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Quote of the Day: The expanded playoffs aren’t fair

Mar 1, 2012, 8:22 AM EDT


Unearthed this gem of a quote from Bobby Cox, former manager of the “Great in the Regular Season But Flame Out in the Playoffs Against Inferior Opposition” Atlanta Braves. Certainly has relevance today in light of the playoffs being expanded once again:

“You shouldn’t get nothing for second or third. Baseball has set it up the way they want, of course, and I have nothing to do with it. I’m not knocking baseball at all, but in my opinion I’d like to see the two . . . best teams in baseball in the World Series. It’s hard to swallow sometimes when you play all year and you win a lot of games and you lose to somebody who did not play as good as you consistently all year.

Preach Bobby. I don’t care what the haters say: winning the division all those times was really cool, and it’s alright if you disappointed in the playoffs.

Oh, wait. This just in: that wasn’t Bobby Cox in 1999.  It was Phillies manager Charlie Manuel yesterday. Never mind then.

  1. thehypercritic - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Does anyone actually support a playoff system built so that the sixth best team in the league might have a decided advantage over the second best team in the league?

    As the wild cards have been a failure already — degrading the importance of the regular season as increasing likelihood of lesser teams to win in the post season by adding to the small sample size theater — why isn’t there a larger push to return to two divisions per league and four playoff teams?

    • metalhead65 - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      all they care about is money and the more teams that are in the more money they make. they don’t care about the quality of the game or how stupid it looks for teams not good enough to win the division to make the playoffs but now they want teams not good enough to win the wildcard to make the playoffs. it is as bad as the nba and hockey where you really have to suck not to make the playoffs.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:42 AM

      Because more playoffs=more money.

      That wasn’t too hard hah.

    • pmcenroe - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      They wont go back to two divisions becuase the way they currently have it set up more teams have a shot at making the playoffs. Also next year each league will have 15 teams so the 2 divisions would be unequal.

      This won’t ruin the regualr season in fact it’s quite the opposite in that it makes winning your division even more important. Also it won’t change the playoff structure because really we are looking at the 3 division winners plus 1 wild card (I gaurantee they promote the one-game playoffs as being the winner=the wild card, i.e. “Wild Card Shootout”)

      In the playoffs the hottest teams win not the ones with the best record (obv. not mutally exclusive). So unless you advocate going back to the pre-division format (which would never ever happen) just embrace the change, no harm in trying something new (see bullpen carts) and if it doesn’t work they will tweak it or scrap it. I promise at the end of the day this will be good for baseball and more people will love it than hate it.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        Stop making so much sense. The “purists” don’t like it.

    • JBerardi - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:49 AM

      “why isn’t there a larger push to return to two divisions per league and four playoff teams?”

    • badaxe2000 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      I do like it. My reasoning is this… first, we’re just talking about
      two wild cards duking it out.(no biggie) Second, it keeps the
      hopes of more teams ie. more fans ie. more dreamy kids like
      we once were… excited and rooting all summer that maybe…
      those lousy Royals just might make it. And, lastly, wd seem to increase
      the chance that the wild card team will NOT advance in the Division
      Series since in all likely hood they will run out one of their top
      pitchers for the wild card game.

  2. gldfngr38 - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    I wanna play UNO so bad right now.

  3. gvots - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    That was FILTHY! Well played, sir.

  4. atworkident - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    The playoff system works as long as every team plays each other equally. You can’t skew the results by letting New York and Boston beat up on the Blue Jays and the Orioles 30 games a year.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM

      This has to be a first. You think the Yanks and/or the Sox have an advantage by playing in the AL East?

  5. Jonny 5 - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    ZING!!! He also said this!!!

  6. phisticuffs - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    The problem about rewarding mediocrity is already baked in with the wild card (which we know isn’t going away). Adding an additional hurdle for the wild card teams is a good thing. It creates more incentive to win your division. Somehow, I’d like to believe that Charlie Manual would have preferred that the Cardinals used Carpenter for a 1 game playoff, which would have left him unavailable in Game 5.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      The problem about rewarding mediocrity is already baked in with the wild card

      Where do you guys come up with this stuff? in ’10 the Yanks won the AL WC with a 95-67 record, 1GB the AL E winning Rays. Those same Yanks had a better record than AL C Champ Minnesota and AL W Champ Texas. In that same year, the NL WC was won by the Braves with a 91-71 record, the same record as NL C Champ Cincinnati and 1 GB NL W Champ San Francisco.

      In ’09 the Red Sox were the WC team with a 95-67 record, and still finished 8 GB the Yanks. The Sox were also 2 GB the AL W Champ Angels and 8.5 games AHEAD of the AL C winning Twins.

