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WildcatFan
05-01-2012, 11:11 AM
http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/7874251/mlb-mulls-altering-interleague-rivalry-series-including-mets-yankees-sources-say



With the Houston Astros moving to the American League West next season and the leagues becoming balanced at 15 teams apiece, natural rivals throughout baseball no longer will be guaranteed six games a season and home-and-home series, the sources said.

I'm interested to hear what everyone thinks of this. I've been a Reds fan in Kentucky for almost 20 years, and the Indians series has never excited me like maybe it does for Ohioans.

MikeThierry
05-01-2012, 11:19 AM
I love this. I hate, for example, the Cardinals playing the Royals every single year. With a lot of Cards fans, that series is always like a "meh" series to us. It allows teams to play more teams that they never see. It's still shocking to me that the Cards have only played the Yankees once or twice since interleague started. Those two teams have faced each other like 5 or 6 times in World Series play. The same is true with the Red Sox. I'm tired of seeing the same teams over and over every year.

Ghosts of 1990
05-01-2012, 11:19 AM
I would be cool with playing different teams more often. Not always the Indians 9 or so times a year.

Sea Ray
05-01-2012, 11:22 AM
I don't need to see any American League team every year. I'm not a fan of the "natural rivalry" stuff. It'd mean more if we only played the Indian once every 3 yrs

Reds Fanatic
05-01-2012, 11:27 AM
I think it is a good idea to split it up and not play certain teams more than others just due to "natural rivalries'. The problem with the natural rivalries is some teams get matched up with a weak natural rival where other teams in their division without a natural rival end up with tougher matchups. So in fairness it really should be more split up. I also think it is necessary anyway as starting next year there will be some interleague series going on throughout the year because of having 15 teams in each league.

The Voice of IH
05-01-2012, 11:31 AM
As a Cincinnatian living in Akron, I like the Cincinnati playing the Indians often. But I am probably in the minority.

Danny Serafini
05-01-2012, 11:46 AM
The Indians series area easily the most interesting to me each year. I'd rather play six games against them than have some random series against the A's or Royals in their place.

dougdirt
05-01-2012, 11:52 AM
Sign me up as someone who wants to play the Royals instead of just about anyone else.

757690
05-01-2012, 11:54 AM
I love this. I hate, for example, the Cardinals playing the Royals every single year. With a lot of Cards fans, that series is always like a "meh" series to us. It allows teams to play more teams that they never see. It's still shocking to me that the Cards have only played the Yankees once or twice since interleague started. Those two teams have faced each other like 5 or 6 times in World Series play. The same is true with the Red Sox. I'm tired of seeing the same teams over and over every year.

I would love it if the new natural rival of the Cardinals were the Yankees or the Rangers. ;)

Up to now, Cardinals were basically given a 3-5 game lead over the rest of the division every year because they played the hapless Royals so many times every year.

smith288
05-01-2012, 12:38 PM
I like the Cle-Cin series. My bro inlaw is an Indians fan so it's been fun lately.

Plus Plus
05-01-2012, 12:43 PM
I always have a bet going with my friends in Cleveland over who will hold the cherished Ohio Cup. I like the rivalry.

RANDY IN INDY
05-01-2012, 12:55 PM
I don't like inter-league play. If I want to watch American league teams, they are readily available on TV. I think it has taken away from the World Series and All-Star game. It's a big "meh" for me.

Vottomatic
05-01-2012, 01:02 PM
1. Eliminate inter-league play
2. Eliminate divisions in each league
3. Each team in the AL plays the same schedule, same amount of games against each team in the AL.
4. Same with the NL.
5. Best record of the top 4 or 5 teams in each league make the playoffs.

That's how it should be.

REDREAD
05-01-2012, 01:15 PM
I'm really not a fan of this whole idea of having 15 teams in each league.
Even though it's going to be almost impossible to get rid of interleague play, it was nice to have it every day.

Since we are stuck with it however, I see no reason to have more than one Indians series per year. I agree with others, interleague play is already unfair enough. Why should the Reds/Cards be able to fatten up their record this year against weak natural rivals?

If we didn't play the Indians two series in 1999, we might've made the playoffs. No guarantee, but the Royals would've been an easier opponent. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I think John Allen started this by trading our Royals series for another series with the Indians.

FlightRick
05-01-2012, 01:17 PM
I'm a fan of anything that helps make things a little more balanced. And this is a start.

But how about blowing up the whole notion of "rotating divisional scheduling," and schedule interleague opponents based on the previous year's standings? I think the NFL does something like this. Basically: if you finish in 2nd place in 2012, you play all 3 2nd place finishers from the 3 divisions in the opposite league in 2013 (and also the fourth interleague series against your "natural" rival).

If the natural rival and one of the other opponents are the same, so be it: in this case, the parity should only add to the intensity of the rivalry. To my mind, that'd be more "fair," and I think it would also lead to the formation of new rivalries if teams on equal footing end up being thrown together in back-to-back years; familiarity breeds contempt, afterall.

The downside: small market teams are no longer guaranteed visits from big market teams. Pittsburgh won't get the boost in ticket sales that comes with hosting the Yankees every 6 years. So I acknowledge there will be some *****ing and moaning if you pushed for this model. But to me, it'd be worth pushing for.

I do wonder if 12 interleague games per team is enough, though, now that there will have to be at least 1 interleague series going on at all times. I aced my math SAT, but I have neither the time nor the motivation to try to figure out the least possible number of interleague games required by next season's re-alignment. I like 12, though, not just because it fits my "play your 3 equivalent opponents in the other league, plus your rival" model, but because it reduces the overall impact of interleague on intra-league, which is something I like.

Plus, the other scheduling math works out so easy that even I can do it in my head: 15 games against your 4 division foes (a mix of 2-, 3-, and 4-game series), 9 games against the other 10 teams in your league (three 3-game series), and four 3-game interleague series (as discussed above). That's 15x4=60, 9x10=90, and 4x3=12, for a total of 162 games.

As a bonus, some of the wacky imbalance (where you play 18 games against in-division foes, but only 6 against other in-league teams) is mitigated, which I think makes sense now that you've added a 2nd wild card, which is an intra-LEAGUE prize not an intra-division one.

But I digress. It's just an idea I've been kicking around for a while, and now that I've finally put it into words, I've put it into 1250 words, which is probably too many....


