Monday, September 30, 2013

0 comments Terence Moore Hates Changes to the Game of Baseball Except the Ones Tells Him He Has to Like

As we learned last October, Terence Moore loves the one game Wild Card playoff that MLB added to the current playoff system just last year. It's interesting that Terence likes this one game Wild Card playoff since he hates nearly every other change in MLB since the early 1900's. Terence would probably hate the integration of Negro League players into MLB if Terence weren't himself African-American. Here is a list of changes or adaptations to MLB that Terence has written about not liking:

-The Designated Hitter

-Pitchers who don't pitch complete games

-Baseball players who get hurt when baseball players never used to get hurt

-Instant replay

-Expansion of instant replay

-Instant oatmeal because it has the word "instant" in it

-The word "replay"

-Any improvements to make the umpire's impossible job easier

-Six man rotations

-Modern baseball celebrations

-Anyone who doesn't like Pete Rose, the Big Red Machine or can't accept everything was better back when Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine ruled baseball by winning two (TWO!) whole World Series titles

So I find it very, very, very, very odd that Terence likes the idea of a one game Wild Card playoff. I find it so odd that I think he is simply pretending to like the one game playoff because he works for There's no logical reason a person who doesn't like expanded replay, hates the designated hitter, and doesn't like any changes in baseball over the past 60 years would like the one game Wild Card playoff. But yet, Terence does like the one game Wild Card playoff. He likes it because it makes winning the division relevant again. I think it's good news winning the division is relevant again, but I hate the way MLB has chosen to go about making winning the division relevant again. After 162 games you have a one game playoff? That seems silly to me, but inexplicably Terence likes this idea.

Courtesy of the two Wild Card spots in each league, baseball is about to get crazy through September.

Two years ago the Wild Card finishes in the National and American Leagues were one of the best nights in baseball history. Shockingly, Wild Card and pennant races were exciting prior to the inclusion of an additional Wild Card team.

It's not like baseball pennant races were boring prior to the 2012 season. It is an exciting one game playoff, but it's also sort of contrived excitement. The one game Wild Card playoff manufactures the type of excitement that the crazy end of the 2011 season created more naturally through teams with similar records competing for one playoff spot. The 2012 Wild Card matchup was between the Orioles and Rangers who had the same record (success!) at 93-69 and the 94-68 Braves and 88-74 Cardinals. There was no reason for these two teams to determine who deserved the Wild Card since the Braves had proven over 162 games they were the better team, so what would one game do? I like the idea of a Wild Card playoff, but baseball can "get crazy" through contrivance anytime they want. Let's make the World Series a one game playoff! It puts more emphasis on winning the All-Star Game to gain homefield advantage. 

As I've said on several occasions, I could handle a three game series played at the home park of the team with the better record. I could even handle two games at the field of the team with the better record and one game at the field of the team with the worse record. A one game playoff for a Wild Card spot after 162 games have been played and the teams (most likely) don't have the same record is just stupid to me.

Trust me. Better yet, watch the Pirates, Reds and Cardinals scratch, claw and fight down the stretch in search of becoming kings of the National League Central.

Right, except St. Louis and Cincinnati both know if they don't win the division they always have a chance in the Wild Card game. This makes the 2013 season more exciting compared to 2011 when St. Louis or Cincinnati had to win the Wild Card over 162 games or they didn't make the playoffs at all? So Terence enjoys watching three teams scratch, claw and fight for three playoff spots, as opposed to in 2011 when these three teams would have been fighting for two playoff spots. Winning the division is more important, but there are more playoff spots to go around now, which cuts into the drama on which teams in the National League make the playoffs (as long as the standings stay where they currently are the Cardinals and Reds are way ahead in the Wild Card race).

They'll make this one of the greatest divisional races of all time. That is, if they aren't surpassed by more than a few teams in the American League East and the AL West.

The American League does have better divisional and Wild Card races at this point.