      In ’08 the WC winner in each league had a better record than other division winners.

      So again, how does winning the WC = mediocrity when it’s been proven time and again that these teams are better than some division winners?

      • Ari Collins - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        This. The wild card is about rewarding great teams in stacked divisions. It’s the OPPOSITE of rewarding mediocrity.

      • nategearhart - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        ….Yes, but what happened last year, and in ’06?

      • Ari Collins - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:21 PM

        I think every once in a while the wild card being the 4th best team is hardly rewarding mediocrity. They’re rarely below 90 wins. I’d rather an occasional 88-win team make the playoffs than see the second- and third-best teams (often 93+ win teams) not be in the playoffs.

  7. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Let’s see how it goes before we bash it. And I don’t see how the wildcard has hirt baseball as one commenter stated. I think thats stupid talk.

  8. sdelmonte - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    My only objection to adding a wild card team is that we won’t get another night like we did to end last season. But I do like that finishing in first place means something more now.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      Since the Wild Card started back in 1995 this past season is the only time we’ve ever had a last night of the season with so much excitement so last year was the exception and not the rule. As much fun as that night was to watch there is no guarantee it would happen again for another 16 years. This new format gives us 2 game 7’s to start the playoffs every year.

      • Ari Collins - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        Plus more September races for divisions, with the WC coming at a higher penalty. NY and TB in 2010 would have really been duking it out, for example, instead of resting all their guys.

  9. salvomania - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Baseball = entertainment (for the fans, anyway), pure and simple, and I love it.

    What do people want—just two teams, one from each league, make the “playoffs,” and you call it the “World Series”? That’s how it was until 1969, when there were 20 teams.

    Once you go to “divisions,” you already have the prospect of an 83-win team beating a 102-win team to advance to the World Series. You can argue that at least the 83-win team still had to win its division, but what about the 2nd-place 100-win team in the other division that gets the shaft?

    Once you accept the IDEA that more than one team from each league can make the playoffs, the it’s not too radical an idea to go from a 4-playoff-team MLB (1969-1993) to a 8-playoff-team MLB (1995-2011), especially when baseball is adding six more teams.

    And once you accept the IDEA that in any playoff (even as it existed pre-1969) there’s a chance that an “inferior” team can knock off the “better” team, it’s not too hard to embrace the concept of an expanded playoffs, if for no other reason, the enhanced entertainment value. For me, postseason baseball = fun.

    You still have to be better than 2/3 of the teams to even get in, and, in the new system, if you don’t win your division, the odds are 50/50 that even if you make the playoffs you’ll be gone after just one game, so there is a HUGE reward for finishing first, and a huge incentive (more than before) to win your division.

    And if your team is so good, why doesn’t it win the World Series? Why did it get beaten by the “inferior” team? It’s still competition, and that’s why they play (and we watch) the games.

    If a “crappy” playoff team “gets hot” and wins the World Series, well, they’ve earned it. They won the most important games of the year, and if your team didn’t, well, I’d blame your team and not the playoff system.

  10. megary - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    I’ll just come out and say it.

    3 divisions in each league, wild card, extra wild card…it’s all about MLB trying anything to give lesser markets an opportunity to compete in the post-season. Instead of correcting the real, underlying problem in baseball, MLB has created a series of diversions to give purists and casual fans something else to argue about.

    As long as certain teams can spend 100mil more than others, there will always be a need to find a way to keep smaller markets interested. I don’t pretend to have a solution, but I believe that every extra playoff round/team is definitely not the answer.

    • nategearhart - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      No, it’s about more games = more money.

  11. randygnyc - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    How about this scenario:
    A division winner wins his division by 30 games. The 2nd place team is one game behind (wild card). Now these 2 records could be the best records in all of baseball by 10 or 20 games.

    Now, the wild card team could have to play another wild card team that is barely .500. A poor team that could be conceivably, 30 games worse than the other WC team. Maybe the rotation sets up that their only ace pitches against the better teams 5 starter. Maybe the better WC team loses on a freak play, an injury or 1 bad pitch. How can that team who out performed 29 other teams all season long by vast margins, have to play a one game playoff? A college team could conceivably beat any MLB team, one time, on a given day.

    I think one game play-ins SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • rooney24 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      How can a division winner win his division by 30 games while at the same time having the wild card team come from his division and be only 1 game behind? That math doesn’t work.

