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westofyou
03-26-2007, 09:44 AM
Hey Cowboy... if you're reading this maybe you could learn something that might enhance your radio booth arrogance.

http://sheafaithful.blogspot.com/2007/03/interview-with-bill-james_26.html




Former independent writer turned revolutionary Bill James, who is now a part of the Boston Red Sox Front Office, was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Bill and I discuss Mark McGwire, his own potential website, parody in sports, and more. Below you will hear the words of one of the most important people (if not THE) ever to study and analyze the game of baseball. His Baseball Abstracts are now historical texts to be read as the works of a baseball genius. You pan purchase the Bill James Handbook 2007 here, which is always an annual must-have.

Pat Andriola: How has Nomar's value changed since his departure from Boston and his switch to first base? That is, how does he compare to the player he was in his prime?

Bill James: Well, I wouldn't want to say anything that was disrespectful of Nomar, who is still a great player. As a player ages he loses some offensive value and some defensive value. Most players lose more defense than they do offense, and, with the injuries Nomar has had, certainly that has been true of him. Offensively, he's not that far away from where he was seven or eight years ago.

Pat Andriola: Where would you have pegged Mark McGwire's chances of going in to the Hall on the first ballot had he not been implicated in the steroids controversy? Given the circumstances, can you make any guesses about what will happen with McGwire in future elections? What is your opinion on the situation, and do you think he is being treated fairly?

Bill James: McGwire, even leaving out the steroids issue, does not have a career that fits the traditional pattern of an obvious Hall of Famer. He wasn't a .300 hitter, or anything close. He doesn't have 200-hit seasons. He's nowhere near 3,000 hits. He didn't have a series of 8 or 10 consecutive outstanding seasons, as most Hall of Famers did. He only had about 7 healthy seasons in his career, and he stunk in a couple of those. No, he hasn't been treated fairly. Questions are asked of him that are not being asked of other Hall of Famers, and there is really no reason for it. McGwire tried all of his career to be a credit to the game, to be someone that we could all look up to. He isn't being judged by the standard that I would choose for him, but then, it isn't my choice, and there is no logic to admiring athletes, anyway. It's just arbitrary. It's like admiring people who won the lottery.

Pat Andriola: If you were Willie Randolph in the beginning of 2006, would you have started Jose Reyes in the leadoff spot, coming off OBP years of .271 and .300? What would your Mets batting order have been?

Bill James: Oh, I don't know. Reyes is a phenomenal talent. What order you put the players in makes very little difference. I don't know what the optimal order was there.

Pat Andriola: Have you considered starting a blog or website of your own?

Bill James: Not a blog, no, but a web site, yes. Based around information.

Pat Andriola: Omar Minaya signed Tony Pena's son, Francisco Pena, to a multi-million dollar deal at the age of 16. He has also signed young, international players such as Fernando Martinez and Deolis Guerra. Just this month, he was promoting baseball in Ghana. What do you think of Minaya's determination to gather prospects from around the world, and at ages where they should be starting to study for their SAT's?

Bill James: You're mixing up several issues in a jumbled question. Omar Minaya's record can speak for itself; I don't need to comment on that. The players he has signed. . .only time will tell us whether that works out; I don't have any idea. We all sign players from all over the globe at ages when, were they in the US, they might be preparing for college. But you need to understand: many of these kids are signed from places where there is no> public school system. Talking about these kids going to college, in many cases, is like talking about their sprouting wings and flying to Australia. Their chance of going to college is zero percent.

(Pat Andriola: Just to clarify, I didn't make my question clear enough. I intended to use the SAT phrase as another way of showing how young these players and not at all condemning MLB teams for scouting young players and possible "stealing" away their possible education, which I know is non-existant. However, Bill does make a very good point about how desperate these kids are to play baseball, as they have little to fall back on.)

Pat Andriola: After spending decades as an independent (to say the least) baseball writer, how has being a member of the Red Sox front office affected your perspective on the game?

