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MLB Changes 2017

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Ice_Cap    7,766
13 minutes ago, Quillz said:

It does seem to be generational.

I'm not even 30 and I'm all for separating the two leagues and cutting down on interleague. It's not generational. It's just how you view baseball.

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the admiral    10,638
21 hours ago, Old School Fool said:

No idea why some people don't want interleague. It doesn't make sense to just have teams not face each other.

They matter less than divisional games and in-league games and postseason berths are largely decided by division. I don't need more than six interleague games against the White Sox, and even that rivalry ain't what it used to be.

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WavePunter    695
4 minutes ago, the admiral said:

They matter less than divisional games and in-league games and postseason berths are largely decided by division. I don't need more than six interleague games against the White Sox, and even that rivalry ain't what it used to be.

That's EXACTLY what I had in mind with the little plan I suggested earlier.. 3 interleague weeks = 6 interleague series.. Home&Away vs 1 primary interleague rival (2 series) + 4 other random series that rotate and change teams year to year.. So each year you'd have the Subway Series twice.. One @ Yankees, one @ Mets.. Same with the Beltway Series, etc.. But then 4 other series against 4 other teams (2 home, 2 road), randomly selected each year to showcase various teams around the league etc.. 

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the admiral    10,638

DESIGNATED HITTER FUN FACT: before the American League got wise to it, Earl Weaver would write in Steve Stone as his designated hitter in games he didn't pitch, even when Stone wasn't traveling with the team, and then immediately pinch-hit for him with the intended designated hitter. That way, if for some reason the starting pitcher left the game before the DH was due up, Weaver could play lefty-righty with his pinch-hitter to get the right matchup against a reliever. But this meant that those plate appearances were going down, statistically speaking, as pinch-hit plate appearances and not as starters. I find this byzantine bit of gamesmanship as ingenious as it is stupid and it's the only amusement I've ever gotten from the idea of a guy whose position is, as Earl himself said, "sitting on his ass watching a baseball game like you and me."

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1 hour ago, Quillz said:

One-game "regular season playoffs" still do occur, though. And with the second wild card, there is now an actual one-game playoff every postseason.

 

Oy.  Don't get me started on that! A one-game playoff between teams that aren't tied for first does not help the integrity of the playoff system.

 

 

54 minutes ago, Around the Horn said:

I don't know, maybe its because I'm a younger fan, but all this talk about not being a baseball fan anymore because of the wild card or interleague games just sounds really immature....

 

Sometimes you fall in love, and sometimes you fall out of love.

 

I don't regret having retired as a baseball fan.  I still care about the history of the game. I love grooving on radio and television broadcasts of old games; and I often read books on historical matters.  Also I pay attention to the uniforms.  (If I were still a current fan of the Yankees and of the Majors, then the phenomenon of players who don't know how to wear their pants would annoy me even more than it does now!)

 

I'm just not emotionally invested in the results anymore.  The Yankees have won any number of World Series since I retired; none of it means anything to me. (I actually have to admit that I don't like today's Yankee fans, with their attitude that a season without a World Championship is a failure. In my day we Yankee fans sure were arrogant; but not in that way. For instance, the 1985 season was full of great memories for a Yankee fan of my vintage. So I find myself hoping that the Yankees don't win, because I don't want to reward their nuance-less fans.)

 

Since I retired, I got into Arena Football, first with the CityHawks, then with the Dragons, later into independent major-league baseball with the Newark Bears, and finally into English football with Chelsea and eventually NYCFC in MLS.  I don't know if I would have had the time and energy for any of that if I had stayed as a baseball fan.  And I would have bought myself a lot of headaches.

 

So retiring was the right move for me.

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Jungle Jim    569
2 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

It's exactly right to say that making the playoffs was cheapened as a result of the 1994 realignment. By contrast, the split into divisions in 1969 had been a brilliant move because it introduced a round of playoffs without altering the most important criterion for making the playoffs, which is finishing in first place.  From 1969 through 1993, every team in the playoffs was a champion.

