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Chipper Jones on the Wild Card playoff game: “It’s stupid”

Sep 21, 2012, 8:30 PM EDT

Chipper Jones AP

Barring an amazing hot streak to overtake the Nationals in the NL East the Braves will be matched up against the other Wild Card team in a one-game playoff and Chipper Jones is not a big fan of the idea.

“I think it’s stupid, to be honest with you,” Jones said today, via David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Jones went on to say that he understands the appeal and drama of the one-game playoff, but the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer with 92 career postseason games played thinks one game is too much of a crap shoot:

But Major Lague Baseball wants a bunch of teams in the playoffs. There’s nothing like cut-throat baseball for the fans. And people love that 163rd regular-season game. They’ve loved it in the past. I’m sure that’s probably what’s promoted a second wild-card team. I wish they would’ve done it a year earlier so we would have had a chance last year. But it is what it is.

You say to yourself, we could possibly have the second- or third-best record in the National League when the season’s over and we have to play a one-game playoff just to get in. That doesn’t seem fair because anything can happen. Now if you were to say the two wild-card teams will play a best two-out-of-three, I’d be OK with that. … I think it’s more fair from a standpoint that anything can happen in one game – a blown call by an umpire, a bad day at the office … at least in a two-of-three-game series you have some sort of leeway.

That’s a very stat-heady, Billy Beane-like take on the whole thing (you know, small sample sizes and all). I tend to agree with Chipper and wonder how the overall reaction to the Wild Card-related changes in the postseason format will change if a team like the Braves wins, say, 93 games only to lose a one-game playoff to a team with, say, 85 wins.

They’re basically coin-flipping to get into the “real” playoffs and that’s an awful lot of fun to watch, no doubt, but it’s going to make for some very disappointed losing teams.

  1. dondada10 - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Chipper’s right. They should’ve stuck with 4 playoff teams, and 2 15 team leagues.

    Eliminate division play and have the 4 best records in each league make the playoffs.

    1 plays 4, 2 plays 3.

  2. phillyphannn83 - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    I like the 2 wildcard team setup but Chipper nailed it when he said they should play a short series. Best 2 out of 3 would be perfect. No one should oppose it. Extra games means extra revenue.

    • tfbuckfutter - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      I agree on best of 3. “Well, we play 162 games plus the playoffs already….I really feel like 2 or 3 extra games would be like….over kill, ya know?”

      Come on.

      Also, while it is unfair for a team with 95 wins to play a team with 93 wins to get into the actual playoffs and, god forbid, lose their spot….it’s a hell of a lot more fair than a team with 82 wins getting into the playoffs while 3 teams with 90+ wins stay home.

    • tfbuckfutter - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      Oh, plus the play in game puts the wild card team at an additional disadvantage because they have to adjust their rotation.

      Which is a good thing. The road has gotten too easy for wild card teams.

  3. theawesomersfranchise - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Other things Chipper thinks is stupid…Toronto, fidelity, age-appropriate nick names, however he is right about having a best 2 of 3 play-in rather than the one game.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      Yeah, but his suggestion about a faulty call by an umpire? Come on, when has THAT ever happened? Not with the great replay system Bud Selig has worked tirelessly to institute.

    • lumpyf - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:37 PM

      You left one out. Chipper thinks you’re stupid too.

  4. drmonkeyarmy - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    The small sample size argument is correct but also nonsense. All baseball series are too short. Whether it is 1 game, 3 games, 5 games, or even 7 games it is too small a sample to accurately reflect who is the better team. Paperlions said it best last year…he said something to the effect that do you know what the baseball playoffs determine? Just the World Series winner, not the best team. So to me, it doesn’t matter..unless they start trotting out 11 game series. Furthermore, if Chipper doesn’t like the uncertainty of a 1 game playoff…win the damn division.

  5. kvanhorn87 - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    What do you know Craig didn’t write this?

  6. brewcrewfan54 - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    At the end of the day the only thing playoffs guarantee is a champion. It doesn’t guarantee the best team actually wins it.

  7. jhorton83 - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Have to agree with him. A 1 game playoff is stupid. Should at least be a 3 game series if they’re going to do it this way.

  8. randygnyc - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Conceivably, a hundred win team could lose the division by a game, be forced to play an 85 win wc team and lose that game because of one bad pitch, an injury or blown call. It belittles the 162 game schedule. I agree with chipper.