Bill James: Well, I learn a lot. I'm working hard to try to understand the things that other people in the organization know, but I'll never really get there in some areas. The scouts see things about the game, things about the players, that I try to see, but I am way behind and have limited ability to catch up. A lot of decisions in baseball are made on the basis of things that you never think about as a fan. The internal discussion of the front office is vastly more sophisticated than the discussion that takes place in the public arena, more subtle, more layered, more complex, and with hundred of times more information. This doesn't mean that we make better decisions; sometimes we make worse decisions.

Pat Andriola: The St. Louis Cardinals had an 82-Pythagorean-win season last year, but went on to win the World Series. Are there any changes to the system that could make it less of a chance affair, and would you want to make those changes if you could?

Bill James: I'm not a great fan of the Wild Card. But it is tremendously important, for the health of the sport, that the best team doesn't always win. That's the real problem with the NBA. . .the best team is going to win in the long run, and everybody knows it. The season becomes a long, crushing battle in which, ultimately, you have no chance to escape justice. . .as opposed to college basketball, which is vastly more exciting, simply because you never know who will win, and therefore have to do everything you can do to maximize your chance. In the NBA you don't really HAVE a chance to win, if you're not one of the two or three best teams, and everybody knows this on some level. . .therefore, why play hard, why dive for the ball on the floor, why fight for the rebound, why sacrifice your body to score a point, when you ultimately can't win. No sport can survive if the best team always wins.

Johnny Footstool
03-26-2007, 09:50 AM
"Parody" in baseball? Well, there's the Onion's Sports page, the Sports Pickle, and of course my old stuff...

jojo
03-26-2007, 09:56 AM
Thanks for this!

lollipopcurve
03-26-2007, 10:24 AM
What order you put the players in makes very little difference.

I did not know this.

westofyou
03-26-2007, 10:29 AM
I did not know this.

Good thread on it here

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49703

coachw513
03-26-2007, 10:55 AM
wonder what it's like to be a guy that so dramatically changed the way many (not all) view the game of baseball...his theories spawned so many ways of viewing the nuances of this sport...

oh, I can't wait to pass on the HK stuff to the next rookie...I need to start reppin' some promising youngsters :D

oneupper
03-26-2007, 11:20 AM
I agree fully with what James says about the best team not always winning being a good thing.

That's why I'm very concerned about the proposed changes in the playoff format.

Chip R
03-26-2007, 11:46 AM
I agree fully with what James says about the best team not always winning being a good thing.

That's why I'm very concerned about the proposed changes in the playoff format.


What proposed changes? :confused:

knuckler
03-26-2007, 11:46 AM
I agree fully with what James says about the best team not always winning being a good thing.

I understand it too, but of course the trick is finding the right balance, or there is no point to the regular season at all. Just ask the NHL. That's why I have mixed feelings at best about the wild card -- in my opinion I think it comes down a little too far on the side of chance.

GullyFoyle
03-26-2007, 11:47 AM
I wouldn't say the best "team", but the best "teams" (which James alludes to). A number of NBA finals could have gone either way based on one or two baskets. After all the team with the best record doesn't win all the time and with so many games the best record would be a good determinate of the best team.

Heath
03-26-2007, 11:48 AM
That's why I'm very concerned about the proposed changes in the playoff format.

Spill it.......

westofyou
03-26-2007, 11:56 AM
I understand it too, but of course the trick is finding the right balance, or there is no point to the regular season at all. Just ask the NHL. That's why I have mixed feelings at best about the wild card -- in my opinion I think it comes down a little too far on the side of chance.

I think the NHL playoff format really is a different type of hockey then you get in regular season, Baseball not so much, the beauty of baseball is the season is really the magic of the game, the ebbs and flows, the climbs and falls. Playoff baseball is a lot like regular season baseball, just with media added pressure, the style of the game stays intact whereas in the NHL and the other back and forths the game drama builds in the battle atmosphere, it's less cerebral on the surface and more us vs them in the trenches. It makes wonderful viewing, but poor poetry.

oneupper
03-26-2007, 12:43 PM
Spill it.......

