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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bubble teams: has fatigue and anguish already set in?

Kansas City is likely next.  If KC loses the first series against the top seeded Angels, how will the KC fans feel?  How much of a letdown will they experience?  Teams that are only good enough to be on the bubble at the end of a season in hopes of qualifying for the Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament, will use, and cause their fans to use, an inordinate amount of emotional energy in a short time.  Repeating this for only a couple of years will cause bubble fatigue and probably a resulting decrease in interest, the opposite of what MBL owners had hoped.

Small markets: isn't that the minor leagues?  Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pittsburgh fans looked orgasmic the other night watching their Pirates defeat Cincinnati in the National Conference wild card play-in game.

The objective of the MBL is to have as many people for as long as possible think (hope) that their team can win.  It's largely a sucker game...

Maybe their fans realize that their teams are mediocre and not likely to defeat the one seed in the upcoming five game series.  Maybe those fans are not such suckers after all.

Pittsburgh fans last night
In 2013 both Ohio teams, Cincinnati and Cleveland, squeaked into the tournament only to be bitterly disappointed and have their bubble team bubble burst.  In 2013 Pittsburgh won the wild card game, then predictably lost in the five game series.  Pittsburgh qualified again in 2014 but lost 8-0 last night to San Francisco, which wasted its best pitcher to reach the opening round at a big disadvantage against well rested Washington.

I think bubble fatigue has already set in as predicted here when the extra wild card tournament format was originally introduced.  Bubble teams are likely to be small market teams.  However, the Yankees have now gone two consecutive years without even attaining the worthless second wild card, the bottom seed.  How seriously will Yankee fans take the team being competitive on that tenuous level?  Probably about the same as fans in small markets.

It's good that the new tournament format gives a big advantage to the one seed.  That's fair.  The problem is that fans and most media people have not realized the extent to which the bottom seeds are facing very long odds.  Most continue to think that things are the same as they had been when a top seed had almost no advantage either in terms of match-ups or in rest.  Now that is all changed and fans are in the process of reevaluating.  Too much anguish rooting for a perennial bubble team.

If this fatigue is real and persistent, look for MBL decision makers to change it back into a more random form.  Yuck.

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