I’ll say this. The entire topic about being a contender reminds me of the NFL.
The two sports are impossible to compare, not like there is a MiL team in football but the 16 game season creates teams being in the race deeper into the season. It’s not the great “NFL competitive balance” that is promoted by so many but it’s the limited number of games.
I mean look at the NBA and NHL and the number of mediocre and lesser teams that hang around playoff contention all year. Have only 5 teams in each conference making the playoffs and even in an 82 game season that dream is gone.
Its amazing when you decrease games and increase playoff teams what happens.