We had a thread here about it here on REDSZONE. Can't find it now.
The proposal IIRC was to have 6 teams go to the playoffs, with the wild cards pairing off against each other...

In any case, teams with better records would get a big boost.

RedsBaron
03-26-2007, 08:54 PM
Bob Costas has advocated eliminating the wild cards while retaining three divisions in each league. The team in each league with the best record would get a first round bye, and then play the winner of a first round playoff series between the other two divisional champions.

KronoRed
03-26-2007, 09:06 PM
I'd rather see that then more playoff teams.

Falls City Beer
03-26-2007, 09:23 PM
The wild card format is one of the best things to ever happened to the sport. I'd be furious if it's done away with, or if Costas's method is instituted.

Ron Madden
03-27-2007, 02:57 AM
The wild card format is one of the best things to ever happen to the sport. I'd be furious if it's done away with, or if Costas's method is instituted.

I'm torn between both methods. :dunno:

I can easly understand and agree with FCB on the merits of the WC format.
And then again Costas's method also makes some sense.

Untill further notice I'll stand with FCB.

Thanks for the article WOY.

texasdave
03-27-2007, 09:44 AM
How about two wild card teams? These two teams then play a quick best-of-three series to determine which one moves on to join the three divisional winners. This gives the divisional winners time to set up their rotations for the playoffs. It seems to me that the divisional winner should get some edge over the wild card entry anyway.

gonelong
03-27-2007, 10:20 AM
The wild card format is one of the best things to ever happen to the sport. I'd be furious if it's done away with, or if Costas's method is instituted.

The wildcard does make things more interesting for the smaller market teams IMO. It surely keeps more fans interested for a longer period of time and that has to be good for the gate and concessions as well as TV/Radio ratings.

GL

oneupper
03-27-2007, 10:34 AM
IIRC the proposal was for two divisions per league, six playoff teams. Division winners got byes and WCs did a three game min-playoff with the winners going against the division winners.

Wasn't Costas...Uberroth or somebody.

blumj
03-27-2007, 10:39 AM
The wild card format is one of the best things to ever happen to the sport. I'd be furious if it's done away with, or if Costas's method is instituted.

I'm with you. Why fix something that isn't broken? The teams that have been making the playoffs via the wild card have been just as worthy as the teams that have been winning their divisions lately, in some cases, more so. Almost every year there's a 90 or 90+ win team that doesn't make it, that's enough to tell me that it isn't too easy to get in.

westofyou
03-27-2007, 10:43 AM
I'm with you. Why fix something that isn't broken? The teams that have been making the playoffs via the wild card have been just as worthy as the teams that have been winning their divisions lately, in some cases, more so. Almost every year there's a 90 or 90+ win team that doesn't make it, that's enough to tell me that it isn't too easy to get in.

If it must exist then I suggest a balanced schedule is needed to legitimize it more, as it stands now it's tilted against teams on the coasts not located in Boston, New York or LA, as they have larger hurdles to climb to get to the WC.

Redsland
03-27-2007, 10:50 AM
I like the unbalanced schedule, because all of the intra-divisional battles tend to mean that the division champ is, in fact, the best team in the division.

Chip R
03-27-2007, 10:59 AM
I'm not crazy about the wild card but when leagues change their playoff format, they add wild card teams, not subtract them.

I wouldn't put too much stock into this proposal since it is not coming from MLB.

KronoRed
03-27-2007, 12:47 PM
The NL should switch to 4 divisions with 4 teams in each, and just have the divisions winners go to the playoffs.

TRF
03-27-2007, 02:37 PM
The NL should switch to 4 divisions with 4 teams in each, and just have the divisions winners go to the playoffs.

Best idea of all proposed. 4 team divisions. Real regional rivalries.

dfs
03-27-2007, 02:38 PM
The wild card format is one of the best things to ever happened to the sport. I'd be furious if it's done away with, or if Costas's method is instituted.

