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This is October: 2014 MLB Postseason Thread

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I would rather have a 75 win team battle through a Wild Card Game, Divisional Series, League Series and World Series rather than saying oh, by default we are going to put the Angels and Nationals in the World Series because they won the most games.

I could not possibly disagree anymore with this statement. Literally, it's not possible.

I agree with him. The Angels and Nationals had their chance. They were beaten. (1) Relatively easily by the two eventual pennant winners.

People joke about how they don't want their favourite NHL team to win the President's Trophy because it's, more often then not, a postseason death sentence.

So why do people freak out if the World Series isn't being contested by the two teams with the best records in the Majors?

The playoff system is the way it is because simply giving the best regular season team in the NL and the best regular season team in the AL berths in the World Series would mean the death of Major League Baseball.

(2) And, as this post season proved, would reward teams that wouldn't deserve those berths.

1. It is an overstatement to say that the Giants defeated the Nationals "relatively easily". Yes the series was 3-1, but both teams scored the same amount of runs over the course of the series. Furthermore, San Francisco's three wins were by one run each. That series could have just as easily been a 3-0 or 3-1 Nationals series victory. That particular series was extremely close and San Francisco did enough to come out on top.

2. I disagree with this statement for a couple of reasons. First, this isn't "Highlander" where there can only be one. The Nationals, Angles, or any of the other playoff participants would've been just as deserving World Series participants. Second, it presupposes that October baseball (or playoff games in any sport) is fundamentally different than the regular season. Which isn't true.

Any playoff system means that the most talented team doesn't necessarily win. That doesn't mean that the eventual champion isn't deserving, but it also doesn't mean that the non-champions were undeserving. Sometimes luck smiles the other way.

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I have no issue with #6 seeds in the NFL winning Super Bowls. The Steelers and Giants both did it recently, and that was great. Football lends itself to needing wild card teams because it is less than 10 percent the total number of games in Major League Baseball.

Giants were not a 6 seed both years- 2007, they were the 5 seed (Finished a game ahead of Washington) and the 4 seed in 2011 (lowest-seeded division winner)

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Forget it! The Giants have this in the bag! Even though I don't like em', No team in a bright blue cap will ever win the World Series!

The Dodgers have won several World Series.

Royals - 1

Blue Jays - 2

Mets - 2

LA Dodgers - 5

Brooklyn Dodgers - 1

'59. Forgot about that one.

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I have no issue with #6 seeds in the NFL winning Super Bowls. The Steelers and Giants both did it recently, and that was great. Football lends itself to needing wild card teams because it is less than 10 percent the total number of games in Major League Baseball.

I dislike the wild card in MLB because it diminishes the meaning and importance of the regular season. To me it's like having a marathon being stopped after 25.2 miles and saying "okay the last mile is decided by a sprint instead." Inevitably it seems that the teams that are "hot" are the ones who win the World Series.

But then, there is Karma. The 1985 Royals, should they have even won the World Series? Those who are old enough or who are historians of the game remember the call at first base that contributed to the St. Louis Cardinals unraveling.

Then you have the San Francisco Giants. The 1993 Giants had 103 wins, second best in all of baseball, yet did not even qualify for post-season. Now they have 3 World Series in a 5 year span, which is a very remarkable feat. I take delight that they did so without Barry Bonds as a member of the team.

What I would like to have seen happen, have your three division winners and just 1 wild card. The Wild Card finisher plays the #1 seed, even if in the same division. After all, it is the DIVISION Series isn't it? Then have #3 and #2 seeds play.

I agree, the Division Series should be the best 4 out of 7. But what I would suggest is the following. For the Division Series round, the Wild Card team (seed 4) has to play games 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 at the #1 seed's park, and only get 2 home games. Furthermore, for this round only, the Wild Card team would have to win 5 out of 7 to advance to the LCS, while the #1 seed would need to win only 3 games to advance to the LCS.

This would give division leaders more incentive to want to have the best overall record. It would reward both the "hot" team (Wild Card team) and the "marathon winner" (best league record) in a more appropriate way in my opinion. Seeds 2 and 3 would play the best 4 out of 7, with a 2-3-2 set up.

If there were/are concerns about this making the World Series going into November, two suggestions I have for that...

1. The Division Series, play all 7 games in a row, no "off days" for travel. Teams travel often and play during the regular season, 10 or 15 games in a row without a break.

2. While I wouldn't object to a 154 game schedule, I know all the owners would. So what I would suggest is all 30 teams be required to play two mandatory double-headers during the regular season, one before the All-Star Break, and one after. This would allow the regular season to end at the end of September or perhaps even a little earlier. It wasn't uncommon for there to be at least one double-header scheduled per season. I emphasize scheduled double-header as opposed to one out of necessity due to an earlier canceled game due to weather.