Rick

MikeThierry
05-01-2012, 02:10 PM
Good thoughts Rick.

I never really understood how a team can have a "natural rival" against an AL team unless they have faced them in World Series play. To me, the Reds are as much of a "natural rival" with the Red Sox as they are with the Indians.

Sea Ray
05-01-2012, 02:54 PM
I would love it if the new natural rival of the Cardinals were the Yankees or the Rangers. ;)

Up to now, Cardinals were basically given a 3-5 game lead over the rest of the division every year because they played the hapless Royals so many times every year.

That's the other thing. It does affect competitive balance. The Cards playing the Royals can easily be the difference over 6 games in them winning the division compared to who the rest of the division plays.

The problem is money. Series sell out vs the Indians and it happens as well with other rivals like Mets-Yankess etc. It's hard to convince ownership that they need to trade in those sellouts 2 out of every 3 years

Reds/Flyers Fan
05-01-2012, 03:12 PM
I, too, would like to see the Cardinals stop getting five or six freebies every year vs. the Royals while the Reds are playing the Yankees, Rays, Tigers and six vs. the Indians.

I do like the series with Cleveland and hope it continues. I don't ever want to be in a division with them though. Not too thrilled about being in a division with the Brewers either.

blumj
05-01-2012, 03:35 PM
I don't get how NY fans manage to take that rivalry seriously, but I guess if you really want something to fight over, the back page of the NY Post will do.

traderumor
05-01-2012, 03:40 PM
1969-1976: 24 teams, four 6 team divisions, 18 division games, 12 non-division games, playoffs, World Series...ah what symmetry. Its been downhill ever since.

Brutus
05-01-2012, 03:41 PM
I'm curious how many people that don't care about the Indians rivalry aren't from Ohio. It seems like most of the people that don't care are from out of state, while most of the Reds' fans from Ohio want to keep the rivalry.

Not keeping the series would be a bad idea IMHO. For the average baseball fan in Ohio, the meeting between the two teams is one of the most interesting parts of the season.

traderumor
05-01-2012, 03:44 PM
I'm curious how many people that don't care about the Indians rivalry aren't from Ohio. It seems like most of the people that don't care are from out of state, while most of the Reds' fans from Ohio want to keep the rivalry.

Not keeping the series would be a bad idea IMHO. For the average baseball fan in Ohio, the meeting between the two teams is one of the most interesting parts of the season.I'm going to like interleague play better that starts next season, where it will be more staggered due to the odd number of teams in each league. I could care less about playing the Indians every year. I have been to one matchup, and that was the first game at GAB, which was an exhibition game. Wondered who that second baseman was for the Indians, had never heard of him.

Reds Fanatic
05-01-2012, 03:56 PM
I'm curious how many people that don't care about the Indians rivalry aren't from Ohio. It seems like most of the people that don't care are from out of state, while most of the Reds' fans from Ohio want to keep the rivalry.

Not keeping the series would be a bad idea IMHO. For the average baseball fan in Ohio, the meeting between the two teams is one of the most interesting parts of the season.

I don't think they will get rid of the natural rivals all together but the teams would not automatically meet 6 times each year for home and home series. They might still hold a 3 game series and possibly every other year the one team hosts the other. Or one proposal is to possibly have teams like this meet 2 games each at each location.

The one big difference that I do agree will be nice is having interleague more spread out during the year. It looks like they are talking about still playing about 15 interleague games but it would be spread throughout the year as there has to an interleague series going on at all times with 15 teams in each league. So instead of the current schedule where basically 2 weeks of June are devoted to interleague for all the teams in the future you will have interleague series but they will just be scheduled randomly throughout the year.

M2
05-01-2012, 03:58 PM
1. Eliminate inter-league play
2. Eliminate divisions in each league
3. Each team in the AL plays the same schedule, same amount of games against each team in the AL.
4. Same with the NL.
5. Best record of the top 4 or 5 teams in each league make the playoffs.

That's how it should be.

It will never happen, but I'm totally for it.

_Sir_Charles_
05-01-2012, 07:41 PM
I don't like inter-league play. If I want to watch American league teams, they are readily available on TV. I think it has taken away from the World Series and All-Star game. It's a big "meh" for me.

This.

Yachtzee
05-01-2012, 07:58 PM
I'm curious how many people that don't care about the Indians rivalry aren't from Ohio. It seems like most of the people that don't care are from out of state, while most of the Reds' fans from Ohio want to keep the rivalry.

Not keeping the series would be a bad idea IMHO. For the average baseball fan in Ohio, the meeting between the two teams is one of the most interesting parts of the season.

I think the whole interleague thing is played out. Living here in NE Ohio, I don't know many who still get psyched up for the Reds. More people still look to the Yankees and Red Sox as the marquee games to go see.

Yachtzee
05-01-2012, 07:59 PM
I think the Reds' natural rivals should be the Dodgers and Giants. Forget interleague and give us more games against old-time rivals within the NL.

RedFanAlways1966
05-01-2012, 08:48 PM
No more interleague. This is not the NFL or the NBA. I admit I was excited when it 1st happened and even attended the first Indians game in Riverfront Stadium (never Cinergy Field to me). Then about 5 years later (and ever since) I tired of it. Let it be talked about in the history books years from now and be done with it.

M2
05-01-2012, 08:59 PM
I think the Reds' natural rivals should be the Dodgers and Giants. Forget interleague and give us more games against old-time rivals within the NL.

I'm over that. Beating the Dodgers for the division title in 1990 and sweeping them in the 1995 NLDS got it out of my system. Rivalry won.

The Giants were only ever a blip on the rivalry radar.

I'd just as soon chuck the entire west coast to another league and keep it all in the Eastern time zone. If you've got a good team, the rivalries will find you.

RedsBaron
05-01-2012, 09:07 PM
1969-1976: 24 teams, four 6 team divisions, 18 division games, 12 non-division games, playoffs, World Series...ah what symmetry. Its been downhill ever since.

While I would prefer that setup it isn't going to return. No way six teams would be eliminated.

OldRightHander
05-01-2012, 09:09 PM
Before interleague play, I used to make trips up to Cleveland or Detroit on occasion just to catch games if there was a certain AL team coming in that intrigued me for some reason or another, or there was a certain player I wanted to see. Interleague play has taken the novelty off of that. I haven't made one of those trips in years.