Heh. Imagine that we disagree about something? :beerme:

The wild card and the second place "world champions" it has spawned is probably the one thing I hate most about baseball in this era. It's terrible. Worse than the DH, and that's saying something.

Back to the original topic, James has always been personally unassuming, but it's staggering how much swagger he seems to have lost since becoming an "insider" with the Red Sox. Compare that interview with what he was writing 20 years ago and you'll be shocked by the difference in tone. I know part of that is he has become an icon and part of it is that he's just unwilling to go out on a limb and get ridiculed for it and I'm sure part of it is just age. I really hope he leaves the sox soon and goes back to being able to publish what he writes. I miss his writing and the voice he used. After reading his thoughts about numerics for so long, I would be VERY interested in reading his accounts about the organizational problems faced by mlb teams.

westofyou
03-27-2007, 02:55 PM
Heh. Imagine that we disagree about something? :beerme:

The wild card and the second place "world champions" it has spawned is probably the one thing I hate most about baseball in this era. It's terrible. Worse than the DH, and that's saying something.

Back to the original topic, James has always been personally unassuming, but it's staggering how much swagger he seems to have lost since becoming an "insider" with the Red Sox. Compare that interview with what he was writing 20 years ago and you'll be shocked by the difference in tone. I know part of that is he has become an icon and part of it is that he's just unwilling to go out on a limb and get ridiculed for it and I'm sure part of it is just age. I really hope he leaves the sox soon and goes back to being able to publish what he writes. I miss his writing and the voice he used. After reading his thoughts about numerics for so long, I would be VERY interested in reading his accounts about the organizational problems faced by mlb teams.

1988


I've also got to say, guys, that having done this, I've now done all I can do. I can't help you any more. . .I leave the field to whoever is playing in it. Because four months a year of cyclical depression has gotten too much for me. Because I am no longer certain that the effects of my doing this kind of research are in the best interests of the average baseball fan. Because I wonder if anything I found now could have any real impact on the game. Because I have been repaid for my years of doing this book in anonymity, and no longer have any claim to go on drawing paychecks from it. Because while I have enjoyed doing this book, I have only one lifetime and many dreams. Because I have confidence that I will make a living one way or another. Because I feel that I am on a collision course with my own audience. Because I suspect that my leaving the field may be in the interests of sabermetrics.

Because it is time to go, friends. I'm breakin' the wand, exit stage right. I hereby release any and all of my formulas, theories, and other systems of analysis to any other analyst who wishes to use them and to call them by name (runs created, value approximation method, etc.) either for private or economic use, even by Elias should they so desire. I'll be doing other things, writing other books. I won't be hard to find. I hope that some of you will enjoy those other books. I know that some of you won't, and that's all right, too. It's been good.

Bill James
Sabermetrician, Retired
February 1988

dfs
03-27-2007, 03:47 PM
right. But he DIDN'T stop there. After 88 he published extensive comments about players in 89, 90 and 91. Then he reworked the historical abstract and wrote the politics of glory......then he went to work for the red sox and pretty much nothing. Nothing but unassuming "I'm just here to help the team" quotes or the sosh classic....

"I believe in a universe that is too complex for any of us to really understand. Each of us has an organized way of thinking about the world—a paradigm, if you will—and we need those, of course; you can’t get through the day unless you have some organized way of thinking about the world. But the problem is that the real world is vastly more complicated than the image of it that we carry around in our heads. Many things are real and important that are not explained by our theories—no matter who we are, no matter how intelligent we are."

It's a nice quote, I wish there was more.

westofyou
03-27-2007, 03:51 PM
Nothing but unassuming "I'm just here to help the team" quotes or the sosh classic....Yep, we live in the age of intellectual property, and Bill James is on the payroll.

pedro
03-27-2007, 04:06 PM
The NL should switch to 4 divisions with 4 teams in each, and just have the divisions winners go to the playoffs.

