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Hank Steinbrenner Whining Again!


Migrant Redbird

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It's OK if the best team doesn't win.

It's also OK if we expect that the best team probably won't win.

Doesn't diminish anything IMO. In fact that's the essence of why the postseason is exciting in the first place.

Then make the regular season champion (with a balanced schedule) get as much credit and hype as the winner of the postseason tournament. Being the best over 162 games is much, much more impressive than managing to get through a few weeks of short series.

How excited will you be if the Cubs are three games and done come October?

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Being the best over 162 games is much, much more impressive than managing to get through a few weeks of short series.
No its not. Its impressive to get to the playoffs, but the really impressive thing is to play well enough over a grueling schedule to get to the playoffs and then having enough left to go and play well enough over a short stretch to win the WS.

I think it'd be boring as hell if they got rid of the playoffs or if the regular season champ was as celebrated as the playoff winner. As much as I do like stats and looking at the game from a statistical point of view, thats taking it way too far. You gotta do it when it counts, which is in the playoffs. Tough luck if you were the best team in the regular season but you got beat by a lesser team that got things done when they mattered most.

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Let's say, hypothetically, the two league system was abandoned, all thirty teams were at large and the top 8 teams made the playoffs.

The Yankees would be fighting for their lives for the #8 spot.

And if they kept the leagues and took the top 4 in each, obviously they would be out. Chicago is better than them.

Hank's argument is not terribly compelling, even though I do happen to think the system is currently a little bit too playoff-centric and way too unbalanced in terms of schedules. I wouldn't go quite as far as Drungo but I would make some changes.

Anyway, this whole thing is very transparent. Hank has SERIOUS Joe Torre issues.

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Then make the regular season champion (with a balanced schedule) get as much credit and hype as the winner of the postseason tournament. Being the best over 162 games is much, much more impressive than managing to get through a few weeks of short series.

How excited will you be if the Cubs are three games and done come October?

Fine, then go ahead and be impressed by whichever team finishes with the most regular-season wins. Nobody's saying you can't.

Just realize that the majority of folks seem to be just fine with the current setup, which uses the regular season to separate the pretenders from the contenders (albeit somewhat imperfectly), and then lets the last team standing in a tournament-style playoff be crowned the champion.

The '08 Cubs are irrelevant to these larger issues, but to answer your question: I'd much prefer to see them go out there in October and see what they can do against the top teams in MLB, than be sitting here chewing my fingernails the last week of September hoping for the Cubs to win and the Angels to lose to the last-place Mariners and the sub-.500 Rangers, and the Rays to lose to the last-place O's and the last-place Tigers. That's a lousy endgame with a bunch of crappy teams involved in the final outcome.

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Just realize that the majority of folks seem to be just fine with the current setup, which uses the regular season to separate the pretenders from the contenders (albeit somewhat imperfectly), and then lets the last team standing in a tournament-style playoff be crowned the champion.

Because the majority of folks don't know anything else, and the status quo will always be defended unless it's horribly unfair to most people. In baseball people will lustily defend the status quo even if it makes no sense at all.

European soccer fans are more than fine with league championships that don't involve playoffs, and non-league tournaments and cups to satisfy their playoff itch.

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No its not. Its impressive to get to the playoffs, but the really impressive thing is to play well enough over a grueling schedule to get to the playoffs and then having enough left to go and play well enough over a short stretch to win the WS.

I think it'd be boring as hell if they got rid of the playoffs or if the regular season champ was as celebrated as the playoff winner. As much as I do like stats and looking at the game from a statistical point of view, thats taking it way too far. You gotta do it when it counts, which is in the playoffs. Tough luck if you were the best team in the regular season but you got beat by a lesser team that got things done when they mattered most.

You're more impressed than I am with random chance and hot streaks.

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The '08 Cubs are irrelevant to these larger issues, but to answer your question: I'd much prefer to see them go out there in October and see what they can do against the top teams in MLB, than be sitting here chewing my fingernails the last week of September hoping for the Cubs to win and the Angels to lose to the last-place Mariners and the sub-.500 Rangers, and the Rays to lose to the last-place O's and the last-place Tigers. That's a lousy endgame with a bunch of crappy teams involved in the final outcome.

Maybe everyone would take the regular season more seriously if it meant more than playoff seeding and draft pick order.

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They'd make it more often then they will in the AL East.

I don't agree. It could come to the point where the AL East just slugs each other all year and the division winner wins 90 or so games. That gives the O's a chance to be in the mix. Not as likely as if they have to also compete with the 4-5 other teams in the AL that are going to also be in the mix any given year. Teams that will also probably be in line to win more than 90 games.

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Maybe everyone would take the regular season more seriously if it meant more than playoff seeding and draft pick order.

I'm sure they would. However that is no argument that such a setup would be preferrable.