    • djpostl - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:56 PM

      If they didn’t win their division the fact THEY got into the playoffs belittles it just as much.

  9. simon94022 - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Braves MIGHT be the second best team in the NL. We will never know, because teams in different divisions play very different schedules. What we do know is that the Braves are NOT THE best team in the league. They are in 2nd place. If there is any unfairness here it’s the fact that the Braves may get a chance to knock out the Nationals in a short series.

    So Chipper, like all players on wild card teams, should consider himself lucky and keep quiet.

  10. Bob Zeller - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    I think the one game playoff is great. It should be a real treat for the fans, with all of the suspense, etc. I think that the teams that are competing, should have thought about getting a better record during the regular season and not have gotten themselves into such a situation. At least they are getting a second chance, albeit a small one.

  11. ryanw822 - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    It is a stupid idea by a moronic commissioner.

    MLB is just trying to re-create the magic of last season. What made that final day so special is the bizarre events of 3 teams in 3 different games. If Hollywood made a script like that night the movie wouldve sucked because no one would think possible.

    But go ahead Bud, do your best to make this 163 into a Hollywood script.

  12. fearthehoody - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Can anyone explain to me why the hell MLB & NBA seasons lasts 7/12 months of the year?? Especially the NBA, no one cares about that until March-April where 3/8 teams that make playoffs have sub .500 records

  13. advantageschneider - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    if you don’t like it then win your division. That’s all there is too it. There’s a penalty for being the wild card. I’m sure Chipper would love it if the Braves were leading the division.

  14. djpostl - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    I like Larry but if his team had handled his business and won their division it’s a moot point.

    The one wild card system was a joke. Teams didn’t need to fight to the end, they could just throw it in and set their rotations etc…

    Of the two I prefer this format….but not the hapless way they did it this year because they hadn’t planned on it when the schedule was first made.

    • tryan92 - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:37 AM

      Hey not sure if ya noticed, but the Braves have handled their business… They have a better record than half the division leaders and are definitely a title contender. It just so happens that the best record in the league is a bunch of no-names in the same division.
      This one-game playoff is BS cuz it gives just ONE more team a chance when they weren’t QUITE good enough to win the Wild Card…

  15. randygnyc - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Dj- in my above scenario, the first WC team, with 100 wins, could be 10 or 15 games better than the other division champs. Heck, they could have the 2nd best record in all of baseball. Then, that team could lose in a one game playoff because a ump makes a bad call on ONE pitch (or play, or interference or any number of mishaps, etc)

    I’ll bet an overwhelming majority of major league players are opposed to the one game playoff but won’t speak up. The few exceptions are probably the players that know their teams are overachieving flukes.

  16. thatyankeedude - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    One single game determines your fate after playing 162! Ya I think that’s a bit stupid.

  17. lessick - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    The 1980 Orioles and the 1993 Giants won 100+ games and didn’t make the playoffs, because they didn’t win their division. Both teams had the second-best record in all of baseball. They stayed home.

    In today’s system, they would get a shot with a one-game playoff. As I have said repeatedly, if you want to avoid the one-game playoff, win the division. A system that puts a premium on winning the division is, in my opinion, an improvement.

    • Mark - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:01 AM

      That’s a pretty poor way of looking at it. The Giants and Orioles would have been guaranteed a playoff spot in last years system, whereas under the current system the 100 win Orioles would have played the 86 win Milwaukee Brewers while the 103 win Giants would have played the 94 win Expos. In both cases the teams you mentioned were far and away better than the potential second wild card team, yet they’d have to fight for a playoff spot. That makes less sense then giving the superior team a playoff spot.

      Essentially the new wild card spot gives the fifth place team a shot at making the playoffs over the 4th place team, which makes absolutely no sense.

      • lessick - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

        “Poor way of looking at it,” in your opinion.

        My point is that there was a time when if you didn’t win your division (or league before that), you stayed home. The wild card, for the first time, allowed a team to settle for second and still get the same playoff chance as the division winners.

        Atlanta can complain that the Cardinals or Brewers can get a one-game shot at them, but the fact remains that Atlanta didn’t get it done in the NL East. They now have a handicap that Washington, who *did* get it done, doesn’t have.