You see, the Rays won't yawn in the shadows as the Red Sox keep doing their thing atop the AL East, and the same goes for the Orioles and the Yankees. As for the AL West, the Rangers now have a three-game lead over the second-place A's, but you just know these two teams aren't finished swapping the top spot. I mean, the Indians are 6 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central,

These divisional races would be tight and exciting even if MLB didn't have the one game playoff. So the excitement of these races has nothing to do with the new one game Wild Card playoff. The only difference in the races in 2013 and 2011 is that in 2013 one more of these teams knows they are going to make it to a one game playoff with the chance to move to the next round against a division winner. The one game playoff does reward a team for playing well over a 162 games, but the one game playoff also penalizes teams who play well over 162 games but have the unfortunate luck of playing in a division with a strong division leader. The first Wild Card could show themselves to be 5-6 games (or more) better than the second Wild Card but forced to play in a one game playoff for the right to move on to the next round.

For example, last year the Baltimore Orioles would have won the AL Central by winning 93 games, but because they played in the same division as the Yankees they had to play in the one game playoff against the Texas Rangers, who also won 93 games, they had to be in the one game playoff while the 88 win Detroit Tigers won their division and were rewarded for doing so. I'm not against rewarding those win their division, but I also think if you are going to reward a team for playing well over 162 games then the Wild Card playoff needs to be more than just one game. Most of the time the two Wild Card teams aren't going to have the exact same record and I think a three game Wild Card playoff better rewards the Wild Card team who played well over 162 games.

Baseball will never have a completely fair playoff system and I recognize that. I'm for rewarding teams won their division as well. I don't like Terence acting as if the one game Wild Card playoff is a revelation of epic proportions that has changed MLB's playoff system for the better. It's not quite that great. Baseball is a sport that isn't built for one game playoffs (I recognize how a one game playoff between two teams who have the same record has been necessary in the past, since those games only occur if both teams were tied for the division or Wild Card lead) and I think the Wild Card "round" should reflect this and be a three game series instead of a one game "series."

Even if Cleveland fails for a 13th time in 14 games against its northern bullies, it won't be because the Indians have settled to play for a Wild Card spot.

Nobody should do such a thing. Not now.

I get this point of view. There is also an extra Wild Card spot now though. So the Indians don't have to settle for anything, but they know if they are now the fifth best team in the American League (and depending on the record of one of the division winners this second Wild Card team could be anything from the third best team in the American League to the fifth best team) then they get a chance to make the playoffs. So if teams have really settled for the Wild Card (which I don't believe) then they can still settle knowing there is an extra spot available in the playoffs.

Let's just say that it was a simple move by Major League Baseball officials before last season, but it was a brilliant one.

Terence Moore hates most changes to baseball that have taken place over the last 60 years, but he thinks this is a "brilliant" move. This tells me two things:

1. Terence works for Major League Baseball.

2. This change has to be a terrible idea. No move could be described by Terence as "brilliant" if it wasn't an ill-advised and poorly thought out move.

They added a second Wild Card to the playoffs for each league, and they made those teams battle in a single-elimination game for the right to advance further.

I greatly dislike the idea of a one game playoff between two teams that may not have the same record. I hate it. Baseball isn't meant to be played in a one game playoff. It's meant to be played where there is more than one game played between two teams so that a team's full strength (in terms of starting pitching) can be reflected in the outcome of the series.

It was so masterful that those in contention for a playoff berth these days know that it's about winning the division or bust.

But it's not about winning the division or bust because two National League and two American League teams will get a chance to play in a one game playoff in order to go on and play a division winner. There's more emphasis on winning the division now, but more teams have a chance at making the playoffs. So it isn't about winning the division or bust, but more about "winning the division or having to win one more game at which point the playoffs resort back to the previous Wild Card system where the division winner doesn't get a huge advantage."

Well, they should know as much. If not, here's a quick reason why teams should fear becoming just a Wild Card team: "The Outfield Fly Rule," or so it is called among those into chopping and chanting in Atlanta.

What happened in this game in my opinion is irrelevant as to the basic reason why the one game Wild Card playoff should be a three game series. Atlanta did play in the same division as the best team in baseball and won six more games than the Cardinals, which I think shows they were the superior team over 162 games, which is why I think it should be a three game Wild Card playoff. So maybe the game isn't entirely irrelevant. Anything can happen in one game, which is fine, but I'm not sure a one game playoff for the Wild Card is the best way to determine which team moves on to play in the NLDS.