As I illustrated, under your construct the climax of the season would involve a whole lot of scoreboard-watching and rooting for the likes of the Tigers and O's and Mariners to win what for them are completely meaningless games. A big "no thank you" on that.

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Here's a solution that I think would work:

Two leagues of 16 teams.

Four four-team divisions per leage.

Balanced schedules.

No interleague.

One wild card team per league.

Wild card team plays a short series vs the divsion winner w/ the worst record to determine who advances to the DS. This series starts two days after the end of the regular season (one travel day, then play).

Home team advantage to team with best record in DS, LS and WS.

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The best team in a given regular season doesn't always win the playoff championship that follows. That's the way it is. It may not comport with some idealized notion of cosmic statistical justice, but it's hardly reason to do away with playoff championships. Playoff championships exist because they concentrate the drama and suspense of sport into a short and defined time frame. That's what fans are watching to see: drama and suspense. For a committed baseball fan, there may be a certain kind of drama and suspense in calculating what teams need to win or lose in order for a certain team to win the regular season on a certain day. But casual fans and everyone else are watching becuase they know two teams will play up to seven games and one team will win four of them.

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Because the majority of folks don't know anything else,...

Boy, that's an elitist attitude!

It's an argument I use myself in political discussions, but I suspect the average baseball fan understands the game and the playoff system a tad better than John Q. Public understands our political system and how it deals with critical societal issues.

One of the criticisms which baseball and football fans have had about basketball and hockey is that there are "two seasons", one in which the good play only for seeding, and a second season in which a series of playoffs decide the eventual champion.

In basketball and hockey, an inferior team very rarely upsets a good team to advance in the playoffs, much less running the table as occasionally happens in baseball. In football, there is an occasional upset of one good team by another not quite so good, but the mediocre teams generally are all gone by the 3rd round.

I happen to think that is one of the great things about baseball. Even a rather poor team like the 2004 Devil Rays is capable of running off a 12-game winning streak occasionally, and it only takes 11 wins to run the table in the post season. (12 if there's a 1 game playoff to get in) The 2004 Rays finished 70-91, so there was no opportunity for them to get hot in October, but other "inferior" teams have done so with some regularity.

... and the status quo will always be defended unless it's horribly unfair to most people. In baseball people will lustily defend the status quo even if it makes no sense at all.

You mean like the DH in the AL? :)

European soccer fans are more than fine with league championships that don't involve playoffs, and non-league tournaments and cups to satisfy their playoff itch.

I don't think that soccer is a good analogy. Leagues are internal to a country and they're not 20-30 teams to a league. If there are more than 6-12 pro soccer teams in a country, they tend to get echeloned into classes, where teams that do well move up a class, displacing teams which have done poorly. The US is so much larger that I don't believe the European soccer league model is workable.

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Boy, that's an elitist attitude!

It's an argument I use myself in political discussions, but I suspect the average baseball fan understands the game and the playoff system a tad better than John Q. Public understands our political system and how it deals with critical societal issues.

One of the criticisms which baseball and football fans have had about basketball and hockey is that there are "two seasons", one in which the good play only for seeding, and a second season in which a series of playoffs decide the eventual champion.

In basketball and hockey, an inferior team very rarely upsets a good team to advance in the playoffs, much less running the table as occasionally happens in baseball. In football, there is an occasional upset of one good team by another not quite so good, but the mediocre teams generally are all gone by the 3rd round.

I happen to think that is one of the great things about baseball. Even a rather poor team like the 2004 Devil Rays is capable of running off a 12-game winning streak occasionally, and it only takes 11 wins to run the table in the post season. (12 if there's a 1 game playoff to get in) The 2004 Rays finished 70-91, so there was no opportunity for them to get hot in October, but other "inferior" teams have done so with some regularity.

You can call it elitist if you want, but most people don't think critically about the structures and organization of sports leagues. They like the fact they have a team to root for, but even here the concept of a league structure without playoffs or with some other, substantially different setup gets more rolling eyes and chuckles than anything else. No matter its merit.

You mean like the DH in the AL? :)

No, I mean like pitchers hitting.

I don't think that soccer is a good analogy. Leagues are internal to a country and they're not 20-30 teams to a league. If there are more than 6-12 pro soccer teams in a country, they tend to get echeloned into classes, where teams that do well move up a class, displacing teams which have done poorly. The US is so much larger that I don't believe the European soccer league model is workable.

English Premier League: 20 teams

Bundesliga: 18 teams

Serie A: 20 teams

La Liga: 20 teams

Ligue 1: 20 teams

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You're more impressed than I am with random chance and hot streaks.
Winning a playoff series isn't random chance. You've still gotta play the games. Obviously the underdog has a much greater chance in a short series than over the long haul, but thats what makes the playoffs important. The great teams have to be able to get the job done when it matters most.

You must hate the NCAA tournament.

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