I like that.

paintmered
03-27-2007, 04:24 PM
The NL should switch to 4 divisions with 4 teams in each, and just have the divisions winners go to the playoffs.

:clap: :clap:

Of course that means MLB's precious BoSox and Yankees won't make the playoffs in the same year. (Which is why I like the idea even more)

Falls City Beer
03-27-2007, 04:38 PM
The NL should switch to 4 divisions with 4 teams in each, and just have the divisions winners go to the playoffs.


I'd have no problem with this set-up if there were more teams in each league, but right now it would be 4 very tiny divisions. Not a particularly daunting task to achieve victory.

The wild card injects an anarchic element to the end of the season that I really like. The four divisions set-up would allow equally undeserving teams into the playoffs as the current method, but with less anarchy and excitement.

cincinnati chili
03-27-2007, 09:57 PM
One division in each league (or ZERO depending on your perspective). Take the best four teams. Viola. You eliminate the likelihood of 82 win teams going to the playoffs.

Eliminate interleague play while you're at it.

Falls City Beer
03-27-2007, 10:04 PM
Eliminate interleague play while you're at it.

Indeed. Load of bullocks.

Ron Madden
03-28-2007, 02:48 AM
One division in each league (or ZERO depending on your perspective). Take the best four teams. Viola. You eliminate the likelihood of 82 win teams going to the playoffs.

Eliminate interleague play while you're at it.

I like this method myself, but my main concern is which format is truly The Best in terms of promoting The Game to The Fans? :dunno:

I'd love to see Baseball regain the title of The National Pastime and hold tight to tradition as well. There must be a way to do this somehow.

RedsBaron
03-28-2007, 07:04 AM
Bob Costas made his proposal to elimante the wild card in "Fair Ball," a book published in 2000, and which I just read, courtesy of GAC, who sent me a copy.
I do not believe that Costas expected his proposal to eliminate the wild card to be adopted, and he conceded that the wild card had given lesser teams a chance at the post-season. In 1997, 2002, 2003 and 2004 the World Champion did not even win its division. His book was written before the Red Sox dramatic 2004 come back over the Yankees in the ALCS, a comeback that would not have occurred but for the wild card.
However, Costas correctly lamented that the wild card has also largely destroyed the old fashioned pennant race between two great teams. Yes, there may still be a race between several teams for the final playoff spot or two, such as occurred in 1999 when the Astros, Mets and Reds battled for two available spots, but, most often, these battles will be between lesser teams in the league. We will likely never again have the fantastic, winner-take-all drama of two great teams battling all the way for a divisional title, such as happened in 1993 when the Braves with 104 wins won the NL West and the Giants, winners of 103, stayed home-now the Giants would be the wild card. Bucky Dent would not be nearly so well remembered had his 1978 playoff HR merely gave the Yankees the AL East title while the Red Sox became the wild card.
Costas imagined Russ Hodges call of Bobby Thompson's immortal HR to finish first over the Dodgers in 1951 if instead it happened today: "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Dodgers get the wild card! The Dodgers get the wild card!"
The wild card has given us something, but it has also taken something away. As a fan of a small market team, I like the fact that the wild card should give the Reds another way to make the post-season. If the Reds had the kind of dominant regular season team that they had back in the heyday of the Big Red Machine, I guarantee you that I would absolutely hate the wild card.

RedsBaron
03-28-2007, 07:57 AM
By the way, Bill James will eventually make the Hall of Fame via the J.G. Taylor Spink award. It may not happen for another decade or two, it may not happen during James's lifetime, but it will happen. Unlike all the other people who have written about the game, and made the HOF because of their ability to turn a phrase, or perhaps just because they were able to hold a job as a writer for several decades, Bill James has changed the way people think about the game itself. James has not been a part of the old traditional news media, and his insights are still resisted by some, but his influence has been too great, and eventually will be recognized by the Hall of Fame itself.