 

And each division title was significant. The 1983 "Winning Ugly" White Sox are remembered as a beloved championship team for their A.L. West title.  Also, lest it be forgotten in the glow of the Cubs' World Championship, I'll mention that their 1984 N.L. East title was a huge deal.  Furthermore, the Blue Jays' A.L. East championship in 1985 is so significant that the team held a commemoration for that team's 30th anniversary in 2015.   The point is that the division title had almost as much prestige in the 1969-1993 period as the league pennant had had before.

 

During the 1978 season, the Yankees and Red Sox staged an epic battle of mythic proportions in which the Yankees came back from a huge deficit to take the division lead, only to lose that lead and end up tied.  The teams then faced off in a one-game playoff (an extra regular-season game) to decide the division.  This had tension that was beyond that of the actual playoffs or World Series.

 

Compare that to 2001, when the C̶i̶n̶c̶i̶n̶n̶a̶t̶i̶ ̶R̶e̶d̶s̶ St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros tied for the N.L. Central title.  The Astros themselves had once before been in a divisional race that resulted in their being level with another team, having in 1980 allowed the Dodgers to catch them in the N.L. West by getting swept by them in the final three scheduled games of the season, only to win a one-game playoff to take the divisional championship.  But in 2001 there would be no playoff game between the Astros and the Reds to decide the divisional title, because both had qualified for the playoffs.  Whichever team would have lost the playoff would be in as the wild card anyway, so they just blew off the playoff game.  Both teams hung banners declaring themselves N.L. Central champions -- and no one did anything to stop this. (If I had not been retired since 1997, this event would surely have driven me away.)

 

I finally left out of disgust over interleague play; but the seeds for my departure had been planted with the 1994 realignment.  Looking back, I knew this in 1995, when the Yankees won the initial wild card spot in the American League.  We were all supposed to be excited, this being Mattingly's chance finally to play in the playoffs. But it didn't feel right.  When Griffey scored the run that beat the Yankees in the new first round, I was not sad at all; this was because I knew in my heart that the Yankees didn't belong in the playoffs because they hadn't finished in first place.  

 

I pondered how devastated I had been by the 1980 playoff loss to Brett and the Royals; yet there I was in 1995 feeling almost relieved after a Yankee playoff loss, because of my discontent with the wild card. I knew then that I was on my way out.

 

With the much worse abomination of interleague play coming up for 1997, I had only one more year left.  By startlingly good luck, the Yankees rose to the occasion by winning it all for the first time since I was a kid -- crucially, doing so after having won the division, so truly having earned their spot in the playoffs this time, thereby allowing me to root whole-heartedly.  I cried with joy when they won the Series; and then I walked away.

 

I can very much relate.  The Reds swept the Dodgers in the very first NL Division Series in 1995, and I just felt numb.  Just five years earlier, I had been so pumped when they had clinched the 1990 NL West title over the Dodgers, but seeing them take this three-game series sweep to qualify for the NLCS left me feeling nothing at all.  It was then that I knew something was wrong, and the passion I had experienced since being an 8-year-old kid in 1974 was dying or had died already.  The magical run they had in 1999 and the playoff appearances in 2010, 2012, and 2013 did nothing to change it.

 

Part of it was the realignment, yes, but the loss of the Big Red Machine era double knit uniforms and later, the destruction of the ballpark I grew up making so many memories in, played a role, as well.  Don't get me wrong, those double knit pullover uniforms weren't good.  In fact, they should never have replaced the 1969-71 models.  And Riverfront Stadium was far inferior to the new ballparks we have today.  But they were what I grew up with, and what I knew when the passion was born.  Finding myself rooting for a team with no Dodgers rivalry, in different uniforms, and later in a different ballpark, was too much for me to get past.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, Quillz said:

Personally, I think the NFL has a good balance between not letting too many teams in, and also ensuring division titles matter (since having home-field advantage is big). But on the other hand, I think the NHL has the most exciting playoffs by far. The NBA playoffs, though, have been truly dreadful. It's the nature of the game, unfortunately. Anyone expecting anything other than yet another Cavs-Warriors Finals have wasted their time watching these playoffs.