Sea Ray
05-01-2012, 09:30 PM
I think the whole interleague thing is played out. Living here in NE Ohio, I don't know many who still get psyched up for the Reds. More people still look to the Yankees and Red Sox as the marquee games to go see.

Other NE fans don't feel that way as the three game series they had vs the Reds averaged 33K fans, an increase of 50% over their avg for the year. It's that money that we're battling here

Brutus
05-01-2012, 11:46 PM
I think the whole interleague thing is played out. Living here in NE Ohio, I don't know many who still get psyched up for the Reds. More people still look to the Yankees and Red Sox as the marquee games to go see.

I don't see why it matters if it's interleague. It's an in-state team that a lot of fans in the state like to see the two teams play. Whether it's NL, AL or IL, the two teams should be playing one another every year. I care a heck of a lot more about the Indians-Reds than the Cubs-Reds.

The Cubs suck and I have no interest in watching them boot balls around the infield while their drunken fans talk about how it is the other teams that suck.

mth123
05-02-2012, 05:04 AM
I don't like inter-league play. If I want to watch American league teams, they are readily available on TV. I think it has taken away from the World Series and All-Star game. It's a big "meh" for me.

:thumbup:

I'll add that I'd prefer that teams stick to playing the teams that they are competing for a playoff spot against with all teams in the competition having the same schedule.

AtomicDumpling
05-02-2012, 05:45 AM
1. Eliminate inter-league play
2. Eliminate divisions in each league
3. Each team in the AL plays the same schedule, same amount of games against each team in the AL.
4. Same with the NL.
5. Best record of the top 4 or 5 teams in each league make the playoffs.

That's how it should be.

I was right there with you until you got to #5. I think only the 1st place team should advance to the "playoffs" -- i.e. go straight to the World Series. There should be no 2nd or 3rd place losers in the post-season. Once you have proven you are not the best team you should not be eligible for a chance to win the World Series. It worked great for many decades while baseball was the most popular sport in the country.

There were no second-place champions for a century, then Selig thought it would be a good idea to give losers a second chance. Why play 162 games to find the best team in the league, then let the also-rans win the championship? Let's go back to the days of the real champions instead of continuing this era of mediocre teams winning tainted championships.

mth123
05-02-2012, 06:31 AM
1969-1976: 24 teams, four 6 team divisions, 18 division games, 12 non-division games, playoffs, World Series...ah what symmetry. Its been downhill ever since.

:thumbup:

alexad
05-02-2012, 07:21 AM
I would rather play the Dodgers or Braves more. Those teams were the
Natural rivals for many years in the Old NL West.

I agree in AL rivals being the Sox Yanks and for that matter A's and O's.

What AL teams have not been to Cincy? Those are the teams that need to make a visit.

The Reds see the Tribe everyday in Spring Training. That is enough for me.

mdccclxix
05-02-2012, 07:36 AM
I was right there with you until you got to #5. I think only the 1st place team should advance to the "playoffs" -- i.e. go straight to the World Series. There should be no 2nd or 3rd place losers in the post-season. Once you have proven you are not the best team you should not be eligible for a chance to win the World Series. It worked great for many decades while baseball was the most popular sport in the country.

There were no second-place champions for a century, then Selig thought it would be a good idea to give losers a second chance. Why play 162 games to find the best team in the league, then let the also-rans win the championship? Let's go back to the days of the real champions instead of continuing this era of mediocre teams winning tainted championships.

Give me an NFL model of redistribution and I'm in.

MikeThierry
05-02-2012, 10:49 AM
I was right there with you until you got to #5. I think only the 1st place team should advance to the "playoffs" -- i.e. go straight to the World Series. There should be no 2nd or 3rd place losers in the post-season. Once you have proven you are not the best team you should not be eligible for a chance to win the World Series. It worked great for many decades while baseball was the most popular sport in the country.

There were no second-place champions for a century, then Selig thought it would be a good idea to give losers a second chance. Why play 162 games to find the best team in the league, then let the also-rans win the championship? Let's go back to the days of the real champions instead of continuing this era of mediocre teams winning tainted championships.

The Wild Card has been great for parity in the league. I can almost gaurantee that if a Wild Card type system was in place in the 1950's, the Yankees wouldn't have won all those championships. It's more harder now than ever to get to and win the World Series. If we go back to the old system, teams like the Yankees are almost a lock to be in the World Series practically every other year.

Degenerate39
05-02-2012, 10:51 AM
The Wild Card has been great for parity in the league. I can almost gaurantee that if a Wild Card type system was in place in the 1950's, the Yankees wouldn't have won all those championships. It's more harder now than ever to get to and win the World Series. If we go back to the old system, teams like the Yankees are almost a lock to be in the World Series practically every other year.

The Reds would've been in the WS almost every year durings the 70s with the Wild Card I bet

MikeThierry
05-02-2012, 10:53 AM
The Reds would've been in the WS almost every year durings the 70s with the Wild Card I bet

Very true. Same with the Cards of the 60's.

Also, it doesn't seem practical now to have the old system. There are simply too many teams in the league. Having the old system was fine when there were 20-24 teams in the league. It's not a fair system when there are 30 different teams trying to compete and win it all.

M2
05-02-2012, 11:23 AM
The Reds would've been in the WS almost every year durings the 70s with the Wild Card I bet

More teams in the playoffs, the more random your playoff chances become. The Phillies got derailed that past two Octobers when they were by far the best team in the NL. That could have happened to the 1975 or 1976 Reds if they had an extra round of playoffs to get through.

RedsBaron
05-02-2012, 12:28 PM
More teams in the playoffs, the more random your playoff chances become. The Phillies got derailed that past two Octobers when they were by far the best team in the NL. That could have happened to the 1975 or 1976 Reds if they had an extra round of playoffs to get through.

That is true, but I really, really doubt that the 1976 Reds would have been derailed no matter how many playoff rounds they had to go through. Not only did the Reds go undefeated in the 1976 postseason, they generally were near-perfect when any team dared to challenge them during the regular season.
IIRC, Sparky Anderson wrote about one series the Reds had in around August against the Phillies; after losing the first game Sparky became concerned the Phils might gain confidence that they could challenge the BRM--the Reds swept the remaining three games of that series. Later on, the Dodgers somewhat closed on the Reds; challenged, the Reds promptly swept a four game series against LA. Sparky wrote that the 1976 Reds were the only team he ever saw that could literally "turn it on" when they needed to.
While I do not have the 1976 records at my fingertips, I do know that the "Great 8" lineup was used by Sparky only 88 times during 1975-76. They went 69-19, a .784 winning percentage when Sparky started all members of the Great 8.

