Another baseball season closes

It’s another reason to hate the wild card, the designated hitter rule, and the idea that home field advantage in the World Series is based on the league which wins the All-Star Game.

St. Louis had the worst record of any of the eight teams entering the post-season but managed to make the playoffs and get hot – beating teams that finished well ahead of them in the standings. But because they happened to have the home field advantage in the World Series, it may have been enough to catapult them to a world championship. Granted, Texas couldn’t pitch their way out of a paper bag in the last two games but perhaps the result would have been different had they been at home for games six and seven.

(Not that the designated hitter would have made much of a difference, but it is a slight advantage to National League teams when American League pitchers have to hit. I just would prefer pitchers get to hit in the American League.)

But I like the NBA and NHL models, where the better team gets home-court or home-ice advantage throughout. I wouldn’t even mind a model where a team with a better record only has to break even to advance (say, win two of four or three of six.) Back in the old days it was the best team in each league, based on their performance during an entire 162-game season, that played for the title. On the other hand, St. Louis has won their last two titles based on pedestrian regular-season performances but getting hot at the right time. Can’t take it away from them, but sometimes rewards should go to those who did best in the long run.

We’ll see how things go in 2012. Yet one thing we learned is that each game, each inning, each strike really matters. Just ask Texas; if they had one more strike – twice – they would be celebrating their first title. But they couldn’t get it.

But even earlier, events during the season added up. I went to one big league game this year, when I saw my Tigers play in Baltimore. This was the one game that Doug Fister lost as a member of the Tigers as the Orioles won that day 8-5. But the impact turned out to be huge, as a Tiger win that day would have changed the following:

  • Instead of the Tigers playing the Yankees and Texas against Tampa Bay, the opponents would have been reversed: Texas vs. New York and Detroit vs. Tampa Bay.
  • And instead of the Rangers having home field in the playoffs based on a better record, the Tigers would have had home field based on winning the tiebreaker – they were 6-3 against Texas in the regular season.

Everything counts. Orioles fans celebrated a day of otherwise playing out the string on the last day of the season as if they won the World Series because they rallied in the last inning to beat Boston, knocking them out of playoff contention because Tampa Bay came back from 7-0 down to beat the Yankees. Of course, New York had already salted away a division title so the game didn’t much matter to them.

I guess I’m a traditionalist at heart, and seeing a team that couldn’t even win its division based on a lengthy 162 game schedule get the whole ball of wax irks me. Yankee fans brag about their 27 world championships, but how many were won back in the period before playoffs began? There’s a pretty good chance they would have been knocked out of contention in many of those seasons had the rules of today been in effect.

So next year my Tigers have a little unfinished business to attend to – get the home field advantage and keep it all the way to a world championship. By the way, the Yankees won 20 titles in the pre-playoff era.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

2 thoughts on “Another baseball season closes”

  1. Phhhllllbbbbb…. Like anyone north of North Carolina and east of Pennsylvania has a clue about how anything should work.

    I root for the Cardinals and anyone playing against the Mets….

  2. Considering I’m not east of the whole of Pennsylvania, I’ll say I have somewhat of a clue.

    But you have to admit the Cardinals caught a few breaks. Guess my Tigers wore the Rangers out for you.

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