Monday, October 19, 2015

2 comments Terence Moore Writes The Annual Column Where He Gleefully Lauds the One Game Wild Card Playoff Presented by Budweiser

Terence Moore hates new ideas and new things. Not shockingly, if that new idea comes from Major League Baseball, all of a sudden Terence will think it's a great idea. After all, Terence writes for MLB.com. Of course, they would never edit him or stop him writing something, even it were a column arguing against a new MLB rule. Sure, I believe that. So nearly every year Terence writes a column about how great the one game Wild Card playoff is. As everyone knows by now, I hate the one game Wild Card playoff. It's exciting, sure, but I think it should be a three game playoff and don't understand why one more game is enough after a 162 game season to decide which Wild Card team gets to appear in the NLDS/ALDS. Terence Moore disagrees because that's what he is paid to do.

If you're a baseball fan who lives for October more than any other month of the season, you're thinking like me.

I'm a baseball fan and I really doubt that I am thinking like Terence Moore. Terence is probably thinking about the Big Red Machine and how they would undoubtedly could still beat a team made up of 2015 MLB All-Stars.

There is just too much time between now and the start of the Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser next week.

Not that Terence is a shill for MLB.com or anything like that when he talks about the Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser. When discussing the Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser, Terence can write what he wants when he wants to write it. If Terence says he doesn't like the Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser, then he doesn't have to like the Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser. It's simply the opinion of Terence Moore that he writes in a column presented by MLB.com. 

We should enjoy the ride this weekend through the end of the regular season. Afterward, with one more day to go, we should unleash a sigh of relief as the Yankees make their first trip to the postseason in three years as the likely hosts of the Astros, Angels or Twins on Tuesday night in the American League Wild Card Game.

And the teams will battle in a one game playoff that will negate everything that team accomplished throughout the season. It will turn a 162 game season into an ace-off where the team with the best starting pitcher gets to go into the next round of the playoffs. Baseball may be a team game, but don't tell that to MLB or the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser. 

As for the National League, the Cubs will probably play their winner-take-all game on the road against the Pirates, but that won't happen until Wednesday. What a tease, especially since you know the showdown between these two gifted teams is destined for instant-classic territory.

Was it an instant classic? I don't think it was. It was a great pitching performance by Jake Arrieta, but it wasn't an instant classic. Though I understand that Terence has to do everything in his power to make it seem like the Wild Card Games that are presented by Budweiser are nothing if not totally epic. 

You also know both Wild Card Games will feature intensity. Every inning, every pitch, every millisecond will be huge. The winners advance to the Division Series, and the losers are just done.

You know, I heard this could happen in a three game Wild Card series as well. Three games would test the depth and actual starting pitching strength of each team, which I know isn't something baseball is interested in after playing a 162 game schedule where a team's record is determined by the depth and starting pitching strength of each team, but it could be a pretty interesting three game Wild Card series presented by Miller Lite.

In a three game series, the winners still advance to the Division Series and the losers are still done. It's just a series that isn't determined by which team has the better ace.

So here's my humble assessment of baseball's current Wild Card system, which is entering its fourth season: It works just fine, thank you.

What? This is a shocking conclusion. Terence has written every year around the end of the baseball season, not by directive from MLB.com of course, that the Wild Card system works great and he still believes this is true this year? What a turn of events. 

There isn't a thing I would change.

And as a self-described "traditionalist" who didn't exactly love it when the first Wild Card was introduced, Terence saying there isn't a thing he would change about the one game Wild Card presented by Budweiser makes total sense. 

Still, many around the game and beyond want a best-of-three series to decide which of the two Wild Card teams in each league would reach the Division Series, where they would face the team with the best record in the regular season.

It would determine which team was better after a 162 game season. After all those games, I just don't like that a playoff spot comes down to one game. I feel like baseball is a team sport where the best teams have depth on their bench and in their starting pitching staff. I don't feel a one game Wild Card presented by Budweiser does justice in reflecting this. 

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein goes further than that. He told the Chicago Tribune in September that he proposed a best-of-three Wild Card series in which the opening games for each league would be part of a day-night doubleheader for the host team.

I can see that and I think it would be fun. I lean towards just having three games in three days at the home team's park, but a doubleheader would fun. The ironic part is that I bet the old-timers who bitch about there not being enough doubleheaders during the season would complain this is too far away from the traditional postseason format.

But extending the postseason would not help baseball end the World Series on a reasonable date each fall. This season, a potential Game 7 would occur on Nov. 4.

This is easily one of the worst reasons to not move the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser to a a three game series. It's a horseshit excuse. The MLB season lasts from April to the very beginning of November over 162 games, but the potential of there being TWO MORE GAMES is just too unreasonable to be seriously considered. Here's a good idea. Move the season to 154 games. Problem solved. Again, the funny part about this is you would find traditionalists bitching about the move away from 162 games in order to fit in a new playoff format, even though the season would be moved back to 154 games. This is how many games were played back in the day when everything in baseball was perfect, the same age many traditionalist sportswriters harken back to.