RedsBaron
05-02-2012, 12:34 PM
While there were upsets in the playoff set up that existed from 1969 through 1993, there were very few times a truly inferior team managed to win the NLCS against a clearly better team, especially in the first decade of so of that system.
The 1972 Reds had a slightly poorer record than the Pirates, but the Pirates were not clearly the better team. Playing one more game, Pittsburgh went 96-59 to the Reds 95-59, but the Reds won the regular season series between the teams 8-4. The NLCS was extemely close, pulled out by the Reds in the very last inning of the last game.
The 1973 Reds (99-63) were clearly better than the 1973 Mets (82-79), but the Mets pitching made the difference in a short series.
While the 1977 Phillies (101-61) had a better record than the 1977 Dodgers (98-64), I frankly believe LA was better.
All of the other NLCS series were won by the team with the better record between 1969 and 1979.

MikeThierry
05-02-2012, 12:37 PM
RedsBaron, I think you are right. There are some teams that are so dominant that they will win regardless of the system. I'm looking at the list of players on the 76 Reds and I ask myself "how did they manage to win just 102 games?". I think only the 27 Yankees were more dominant position by position.

RedsBaron
05-02-2012, 12:37 PM
The Reds would've been in the WS almost every year durings the 70s with the Wild Card I bet

The 1974 Reds had the second best record in the NL (98-64), so they clearly would have been a wild card had wild cards been in use then.
Same thing in 1978, as the Reds record of 92-69 was second best in the NL.
The 1977 Reds would have been a wild card only if two wild cards were used, as their 88-74 ranked fourth in the NL.
The 1971 Reds went 79-83 and would have made in playoffs only if the NL decided to let virtually everyone in.
The Reds won the other 6 NL West titles in the 1970s outright.

M2
05-02-2012, 02:15 PM
While there were upsets in the playoff set up that existed from 1969 through 1993, there were very few times a truly inferior team managed to win the NLCS against a clearly better team, especially in the first decade of so of that system.
The 1972 Reds had a slightly poorer record than the Pirates, but the Pirates were not clearly the better team. Playing one more game, Pittsburgh went 96-59 to the Reds 95-59, but the Reds won the regular season series between the teams 8-4. The NLCS was extemely close, pulled out by the Reds in the very last inning of the last game.
The 1973 Reds (99-63) were clearly better than the 1973 Mets (82-79), but the Mets pitching made the difference in a short series.

The beauty of 75-76 is they're eternal. We don't have to play what if, because it all came out right in the end. Yet the '75 Reds were a lot better than the '75 Red Sox and that series could have gone either way. And '72-'74 were bitter disappointments. Fortunately the Internet didn't exist back then or it would have gotten ugly in cyberspace.

The '73 Reds are a perfect example of how the playoffs can go horribly wrong. You run into one hot pitching staff or you have one bad week and it's over. The extra round of playoffs adds a ton of risk in a sport where winning 55-60% of the time and scoring 0.5 rpg more than you opponents makes you a real good team. The '75 Dodgers had the pitching to beat anyone in a playoff series. In an alternate universe the '76 Reds might have suffered a Rennie Bleeping Stennett moment.

I like to think the BRM was invincible, but that wasn't the case in '72-74 and '77-'78. And since then we've seen the 1988 Mets, 1997 Braves, the 2001 Mariners, the 2010-11 Phillies and a pile of recent Yankees teams not even make it to the World Series. There's almost no such thing as an inevitable champion.

Sea Ray
05-02-2012, 02:42 PM
7-0 in the post season is about as inevitable as you're going to get

AtomicDumpling
05-02-2012, 03:40 PM
The Wild Card has been great for parity in the league. I can almost gaurantee that if a Wild Card type system was in place in the 1950's, the Yankees wouldn't have won all those championships. It's more harder now than ever to get to and win the World Series. If we go back to the old system, teams like the Yankees are almost a lock to be in the World Series practically every other year.

The Wild Card is not "parity" at all. Parity means there is a level playing field -- every team is playing by the same rules and restrictions. Giving inferior teams a second chance to eliminate obviously superior teams in a short playoff series is not parity but rather charity.

2nd place World Series winners make me sick. The 2011 Cardinals proved they did not deserve their tainted championship when they finished six games behind the Brewers in their division. The Cardinals are not the only ones, this has now happened 5 of the last 13 years. If you have proven over the course of 162 games that you are not even the best team in your own little division then you have absolutely no legitimate claim to being the best team in baseball. A 2nd place team is a loser, and losers don't deserve to be called champions.

Shouldn't the goal of a sports league be to create a system where teams play by the same rules, play enough games to eliminate randomness, play the same schedule, battle it out on the field all season long and whoever wins the most games wins the league? The best team in each league goes on to fight for the World Series championship. Ultimately fans want the best team to be crowned as champion. Fans can look back fondly at championship seasons and be proud that their team was the best in baseball that epic season. You can't do that anymore because champions are usually NOT the best team in the league anymore, so essentially a modern championship has no real meaning. It certainly pales in comparison to the achievement of Reds and Cardinals teams of yesteryear that truly earned their titles and places in history.

For nearly a century baseball was the only major sport to stick to the high standard of making sure only the best team in each league was crowned as champion. Not coincidentally baseball was the most popular sport in the nation during that time. Only when baseball sank to the level of sports geared toward fans with short attention spans did the National Pastime fall in popularity behind football.

Instead of addressing the issue of real parity in baseball by leveling the playing field for all teams, baseball has chosen to create the illusion of parity by creating a post-season where mediocre teams can often defeat great teams in a short series where luck is a huge factor. Leveraging randomness to eliminate the best teams in the playoffs has allowed many different franchises to win undeserved World Series titles, which in turn has confused fans and pundits alike to believe there is real parity in baseball.

What if the outcomes of playoff series were based on a flip of a coin? Would you be proud of your team if their post-season run to glory was due to their "skill" at winning coin flips? Of course not. So why be proud of a World Series title that is based on short series wins against obviously superior teams? A short series is essentially the same as a coin flip because the best team wins barely more than half the time.