 

The NBA has been on a slow decline since Lebron moved to the Heat. The league started to rely on multiple all-stars forcing their way onto teams for absurd amounts of money and the existence of the Warriors essentially breaking the game with their incredible skill have turned the NBA into a waste of time. I love Basketbal and I'm not gonna turn on it but there's something wrong with the game today that wasn't there 10 years ago. Even then, the 2016 Finals was the most exciting it's been in years.

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Bobster    197
16 hours ago, McCarthy said:

 

Keeping the leagues separate became impractical for several reasons: 

 

4. I don't know how much longer young people would've put up with the notion that some of the best players in the game will never face off against some of the other best players in the game because "that's the way it's done". By the late 90's it felt antiquated to me, a kid, that we had 28 teams, many of them in the same city and some of them had never played. That's weird when you explain it like that.  "When are the Mets gonna play the Yankees, dad?" "Unless they both make it to the World Series, never" "Why?" "because that's the way it is." 

 

 

You mean like in the All-Star Game?

Interleague play has certainly removed a lot of the luster from the midsummer classic.

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McCarthy    6,848
12 minutes ago, Bobster said:

 

You mean like in the All-Star Game?

Interleague play has certainly removed a lot of the luster from the midsummer classic.

 

"you mean like in the allstar game?" Yeah don't care. They could maybe face each other in one meaningless exhibition once a year or they could definitely actually play each other several times in real games. I'll take actually play for real, thank you. 

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11 hours ago, the admiral said:

I don't need more than six interleague games against the White Sox,

 

This is another problem -- the idea that teams in two-team cities are treated differently from other teams.  I believe that the division rotation is still in effect.  But, every year the Sox play the Cubs and the Yankees play the Mets. 

 

First of all, interleague play arranged by division creates the problem that teams competing for wild card spots are not playing the same set of opponents.  And the special status of the two-team city teams further muddies the competition because even teams within a given division are not playing the same set of opponents.

 

On top of that, we should realise the dishonesty of selling interleague play on the basis of Yankee-Met games or Cubs-Sox games.  For every one of those, there are plenty of Pirates-Twins games or Tigers-Rockies games or some other matchup that no one is going to think is special.  I'd rather see my team play one of its actual rivals. 

 

 

The best possible thing that could happen in this regard would be for baseball to expand to two more cities -- Montreal and San Juan, let's say? -- and to realign to have four four-team divisions in each league.  (And, while we're at it, let's switch Milwaukee and Houston back to their correct leagues already!)

Then you could dump interleague play.  The scheduling works out perfectly, as each team could play its three divisional rivals 14 times (42 games) and the 12 teams from the other three division 10 times a piece (120 games), for a total of 162 games.  And, most important, only division winners would advance to the playoffs, restoring the prestige and the importance of finishing in first place.

 

Another benefit of this sort of scheme would be that it would simplify travel: a team would need to visit the ballpark of every non-divisional opponent only once a year, for a five-game series.

 

The result would be that the identities of each league would be strengthened, and that the World Series and All-Star Game would have added meaning.

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the admiral    10,638

My ideal alignment has always been first and second place in each of four eight-team divisions moving on to October. As for designated interleague opponents, pairings hold up pretty well about ten pairs deep before you start getting to stuff like Padres-Mariners or Phillies-Blue Jays, and at that point what can you do but say that the '93 World Series is gonna be immortalized in interleague play so Dear Harvey Tough Sh-t. I still think that's the only real way to do interleague: guaranteed, mostly sensible, and minimal.

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McCarthy    6,848

I am also in favor of that system. You can't do 8 divisions of 4 because the season is too long and there'd be too many years of wild variation. The NFL has this problem and that's with their small sample size season. It'd be awful in a 162 schedule. 4 divisions of 8, then a best of 7 division champion series, then the LCS, then the World Series. That'd be cool. 

 

The correctable flaws in interleague scheduling aren't a reason to not have interleague at all. Just fix the way they're scheduled. I've yet to hear an argument against interleague play that isn't "Because tradition". No, the White Sox and Cubs don't need to play each other every year. I'd actually prefer they don't and then in every third year when they meet it's more novel. I like the way the NFL teams only play a team in the opposite conference once every 4 years. 