vaticanplum
03-28-2007, 10:26 AM
Bob Costas made his proposal to elimante the wild card in "Fair Ball," a book published in 2000, and which I just read, courtesy of GAC, who sent me a copy.
I do not believe that Costas expected his proposal to eliminate the wild card to be adopted, and he conceded that the wild card had given lesser teams a chance at the post-season. In 1997, 2002, 2003 and 2004 the World Champion did not even win its division. His book was written before the Red Sox dramatic 2004 come back over the Yankees in the ALCS, a comeback that would not have occurred but for the wild card.
However, Costas correctly lamented that the wild card has also largely destroyed the old fashioned pennant race between two great teams. Yes, there may still be a race between several teams for the final playoff spot or two, such as occurred in 1999 when the Astros, Mets and Reds battled for two available spots, but, most often, these battles will be between lesser teams in the league. We will likely never again have the fantastic, winner-take-all drama of two great teams battling all the way for a divisional title, such as happened in 1993 when the Braves with 104 wins won the NL West and the Giants, winners of 103, stayed home-now the Giants would be the wild card. Bucky Dent would not be nearly so well remembered had his 1978 playoff HR merely gave the Yankees the AL East title while the Red Sox became the wild card.
Costas imagined Russ Hodges call of Bobby Thompson's immortal HR to finish first over the Dodgers in 1951 if instead it happened today: "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Dodgers get the wild card! The Dodgers get the wild card!"
The wild card has given us something, but it has also taken something away. As a fan of a small market team, I like the fact that the wild card should give the Reds another way to make the post-season. If the Reds had the kind of dominant regular season team that they had back in the heyday of the Big Red Machine, I guarantee you that I would absolutely hate the wild card.

I love that call and I love the idea of an old-fashioned penant race. But I think people just have to accept that the game -- or more appropriately, the sport as a business -- has changed. The country has changed; it has grown, it offers more entertainments to compete for people's attention, and teams must be added to keep up with the population and extra trimmings need to be added for diversions.

I think that mistaking nostalgia for upstanding traditionalism is part of what has held the whole sport back for the past few decades. It does not mean to this country what it once did precisely because it cannot mean what it did if it does not adjust with the people. I like the wild card personally, but more than anything I understand its necessity. That call, for example, stands on its own. It can't be recaptured and no one should attempt to do so. There will be new kinds of calls.

Chip R
03-28-2007, 11:55 AM
However, Costas correctly lamented that the wild card has also largely destroyed the old fashioned pennant race between two great teams. Yes, there may still be a race between several teams for the final playoff spot or two, such as occurred in 1999 when the Astros, Mets and Reds battled for two available spots, but, most often, these battles will be between lesser teams in the league.


I've never been a wild card fan but I have always disagreed with Costas on this point. Yes, there will never be a pennant race between two great teams again. But isn't a pennant race a pennant race no matter what teams are involved? That sounds like elitist East coast crap from a guy like Costas. If you want to talk about "real pennant races" there hasn't been one since the split the divisions in 1968. If you go by Costas' logic, any pennant race after that has been contrived. If next season, the Braves and Phillies have the 2 best records in the NL and it's for certain both teams will make the playoffs and the Reds and Cards are in a dogfight for that NL Central crown, does it make it any less of a race?

gonelong
03-28-2007, 12:46 PM
I think that mistaking nostalgia for upstanding traditionalism is part of what has held the whole sport back for the past few decades. It does not mean to this country what it once did precisely because it cannot mean what it did if it does not adjust with the people. I like the wild card personally, but more than anything I understand its necessity. That call, for example, stands on its own. It can't be recaptured and no one should attempt to do so. There will be new kinds of calls.

NIcely said.

GL

RedsBaron
03-29-2007, 06:45 AM
But isn't a pennant race a pennant race no matter what teams are involved?