Real parity means allowing franchises to use their talent, skill and expertise to determine their success or failure rather than having the size of the city determine who wins or loses. False parity means enabling some teams to buy all the best players and therefore win the most games only to be eliminated by inferior teams in short, luck-based playoff series.

Instead of compensating for extreme financial imbalance by introducing a huge dose of luck into the equation, Major League Baseball should actually fix the financial imbalance, leave luck out of the mix and and let teams' ability to play baseball determine their success or failure.

Brutus
05-02-2012, 03:48 PM
An "inferior" team beating a "superior" team in a series isn't charity... that's competition.

And since we're only talking 33% of the teams getting into the playoffs, that's hardly charity.

Success already determines the playoffs. Those who win a division or have the best overall record get into the playoffs. Those who don't... don't.

AtomicDumpling
05-02-2012, 04:40 PM
An "inferior" team beating a "superior" team in a series isn't charity... that's competition.

And since we're only talking 33% of the teams getting into the playoffs, that's hardly charity.

Success already determines the playoffs. Those who win a division or have the best overall record get into the playoffs. Those who don't... don't.

Getting an undeserved second chance is indeed charity. They already played 162 games and proved they are not as good as the 1st place team and they don't belong in the playoffs. 162 games is plenty of time to prove which team is better. A short series of either one, five or seven games is merely a coin flip and proves nothing.

Brutus
05-02-2012, 05:08 PM
Getting an undeserved second chance is indeed charity. They already played 162 games and proved they are not as good as the 1st place team and they don't belong in the playoffs. 162 games is plenty of time to prove which team is better. A short series of either one, five or seven games is merely a coin flip and proves nothing.

So what's the point of playoffs at all then? Why not just give the championship to the team with the best record? After all, what does a World Series prove?

Winning a seven game series may not "prove" who the theoretical best team is, but you play the games for a reason. If you win them, you earned your championship. That's not charity... again, it's competition.

KronoRed
05-02-2012, 05:18 PM
For nearly a century baseball was the only major sport to stick to the high standard of making sure only the best team in each league was crowned as champion. Not coincidentally baseball was the most popular sport in the nation during that time. Only when baseball sank to the level of sports geared toward fans with short attention spans did the National Pastime fall in popularity behind football.


Attendance numbers don't really back this up, they imply more fans come out when more teams have a chance at the title.
http://bss.sfsu.edu/tygiel/hist490/mlbattendance.htm

RedlegJake
05-02-2012, 06:26 PM
Attendance would tank dramatically, imo, if you dropped the playoffs. Too many teams out of the running playing totally meaningless games in August and September. The traditional "top 2" World Series method worked great when there were only 8 teams in each league but after the first expansion seasons were already getting a bit overlogged with "out of it" teams. That was a lot of games that meant absolutely nothing in the 60s. The playoff format was a welcome and exciting change. Adding a "playoff" game for the wildcard spot seems silly to me, but if the Reds get a shot some year that way I guess I won't complain. Baseball has a lot of time honored and protected traditions - but this is a business and to keep baseball healthy you have to look at fan interest. Having 2 teams (or 4 or 5 competitive teams making a fight of it) and 25-28 teams out of the hunt in mid August sure isn't the way to pump up attendance. Attendance+ratings = money = the survival of baseball as a major sport. SOmetimes even tradition has to take a back seat to hard nosed economics.

MikeThierry
05-02-2012, 06:44 PM
2nd place World Series winners make me sick. The 2011 Cardinals proved they did not deserve their tainted championship when they finished six games behind the Brewers in their division. The Cardinals are not the only ones, this has now happened 5 of the last 13 years. If you have proven over the course of 162 games that you are not even the best team in your own little division then you have absolutely no legitimate claim to being the best team in baseball. A 2nd place team is a loser, and losers don't deserve to be called champions.


So beating the best team during the regular season in the Phillies and the best team in the AL during the regular season makes it a tainted championship to you? By no means did the Cardinals have an easy ride through the playoffs. Nothing is tainted about their championship. You would probably feel differently if the Reds won the wild card and won it all. Right now it just seems you are bitter over something.

AtomicDumpling
05-02-2012, 10:30 PM
So beating the best team during the regular season in the Phillies and the best team in the AL during the regular season makes it a tainted championship to you? By no means did the Cardinals have an easy ride through the playoffs. Nothing is tainted about their championship. You would probably feel differently if the Reds won the wild card and won it all. Right now it just seems you are bitter over something.

So you do acknowledge the Cardinals were not the best team then? The Cardinals won a short series against teams that had already proven they were far superior to the 2nd-place Cardinals. Especially the Brewers who played the same schedule and beat the Cardinals by 6 whole games.

I am not singling out your Cardinals because this is far from the first time a mediocre team won the World Series in recent years.

If the Reds were a second place team and eked out a World Series title I would not consider it that much of an accomplishment, certainly not in the same universe as the true Reds champions of prior years.

15fan
05-02-2012, 10:47 PM
Interleague play blows.

RedsBaron
05-03-2012, 08:54 AM
So beating the best team during the regular season in the Phillies and the best team in the AL during the regular season makes it a tainted championship to you? By no means did the Cardinals have an easy ride through the playoffs. Nothing is tainted about their championship. You would probably feel differently if the Reds won the wild card and won it all. Right now it just seems you are bitter over something.

The 2011 Cardinals have no reason to apologize for their World Series championship. They won the title by the rules then in effect. It rather evened things out in a way when you consider 2005. In 2005 St. Louis had the best record in the NL at 100-62, but a second place team in the Cards' own division, Houston (89-73), managed to defeat St. Louis in the NLCS and go on to the World Series where the Astros lost to the White Sox.
Hey "Red Sox Nation" didn't apologize for ending the "curse" in 2004, and I rejoiced to see them do it, but Boston was a second place team that season before their magnificent comeback in the ALCS against the Yankees.
If a future Reds team is a wild card and goes on to win the World Series I will celebrate. I would prefer a system without wild cards but that isn't what we have or will have.

MikeThierry
05-03-2012, 11:18 AM
So you do acknowledge the Cardinals were not the best team then? The Cardinals won a short series against teams that had already proven they were far superior to the 2nd-place Cardinals. Especially the Brewers who played the same schedule and beat the Cardinals by 6 whole games.