First bold: Maybe. It would be recognized as a (deserved) advantage to the "regular season" champ and a win is a win.

Second bold: No way. Imagine all the talk we'd have of tainted championships if a team won it all after having "forced" a game 7 by getting themselves down 4-2 and ultimately "winning" the series 3 games to 4.

I like mitigating the disincentive to have a great regular season, but it should not be over-complicated.

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But then, there is Karma. The 1985 Royals, should they have even won the World Series? Those who are old enough or who are historians of the game remember the call at first base that contributed to the St. Louis Cardinals unraveling.

That call has become so overblown over the years, it's not even funny. Nobody ever brings up the bad call on the Royals' Frank White from earlier in that game when he stole second base but was ruled out. Also, the Cardinals had a chance to do what this year's Giants did, but instead chose to quit in Game 7 and not even show up.

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But then, there is Karma. The 1985 Royals, should they have even won the World Series? Those who are old enough or who are historians of the game remember the call at first base that contributed to the St. Louis Cardinals unraveling.

That call has become so overblown over the years, it's not even funny. Nobody ever brings up the bad call on the Royals' Frank White from earlier in that game when he stole second base but was ruled out. Also, the Cardinals had a chance to do what this year's Giants did, but instead chose to quit in Game 7 and not even show up.

Not to mention Vince Coleman being an idiot and breaking his leg while trying to jump the tarp. While my dad will always have a grudge on Dinkenger, he always said we lost the series when Coleman went down. Plus the whole Game 7 fiasco.

I feel this thread has become the Pointless Realignment Thread: MLB Playoffs Bickering.

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What I would like to have seen happen, have your three division winners and just 1 wild card. The Wild Card finisher plays the #1 seed, even if in the same division. After all, it is the DIVISION Series isn't it? Then have #3 and #2 seeds play.

The #1 seeds did play the wild card teams this year in the Division series.

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Baseball is all about momentum and streaks. Is it stupid that the same handful of teams have been successful? Yes. Can the problem be solved? No.

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I'm still in shock I actually witnessed a team win a seventh World Series game on the road.

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Well the giants won so there is noting I can say about that, but the dynasty talk is outrageous. You cant be a dynasty and miss the playoffs twice in the same year certainly after last finish. You should at least be contending for the title in all five years. The spurs are a dynasty they haven't missed the playoffs in almost 20 years. The early 2000s Lakers were in the finals or the WCF. I don't consider the Kings a dynasty yet but they at least went to the WCF in the year they didn't win. Have the giants been a great team? Yes. Have they been a dynasty? No.

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I concede one thing to you, and that's the economic aspect of this. My point of view is rooted in extreme idealism, with the full realization that it's not really feasible in this day and age*. I think, at the end of the day, the thing that grates me more than any other thing is the best-of-5 opening round. I've fixated on the POV that mentions 100+ win teams. Well, since 2001, we've had 14 teams do that, and eight of them lost in the opening round. :censored: happens in a best-of-5 series. Since 2006, five of the nine AL #1 seeds were one-and-dones. In that same time span, four of the nine NL #1 seeds were one-and-dones. It really does a remarkable job of making the regular season feel like a very-needlessly overdone practice.

I can appreciate extreme idealism, but I just don't see why the Giants (or the Royals had last night gone the other way) winning is such a travesty. I get generally wanting the best teams to succeed, but if they don't? Then I can't really claim they were all that great to begin with. I don't see how MLB's regular season is any less meaningful then the NFL, NHL, or NBA seasons. You see upsets in those three all the time and no one calls for the radical re-structuring of the playoff format. Last year's NHL President's Trophy winners were knocked out of the playoffs by their long time rivals last season. No one cried foul over it. The general consensus was that Boston did not deserve a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals because they couldn't get past Montreal.

I tend to look at baseball the same way. The Angels were the best team in baseball after six months. Given that I don't think expecting them to win three games against an 89 win Royals team before they get a chance to play for the AL pennant is unreasonable.

Why are upsets seen as acceptable (and celebrated) in the other Big Four leagues yet frowned upon by some when it comes to MLB? Is it just because "it's baseball"? I appreciate tradition, but that's not a good enough answer for me.

*This is also why I have conceded that a playoff structure based on the following would be enough for me to shut up on this topic forever:

1) Scrap divisions

2) Balance schedule and kill interleague

3) Top four teams from each league go to playoffs

4) All three rounds are best-of-7

Any tiebreakers for the last playoff spot contested as deemed necessary.

