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redsmetz
10-29-2012, 09:35 PM
It's all about October, so he says. Interesting analysis of the direction baseball has taken.

http://joeposnanski.blogspot.com/2012/10/it-all-about-october.html

Cooper
10-29-2012, 10:22 PM
The teams with the better records should get more of an advantage -maybe 4 home games vs 1 in a 5 game series...or 5/2 in a 7 game series.

M2
10-29-2012, 11:10 PM
Interesting question posed on whether baseball should be focused on being a persistent/gate business or a big event/television business. Obviously the two aren't exclusive, but the true must-see ratings bonanza would have been a Yankees-Phillies trilogy from 2009-2011. Yeah, lots of people would complain, but those same people would also watch because they wouldn't dare miss the next legendary clash between two titans.

Anyway, I think for the Reds, baseball is more of a persistent/gate business. The team needs to be consistently good, not sometimes great/lucky. Hopefully the Reds get a run like the A's and Twins did. And hopefully the Reds do better in the playoff crapshoot than those organizations.

757690
10-29-2012, 11:47 PM
Great article. I obviously agree with everything he said, and think it's a shame what baseball has done to itself. The Reds will probably win another World Series title in my lifetime, but it won't be the same as when they won it the other three times. It just won't mean as much.

lollipopcurve
10-30-2012, 07:23 AM
The teams with the better records should get more of an advantage -maybe 4 home games vs 1 in a 5 game series...or 5/2 in a 7 game series.

I agree.

traderumor
10-30-2012, 10:01 AM
And he didn't even make mention of the Cardinals two WS wins, one with a barely .500 team, the other with an unlikely September/October run.

What the WC has done is allow for teams to reconfigure and win the WC and actually are arguably the better team at the time the playoffs occur. The 2011 Cards are certainly an example of that.

mdccclxix
10-30-2012, 10:35 AM
It is interesting that the numbers for the WS have gone down so drastically, but I don't think it can have all to do with a watered down postseason. There are a lot of other competitive factors involved from Football (pro and college), and Basketball (pro and college). There are also a lot of things eating into the entertainment budget that were not around. A million other channels to watch etc. But the clear winner has been Football, which is event driven and scheduled so as not to demand a whole week's worth of attention. Get everything else done and tune in for the event every week at the same time. Incidentally, the ratings for the Wild Card play in were quite good:

Through its first two days of coverage, TBS is averaging 3.9 million viewers, up +26% over last year’s first two days of Postseason coverage. The two Wild Card Games averaged more than 4.6 million viewers, up +61% over last year’s first day of coverage and also exceeded the average 4.2 million viewers for the entire 19-game 2011 Division Series.

I think a solution to the ratings in the postseason could involve more of this type of thinking that creates that dynamic tension Joe P talked about. The NFL doesn't have a problem with a 10-6 pakers team or 9-7 giants team wins it all because the viewers don't seem to care about anything else but who's playing well and who's performing under pressure when it counts the most. It's also a decisive game each playoff week. Win or go home. Perhaps shorten the LCS series to 3 games at the higher seed's home. Play the series on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the format that fans are used to tuning into baseball. It does get disorienting watching a Friday/Sunday split. That's not what the NFL could/would/should do.