I am not singling out your Cardinals because this is far from the first time a mediocre team won the World Series in recent years.

If the Reds were a second place team and eked out a World Series title I would not consider it that much of an accomplishment, certainly not in the same universe as the true Reds champions of prior years.

I'm calling BS on this. There is no way you wouldn't consider a Reds championship an accomplishment if they won it via the Wild Card. Winning a championship in any sport is an accomplishment. Again, this whole "argument" you are making sounds a bit like sour grapes over something.

MikeThierry
05-03-2012, 11:23 AM
The 2011 Cardinals have no reason to apologize for their World Series championship. They won the title by the rules then in effect. It rather evened things out in a way when you consider 2005. In 2005 St. Louis had the best record in the NL at 100-62, but a second place team in the Cards' own division, Houston (89-73), managed to defeat St. Louis in the NLCS and go on to the World Series where the Astros lost to the White Sox.
Hey "Red Sox Nation" didn't apologize for ending the "curse" in 2004, and I rejoiced to see them do it, but Boston was a second place team that season before their magnificent comeback in the ALCS against the Yankees.
If a future Reds team is a wild card and goes on to win the World Series I will celebrate. I would prefer a system without wild cards but that isn't what we have or will have.

Exactly right. The Cardinals were one of the most dominant teams that year. They were clearly the best team in baseball at the time with 105 wins. They were dominant in pitching and had one of the best lineups of the decade. Yet they got swept by the Red Sox. Any team who beats clearly the best team in the league in a playoff structure deserves credit.

Yachtzee
05-03-2012, 11:59 AM
Other NE fans don't feel that way as the three game series they had vs the Reds averaged 33K fans, an increase of 50% over their avg for the year. It's that money that we're battling here

Of course, the Reds games were on prime weekend dates during the summer when more fans tend to attend games anyway. So how much of that attendance boost can be attributed to the Reds and how much is really just having the games scheduled on dates when attendance tends to be better anyway? That's the problem with judging attendance for interleague series as a whole. But I guess we'll see how well these interleague games draw when the Astros move and they have to have interleague games every day. I suspect that if they schedule a Reds/Indians series mid-week in the spring or fall, the attendance figures won't be so hot.

REDREAD
05-03-2012, 01:18 PM
If the Reds were a second place team and eked out a World Series title I would not consider it that much of an accomplishment, certainly not in the same universe as the true Reds champions of prior years.

Ok, what if the Reds were 10 games out at the allstar break this year.
Bray and Masset come back healthy. Walt makes a big trade to shore up the team.Ludwick, Stubbs, Bruce, and Stubbs catch fire and the Reds make it in the wildcard. Let's say the Reds were the hottest team in baseball in the 2nd half.
The Reds win the WS. You'd consider that WS tainted? You'd say that since the Reds had injuries/slumps early in the season, they weren't as legitimate as the division winner would've been?

RedsBaron
05-03-2012, 01:51 PM
Hey the Reds quite properly count 1919 as among their world championship teams and that championship does have a bit of a taint to it---but it wasn't the fault of the Reds. ;)

AtomicDumpling
05-03-2012, 06:57 PM
Hey the Reds quite properly count 1919 as among their world championship teams and that championship does have a bit of a taint to it---but it wasn't the fault of the Reds. ;)

What people don't realize is the Reds were a better team than the Black Sox in 1919 and likely would have won the World Series anyway. At least the Reds didn't finish in 2nd place that year and then claim to be the best team.

AtomicDumpling
05-03-2012, 07:00 PM
I'm calling BS on this. There is no way you wouldn't consider a Reds championship an accomplishment if they won it via the Wild Card. Winning a championship in any sport is an accomplishment. Again, this whole "argument" you are making sounds a bit like sour grapes over something.

It is an accomplishment, just not nearly as impressive an accomplishment as actually being the best team. If you finish in 2nd place you are not the best team, even if you win the World Series. Unfortunately the current playoff structure rewards mediocrity and punishes excellence. That is why so many people feel the World Series championship no longer is very meaningful.

You can be proud of your 2nd place champions. Just don't pretend they were the best team in the league in 2011 because everyone already knows they were not.

AtomicDumpling
05-03-2012, 07:03 PM
Ok, what if the Reds were 10 games out at the allstar break this year.
Bray and Masset come back healthy. Walt makes a big trade to shore up the team.Ludwick, Stubbs, Bruce, and Stubbs catch fire and the Reds make it in the wildcard. Let's say the Reds were the hottest team in baseball in the 2nd half.
The Reds win the WS. You'd consider that WS tainted? You'd say that since the Reds had injuries/slumps early in the season, they weren't as legitimate as the division winner would've been?

Injuries are a part of the game. If you have injuries your team is not as good as when they are 100% healthy. If you finish in 2nd place you have proven your season was not as good as the 1st place team. Just because you win a few short series in the playoffs is meaningless. The regular season is where great seasons are made, not in a coin flip series where anything can and will happen.

AtomicDumpling
05-03-2012, 07:25 PM
So what's the point of playoffs at all then? Why not just give the championship to the team with the best record? After all, what does a World Series prove?

Winning a seven game series may not "prove" who the theoretical best team is, but you play the games for a reason. If you win them, you earned your championship. That's not charity... again, it's competition.

So you do acknowledge that playoff series do not prove the winner is the better team.

The point of the playoffs nowadays is money. Maximum profit is their goal.

There didn't use to be playoffs, as you know. There was only a World Series matching up the league champions. Back in those days the league pennant was considered a huge accomplishment and validated a team as being a great team. Now nobody cares about the league championship anymore because it is just another round in the playoffs. Pennant races used to be epic struggles in August and September to see which team would go down in history as the league champion with a chance to win the World Series too. Now there is no pennant race anymore. One of the best parts of baseball is gone. Why? Because now the only race is to see who gets the last spot in the playoffs. So instead of truly excellent teams battling it out for the league championship all eyes are now focused on 2nd and 3rd place teams battling it out for the final playoff spot. Ask most fans who was the best team in each league last year and they couldn't tell you, but they know who won those final wildcard playoff spots on the last day of the season. So instead of great teams grabbing headlines as they fight for the league championship and a berth in the World Series, now the headlines are focused on mediocre teams fighting over the last of 10 spots in a playoff field. So not only are we focused on lesser teams, they are also fighting over a much smaller prize. Epic drama? Not hardly when you really think about it.