I do not believe that Costas would deny it is still a pennant race, even if we are watching a couple of barely .500 teams fight for the final playoff spot. That said, we have clearly lost something, as well as gaining something, through the wild card. Those great pennant race battles between the Reds and the Dodgers in the 1970s just wouldn't have meant as much if, in early September, we had known that both teams had playoff spots locked up, especially since the division champ gained little advantage over the team that made the post-season as a mere wild card. I can remember the day-to-day excitement, building over several months, as the Reds came from 10 1/2 back to win the NL West over LA in 1973, and the similar long run of tension and ultimate despair as the Reds almost came back from a 11 1/2 gap in 1974. With the wild card, that tension and excitement would have been missing, as both the Reds and the Dodgers would have known for weeks or even months that the post-season was assured.
In 2002 we could have had a great pennant race in the AL West between Oakland (103 wins) and Anaheim (99 wins), but winning the division was no big deal; each team made the playoffs, and the wild card team, the Angels, went on the win the World Series. In 2004, the Yankees (101 wins) prevailed in a tight battle over Boston (98 wins) for the AL East, but that meant little, as Boston, the wild card, went on to win the World Series. In 2006, the Tigers (95 wins) collapse and the Twins (96 wins) rally to win the AL Central could have been the stuff of great drama, but the wild card Tigers then went on to the World Series.

RANDY IN INDY
03-29-2007, 07:43 AM
Totally agree, RedsBaron. I miss the days of the two division format.

GAC
03-29-2007, 08:13 AM
Totally agree, RedsBaron. I miss the days of the two division format.

Me too. I am not a WC fan at all. It was implemented, IMHO, because of NLB refusing to address the growing revenue/payroll disparity that exists in baseball, and which was basically "killing" teams chances to not only compete, but get into the post-season. And there was also the resultant issue of thus hurting fan attendance/support ("My team has very little chance of making it")

So what is MLB's answer?

Increase the chances of teams being able to make the post-season via a WC. It's all about keeping that fan interest.

And that is why you here more and more fans saying anymore "We're fighting/hoping for the wild card." ;)

IMO - it has taken away from the game.

blumj
03-29-2007, 09:22 AM
I'm sorry, but you guys keep making me picture that "Grumpy Old Man" Dana Carvey SNL character: "In my day, 99 win teams that didn't win their division went home, just like teams that lost 100 games, and that's the way it was, and we liked it."

Reds Nd2
03-29-2007, 09:33 AM
:laugh: :laugh:

IslandRed
03-29-2007, 10:39 AM
Me too. I am not a WC fan at all. It was implemented, IMHO, because of NLB refusing to address the growing revenue/payroll disparity that exists in baseball, and which was basically "killing" teams chances to not only compete, but get into the post-season. And there was also the resultant issue of thus hurting fan attendance/support ("My team has very little chance of making it")

So what is MLB's answer?

Increase the chances of teams being able to make the post-season via a WC. It's all about keeping that fan interest.

And that is why you here more and more fans saying anymore "We're fighting/hoping for the wild card." ;)

IMO - it has taken away from the game.

Remind me why, in a business that depends on fan support, keeping fan interest higher is a bad thing? :p:

Things like wild cards can be overdone, of course, like in the NBA or NHL. But there has to be a balance between a relevant regular season and a chance to make the postseason. Even if you fixed revenue disparities in baseball and evened the playing field, every season is a zero-sum game; without the wild card, two-thirds of the teams in baseball would be rolling up the sidewalks in front of the ballpark by August. Just like the old days.

blumj
03-29-2007, 11:40 AM
Really, fan interest and support is the ONLY thing keeping baseball alive. Change is life, adapt or die. And, IMO, MLB is a far cry from caring too much about fan interest, they aren't nearly mindful enough.

