If It Ain’t Broke…

by on March 17, 2011 · 3 comments

Bud Montgomery Burns Selig

…Don’t Fix It!  Also, don’t add another round to the playoffs, either.  Oh, I don’t just sit around the #ManCave all winter long trying to dream up ways to eat large burritos with plastic sporks.  I also concern myself with the national pastime and the different ways people propose meddling with it. 

Consider the possibility of adding a few more teams to the playoffs.  What can go wrong there?  Plenty.  As it is, there is already one wild card team in each league, and that wild card team can technically have the 2nd best record in its league and effectively be seeded 3rd.  It’s not allowed to play a team from its own division in the first round, so it gets the division winner with the 2nd best record.  What’s the purpose of this?  Baseball is very much a game of matchups.  What if the team with the best record achieved that best record by dominating its division rival during the regular season?  Maybe that team wouldn’t mind playing its rival in the opening round.  Who cares if that means the Yankees and Red Sox play in the first round in some years?  Just a thought (even though I’m sure the Yankees would currently like to open with the Twins every postseason).  Base the seeds solely on records.  If that means that the wild card team is seeded 4th, then it plays the 1st seed.  End of story. 

Should the playoff field be increased to include more teams?  Uh, should I get the ultra-mega-ginormous size french fries with extra salt with my next triple-bypass cheeseburger?  NO!  Don’t let “The Bud” fool you, either.  This isn’t about giving the “little guys” more opportunities to make the playoffs.  This is about giving the guys with the big yachts a few extra wide berths in the harbor than they already have.  The rich will get richer, and the poor will get shafted.  Mark my words on this. 

Don’t let Bud Selig (pictured above) lull you into a false sense of security.  He’s looking at what the other sports around the US are doing, and he’s interested in “bye weeks”, “selection committees”, and “BCS rankings” to stir up some intrigue and drama for the purpose of driving ratings.  Baseball teams usually benefit from more than a few days off to set up their rotation.  Baseball fans rarely benefit from more than a day off to stock up for watching baseball games.  Compress the playoffs into a shorter priod of time instead of  lengthening the timeframe, and we won’t have to worry about hearing “Play Ball!” as we all prepare to carve the Thanksgiving turkey. 

The season is 162 games long.  The playoffs are already long enough.  Don’t add another round, and don’t shorten what is already in place.  Nobody needs or deserves a bye.  Giving players 7-10 days off between games is a recipe for disaster.  Just ask the players, and I bet that 90% (or more) would rather just keep playing until they are ready to go golfing.

A team in motion should stay in motion.  It’s the law of baseball inertia.  Also, a team at rest doesn’t like staying at rest. 

Also, the All-Star game for home field advantage thing needs to go bye-bye, but I’ll discuss that tomorrow.  Until then, someone have Smithers go to Selig that the playoffs are just fine the way they are.  Actually, have Smithers tell Selig to expedite them a bit.  There are too many days off between games.  I love baseball, but at some point you just need to get the season finished.  Way back when Derek Jeter was the first player to hit a home run in November, shortly after the clock struck midnight at Yankeed Stadium, I knew we had a problem.  We’d crossed into a very bad place.  Let’s get the job done in October like the space aliens planted the idea in Abner Doubleday’s mind intended.

Thank you.

TIDBIT:  No, space aliens did not plant the idea in Doubleday’s mind.  That’s ridiculous…..or was it?

MORE BITS OF TID:  Do you think an expanded playoff system would help or hurt a team like the Cardinals?  I tend to think that it would only help slightly, although it might have an adverse impact overall.  The Cardinals aren’t usually big “sellers”, so they might be more tempted to buy more often.  I’m not sure I like that trend over time. 

Like it?  Don’t see the resemblance between C. Montgomery Burns and Bud Selig?  Follow gr33nazn on Twitter, and we’ll discuss this and more engaging topics!

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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Ron March 17, 2011

You are a Cardinals fan, so of course you oppose expanded playoffs. Try rooting for the Blue Jays.

Dennis March 17, 2011

Ron, thanks for reading and providing feedback. I’m not sure that I follow your line of reasoning. With expanding playoffs, the Cardinals probably would have benefited more frequently than the Blue Jays. Last year was a prime example of this, because an additional two teams in each league would have added the Padres & Cardinals in the NL and the Red Sox and White Sox in the AL. However, that’s not what I think should be done to help teams like the Blue Jays and Padres, anyway.

I touched on this subject in a two-part article titled “Rich Team, Poor Team” back in January. The parts that affect a team like the Jays are my suggestion that “fees” paid to foreign teams/agents count against the cap. The example I used was the $51,111,111 the Red Sox paid for the rights to Matsuzaka. That was way more than some team payrolls at the time, so only a few clubs could even afford to enter the discussion. Not exactly a level playing field to me. Also, I suggested applying the luxury tax to specific contracts based on a threshold and not just total payroll. That would penalize teams for megadeals. Ideally, a team like Toronto should be able to support something in the neighborhood of an $80-85M payroll

If you added another $20M to their current payroll, I’m convinced that they could make some noise in the AL East, even with Boston and NY there already. Expanding the playoffs with more wild cards would tend to help good teams in weaker divisions (top-to-bottom) in my opinion, so good teams in really tough divisions wouldn’t benefit as much. Why not just flip the Jays and the Mets or the Jays and the Phillies? 🙂

Robert B. Sullivan March 19, 2011

I totally agree with your article. I myself am totally opposed to extended playoffs. We’ve gone from the possibility of more post-season rain outs to now having the possibility of post-season snow outs, a la Cleveland circa (1995 or 96?) The only solution (and it’s a terrible one that as a fan would leave me jumping up and down in anger) would be a neutral site WS in San Diego, LA or Miami or somehwere warm. Selig is runining baseball IMO, he needs to go.

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