I agree with the premise of this article
Posted 17 September 2012 - 01:25 PM
This new playoff format begs for, and rewards, mediocrity.
I don't agree. The new playoff format doesn't beg for mediocrity. The new playoff format could reward mediocrity, but it's unlikely. The new playoff format is keeping fans in the wild card hunt interested in baseball well into September.
It's probable that 3 of the 4 wild card teams will finish the season with at least 90 wins. Is that mediocre? I don't think so. That means there will be one team with less than 90 wins that will make it into the playoffs as a wild card. Their reward? A do or die one game playoff on the road.
I guess the best thing to do would be to win your division, secure home field advantage and not worry about a team with 85 wins making it to a one game playoff.
Posted 17 September 2012 - 01:43 PM
Posted 17 September 2012 - 03:12 PM
It starts by saying "It's one thing for a division to have a down year and produce a champion with a record just over .500. Such anomalies happen," then lambastes the 2 wild card system for supposedly rewarding mediocrity. But under the current structure, I think you are much more likely to have a near or sub .500 division winner than a near or sub .500 wild card winner. I get that teams with poor records are still in the wild card hunt, but they haven't actually won it. That's what matters - winning it. Having more teams in the hunt makes for interesting baseball in my opinion, and just because the Phillies were 57-67 at one point doesn't mean they don't deserve the playoffs if they can pull off 85 wins and pass the Cardinals . When we actually have a wild card winner with 80 victories, then I'll agree with the article. But of course that won't happen because it would require 11 out of 15 teams to have a losing record.
If you want to complain about rewarding mediocrity, the complaint should be that there are 6 divisions instead of 4. Having a division with only 4 teams is begging for a sub .500 team to make the playoffs. Of course, baseball is taking a step to avoid that by moving Houston to the AL West.
If anything, the addition of the 2nd wild card and 1 game playoff is rewarding mediocrity less - not more, as there is a greater incentive to win the division. Now, all that winning the top wild card spot guarantees you is 1 more game instead of a five game series. And, if the winner of the 2nd wild card spot can win the 1 game playoff, then go on to beat the team with the best record in the league in a 5 game series (though 7 would be better)without homefield advantage, they deserve to be there.
Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:15 AM
"Should the second wild-card leading Cardinals continue at their current pace, however, they will finish with just 85 victories – three fewer than the previous low for a wild card, the 2006 Dodgers, and six less than the average wild-card winner."
Overall record tells you nothing about the absolute strength of a team but rather their relative strength compared to their opponents. So this years Cardinals team, while not the strongest of teams in 2012, could be just as strong or stronger than any of the teams he thinks is playoff worthy from previous years. You can't compare teams across seasons with any accuracy much less down to a few games.