If all you want is "competition" they why have a regular season? Just have a big single-elimination tournament with all teams invited. Whoever wins the tourney is the best team in baseball. But wait, that wouldn't work because everyone knows one game (or five, or seven) is merely a coin flip in baseball -- the results are nearly random. To find the best team you have to play a lot of games. So a tournament would be meaningless. Dramatic? Yes. Competition? Yes. Good TV ratings? Yes. Does it prove the tourney winner was the best team? No way. Its purely spectacle with no substance.

They play 162 games for a reason -- to determine the best team. If seven games were enough to determine the best team they would just play seven games.

The reason they keep adding teams to the playoffs is MONEY. All they care about is money. Finding and crowning the best team as champion is no longer important to the leaders of MLB. All they want to do is maximize the profits for the owners and the players.

Just because a team wins the World Series does not mean they have a legitimate claim to being the best team in baseball. If you can't even win your own division you have zero claim to being the best. And now even third place teams will have a chance to win the World Series. The value of a World Series title is dropping fast.

If the World Series winner cannot accurately be called the best team then what value does a World Series title have these days? Not much really. They won a tournament after the season. Big deal. It doesn't prove anything anymore. And that is a shame.

MikeThierry
05-03-2012, 09:13 PM
Atomic, I guess I'm not understanding what system you want in place. Even in the old system, there were "inferior teams" playing against a better opponent and often times those teams with a worse record won it all. Take 1964 for example. The Phillies led the Cardinals by 6.5 games with 12 games to go. In the one of the biggest collapses in baseball history, the Cards managed to take first place. Did the Cards really prove they were the better team over 162 games than the Phillies or was it by pure luck that they got into the Fall Classic. In that fall classic The Cardinals, with 93 wins, were inferior to the Yankees, with 99 wins. Yet the Cardinals won that series in 7 games. By your logic, the Cardinals winning still didn't prove that they were the better team than the Yankees.

As Brutus said, if you want the system that you propose in place, just give the championship to the team with the best record. You're idea of crowning a championship is also impractical considering that there are too many teams. It isn't a fair process when there are 30 teams trying to win one divisional spot. It may have been practical in 64 when only 20 teams took the field but not now it's not practical. Plus, until there is a salary cap (which I hope baseball never resorts to), only the most financially sound teams would have a shot. Do you really think the Reds could compete with the Phillies or LA on a yearly basis with the kind of funding they have? Even the Cards would have a tough time competing in that financial environment.



You can be proud of your 2nd place champions. Just don't pretend they were the best team in the league in 2011 because everyone already knows they were not.

They were the last team standing at the end of the season. By the very definition of winning a championship, they are the one of the best teams in the league. That shouldn't even be up for debate.

AtomicDumpling
05-04-2012, 03:42 AM
Atomic, I guess I'm not understanding what system you want in place. Even in the old system, there were "inferior teams" playing against a better opponent and often times those teams with a worse record won it all. Take 1964 for example. The Phillies led the Cardinals by 6.5 games with 12 games to go. In the one of the biggest collapses in baseball history, the Cards managed to take first place. Did the Cards really prove they were the better team over 162 games than the Phillies or was it by pure luck that they got into the Fall Classic. In that fall classic The Cardinals, with 93 wins, were inferior to the Yankees, with 99 wins. Yet the Cardinals won that series in 7 games. By your logic, the Cardinals winning still didn't prove that they were the better team than the Yankees.

As Brutus said, if you want the system that you propose in place, just give the championship to the team with the best record. You're idea of crowning a championship is also impractical considering that there are too many teams. It isn't a fair process when there are 30 teams trying to win one divisional spot. It may have been practical in 64 when only 20 teams took the field but not now it's not practical. Plus, until there is a salary cap (which I hope baseball never resorts to), only the most financially sound teams would have a shot. Do you really think the Reds could compete with the Phillies or LA on a yearly basis with the kind of funding they have? Even the Cards would have a tough time competing in that financial environment.



They were the last team standing at the end of the season. By the very definition of winning a championship, they are the one of the best teams in the league. That shouldn't even be up for debate.

The 1964 Cards won more games than anyone in the National League, so they have a very strong claim to being the best team in the league that year -- they played a full season and finished in first place. The Cards and Yankees obviously did not play the same schedule that year since they were in opposite leagues, therefore the number of games they won does not matter. It is possible the Cards played in the tougher league that year and had a tougher schedule, which would explain why they won fewer games than the Yankees despite being a better team. The same thing applies to teams in different divisions. As long as you finish ahead of everyone that played your schedule you have a legit claim as being the best. You can't prove yourself as being better or worse than another team unless you play the same schedule. The only way you can prove that you were not the best team is to play the same schedule and finish behind the other team, like the 2011 Cardinals did when they proved they were not as good as the Brewers.

I don't think the number of teams in the league makes any difference in this matter. You could have 100 teams and as long as they all played the same schedule you could fairly crown a league champion without resorting to short playoff series.

I don't have a problem with keeping the divisional structure. It is not the perfect structure but it can work well like it did in the 70's, 80's and 90's. The only thing I have a real problem with is the Wild Card because that opens the door to inferior second and third place teams to win the World Series. Those teams already proved they don't deserve to call themselves champions.

It sullies the dignity of real champions like the 1964 Cardinals and the 1975 Reds to be cast in the same lot as the mediocre 2nd-place "champions" of the new millennium. We could look back on the champions of the last century and be certain they were great teams even if you don't know anything about them. Then you could investigate closer and make a rock-solid case that they were the best team in baseball that season. This century you simply can't do that anymore because you have to look and see whether they even won their own division because they may even have finished in second or third place. Real champions don't finish second or third.

And yes the Reds can compete with the big city teams even without a level financial field. The Reds and other teams have beaten the big boys in the past and they will do it again. They don't need charity. They don't need to be gifted with an undeserved title despite being obviously inferior like five of the last 13 champions were. The big city teams do have a big advantage that should be fixed (and will eventually be fixed), but that just makes it that much sweeter when the Reds put together a great season and win the World Series. Everyone knows the Yankees have gotten a headstart on the rest of the league every year because the league structure is slanted in their favor. That is why people outside New York don't get all that impressed with the Yankees' history -- if the rules are tilted in your favor nobody is going to be impressed when you win. But if you beat the odds and win despite all the disadvantages faced by the Reds and others it is much more impressive and satisfying. If a sprinter got a 10 meter head start in the 100 meter dash in this year's Olympics would you be that impressed with him when he wins? Of course not. But if one of the runners that ran the full 100 meters were to win the race we would all be highly impressed with his accomplishment. It is the same in baseball.

