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NPB changes its playoff format again
2006-12-21 11:20
by Bob Timmermann

If you read here back in September, you would remember that Japan's Pacific League gave its first place team a one-game advantage in its league championship series. The regular season champ had to win two games to the challenger's (either the second or third place team) three. And the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters won the Pacific League with two straight wins over the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. The series never got to Fukuoka and the Central League wanted to avoid a scenario where a team in the playoffs didn't get to host a game in one of the rounds.

But for 2007, there will be no handicap. Now that both leagues will have playoffs, the 12 teams agreed, for at least one season, to make each round of the playoffs best of three and then best of five.

2006-12-21 12:04:14
1.   Xeifrank
Wierd rules overseas. Why don't they just let the coaches or japanese sports writers vote on the best teams then plug in the votes and the strength of schedule into a computer and whichever two teams come out on top can play each other in a 7 game series after a 5 week layoff. Common sense!!!
vr, Xei
2006-12-21 13:34:22
2.   Deanna
I just saw that too and was going to write something about it. I think the funniest part is that this, on paper, yet again, should favor the Hawks, given their amazing roster depth this year -- and if there's any cosmic justice, they'll be #1 in the league again and still not make it to the Japan Series.
2006-12-21 14:40:47
3.   Xeifrank
ahhh, the Griddle where movie/tv/album cover talk has yet to creep it's way in to. By the way could one of you do a simple break down of how the Japanese leagues are broken down. ie - two division of 8 teams, and how the old playoff and new playoff system fit into it. thanks. vr, Xei
2006-12-21 16:35:13
4.   Bob Timmermann
It's two leagues of six teams. The Japan Series for many years just matched up the regular season champs of both leagues.

For a few years in the 1980s, I believe that the Pacific League tried a split season.

The PL added playoffs for its top three teams in 2002 I believe.

The CL didn't like the idea of playoffs, but finally agreed to it this year because they were losing money and fans toward the end of the year and its teams were getting slaughtered in the Japan Series because they were always rusty.

2006-12-21 17:50:05
5.   Deanna
The three-team playoffs started in the PL in 2004. The split seasons were from 1973-1982.
2006-12-21 20:20:51
6.   Bob Timmermann
See, there's the answer as opposed to my speculation!

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