 

We now have six divisions of 5. Playing a 3 game series against every team in the other league would be 45 games. That's too many. I'd keep it to 5 three game series against a division in the other league. That's 15 games and then every team in a division is playing the same schedule. Badabingbadaboom. 

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krunyan    38

I'm barely into my 30's and I can't stand interleague play. I'm all for adding two more teams, putting the leagues at 16, and never seeing the other league except for ASG and the World Series. And I bet that your ASG would matter again and the WS would get better ratings because of the intrigue of never playing each other. I'm tired of only having a home and home series with the NL West teams so I don't really know anything about those teams each year. 

 

Edit(add-on): My vote for the new teams is Montreal and Las Vegas. Baseball should have been the first pro team in Vegas but of course MLB can't be proactive in any of that kind of stuff. 

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I mean, yeah, that's what's going to happen. Some of the newer teams are going to have trouble finding a long-standing rival, and geographically some teams are so isolated (like up in Seattle) that there's no easy connection.

 

The issue is that having season long interleague dilutes the ability to create those rivalries, because you're playing different teams all the time, while taking away the interleague games we actually want to see, like Oakland/San Francisco, Cubs/Sox, Yankees/Mets, etc, and destroying the individual identities of the leagues. A pitcher who can't pick up a bat is inherently somewhat less valuable because he'll drag the team down when they go to NL cities, and NL teams need to have a DH on their roster for AL cities who won't be playing much at home or in other NL cities.

 

Not to mention the tradition involved. Screw the designated hitter (since it's dumb), being an AL team or an NL team used to mean something. If you look at old baseballs, there were AL balls and NL balls, and they had the signature of the league president, not the commissioner. AL umpires and NL umpires were different.

 

The league division was over 100 years old. Why did we need to destroy that?

 

The proper set up (and I'm 20, before someone says I'm stuck in the old ways and need to be progressive or something) is two divisions of eight in the AL and two divisions of eight in the NL (with a two team expansion), top team in each league goes up to the LCS. If they can't expand, either the Brewers should go back to the AL or the Astros should go back to the NL, have sixteen teams and fourteen teams, two divisions of eight in one and two divisions of seven in the other.

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4 minutes ago, Big Yellow Flag said:

The proper set up (and I'm 20, before someone says I'm stuck in the old ways and need to be progressive or something) is two divisions of eight in the AL and two divisions of eight in the NL (with a two team expansion), top team in each league goes up to the LCS. If they can't expand, either the Brewers should go back to the AL or the Astros should go back to the NL, have sixteen teams and fourteen teams, two divisions of eight in one and two divisions of seven in the other.

 

 

Good man!  

I was willing to live with four-team divisions per league; but this young buck comes in and shows 'em how it's done: two divisions of seven or eight teams in each league, with only the first-place teams going to the playoffs!  We had eight teams per league with only the winner advancing for the entire 20th Century until 1969; and we had seven teams in the A.L. divisions from 1977 through 1993, and in the N.L. in 1993.   This is highly workable.  We'd have fewer playoffs; but the regular season would take on more meaning.
 

But, if we consider retaining two rounds of playoffs before the World Series as a necessity, then four four-team divisions per league is the way to go.

 

 

 

23 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

4 divisions of 8, then a best of 7 division champion series, then the LCS, then the World Series. That'd be cool. 

 

Where are you getting that "division champion series"?  If you have two divisions per league (four total), then there is only the LCS before the World Series.

 

20 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

You can't do 8 divisions of 4 because the season is too long and there'd be too many years of wild variation. The NFL has this problem and that's with their small sample size season. It'd be awful in a 162 schedule.

 

This I don't get at all.  

Every team in a given league would play every other team in that league, unlike in the NFL's conferences.  Also, a larger sample size smooths out extreme variation.

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the admiral    10,638
44 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

No, the White Sox and Cubs don't need to play each other every year. I'd actually prefer they don't and then in every third year when they meet it's more novel.

 

Hard disagree. Not only should they play every year, they should always play on both big summer holidays. What fun is a Memorial Day* cookout if the game is Cubs@Rockies or something? Crosstown games would be more interesting for everyone. As for everyone outside the northeast corner of Illinois, idk, not my problem.