        Look at the AL East. You think the Yankees and Orioles are trying to settle for second place? That’s far better than what we’ve seen in some past years in that division.

      • Mark - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        It’s not a matter of Atlanta “not getting it done”, but a matter of Washington being a better team.

        I’ll have to disagree with you again about the intensity of the AL East race. Under last year’s rules, the Yankees would be in first in the AL East with 87 wins, while the Orioles led the Wild Card with 86. Oakland would be right on their heels with 85 wins. So if the Yankees weren’t playing as hard as they could, they might still lose, as Oakland and Baltimore could pass them and knock them out of the playoffs.

        So yes, Baltimore and NYY would still be playing intense baseball under the previous system.

        And if you think this system creates more intensity, then think of the example you provided with the Giants/Orioles. For the last week of the season they could have just rested their best players, allowing them to have their top guys ready for the one game playoff. Which is exactly what they would have done under last year’s wild card rules.

        So no, there are few circumstances where the new rules create more intense baseball. And in most cases, it just cheapens the playoffs by allowing the fifth place team to make the playoffs over the fourth place team.

      • lessick - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:41 PM

        “It’s not a matter of Atlanta “not getting it done”, but a matter of Washington being a better team.”

        Then why should Atlanta enter the playoff in the same round as Washington?

        That’s really what this is about, and again, handicapping the wild card teams is, in my opinion, an improvement.

  18. stercuilus65 - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    tfbuckfutter – Sep 21, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    ” Oh, plus the play in game puts the wild card team at an additional disadvantage because they have to adjust their rotation.

    Which is a good thing. The road has gotten too easy for wild card teams.”


    Stupidest thing written here in a long time…

  19. pasta09man - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    I agree with Chipper,

    One game means absolutely nothing, the idiots who came up with a one game elimination idea have no real understanding of the game of Baseball.

    Bud and his cronies need to go get a clue.

    And the worst part of this new system is that the winner of the one game WC elimination gets home-field advantage over the division winner (with the best record) for the most pivotal first two games of the playoffs. How stupid is that? The WC needs to be the visitor at the divisional winners home for the FIRST 3 of 5. Seriously!

    • bleedgreen - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      If one game means absolutely nothing, then they should have no problem winning it. Hell if they finish 1 game out of the wildcard, 1 game means nothing! Lets just let them in! 1 game means nothing, so if a team wins the world series 4-3, that 1 game meant nothing! They should keep playing!

      Lets be truthful. If 1 game meant nothing, then we wouldn’t let teams play 1 game. Lots of series come down to 1 game, and then all of a sudden, that game means everything? If the world series is tied 3-3, then it comes down to 1 game. Does that game mean nothing? Why should you get a ‘do over’ if you have a bad game?

  20. willclarkgameface - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    The best indicator to see if someone belonged in the post season was given less weight in 1969: the 162 game schedule.

    It’s the longest, most grueling sports schedule on the planet and a more than worthy sample size to see if a team “belongs”.

    Face facts: this wasn’t done for the fans. It was a money grab then, again in 1995 (should have been 94), and in 2012. The play-in game is absolutely stupid and before you know it MLB will be like the NBA with 20 teams making the playoffs and playing until Christmas.

    Who’s going to be the first Mr. December?

  21. bleedgreen - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    I bet he wouldn’t have considered it stupid last year, when his team got taken out in the last few weeks of the regular season and could have played the Cards in a play in.

  22. tk1966 - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    I bet he wouldn’t think it was so stupid if his team was the second wildcard team. Besides, if he wants to talk about something being stupid, he should talk about a grown man being called “Chipper”.

  23. mazblast - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Chipper would have a very different attitude about it if his team was the second wild card team instead of the first. God forbid that any so-called reporter should call him on this.

  24. Cantor Steve - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    I agree with Chippers assessment of the 1 game do or die game. It seems to cheapen the playoffs. To be honest, I have never been a fan of the Wildcard idea in the first place. I get it – revenue for a team that just was not good enough. The season is long enough for these athletes – longer than any other sport. Adding another game just gives more opportunities for injuries. Also, I feel that the best teams in their division should play each other. I am a Braves fan, don’t get me wrong – I love that the potential for my team is that they can at least get into the playoffs, but I am a traditionalist also – the Nationals, deserve this considering how hard they have played.

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