Friday, March 02, 2012

Official: Every Third Team Makes The Playoffs

Ten in, twenty out.


1. Too many teams in the playoffs. Or maybe that's not a negative. It means the Yanks in the playoffs every year, but at the same time it gives them more chances to get knocked out every year.

2. For 2012 only, since the schedule was already set before they made the change, the ALDS will be in 2-3 format. This pisses me off. You win the division, and you start the playoffs on the road. I loved when they changed to 2-2-1 and it stinks they have to go back to 2-3 this year. I would've said Screw it, you players want more teams in, you're gonna have fewer days off in the ALDS, sorry. I hate how money trumps consistency.

The One Big Positive:

I hated the Red Sox' indifference about playoff seeds. It made me mad when Theo would say "just make the playoffs and you have a 1-in-8 chance of winning like everyone else." Yeah, if the game was played on paper with dice-rolling and games were played at neutral sites! Last year, and I hate to say this, the Yankees played it exactly right: They were in the same position as us, battling for the division with a huge lead on the wild card. Yet they played their games against us as if they were the most important. We were the team they had to beat to win the division and that's how they played it. Whereas we always have this bullshit wild card mentality, that they'd use NESN to push on the fans. The wild card should be something you don't even check until you're officially eliminated from winning the division. It just seems like every September, everybody's focus is winning while ours is resting. How are you supposed to have a "winning attitude" going into October if you haven't thought about actually winning in a month? And how can they not realize that it's better to have a home-field advantage? Or at least that it's something that's okay to shoot for? The division should be the main goal, not for bragging rights, but because it gives you A. an easier path to the World Series and B. it makes you try every game.

Now that we've got this new system, it shouldn't be an issue. Any non-division winner will have to play a one-game playoff. Nobody wants that. And the top division winner gets to play a team who just used their ace. Bobby V should have no problems motivating our guys this year.

The biggest negative of all is that a one-game playoff is a random outcome coin-flip which is completely meaningless in determining which team is superior. I suppose the same argument could be made for a seven game series, but at least it's a large enough sample size to have each team's entire rotation pitch. It also of course forces the wild cards to burn their aces and bullpens in a play-in game. I guarantee we won't have to wait to long until a wild-card team which wins 95+ games gets screwed in the one-game playoff while a division winner with less than 90 wins cruises through October. And of course, the biggest losers are all the AL East teams other than the Yankees. Since '95, the Yanks have won the division just over 70% of the time. Let's face it, with their significant payroll advantage over every other team, including the Sox, they're probably going to continue to win the AL East at least at that rate. In fact, given that the new luxury tax in this latest CBA has suddenly turned the Sox front-office into a bunch of penny-pinchers who need to dump reasonably-priced shortstops for salary relief, while doing nothing to curb the Yanks' spending, I would expect them to take the division even more frequently. This new format really sucks.

I've called for this before, and I'm hardly alone, but what they really should do is:
Eliminate divisions entirely
Play a balanced schedule
Eliminate interleague play
Top four teams in each league make the playoffs; #1 plays #4 with home field, and #2 plays #3, best of seven.

If they want to give the #1 seed a bigger advantage, how about 'Super Home Field' ie. they host games 1-2 AND games 5-7, and the #4 seed only gets games 2 and 3? All of this, of course, is way too fair and equitable to everyone, and makes way too much sense, so it'll never happen. It's much more important that we have one really strong division that one team wins 70% of the time solely through running a payroll the size of small country's GDP, and a few crappy divisions that can always be won by a mediocre team.
Yeah for some reason I never made it to that part of it. But I did say on Joy of Sox a while back when this first came up that yes you could have a team 10 or more games better than another playing them in a ONE game playoff. It's ridic.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States