RedsBaron
10-30-2012, 01:03 PM
I have been thinking about the different directions MLB's centerpiece, the World Series, and the NFL's centerpiece, the Super Bowl, have taken over the last 15 years or so. Not just in ratings, but in the quality of the game or games.
A truly great World Series is a seven game World Series, one that goes as close as possible to the final at bat before it is decided, as tension builds and fans anxiously wait to see who wins. A truly great Super Bowl goes as close as possible to the final minute, the final second, as tension builds and fans anxiously wait to see who wins.
Baseball had enjoyed a string of terrific seven game World Series in the 15 years prior to the Super Bowl, as seven game series were played in 1952 (a terrific duel between the Yankees and Dodgers), 1955 (the Dodgers finally won), 1956 (Yankees revenge and with a perfect game), 1957 (Braves win), 1958 (Yankees avenge Braves defeat), 1960 (Maz wins with HR in final at bat), 1962 (if only McCovey had hit the ball three feet higher), 1964 (Gibson's great effort)) and 1965 (Koufax's masterpiece on two days rest).
The first Super Bowl was played in 1967, but for the first several decades most of the Super Bowls were blow outs. Only Super Bowl V (the "Blunder Bowl") Super Bowls X and XII (Steelers over Cowboys both times), along with arguably the Steelers over the Rams in 1980, and the Redskins over the Dolphins in 1983 were truly close games in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile MLB kept putting out terrific seven game World Series: 1967 (Gibson again), 1968 (Lolich best Gibson), 1971 (Clemente), 1972 (broke my heart but a terrific series), 1973 and the supreme 1975 World Series. These were followed by seven game series in 1979 (We Are Family), 1982, 1985 and 1986.
The NFL finally enjoyed a magnificent Super Bowl when the Giants defeated the Bills 20-19 in 1991. MLB came right back with a terrific seven game series in 1991 between the Twins and Jack Morris against the Braves.
Then a third round of playoffs with the wild card was added to MLB in 1994. 1994 obviously didn't produce a seven game World Series. We did get seven game series in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2011, and all were classics, but otherwise we have generally had a run of largely forgettable four and five game World Series quickly forgotten by all but the fans of the victors.
The NFL however has suddenly started producing one terrific heart stopping Super Bowl after another: Beginning with the Broncos-Packers and the Rams-Titans Super Bowls in 1998 and 1999, all five of the Patriots Super Bowls (including two losses to the Giants), the Steelers-Cardinals, the Saints-Colts and the Packers-Steelers Super Bowls, more often than not, over the last 15 years the Super Bowl has been a down to the final second thrill ride.
Has the additional round of playoffs in MLB adversely affected the drama of the World Series? Darned if I know--but for the most part we have had a forgettable run of World Series for the last 15 years or so.

Rojo
10-30-2012, 01:11 PM
A truly great World Series is a seven game World Series, one that goes as close as possible to the final at bat before it is decided, as tension builds and fans anxiously wait to see who wins.

Yeah, I've always thought a true apple-apple would be Super Bowls vs. Game 7's. My guess is that the gap closes dramatically. But I'm too lazy to do the research.

Caveat Emperor
10-30-2012, 01:15 PM
The NFL doesn't have a problem with a 10-6 pakers team or 9-7 giants team wins it all because the viewers don't seem to care about anything else but who's playing well and who's performing under pressure when it counts the most. I

The NFL (and, by extension, the NFL fans) doesn't have a problem with a 10-6 Packers team or a 9-7 Giants team winning a Super Bowl because the point of playing the season is to win a Super Bowl, not determine who the best team is.

westofyou
10-30-2012, 01:18 PM
Baseball is a marathon, worship the sprint if you must.

As a fan of the game I don't let the media dictate the game to me and try and define what I should see as important.

BCubb2003
10-30-2012, 01:24 PM
Interleague and interdivision play have something to do with the different context of the postseason. It's not like you're playing the best from far-off lands that you haven't seen before, to discover who's the best of all. You've played these guys before, or have played somebody who has played them. You've won 97 games and proven yourself. But now you have to perform in the stunts. How are you in the 3-of-5 event? The 4-of-7 event?

Caveat Emperor
10-30-2012, 01:34 PM
Poz addresses the reason for all this: Money.

More post-season slots means more meaningful games played in August and September. Meaningful games = tickets sold, TVs turned on.

If fans showed up at the ballpark regardless of the situation (to watch the "marathon" even after someone else had crossed the finish line), it wouldn't be necessary. But, the owners discovered they could sell more tickets by increasing the level of opportunity for all.

mdccclxix
10-30-2012, 01:34 PM
The NFL (and, by extension, the NFL fans) doesn't have a problem with a 10-6 Packers team or a 9-7 Giants team winning a Super Bowl because the point of playing the season is to win a Super Bowl, not determine who the best team is.

You take it the same way in baseball, right? So do you have a problem with 10 teams getting in the playoffs?

Tom Servo
10-30-2012, 01:36 PM
I just wish we could get rid of the wild card round and go back to the 1969-1993 format. Have a best of 7 NLCS and ALCS between the two best teams in each league, and then your 7 game World Series.

mdccclxix
10-30-2012, 01:36 PM
Baseball is a marathon, worship the sprint if you must.

As a fan of the game I don't let the media dictate the game to me and try and define what I should see as important.

Can you explain more of what you mean here?

mdccclxix
10-30-2012, 01:38 PM
Yeah, I've always thought a true apple-apple would be Super Bowls vs. Game 7's. My guess is that the gap closes dramatically. But I'm too lazy to do the research.

I wonder how an NLCS series' total unique viewers would stack up vs a AFC championship game? Can they even measure that?

Caveat Emperor
10-30-2012, 01:38 PM
You take it the same way in baseball, right? So do you have a problem with 10 teams getting in the playoffs?

The number of playoffs slots is really irrelevant to me -- though, I recognize that it benefits a team like the Reds to have more opportunities to make the post-season (since their payroll limitations will reduce the odds of them producing league-best win totals on a yearly basis).

I do view baseball and football (and all other sports, really) the same way in this regard: the goal of the sport is to win a Championship. Anything less is failure, and trying to spin it any other way, to me, reeks of "participation ribbon" mentality.

mdccclxix
10-30-2012, 01:40 PM
The number of playoffs slots is really irrelevant to me -- though, I recognize that it benefits a team like the Reds to have more opportunities to make the post-season (since their payroll limitations will reduce the odds of them producing league-best win totals on a yearly basis).

I do view baseball and football (and all other sports, really) the same way in this regard: the goal of the sport is to win a Championship. Anything less is failure, and trying to spin it any other way, to me, reeks of "participation ribbon" mentality.

I wonder what the breakdown is on the champion having the best record in football? NBA?

osuceltic
10-30-2012, 01:40 PM
Baseball is a marathon, worship the sprint if you must.

As a fan of the game I don't let the media dictate the game to me and try and define what I should see as important.

That's fine, but denying the system the sport has accepted to declare its champion does not mean the system or the champion do not exist. The reality is they don't hand out trophies for the Big 162, and the reason everyone plays the game and the reason the vast majority watch is to raise that trophy. You can pretend it doesn't matter, but that's being pretty naive.

westofyou
10-30-2012, 01:44 PM
Can you explain more of what you mean here?

I don't feel the need to cling to a round robin tournament as the sole indicator of who is the best baseball team.

The press surrounding the playoffs and world series implies that the whole season is a useless exercise, I find that silly. Best in the game has historically been about who compiles the best record over six months.

I believe that myself, and I while I want my team to win the World Series I don't downgrade my feelings on the season by the fact that the Reds had a bad five game series, IE I don't mope, I don't curse baseball, I don't turn to football for solace, I don't stop watching baseball I don't bemoan how unfair the game is, because it is unfair.

Just like life

mdccclxix
10-30-2012, 01:48 PM
I don't feel the need to cling to a round robin tournament as the sole indicator of who is the best baseball team.

The press surrounding the playoffs and world series implies that the whole season is a useless exercise, I find that silly. Best in the game has historically been about who compiles the best record over six months.

I believe that myself, and I while I want my team to win the World Series I don't downgrade my feelings on the season by the fact that the Reds had a bad five game series, IE I don't mope, I don't curse baseball, I don't turn to football for solace, I don't stop watching baseball I don't bemoan how unfair the game is, because it is unfair.

Just like life

Well said. Does the reduced chances of winning a tourney championship, even with a 100 win team, still bother you?

westofyou
10-30-2012, 01:54 PM
Well said. Does the reduced chances of winning a tourney championship, even with a 100 win team, still bother you?

Sure, but the fact that the Giants won 103 games in 1993 and didn't get in the playoffs was also kind of sad.

I watch a LOT of hockey, I love the NHL playoffs, it makes folks forget awesome 118 point seasons, players get to lift the cup... I get all that but I can't watch any sport for 6 months and not let some things slide, nor can I watch a sport for six months and feel anger when it doesn't fall into my lap like I want it to.

_Sir_Charles_
10-30-2012, 02:00 PM
I don't feel the need to cling to a round robin tournament as the sole indicator of who is the best baseball team.

The press surrounding the playoffs and world series implies that the whole season is a useless exercise, I find that silly. Best in the game has historically been about who compiles the best record over six months.

I believe that myself, and I while I want my team to win the World Series I don't downgrade my feelings on the season by the fact that the Reds had a bad five game series, IE I don't mope, I don't curse baseball, I don't turn to football for solace, I don't stop watching baseball I don't bemoan how unfair the game is, because it is unfair.

Just like life

WoY...you have a WAAAAAAY too healthy outlook on things. Where's the tunnel vision, where's the irrational screaming at the TV, where's the drinking until you pass out due to post-season depression, where's the....well, I guess where's the Cub fan in you? :O)

MikeS21
10-30-2012, 02:50 PM
Part of the slide in the interest in the World Series has to do with the move to cable television.

Despite the assumption that "everyone has cable or satellite now," I think it still has affected the number of people watching the games. It is surprising the number of households that were affected by the recent changeover from analog to digital TV - far more households than you might expect. My own parents have no desire to pay for cable or satellite TV, and stick with basic over-the-air channels.

The general move to cable has hurt baseball. Football is still available (Saturdays and Sundays) to anyone regardless of whether they have cable or not.

I also tend to think the more post-season teams allowed, waters down the true championship game. The winner-take-all should not be a team who barely got in to the post-season and then suddenly got hot and started playing well against superior teams. If they want to go to the final game, try beating these superior teams during the season.

I liked the old days, where the post season was the East first place team versus the West first place team, and the winner went to the World Series to face the winner of the other league's division playoff..

M2
10-31-2012, 01:26 AM
That's fine, but denying the system the sport has accepted to declare its champion does not mean the system or the champion do not exist. The reality is they don't hand out trophies for the Big 162, and the reason everyone plays the game and the reason the vast majority watch is to raise that trophy. You can pretend it doesn't matter, but that's being pretty naive.

The reason they play the game is because it makes a lot of money. And while it's great to be a fan of the team lifting the trophy at the end of the year, it's also pretty obvious the method for determining that champion jumped the shark a long time ago.

As a Reds fan, this season was great. I'd take another 10 just like it. Odds are the team wins a World Series or two if that happens, but that's got a lot less to do with ability and a lot more to do with the roulette wheel stopping on your number.

M2
10-31-2012, 01:38 AM
I just wish we could get rid of the wild card round and go back to the 1969-1993 format. Have a best of 7 NLCS and ALCS between the two best teams in each league, and then your 7 game World Series.

I liked that format too, though it was only in place from 1985-93. The LCSes were best-of-5 from 1969-84.

Unfortunately we won't be going back. Yet I'd still like to see the team with the best record in each league get some sort of reward, either nothing but home games in the playoffs or the top overall pick or the ability to pick a player out of another organization (maybe all the other teams in the league get to protect 10 players/prospects and then the champion gets to select out of the who's left).

Caveat Emperor
10-31-2012, 01:41 AM
As a Reds fan, this season was great. I'd take another 10 just like it. Odds are the team wins a World Series or two if that happens, but that's got a lot less to do with ability and a lot more to do with the roulette wheel stopping on your number.

Theoretically speaking, which would you choose:

1. Reds win the World Series, gut the team the next year and proceed to lose consistently for the next 6-7 years.

2. Reds win consistently for the next 5-6 years -- make the playoffs every year, but never win a World Series.

fearofpopvol1
10-31-2012, 02:11 AM
Theoretically speaking, which would you choose:

1. Reds win the World Series, gut the team the next year and proceed to lose consistently for the next 6-7 years.

2. Reds win consistently for the next 5-6 years -- make the playoffs every year, but never win a World Series.

Wouldn't everyone choose #1? 5-6 years seems like nothing when you consider it's been over 22?

Caveat Emperor
10-31-2012, 08:32 AM
Wouldn't everyone choose #1? 5-6 years seems like nothing when you consider it's been over 22?

The question is, framed another way, would you rather be the Oakland Athletics or the Florida Marlins.

Lots of people have chimed in saying that they would rather win consistently than win the big one.

osuceltic
10-31-2012, 09:53 AM
Wouldn't everyone choose #1? 5-6 years seems like nothing when you consider it's been over 22?

Exactly. You can ***** about the postseason system forever, but it's not going back. Anyone who has ever played a sport knows you play to win that trophy. No one dreams of being consistently pretty good while lifting all those weights, running all those miles or spending all those hours in the cage.

If, as a fan, you would rather watch consistently pretty good, OK. I can understand that, I guess. Don't agree, but reasonable people can disagree.

Patrick Bateman
10-31-2012, 12:15 PM
Theoretically speaking, which would you choose:

1. Reds win the World Series, gut the team the next year and proceed to lose consistently for the next 6-7 years.

2. Reds win consistently for the next 5-6 years -- make the playoffs every year, but never win a World Series.

I would probably take the contending for 5-6 years because the one memory for me would not be worth enduring 972 games of terrible baseball. Every fan is different though, I could see how one person would prefer the WS.

In the end though, this isn't really a question stemming from reality. You can't make a team that is guaranteed to win the WS. The Reds were as well positioned as anyone this season, and their ace pitcher went down 8 pitches into game 1. A perfect team might have as a great as a chance as about 15% compared to the average team at about 12%. It's just not worht increasing the chances so minimally at the expense of future opportunity.

The math is simple. Keep making a team good enough to make the playoffs, and that alone is going to give your the best chance to win the WS. Those old Oakland and Twins teams were not incapable of winning a WS. They just simply did not play well at the right time, which more than anything is a reflection of luck/randomness.

For that reason, I don't think it's fair to use such a random event as being the end all determination of "success." Every year the best team in baseball is unlikely to win the WS. The WS does not decide the best team, the regular season comes as close to defining that as possible. The WS just glorifies the a winner based on a small sample that at minimum has to be a pretty good team otherwise they wouldn't make the playoffs in the first place.

mdccclxix
10-31-2012, 01:17 PM
Funny yesterday the NBA page for ESPN asked on opening night, Who Will Win It All? Okay...can we watch the regular season for a while first?

M2
10-31-2012, 01:54 PM
Theoretically speaking, which would you choose:

1. Reds win the World Series, gut the team the next year and proceed to lose consistently for the next 6-7 years.

2. Reds win consistently for the next 5-6 years -- make the playoffs every year, but never win a World Series.

I'd pick #2 without hesitation. Years of quality baseball and excitement trump one flourish followed by a near-decade of soul-crushing awfulness. I figure enough of us have enough direct experience with this. You don't hear people complaining about 1977-81 (outside of MLB fixing the system against the Reds in 1981). We could have mammoth threads about good memories from 1985-89 and 1992-96. Conversely, 1982-84 and 2001-2009 were brutal.

I like that the Reds matter again. May they matter for a very long time. And if they do that but fall short of a World Series it will only be a slight disappointment that tinges my otherwise good memories.

The good news is that your best chance of winning a World Series is to make the playoffs a bunch of times. Plus, the crapshoot nature of the playoffs means you really can't plan to win a World Series. Theoretically the Reds had everything they needed to do it this year and it didn't happen.

Rojo
10-31-2012, 03:46 PM
Years of quality baseball and excitement trump one flourish

Tantric baseball.

M2
10-31-2012, 06:12 PM
Tantric baseball.

Man, where's the rep button? I want to rep that.

RED VAN HOT
10-31-2012, 09:10 PM
Do away with All Star winner getting WS home field advantage. Use season record. Also, no off days during playoffs. To win the playoffs a team would then need the same pitching depth, both SP and RP, that is needed to win the regular season. To get an off day during the playoffs, win your series earlier than your next opponent does. MLB will still get plenty of prime time games, and I believe, more fan interest.

Some ball parks play differently in October than in mid summer. It is one more consideration for GM's in building a team that can compete year around. Admittedly, west coast teams have a slight advantage due to less seasonal variation in temperature, but not a significant one.

_Sir_Charles_
10-31-2012, 09:59 PM
Do away with All Star winner getting WS home field advantage. Use season record. Also, no off days during playoffs. To win the playoffs a team would then need the same pitching depth, both SP and RP, that is needed to win the regular season. To get an off day during the playoffs, win your series earlier than your next opponent does. MLB will still get plenty of prime time games, and I believe, more fan interest.

Some ball parks play differently in October than in mid summer. It is one more consideration for GM's in building a team that can compete year around. Admittedly, west coast teams have a slight advantage due to less seasonal variation in temperature, but not a significant one.

I agree with this 100%. I loathe the off days during the playoffs and that all star BS. However, it's not gonna change. The playoff schedule is set up for TV ratings. But then again, I'd like to see them do away with the playoffs being on cable TV and not regular networks.