First, a little history. From 1995 through 2011, there was one Wild Card for each league. That team opened the postseason in a best-of-five Division Series like everybody else, and it was unfair for division winners.

I wouldn't call it "unfair" but it didn't reflect what winning the division should mean.

Despite slipping through the back door of the postseason, Wild Card teams won the World Series five times under the old system, and they even took three straight World Series championships from 2002-04.

These Wild Card teams won the World Series three straight times in five and seven game series. It was fair they won because they proved they deserved to win the World Series by beating "superior" teams in long series. I have no issue with winning the division meaning something, but I do have a problem with 162 games being boiled down into one game.

The new system arrived last season. Now the winner of the Wild Card Game advances to a Division Series against the league's team with the best regular-season record.

Too many "ifs" if you're a Wild Card team these days.

There's one extra game a Wild Card team has to win and one extra team in each league gets a chance to qualify for the playoffs. Really, the only big change is more teams are in contention for a Wild Card spot, which means there are fewer "ifs" if you are vying for a Wild Card spot due to there being more Wild Card spots. It's not like teams have been slacking off in the past and not trying to win games since they already have the Wild Card locked up. I'm not sure that's happened.

To hear Braves fans tell it, Simmons' ball was deep enough in left to be called -- well, to be called nothing but a hit by the umpires and official scorer.

Well, it was deep enough to be a hit and not an infield fly rule, but that is not the reason the Braves lost the game. They lost the game because the Cardinals beat them and earned the victory. I will say if the Braves and Cardinals played a three game series we wouldn't be talking about the infield fly rule and could otherwise be talking about the Braves didn't get hits with runners in scoring position and that's why they lost the series 2-0.

The Cards won, 6-3, and those associated with the Braves blamed "The Outfield Fly Rule" instead of their inability to hit in the clutch and a crucial error earlier in the game by retiring third baseman Chipper Jones.

And again, this is the fallacy with a one game playoff. What makes it exciting also can create issues. The Braves didn't lose because of the outfield fly rule, yet that's what's remembered about this game. I believe the Wild Card playoff should be a best of three series.

When it's one and done in the postseason, anything can happen, and much of it isn't good. So most teams in serious contention for making the playoffs do whatever they can to stay away from those Wild Card spots.

This would mean some teams don't try to win their division and I would argue zero teams have ever intentionally tried to not win their division and settled for a Wild Card spot.

I said "most" teams, because for some teams, the more realistic choice is to play for a Wild Card spot. The Orioles, Indians, Yankees and Royals come to mind in the AL, where they currently trail their respective division leaders between 6 1/2 games to 8 1/2 games.

And under the current Wild Card system two of these American League teams know they are going to have a shot to make the playoffs, while under the system pre-2012 only one of these teams would get the Wild Card. This creates more certainty in the mind of these teams that they will have at least one chance to prove themselves in the playoffs, while under the pre-2012 system there was a greater sense of urgency because only one of these four teams had a chance to get the Wild Card. I don't mind the current system, I just don't think it is as spectacular as Terence does and wish it were a three game series for the Wild Card spot.

While Boston did the unprecedented by blowing a nine-game lead for the AL's Wild Card spot, Atlanta surrendered an 8 1/2-game lead for the NL's Wild Card spot. 

There was only one Wild Card in each league back then, but the winner did have a best-of-five series up ahead.

And under the current system the Red Sox and the Braves would have been rewarded for their collapse by getting one more chance to try and win the Wild Card spot, despite the fact their record over 162 game showed they probably didn't deserve to make the playoffs. It's not like the Red Sox and Braves just quit playing hard because they knew they had the Wild Card locked up.

That's opposed to the uncertainty that awaits Wild Card clubs these days.

There was uncertainty pre-2012 as well. Teams didn't know if they were going to win the Wild Card spot and there was one less Wild Card spot available to be had. The idea the one game Wild Card playoff creates more uncertainty seems like a fallacy to me and it creates ratings and drama for these games, which I get is great for the game and exciting to watch, but I don't believe a one game playoff after a 162 game season is how the Wild Card winner should be decided.

I hope gave Terence a raise for toeing the party line so well.