience in public service, who gave off this vibe of considering himself better/smarter than everyone else. One of his opponents quipped "What I can't stand is a self-made man who worships his creator." Great line.
   33. . Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:32 PM (#5820799)
Open speculation about whether a team would go easy to get a lower, but better, seed has been going on for years and years in every sport and only a schoolmarm would get too concerned about it. I've actually rooted for my teams to get worse seeds because it would give them an easier path and it's actually worked.

Oh, the humanity.
   34. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 06, 2019 at 04:33 PM (#5820800)
That was the original plan, but they changed it to the runner-up in the second half once LaRussa speculated about those shenanigans. As a result the Royals had to travel to Cleveland for a double-header after the end of the regular season in order to determine whether they won the second half, and got the second home game in the divisional series, or finished second to Oakland and got the 1-4 split. The Royals won the first game of that double-header to clinch the second half and the second game was called off. But yes, the Royals did travel to Cleveland just to determine whether they'd get one more home game in a playoff series where they were ultimately swept.


OK. I stand corrected. I did not know that about the Royals.
   35. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: March 06, 2019 at 05:58 PM (#5820854)
Guys, remember when SBB quit the site for a few months?


If anyone still thought that SBB is anything but a troll, then this thread will disabuse him of that notion.
   36. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 06, 2019 at 07:42 PM (#5820869)


If anyone still thought that SBB is anything but a troll, then this thread will disabuse him of that notion.


It's true. Why else would someone who appears to despise baseball as much as he does continue to spend so much time posting on a baseball message board?
   37. Adam Starblind Posted: March 06, 2019 at 08:49 PM (#5820874)
How about they do it for a single year? 1981 certainly had its negatives, but forgettable it was not. No reason MLB couldn't have fun with it without changing the game forever.
   38. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 07, 2019 at 12:21 AM (#5820899)
A farce that only lasts one year is still a farce.
   39. Cooper Nielson Posted: March 07, 2019 at 01:58 AM (#5820903)
I've actually rooted for my teams to get worse seeds because it would give them an easier path and it's actually worked.

Wow, good job!
   40. Lassus Posted: March 07, 2019 at 07:39 AM (#5820911)
I just have a generally better vision of the aesthetics and essence of the sport

Really? Because it appears you've only actually watched one game.
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: March 07, 2019 at 07:58 AM (#5820914)
Guys, remember when SBB quit the site for a few months?
I assume that people at the off-site resumption of the OT-P thread started ignoring him or banned him so he slithered back here.
   42. Zonk Will Be Reinstated in August Posted: March 07, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5820938)
Wow.... Quite a day.

I woke up this morning not knowing a single person who thought the 81 'solution' was anything other than a ridiculous debacle that should be virtually forgotten...

And now I've found such people DO exist.

Do you think this is what scientists feel like when they discover a new species?
   43. Zonk Will Be Reinstated in August Posted: March 07, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5820947)
The idea that tanking in smaller doses is fine also amuses me.

It's like a child complaining that a bologna sandwich is the worst, most poisonous thing ever.... but if you cut the crusts off, it's good!
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: March 07, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5820948)
this thread reminds me of "It's a Wonderful Life" - where George Bailey finds out how different life would be without him. except I reach a different conclusion.

:)
   45. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 07, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5820953)
FTA: Ties will be decided by run differential. So imagine this:

Team A in the first half 51-30 RS 380 RA - 330

Team B 51-30 370 RS 315 RA

Team C 33-48 310 RS 340 RA

Team B wins the first half on run differential.

Second Half:

Team A 44-37 350 RS 335 RA

Team B 35-46 325 RS 345 RA

Team C 44-37 360 RS 340 RA

Team C wins second half on RD

Final standings:

Team A 95-67 +65 RD
Team B 86-76 +35 RD
Team C 77-85 -10 RD

So naturally, team B plays Team C while team A goes home.
   46. Buck Coats Posted: March 07, 2019 at 10:21 AM (#5820957)
I assume that people at the off-site resumption of the OT-P thread started ignoring him or banned him so he slithered back here.


Can I ask where that is? I've missed OT-P
   47. Nasty Nate Posted: March 07, 2019 at 10:27 AM (#5820958)
I don't know. If you go to the Lounge and ask, I'm sure someone can get you an invite.
   48. cookiedabookie Posted: March 07, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5820975)
Sorry, but baseball doesn't need some stupid gimmick or schedule shenanigans....
   49. Tony S Posted: March 07, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5820976)
I have an even better idea. Let's just dispense with this silly idea of a "regular season". Let's just have one big extended playoff from April to October, with everyone eligible. Every team is in the race, all year, every year. Hope and faith for all!
   50. bobm Posted: March 07, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5820985)
   51. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 10, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5821720)

I assume that people at the off-site resumption of the OT-P thread started ignoring him or banned him so he slithered back here.
To be clear, he never came over to the offsite OTP, and exactly nobody has missed him. As, yes, this discussion illustrates. Bad enough he pretends to support an incredibly stupid idea, but he pats himself on the back for it.
   52. puck Posted: March 10, 2019 at 10:17 PM (#5821757)
To make matters worse for Cincinnati, the Dodgers won the first half of the season by a half-game over the Reds. The Dodgers played one more game than the Reds.


And Fernando Valenzuela finished ahead of Tom Seaver (and Steve Carlton) for the Cy Young. (Though given the story of Fernando that year, I'm a little amazed the voting was that close.)
   53. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 11, 2019 at 08:47 AM (#5821774)
One of the major problems with the 1981 split season was that it wasn't decided until after the first half was over that the pennant races would be organized that way. Knowing from the start of the season that we'd have a split season would be much fairer; that's the way they did it when it was first tried in 1892. But it would still be really dumb.

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