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Survival of the fittest or just fun to watch?
2006-10-22 21:26
by Bob Timmermann

Major League Baseball has apparently reached a crisis in this year's World Series. The reason: the 83-78, .516 winning percentage, St. Louis Cardinals are playing in the World Series. This doesn't seem to sit well with some people. And I can understand that to some extent. Why doesn't baseball match up the teams with the two best records in each league like it did from 1903 through 1968?

Well, it doesn't. So baseball fans need to learn to live with inequities that arise when a sport that is designed to reward teams that succeed over the long haul only to see the ultimate champion decided by a short series of games.

But here is the problem: do you want a system that is designed to reward the team with the best record in the league (of course the schedules aren't equal) or do you want a system that's exciting? I suppose you could have both, but I haven't seen anything that replaces the current playoff system that's any better. There all variations on the same theme. There's nothing that will keep a team that has a .516 winning percentage out of the World Series unless you go back to a single division in each league and also eliminate interleague play. The lowest winning percentages for league champions prior to 1968 were .564 in the NL (the 1959 Dodgers) and .568 in the AL (the 1967 Red Sox).

Since 1969, there has been a World Series champ with a .525 winning percentage and a pennant winner that had a .509 winning percentage that made it to seven games in the World Series.

Personally, I don't get too worked up over who is "deserving" of being the World Series champion. Baseball to me is a long drama with many characters. The biggest stars (such as Albert Pujols) get the most attention just like in any dramatic production, but occasionally a supporting character (such as Yadier Molina) takes the spotlight. If that's not what you like then you might just want to get ready for the start of the NBA season.

I'll be off wondering who will be the next Brian Doyle or Al Weis.

2006-10-22 22:55:58
1.   Xeifrank
I have a solution for these finicky baseball fans. Why not just have the team with the highest payroll from the AL play the team with the highest payroll from the NL in the World Series. If two teams tied for the highest payroll, then the MLB could use their winning percentage as the first tie-breaker. Afterall, you'd want the games to actually mean something. vr, Xei
2006-10-23 01:01:51
2.   coachjpark
Eliminate the wildcard. Give a bye to the team with the best record in each league. Bob Costas advocates this in his book "Fair Ball." I tend to agree with this.
2006-10-23 07:04:04
3.   Bob Timmermann
Of course, the Cardinals weren't a wild card team.

And they still beat the team with the best record in the NL.

2006-10-23 09:40:59
4.   D4P
Personally, I don't get too worked up over who is "deserving" of being the World Series champion

Gotta save your energy for more important issues, like "3-inning saves" and "2-error plays"

2006-10-23 10:52:59
5.   Philip Michaels
2 Not sure that a bye is all that advantageous. Witness the Tigers' play in Game One after a week off.
2006-10-23 11:36:24
6.   Xeifrank
5. The bye is so that the Yankees would be gauranteed a spot in the League Championship series. In years in which the Yankees don't have the best record (non bye team), then the bye rule will not be in effect. All this stuff about bad teams getting into the World Series is pretty funny. Fans wanting to change the rules to help benefit their team, when in fact A) the Cardinals still would've played the Padres then faced the Mets in the NLCS ... and B) it would probably backfire on them in subsequent years and they'd start complaining that we need a wild-card to help get a very good 2nd place team into the playoffs. vr, Xei
2006-10-23 12:54:06
7.   Bob Timmermann
In 2005, the White Sox would have received a bye in the AL under the Costas system.

The Yankees don't always finish with the best record.

2006-10-23 14:11:28
8.   das411
I'm tellin ya, keep the system the same in the AL and split the NL back into two 7-team divisions. Best 3 teams in the East and one in the (W/R)est get playoff spots :)
2006-10-23 14:19:14
9.   Xeifrank
7. Bob, the "bye rule" is only in effect if the Yankees have the best record. vr, Xei

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