Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why Does MLB Reward the Wild Card?

I am not the "Baseball Guy" that Slut is, but this is one issue that has really irked me for a while.

Can someone tell me why the fuck MLB does not allow a Wild Card team to play the team with the best record when they are from the same division? Anyone? For some godforsaken reason, the powers that be at MLB have decreed that teams from the same division cannot play in the Divisional Series.

Yes, those teams would have played each other more than they have played the other teams in the playoffs, but why should that prevent them from playing in the Divisional Series?

For this year's playoffs the Cubs finished with the best record in the National League. They have earned the right to play the Wild Card team, the Milwaukee Brewers. But the Cubs do not get to play the Brewers, they get to play the Los Angeles Dodgers because the Brewers and Cubs are both in the Central Division. OK, in this year's case, the NL West winning Dodgers have a worse record (84-78) than the Brewers (90-72). But this rant is not the the Cubs have to play the Dodgers. My rant is that the Brewers get a break from playing the team with the best record and get to play the #2 team, the Philadelphia Phillies.

The same thing happened in last year's playoffs. The Colorado Rockies won the Wild Card playoff game against San Diego and since the Arizona Diamondbacks finished with the best record in the NL, the Rockies got to face the Phillies instead. The Rockies still beat the D'backs in the NLCS and went to the World Series. The results may not have been any different if the Rockies had to face the D'backs in the NLDS first, but they should have played the best team first!

At least one Wild Card team has made it to the World Series each of the past six years and eight out of the 13 years, with four of them winning the Series. Of those Wild Card teams that made it to the World Series, six of those were a Wild Card from the same division as the team with the best record. Here is a listing of the Wild Card teams that made it to the World Series and the results since the inception of the Wild Card in '95.

2007 - Colorado Rockies* - Lost
2006 - Detroit Tigers - Lost
2005 - Houston Astros* - Lost
2004 - Boston Red Sox* - Won
2003 - Florida Marlins* - Won
2002 - Anaheim Angels* - Won; San Francisco Giants - Lost
2001 - None
2000 - New York Mets - Lost
1999 - None
1998 - None
1997 - Florida Marlins* - Won
1996 - None
1995 - None

* - Wild Card from same division as team with best record in league.

Please note that the four teams that won the World Series were all Wild Cards teams that got to play the second-best team in the Divisional Series.

Yes, once you make the playoffs it is a whole new season and it is more of a matter which team is hotter or better at that time. Does this necessarily mean that the Wild Card teams have an easier path to the Series? The results seem to show this could be true, but obviously there are other factors that affect the results. But why do we give the Wild Card team a reward of the second-best team in their league and sometimes punish the team with the best records with the #3 team?

Can you imagine the NFL having a rule stating that during the Wild Card playoff round that the #3 team cannot play the #6 team if they are from the same division and would have to play the #5 team instead? Fuck no! The #3 team earned the right to play the #6 team. Who cares if they are from the same fucking division.

Come on, people! If baseball can actually institute instant replay into baseball may they can take there heads out of their asses again long enough to have the Wild Card play the team with the best record.

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Blogger Slut Bunwalla said...

Your NFL comparison is spot on. The NFL doesn't care--it's simply best seed plays the worst.

I've not done the research, but in a lot of cases, the Wild Card team has a better record than one (or both) of the division winners. If MLB insists on this stupid "no first round match up with teams from same division" thing, perhaps they should change it to seeding by the best record, regardless of who makes the playoffs. You'd still have the possibility of a first round matchup of two teams from the same division, but at least this would be simple and straightforward.

Then again, the current system would be simple and straightforward if MLB didn't have that idiotic stipulation.

October 1, 2008 at 6:01 PM  

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