      I think I get your general point, but if the concern is having to face that wild card play-in game, it gives teams more incentive to win the division. As it was, there was no reason for those two teams to duke it out. Since the wild card was added, the situation where two teams have nothing to play for (as one will win division and the other the WC) has come up far more often than the tense last night of the regular season that we had last year. Everyone keeps crying about missing out what we had last season, but the likelihood of that coming up again, with the old system, is very, very unlikely. I would say the likelihood of tense games INCREASES with the change. Teams now have to try to win the division. And, I would bet the WC races will have more tension. It was not uncommon for one team to lock up the wild card a few days or a week prior to the end of the season, with a couple/few teams trailing them. Now, with the 2nd WC, those trailing teams will still have something to play for.

    • jdub01984 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      If the 2nd place team is ahead of the rest of the league by 10 to 20 games there should be no instance where they do not have their ace on the mound, as they could afford to lose a couple towards the end of the season to get their rotation set up for the playoffs.

      The only difference I can see happening due to change, would be more teams resting the aces and setting up the playoff rotation as they will be in the 2nd or 3rd spot and thus not needing to win to get the only wild card spot down the stretch.

      This still gives the division winners the advantage. Do you think a wildcard team is gonna put a 4 or 5 starter in a single-elimination game. The division winners should get to run their aces out there twice, while the wildcard team will get to only once.

  12. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Just so everyone knows, playoffs always crown a champion. They don’t always tell you who the best team was.

    • Ari Collins - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      Agreed. It takes 162 games to figure out who the best team is. Who wins a small tournament afterwards is entertaining and dramatic, but it has little to do with who was the best team.

      • Ari Collins - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        (And that comes from someone whose team has won twice in the last ten years, so I’m not, like, bitter about my team losing to the small sample size all the time.)

    • r97rrw - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      I disagree. There is no real difference between a 95 win team and a 100 win team. For example, the Yankees beating up on bad teams like baltimore (who they play 19 times) does not mean they are the best team. A great team must prove it by defeating other good teams in the pressure of the playoffs. If they can’t win in the playoffs, they are not worthy of being called the best.

  13. realgone2 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Baseball season is too long…………so let’s add more playoffs? HUH?

    • pmcenroe - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      Serioulsy, how dare they add 1 more day of baseball to the year. This is the straw that broke the camels toe.

  14. marshmallowsnake - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Technically, Bobby is supporting the playoffs with his double negative of, “You shouldn’t get nothing…” – fail!

    • jimbo1949 - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      “You shouldn’t get nothing for second or third.”

      Charlie Manuel is actually advocating for the second and third teams in each division to get playoff spots. 18 playoff teams, woohoo!

      Charlie Manuel, the most articulate spokesman for playoff expansion.

  15. hgfrombc2 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Didn’t have a chance to read all of the comments, so this may already have been covered.

    Bill Ripken, on MLB Network last night, came up with what is the best solution I’ve heard to date:
    2 15-team leagues. Each team plays every team in it’s own league 8 times, 4 home & 4 away (8 x 14 = 112) and every team in the other league 3 times, alternating home field each year (3 x 15 = 45) for a total of 157 games.
    The DH rule applies to both leagues.
    Winner of each league plays in the World Series.

    With the inequities between the divisions this would actually give an outside chance to teams like Toronto or Baltimore who, currently, play exactly one-third of their season against 3 teams.

    • pmcenroe - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      This is pretty close to what is going to happen except; teams will play their divisonal oppenents more than the rest of the teams in their league. This makes sense b/c as stated the emphasis is on winning your division and a win vs. a divisional oppenent is a 2 game swing (magic number) in the standings rather than .5 to 1 game vs. non-division.

      Inter-league play will only be vs. one division each year ex. East vs. East. Still not sure how they will work rivalary games. Will Yankees and Mets give up the revenue from their series each year and agree to do it only once every 3 years? Again the focus is on the schedule being fair amoungst divisions and not the leagues.

      I do think b/c of the focus on making things even eventually the DH will come to the NL but not for awhile.

  16. randygnyc - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    My opposition to this extra round is solely based on a one game play in. At the VERY LEAST, this must be a best of 2 of 3 short series. All sorts of unfair things can happen in a one game series (bad officiating, injury, weather etc). I wouldn’t want these things to negatively effect my team, or any other team.

    • pmcenroe - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Problem with this is timing. If these are 3 game series that means there is a minimum of 5 days off for the division winners between the end of the regular season and the division series. So now you are putting the division winners at a disadvatage rather than the WC. Also by making it only one game you are forcing the play-in teams to either uses up their pitching the last weekend of the regular season trying to clinch a spot or win a division OR they have to use their “ace” in the one game playoff which eliminates them from starting game one of the division series and perhaps only starting 1 game instead of 2 in that series thus giving the division winners the advantage (rightfully so)

  17. The Baseball Idiot - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Football fans approve of this post.

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