Thursday, October 27, 2022

May The Best Team...Lose?

I heard an interesting discussion point pop up during this year's playoffs. I've always known that a playoff system is a terrible way to determine the best team. The champion. I've said forever that they should be eliminated. Or, at least changed to make sense. This year's playoffs were really an great extreme example of the problems.

The Phillies finished the season in third place, 14 games behind their division leader. The Red Sox finished the season 21 games behind their division leader. The Padres finished 22 games behind theirs. For some unknown reason, two of those teams were allowed another crack at those division leaders. After an entire season produced such a wide and obvious gap, two of those teams were allowed a do over. And not just a do over. But, a short 5-7 game series do over. Make it make sense.

But I knew some people were in favor of this format. And, I have grown used to the common excuses. "If you're the better team, just win your games". So, even though an entire season of dominance was reduced to a flukey series, the Dodgers and Braves and Mets were just supposed to "win the games" if they're really better. It's the same annoying mantra every time. Stop whining about the format, or the weather, or the umpires, or all the other obstacles stacked against only you. Just win the games. If you're the best, you should be able to just win.

It's grown fairly tiring. Until this year, a new argument appeared.

"Since when is the best team supposed to win?"

I don't really know what to do with this argument. 

People actually see the randomness of the playoffs not as a flaw...but the purpose of the design? They don't want to reward the best team? They'd rather have the world champion be decided by a series of coin flips? What are we even doing here?

What it the honor of a championship? "Hey, we won a few games that were decided by a bad hop! Yay us!" What's the point of any of this?

Why are we even crowning a champion?


  1. I think it's that people are entertained by chaos. They want to be perpetually surprised because that's all that's exciting to them ... It's just dumb to have two teams from the same division play each other in the playoffs. Of course the Padres had an advantage in playing the Dodgers that some other team wouldn't -- they spend their whole season trying to figure out how to beat the Dodgers.

    The MLB playoffs will probably will be chaos forever because the money-counters will never allow baseball to go back to a four-team playoff (2 AL and 2 NL) ever again, just like we'll never see a daytime World Series game again.


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