I'm all for separating the AL and NL, so I'll agree with you there. This plan, however, would require reducing the current number of playoff teams from ten to eight. Those last two wild card teams do, in my opinion, add a lot to the tail end of the regular season. The more fans you can get to care in the dying months the better. Obviously it can't go too far, but I don't think ten out thirty is that bad, considering that you get sixteen out of thirty in both the NHL and NBA. I just don't see the point in clinging to a mentality of leaving as many teams out as possible. I don't want to let everyone in, but I do think opening it up just a bit isn't the worst idea ever, especially not from an economic perspective.

I would rather have a 75 win team battle through a Wild Card Game, Divisional Series, League Series and World Series rather than saying oh, by default we are going to put the Angels and Nationals in the World Series because they won the most games.

I could not possibly disagree anymore with this statement. Literally, it's not possible.

I agree with him. The Angels and Nationals had their chance. They were beaten. (1) Relatively easily by the two eventual pennant winners.

People joke about how they don't want their favourite NHL team to win the President's Trophy because it's, more often then not, a postseason death sentence.

So why do people freak out if the World Series isn't being contested by the two teams with the best records in the Majors?

The playoff system is the way it is because simply giving the best regular season team in the NL and the best regular season team in the AL berths in the World Series would mean the death of Major League Baseball.

(2) And, as this post season proved, would reward teams that wouldn't deserve those berths.

1. It is an overstatement to say that the Giants defeated the Nationals "relatively easily". Yes the series was 3-1, but both teams scored the same amount of runs over the course of the series. Furthermore, San Francisco's three wins were by one run each. That series could have just as easily been a 3-0 or 3-1 Nationals series victory. That particular series was extremely close and San Francisco did enough to come out on top.

Overstatement? Perhaps. Untrue? Not really. It could have been 3-0 Nats, but it wasn't. Both teams won convincingly. Had those Divisional Series been best of seven? The Royals and Giants would probably still have won.

2. I disagree with this statement for a couple of reasons. First, this isn't "Highlander" where there can only be one. The Nationals, Angles, or any of the other playoff participants would've been just as deserving World Series participants. Second, it presupposes that October baseball (or playoff games in any sport) is fundamentally different than the regular season. Which isn't true.

It is, ultimately, Highlander. Each series can only have one winner, until there's only one team left. The Angels and Nats didn't deserve to be in the World Series because they couldn't win enough games to get there. Simplified? Yeah, but not untrue. That's how the playoff system works. Sometimes? The best teams don't win.

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Well the giants one so there is noting I can say about that, but the dynasty talk is outrageous. You cant be a dynasty and miss the playoffs twice in the same year certainly after last finish. You should at least be contending for the title in all five years. The spurs are a dynasty they haven't missed the playoffs in almost 20 years. The early 2000s Lakers were in the finals or the WCF. I don't consider the Kings a dynasty yet but they at least went to the WCF in the year they didn't win. Have the giants been a great team? Yes. Have they been a dynasty? No.

Spoken like a true Dodgers fan. Sorry, but three titles in five seasons is a dynasty, no matter how you wanna swing it.

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That's absolutely a dynasty and we're now looking at the Giants era. That is how they'll define 2010-2014 when they tell the story of Major League Baseball.

In this day of sports parity it's almost like two championships in three years is a dynasty.

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I concede one thing to you, and that's the economic aspect of this. My point of view is rooted in extreme idealism, with the full realization that it's not really feasible in this day and age*. I think, at the end of the day, the thing that grates me more than any other thing is the best-of-5 opening round. I've fixated on the POV that mentions 100+ win teams. Well, since 2001, we've had 14 teams do that, and eight of them lost in the opening round. :censored: happens in a best-of-5 series. Since 2006, five of the nine AL #1 seeds were one-and-dones. In that same time span, four of the nine NL #1 seeds were one-and-dones. It really does a remarkable job of making the regular season feel like a very-needlessly overdone practice.

I can appreciate extreme idealism, but I just don't see why the Giants (or the Royals had last night gone the other way) winning is such a travesty. I get generally wanting the best teams to succeed, but if they don't? Then I can't really claim they were all that great to begin with. I don't see how MLB's regular season is any less meaningful then the NFL, NHL, or NBA seasons. You see upsets in those three all the time and no one calls for the radical re-structuring of the playoff format. Last year's NHL President's Trophy winners were knocked out of the playoffs by their long time rivals last season. No one cried foul over it. The general consensus was that Boston did not deserve a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals because they couldn't get past Montreal.

I tend to look at baseball the same way. The Angels were the best team in baseball after six months. Given that I don't think expecting them to win three games against an 89 win Royals team before they get a chance to play for the AL pennant is unreasonable.