Even if the Reds could not compete with the big city teams I still would not think introducing randomness into the playoffs would be a good solution. If the payroll imbalance is such an insurmountable obstacle then MLB should actually fix the payroll imbalance problem rather than introducing pure random luck into the playoff structure. Giving inferior teams a chance to eliminate superior teams in a coin-flip playoff series is much akin to changing the size of the strike zone for each team based on the size of their payroll or their winning percentage or how long it has been since they won a championship. None of those solutions are fair either. Giving a mediocre 2nd or 3rd place team a 50-50 chance to eliminate a great team in a short playoff series is simply not fair. Not if you are trying to crown a true champion.

If baseball really wants parity they need to fix the revenue imbalance like other leagues have. It can be done, and has been done in sports leagues all over the world. It hasn't been done in MLB because they don't want to do it -- not because it can't be done. Right now the league lets a few franchises obtain most of the best players and build great teams that dominate the season, then creates a playoff structure where great teams are no more likely to win the championship than mediocre teams. And then they pretend that is parity. I think it is ridiculous.

Crumbley
05-04-2012, 06:42 AM
Is a team that wins a bad division with 88 wins better than a 94 game winning wildcard? This crusade has never made any sense to me. Should they start measuring pythag record instead to correctly figure out who the "best" is?

RedsBaron
05-04-2012, 07:02 AM
The 1973 Mets, who won 82 games, were not as good as the 1973 Reds, who won 99, but the Mets won the NLCS.
The 1987 Twins, who won 85 games, were not as good as the 1987 Tigers, who won 98, but the Twins won the ALCS.
Unless you abolish the post season you are going to sometimes have inferior teams win a championship.

MikeThierry
05-04-2012, 01:21 PM
Is a team that wins a bad division with 88 wins better than a 94 game winning wildcard? This crusade has never made any sense to me. Should they start measuring pythag record instead to correctly figure out who the "best" is?

Exactly. I would even argue that the 2011 Cardinals were hands down better than that 2006 team that won it all. Honestly, the 2006 Cardinals probably didn't deserve to be there. Still... I'm not going to throw away that championship because of it possibly being "tainted" or "second rate". :)

RedsBaron
05-04-2012, 02:10 PM
There are a host of teams in MLB history before the dawn of the wild card era that I believe were the best team in baseball but did not win the World Series, including:
1906 Cubs
1914 A's
1926 Yankees
1931 A's
1946 Red Sox
1953 Dodgers
1954 Indians
1960 Yankees
1962 Giants
1969 Orioles
1971 Orioles
1972 Reds
1973 Reds
1987 Tigers
1988 A's
1990 A's

AtomicDumpling
05-04-2012, 07:18 PM
There are a host of teams in MLB history before the dawn of the wild card era that I believe were the best team in baseball but did not win the World Series, including:
1906 Cubs
1914 A's
1926 Yankees
1931 A's
1946 Red Sox
1953 Dodgers
1954 Indians
1960 Yankees
1962 Giants
1969 Orioles
1971 Orioles
1972 Reds
1973 Reds
1987 Tigers
1988 A's
1990 A's

Which is exactly why using short playoff series to determine who advances is a very poor way to choose a champion in the sport of baseball.

Now instead of having to win only one 7 game series against another league champion, the best team is forced to survive a 5 game series against a second or third place team, then survive a 7 game series, then win another 7 game World Series. That is three 50-50 chances to be eliminated, which is why the best team has only won the championship a couple of times in the last 13 years. Compared to that poor ratio of success for the best team in recent years, your list of 16 upsets in 88 years looks mighty good -- certainly far better than the current system.

How many of those teams in your list were beaten by a second place team? In which of those years did a 2nd-place team win the World Series?

So is your point that since sometimes the best team in baseball did not win the World Series therefore we should give up all pretense at fairness in the playoffs?

Seems to me your point should be that having short playoff series does in fact make it far less likely the best team will prevail. The reason some of those teams lost is because they had to play a 7 game series, which as history has made very clear a 7 game series is not much better than a coin flip at determining which team is better. It used to be that the World Series between two great league champions was the only short series. Now we have multiple rounds of one game series, 5 game series and 7 game series. All of which combine to make it very rare for the best team to survive all those coin flips, which is why 5 of the last 13 champions were second place teams. Obviously the current system is a very poor and unfair way to crown a champion.

AtomicDumpling
05-04-2012, 07:22 PM
Is a team that wins a bad division with 88 wins better than a 94 game winning wildcard? This crusade has never made any sense to me. Should they start measuring pythag record instead to correctly figure out who the "best" is?

That wouldn't happen if there were no divisions right? That is the way it was for most of a century and it worked great. You didn't have to debate who was the best team in each league because it was quite obvious at the end of the season. Everybody played the same schedule and one team won more games than everybody else.

RedsBaron
05-04-2012, 09:29 PM
That wouldn't happen if there were no divisions right? That is the way it was for most of a century and it worked great. You didn't have to debate who was the best team in each league because it was quite obvious at the end of the season. Everybody played the same schedule and one team won more games than everybody else.

If that is your solution, then you either (1) Have a couple of 15 team leagues with no divisions or (2) eliminate 14 teams so we can get back to pre-1961 baseball with two 8 team leagues. Neither is going to happen.

AtomicDumpling
05-04-2012, 11:14 PM
If that is your solution, then you either (1) Have a couple of 15 team leagues with no divisions or (2) eliminate 14 teams so we can get back to pre-1961 baseball with two 8 team leagues. Neither is going to happen.

Of course it is not going to happen. They are making way too much money to worry about the integrity of the championship.

Brutus
05-04-2012, 11:27 PM
Why stop there? Why not just play all 29 teams six times each for a 174-game season in a true round-robin and declare a champion?

I mean it's silly to have any playoffs is that's the true concern.

Still, I think this whole thing is silly. A 162-game season doesn't prove that one team is better than anther unless you're playing exactly the same schedule. Even that doesn't prove it, though it better legitimizes it.