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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Single elimination tournament would be all wild card games!

A single elimination tournament would be more entertaining. Both wild card games this week ended with three run home runs in the last inning. None of the four teams really deserved more than the one-and-done opportunity. Here are the regular season wins by teams that qualified for the 2016 tournament.

American Conference:
Division winners:
Texas 95
Cleveland 94
Boston 93

Wild card:
Toronto 89
Baltimore 89

National Conference:
Division winners:
Chicago Cubs 103
Washington 95
Los Angeles Dodgers 91

Wild card:
New York Mets 87
San Francisco 87

Any of the four wild card teams could have been eliminated in their final regular season games.

Now we must wait for several days for something that may not occur: both teams facing elimination. In this "division" round, the teams must win three of five possible games. San Francisco used its best starting pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, for all nine innings, so he will probably start only one game against the Cubs.

Toronto is in much better shape with its best starter, J.A. Happ, rested for game one against Texas.

A single elimination tournament has been suggested here previously:

October Madness: single elimination tournament. Friday, March 25, 2016

But it's worth repeating after the two thrilling wild card games with everything on the line. Play once a week. Start your best pitcher in each game. Win and advance. Lose and go home.

It would take elements of the NFL playoffs and the NCAA basketball tournament, in which, no 16 seed has ever beaten a one seed. In baseball, a 16 would probably have a much better chance at an upset; all it would need is one good starting pitcher. In that sense such a single elimination tournament would be unfair and contrary to the basic nature of baseball, which is played every day.

But who are we kidding? After 162 regular season games it's pretty clear that the 103 win Chicago Cubs have been the best team in 2016. So isn't it unfair to require the Cubs to have to prove themselves all over again against teams with far inferior records?

After 162 games suddenly the top teams play in a tournament. What the heck does that have to do with anything?

But if you're going to have a tournament, why not make it as compelling as possible, not a smaller repetition of the regular season? Hey, what the heck? Right?

1 comment:

Scott Bergquist said...

As individual games, those "play-in" games were fun; as they said, it's like the 7th game of the World Series....except, it isn't. The "winner" hasn't won anything.

Perhaps I've mentioned on your blog, my idea for a "Super September", where the top six teams in the NL and AL, only play each other for a month, and whichever team is on top at the end of the month, goes to the World Series in October (beginning October 4th).
The excitement people have felt for the single games, would be taking place for thirty September games for the top six teams.
What about the other nine teams in each league? Well, that's when interleague, and fun scheduling begins for the "also-rans". As it is, in Oakland, for instance, they started substituting rookies right after the All-Star break (Ryon Healy) and added more and more rookies, especially pitchers, right through September. Teams still played hard (e.g., Angels vs Atheltics) with nothing on the line. But what's worse with the current setup, is the effort by teams like the Dodgers,.....swept in SF, keeping the Cardinals out. That's just not reasonable.