Chip R
03-29-2007, 02:01 PM
I do not believe that Costas would deny it is still a pennant race, even if we are watching a couple of barely .500 teams fight for the final playoff spot. That said, we have clearly lost something, as well as gaining something, through the wild card. Those great pennant race battles between the Reds and the Dodgers in the 1970s just wouldn't have meant as much if, in early September, we had known that both teams had playoff spots locked up, especially since the division champ gained little advantage over the team that made the post-season as a mere wild card. I can remember the day-to-day excitement, building over several months, as the Reds came from 10 1/2 back to win the NL West over LA in 1973, and the similar long run of tension and ultimate despair as the Reds almost came back from a 11 1/2 gap in 1974. With the wild card, that tension and excitement would have been missing, as both the Reds and the Dodgers would have known for weeks or even months that the post-season was assured.
In 2002 we could have had a great pennant race in the AL West between Oakland (103 wins) and Anaheim (99 wins), but winning the division was no big deal; each team made the playoffs, and the wild card team, the Angels, went on the win the World Series. In 2004, the Yankees (101 wins) prevailed in a tight battle over Boston (98 wins) for the AL East, but that meant little, as Boston, the wild card, went on to win the World Series. In 2006, the Tigers (95 wins) collapse and the Twins (96 wins) rally to win the AL Central could have been the stuff of great drama, but the wild card Tigers then went on to the World Series.

But Costas said that the Wild Card would eliminate the pennant race. He didn't specify which pennant races, he just said pennant races. I don't like the WC because when a league puts 1 WC team in there, usually they believe 1 is so good, 2 would be twice as good, etc. Thankfully MLB hasn't gone down that road yet. And I'd have no problem with making a 4x4 setup in the NL with no WC.

But all I'm saying is that we heard the same talk in 1969 when they went to the beloved 2 division setup. Maybe we missed out on some good ones because of the 2 division setup. In 1972, if there were one division, it looks like there would have been a pretty good race between the Bucs and Reds since both teams won their division by over 10 games. Where was the NL pennant race in 1976 when the Phils and Reds won over 100 games each and the 2nd place teams finished 9 and 10 games out respectively? The 2 division setup killed the pennant races in the NL those years.

I realize that the 2 division setup with no wild card produced a lot of good races. But the wild card hasn't killed it off either. The A's and Angels had a pretty good one last year and it's not liek either team was mediocre.

But I'm easily persuaded. All you have to do is show me how the wild card has killed off pennant races and I'll come over to your side of the fence.

RedsBaron
03-30-2007, 07:21 AM
Chip, I didn't mean to imply that Costas has necessarily got me persuaded, but I do believe that he has an interesting point of view. It's an abstract argument anyway. In virtually all sports, pro and college, the trend for years has been to expand the number of teams allowed into the post-season, and there is no chance that trend will reverse itself and there will actually be a contraction in the number of playoff teams and post-season games--too much TV revenue would be lost.
By the way, Costas further argued in "Fair Ball" that, since it is also virtually certain that the number of MLB teams will not be reduced from 30, each league should have 15 teams. Rather than only play interleague games at certain points in the season, just have one interleague game going on regularly, and, a la the NFL, rotate each season which division in each league plays teams in a division in the other league. That way, in 2007 the Reds could face the Indians and the Tigers and other AL Central division teams, while in 2008 the Yankees and Red Sox and other AL East teams would be played, etc.
Costas proposed a schedule where a team would play 18 games against each of the other 4 teams in its division (all divisions would have 5 teams) for 72 games, 6 games against every other team in their league (6 X 10 teams) for 60 games, and 6 games against 5 teams from one division in the other league (6 X 5 teams) for 30 games, for a total of 162 games.
Which NL team would move to the AL, to put 15 teams in each league? Costas proposed Houston, which has been a NL team for fewer years than the Reds, Cards, Cubs and Pirates (He recognizes that the Brewers probably can't be moved, unfortunately IMO). Moving the Astros to the AL West would produce six five team divisions, and give the Astros a natural rivalry in the division with the Rangers.

coachw513
03-30-2007, 08:49 AM
I can remember the day-to-day excitement, building over several months, as the Reds came from 10 1/2 back to win the NL West over LA in 1973, and the similar long run of tension and ultimate despair as the Reds almost came back from a 11 1/2 gap in 1974.

Hal King, baby!! :beerme: