Sunday, March 11, 2012

Playoffs...Yea or Nay

The playoff system has been altered and I'm not happy.  I didn't like the addition of the Wild Card back in '94 and now we have to deal with another one.  There is an upside, but overall, I don't like it.

First, and this is no shock, I'm a baseball traditionalist.  I've always loved the fact that in baseball, fewer teams make the post season than in any of our other marquee sports.  Only the best of the best make the playoffs in baseball and that's how it should be.  But in the early '90's the Commissioner's office saw it differently.  There was more money to be made by realigning, adding a division and then creating a playoff spot for a Wild Card team. I got it, but I didn't like it...especially when the Marlins won the World Series in 1997.

The upside with the additional Wild Card spot is that winning the division means something again.  Brian Cashman admitted that the Yankees coasted at the end of the 2010 season.  They knew they'd get in the playoffs as the Wild Card so they rested players and "let" the Rays win the division.  Cashman made the comment that the only difference between winning the AL East and the Wild Card is what the t-shirt says.  Nice.  I'm sure Mr. Selig loved hearing that.

So now there's a one game playoff between the two Wild Card teams in each division.  I guess they think it will re-create the excitement of the last day of the 2011 season.  I disagree.  Nights like September 27, 2011 come along once in a lifetime.  They can't be fabricated. 

Managers Mike Scioscia of the Angels, Ozzy Guillen of the Marlins and Mike Matheny of the Cardinals like the new system.  As for the players, some are good with it but from what I've read most don't care for it.  They don't like the idea that the 5th best team in the division gets into the post season.  Evan Longoria of the Rays and Chris Sale of the White Sox like it. The Davids (Wright and Ortiz) not so much.  When it comes the Braves, there's a resounding thumbs-down.  Some Braves players were ok with the second wildcard team in each division but they don't like the one game playoff.  Brian McCann and David Ross aren't happy with it and Michael Bourne pointed out the obvious.  Teams play 162 games and then it could all come down to one?

"We don’t play a one-game series the whole year and now we’re going to play one game in the playoffs?"
Chipper Jones doesn't like it.  He believes that only the elite teams deserve to make the playoffs and it all boils down to money.
"I know the almighty buck triggers everything, but when is enough enough? It makes no sense to me whatsoever – none whatsoever.  One game is cutthroat. It’s win-or-go-home baseball, and players aren’t like that. You want to play yourself into getting to a cut-throat situation, like a Game 7. You’re going to have drama in a Game 7."
Tim Hudson said that the format is probably good for the fans and MLB and he described the players as simply being "pawns".

When you stop and think about it, it speaks volumes that the Braves don't care for the new system.  After all, had it been in place last year they'd have been in.  Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said that he's always felt that the two teams with the best record in each division should play in the World Series.  He followed that up with,
"You shouldn't get nothing for second or third."
I know he's a Phillie but God I love that man! 

So what do all of you think about the new system?  Yea or nay?

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