Why are upsets seen as acceptable (and celebrated) in the other Big Four leagues yet frowned upon by some when it comes to MLB? Is it just because "it's baseball"? I appreciate tradition, but that's not a good enough answer for me.

*This is also why I have conceded that a playoff structure based on the following would be enough for me to shut up on this topic forever:

1) Scrap divisions

2) Balance schedule and kill interleague

3) Top four teams from each league go to playoffs

4) All three rounds are best-of-7

Any tiebreakers for the last playoff spot contested as deemed necessary.

I'm all for separating the AL and NL, so I'll agree with you there. This plan, however, would require reducing the current number of playoff teams from ten to eight. Those last two wild card teams do, in my opinion, add a lot to the tail end of the regular season. The more fans you can get to care in the dying months the better. Obviously it can't go too far, but I don't think ten out thirty is that bad, considering that you get sixteen out of thirty in both the NHL and NBA. I just don't see the point in clinging to a mentality of leaving as many teams out as possible. I don't want to let everyone in, but I do think opening it up just a bit isn't the worst idea ever, especially not from an economic perspective.

On the first part -- we do see things a bit differently there, because I do think there's a general "irrelevance" to the hockey regular season, at least with respect to the top-tier teams. To keep with the theme of last season; I had a WCF prediction of Los Angeles vs. Chicago dating back, basically, to the second after their 2013 WCF series had ended. I felt like those were the two best teams in the West and fully expected them to prove it (I'm expecting it again in 2015 too, while I'm on the topic). Given that we knew these teams were going to be playoff teams last season, did we really expect anything we saw in the regular season to significantly alter what our playoff expectations would be for them? Barring injury, probably not. And so the fact that those teams were actually 3rd place teams in their divisions last season? It made no difference to me. Because of the nature of the sport, the playoff format the NHL employs, and the fact that hockey really is a different game in the postseason than in the regular season (fewer penalties and fewer cases of goonery, for starters) does, in many ways, render much of the regular season fairly meaningless. Obviously, as a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, a team who hadn't made the playoffs for a couple seasons prior to last season, I certainly wouldn't make the same claim that the regular season felt meaningless to me, but this is a scale thing. As a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, surely you don't feel some kind of irrelevance to regular season hockey given that franchise's struggles over the years.

So what am I trying to say here, I guess? MLB employs a different system. Fewer teams make the playoffs, and the only surefire way to be a playoff team is by winning the division. We are trained to place so much emphasis on pennant races in that sport. The regular season is also literally a day-in/day-out thing for half the calendar year. If you watched your favorite team 150 games a season, and every game lasted exactly three hours, that's 450 hours, or ~2.5 weeks of time out of the calendar year spent just watching your team, excluding every other byproduct of baseball fandom. To have these pillars implies, to me at least, that the regular season is meant to be taken with seriousness. As such, my takeaway feeling when I have just watched six months of baseball and seen Anaheim win 98 games, Washington win 96, and Los Angeles win 94, and then all of them are gone after one week? As I said, it's the best-of-5 that surely grates me the most of anything; MLB traditionally has employed a best-of-7 World Series since 1905 (with the exception of 1919-1921) and they modified the League Championship Series to also be a best-of-7 starting in 1985 after having a best-of-5 format there between 1969-1984 (and even then, a best-of-5 was just a bit more defensible because the two participants were division winners and, thus, more likely to be among the league's best teams; the accompanying 2-3 format MLB employed, not so much). To me, it's almost like MLB realized the potential flaws of a best-of-5 and eschewed it, and then re-introduced it anyway when they expanded the postseason format in 1994. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around why that is the case, I guess. It feels illogical.

On the second point -- maybe it's easier for me to not be concerned with "reducing" the playoff field because, honestly, I don't consider the wild card game to really be a playoff game. Ask an Oakland A's fan if they feel like their team made the postseason this year, a year where they went 16-31 over their last 47 games (including that final game) and surely they will scoff at such a notion. The 1946 and 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers lost in a best-of-three NL play-off series against the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants, respectively, but those were treated as regular season games (again in 1962 with the Dodgers and Giants occupying the same roles, but obviously now with both teams in California). All the various one-game tiebreakers over the years to settle playoff teams ('98, '99, '07 NL Wild Card games, for example) were treated as extra regular season games. Hell, we talked about similarities between the 2007 Rockies and 2014 Royals, well, imagine this:

2007 NL Wild Card tiebreaker: Rockies 9-8, F/13

2014 AL Wild Card game: Royals 9-8, F/12

And then both teams went on to sweep their first round series 3-0 and their second round series 4-0. Both teams had won eight straight games beyond the final game of the regular season going into the World Series, and yet, you know what stat was floating around after this year's ALCS? "Kansas City is the first team in MLB history to win their first EIGHT playoff games in a single postseason." Nevermind that the Rockies had done, almost literally, the same exact damn thing as Kansas City had done; in 2007, a tiebreaker game was actually treated like a tiebreaker. Now, it's treated like an actual playoff game. Two teams each season have postseason trips that literally last one whole game. Sorry if I have a hard time thinking that the 2015 A's will be coming off three straight postseason appearances. I guess the only bright side, in their case, is that their whole "losing every potential advancement game" tendency remained true as ever this year, I guess.

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I'm all for separating the AL and NL, so I'll agree with you there. This plan, however, would require reducing the current number of playoff teams from ten to eight. Those last two wild card teams do, in my opinion, add a lot to the tail end of the regular season. The more fans you can get to care in the dying months the better. Obviously it can't go too far, but I don't think ten out thirty is that bad, considering that you get sixteen out of thirty in both the NHL and NBA. I just don't see the point in clinging to a mentality of leaving as many teams out as possible. I don't want to let everyone in, but I do think opening it up just a bit isn't the worst idea ever, especially not from an economic perspective.

Do they really, though? If they played this season with the 1995-2011 set-up, the Giants and Pirates would have finished tied for the only NL wild card spot and had a tiebreaker game anyway. And in the AL, the Royals and Athletics wouldn't have been decided until the last day of the season, and the Mariners would have been eliminated after game 160 instead of 162. Not a big difference.

And because of the way MLB scheduled games, the Angels had three days off before facing the Royals and the Nats had to sit around for four days before their first game against the Giants. That's not fair to the teams with the best records in each league. Baseball isn't football; a long layoff isn't always helpful. I get that they want to reward division winners and punish the wild cards, but they need to fix the scheduling or just get rid of the wild card game.

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Two wildcard teams, two sub 90 win teams. Giants win it yet again. 3 in 5 years. Ho-Hum. I wonder what the anemic TV ratings will be for this World Series. 6 Division races all for nothing. Mediocrity is once again rewarded. And thus the decline of our once great and proud nation continues.

*Performs interpretive dance of the State Anthem of the USSR upon poster's lawn.*

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The topic of the 1998 Padres, a Bruce Bochy-managed team, came up last night in a discussion I was having. Look at what that team, a 98-win team, had to deal with that postseason:

NLDS: 102-60 Houston

NLCS: 106-56 Atlanta

WS: 114-48 New York

That is nuts! While I fully realize that, yeah, that was anomalous in its own right, it still looks a lot more like an October that I embrace rather than an October that we just saw this year. In any case, with the World Series ending last night, I can officially update this statistic (it was going to be updated regardless the winner):

World Series champions with 100+ wins since 2000: 1 ('09 NY Yankees)

World Series champions with 80-89 wins since 2000: 3 ('00 NY Yankees, '06 St. Louis, '14 San Francisco)

I could look at that stat for days and feel persistent sadness. :(

While you're engaged in mournful self-flagellation over that stat, remind yourself that the 2011 Phillies were the last 100-win team (indeed the only 100-win team in the last 5 seasons) and 2004(!) was the year we had multiple 100 win teams. Maybe parity actually is kicking in for a change.

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When the Cubs finally win a world series it won't be with a dominant 104 win team. It'll be with a run of the mill 86 win wildcard that gets hot at the right time.

They had a shot with one of each in 2007-2008 -- 85-win division champ that got hot then best record in the NL -- and it didn't matter. Both teams got swept.

Appreciate your optimism, but the answer is never. :)

Instead they will lose to that team you speak of... if they can ever even get there. Let's try that first.

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I'm beating a really dead horse at this point...

The Angels and Nationals were better teams over the course of six months. The Royals and Giants were better teams over the course of four days. If this is how people like their championship teams decided, well, more power to you. It's not like my protestations are going to change anything; it's just blubber from a perpetual malcontent with a deadset agenda on this topic.

The Angels also got to play Houston and Texas 24-26 more times (I'm not counting the exact number) than Kansas City. The Nationals got to play 76 :censored: ing games against 4 sub-.500 teams. Between the unbalanced schedule and the random chance that is inherent in baseball, I'd say even the 10 game spread between the Royals and Angels is within the margin-of-error for determining which team is "superior."

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Not sure if I should say congrats to the Giants. I wanted the Royals to win really really badly. The underdogs of this whole post-season, and they lose Game 7. Why????

Because meta-narratives suck and you suck for wanting them.

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