 

 

If Ferdinand Cesarano comes in here and writes 5,000 words about how Memorial Day is actually in the spring, I will run him over with a penny-farthing

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1 minute ago, the admiral said:
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If Ferdinand Cesarano comes in here and writes 5,000 words about how Memorial Day is actually in the spring, I will run him over with a penny-farthing

 

Oh, snap!  

Well, we have these phenomena called solstices and equinoces...

Still, having taken off from work to ride my bike during the previous two days of glorious weather of greater than 30 C (greater than 90 F), I admit that I can see the point of calling whatever feels like summer "summer". I was certainly in summer mode during those days.

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the admiral    10,638

Yeah totally, this week was awesome but I overworked myself and now it's just as well that it's too cold and rainy to run because I'm walking like the Tin Man.

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McCarthy    6,848
51 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

Where are you getting that "division champion series"?  If you have two divisions per league (four total), then there is only the LCS before the World Series.

 

Going off of Admiral's proposed 4 divisions of 8, top two in each division play each other in a Division championship series. The winners of that series move on the LCS. Going back to only 4 playoff teams is realistically never going to happen. We've had 8+ playoff teams for 20 years now, the player's association is never going to give that up, and the league is never going to give up the extra revenues sources the added playoffs created. 

 

Quote

 

This I don't get at all.  

Every team in a given league would play every other team in that league, unlike in the NFL's conferences.  Also, a larger sample size smooths out extreme variation.

 

The smaller the divisions the higher the likelihood of a division champion with a sub 500 record while a 2nd 3rd or 4th place team with a better record in another division looks on. The bigger the divisions the more likely it is that a team with a bad record like, say, the 06 Cardinals, is rightfully kept out of the playoffs. If you didn't like interleague play you'd really hate seeing a 75 win team make the playoffs because the other 3 teams in their division happened to be worse. 

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48 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

Going off of Admiral's proposed 4 divisions of 8, top two in each division play each other in a Division championship series. The winners of that series move on the LCS. 

 

If you do that, you destroy the point of finishing first, perpetuating the problem that the wild card has created. Letting non-champions into the playoffs undermines the meaning of the regular season.   The beauty of the 1969-1993 setup was that it carried forth the first-place-or-go-home ethic that had been in every baseball league since the sport began.  

 

 

48 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

The smaller the divisions the higher the likelihood of a division champion with a sub 500 record while a 2nd 3rd or 4th place team with a better record in another division looks on. The bigger the divisions the more likely it is that a team with a bad record like, say, the 06 Cardinals, is rightfully kept out of the playoffs. If you didn't like interleague play you'd really hate seeing a 75 win team make the playoffs because the other 3 teams in their division happened to be worse. 

 

That actually doesn't bother me at all.  If a team has finished first in its division, then it deserves to be seen as a champion and to make the playoffs.  Some years there will be a wide disparity in wins amongst division winners; some years there won't be.  In 1973 the Mets were the only team above .500 in the N.L. East, with fewer wins than all but two teams in the N.L. West.  There's nothing wrong with that.

 

Also, those trends fluctuate rapidly.  The year before the Mets won the N.L. East with 82 wins, the division's champion had 96 wins, more than the champ of the N.L. West.  Even though the Big Red Machine tended to have more wins than anyone else in subsequent years, the N.L. East champs averaged 90 wins; and before long the Phillies started winning 100.  

Winning the division is the only important thing.  In the very exciting 1985 season which I mentioned above in my comment about not liking today's Yankee fans, the Yankees won 97 games, far more than the 91 which were won by the A.L. West champion Royals.  (This was in fact the second straight year in which the Royals won the A.L. West with a win total that was less than that of the Yankees, as the Royals' 1984 win total was surpassed by five of the seven A.L. East teams.)  And the 1985 Mets won 98 games, which was more wins than the Dodgers had as N.L. West champions.  But we didn't go around saying that the Yankees and the Mets should have been in the playoffs at the expense of the Royals and the Dodgers.   

 

 

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