I find it hilarious two more games, thereby being two more days of baseball, is just incredibly unreasonable. This from a league that has 162 games per year.

Translated: Just leave the current Wild Card setup alone. With a one-game decider in each league to start October, you have zero scheduling concerns.

Again, this is a remarkably weak excuse for keeping the one game Wild Card presented by Budweiser. After 162 games, scheduling concerns for two more games is the reason? Come on. 

Mostly, single Wild Card Games create drama like crazy.

Then make the Divisional Series, the Championship Series, and the World Series one game series as well. They can even be presented by another beer company. If drama is the intent, then make every series a one game series. So is Terence arguing the World Series isn't dramatic enough with a seven game series? Is the intent of the playoffs to create drama or find out who the best MLB team is? If you want drama, every series should be one game. If you want to know who the best team is, eliminate the second Wild Card presented by Chase and use the 162 games each team plays on the season to make this determination, or make the Wild Card series a three game series. 

Remember 2012 in Atlanta? The Cardinals slid past the Braves that night due to an infield fly call that the hometown fans thought resembled an "outfield fly."

Really? The first example of the drama created is an example that shows the incompetence of MLB's umpires to discern what is and is not an "infield fly"? If MLB thinks incompetent umpires are part of "the drama" then that explains why they allowed Eric Gregg to continue umping after the 1997 playoffs and why no one has done anything about Joe West's act. Drama created by incompetence doesn't seem like the best way to convince me to love the one game Wild Card presented by Budweiser.

There also was last year's AL Wild Card thriller in Kansas City. Somehow, the Royals overcame two late-game deficits, including one of 7-3 in the eighth. They shocked the A's in the bottom of the 12th, and that was four hours and 45 minutes after the first pitch.

And this game would have still have been played if the Wild Card was a three game series. It's just these same two teams would have had the chance to play AGAIN the next day to determine which team earns the right to make it to the ALDS. 

Just like that, a Royals team that hadn't reached the postseason in 29 years did more than advance to the Division Series. Kansas City won the pennant and the hearts of America, starting with its survival in that wildest of Wild Card Games.

And in a three game series the Royals still would have had the chance to make it to the Division Series and continue to win the hearts of America. 

"[The Wild Card setup is] fine the way it is now," Epstein also told the Chicago Tribune. "You can never come up with a scenario that's perfectly fair to everybody.

This is an absolutely true statement that is coming from a GM who has perhaps the best pitcher in the majors ready to go in the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser with help from Chase in association with FanDuel provided by Goodyear. Epstein feels great with Arrieta starting the Wild Card game because he has been untouchable, so of course he thinks it's fine as it is now. There is no fair scenario, but I think there is a scenario that better reflects baseball is a team game.

Epstein's Cubs, by the way, are blessed with a wonderful "hand," and it is attached to the right arm of Jake Arrieta. Among other things, no pitcher in baseball history has looked more dominant than Arrieta during the second half of a season with an 11-1 record and a 0.80 ERA entering Friday. His overall numbers are also impressive (21-6, 1.82 ERA, 229 strikeouts through 223 innings).

Now consider this: In five starts this season against the Pirates, Arrieta is 3-1 with a 0.75 ERA, and he'll start next week's Wild Card Game.

And that's fantastic for the Cubs. Arrieta is awesome. It does prove my point that the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser becomes an "ace-off" with the team that has the best pitcher having the best chance to win the game. I prefer baseball as a team game where a playoff series winner is determined by the strength of that team's starting pitching staff, not just the strength of one pitcher. 

Advantage: Cubs.

Yes, it is advantage Cubs. After 162 games, whichever team has the better starting pitcher wins the game. I think a better set up is possible. 

Or is it?

Yes, it was advantage to the Cubs.

The Pirates will counter with Gerrit Cole, and while he isn't Arrieta, he's fabulous enough at 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA. Not only that, Cole is a noted Cubs killer. In nine starts against the North Siders, he has lost just once with seven victories and a 2.88 ERA.

Gerrit Cole is a great pitcher. He was not as great as Jake Arrieta was. That's fine, the Cubs deserved to win that game, but I wish it were possible to make it a three game series. 

We haven't even mentioned the pending battle involving Chicago sluggers Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo against Pirates standouts Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and the rest. 

And these guys will still "battle" if there is a three game series. Why would fewer games of these four players "battling" be a bad thing? Terence using these four players as an example of the greatness of the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser contradicts his point about the one game Wild Card being fine. This is because in a three game Wild Card series these four players would "battle" for possibly two more games. More fun! More drama! Why is this bad?

You also know Joe Maddon will keep things interesting on and off the field as the Cubs' manager and master psychologist.

Joe Maddon would also be present for all three games in a three game Wild Card series. Joe Maddon doesn't magically disappear into thin air if the Cubs have to play three games against the Pirates to earn the right to play in the NLDS. 

See what I mean by Wild Card drama?

See what I mean by nothing changing and the drama would still be there? Saying, "These players and this manager will make for a fun time and make things interesting" isn't an argument for the current Wild Card set up. It's an argument to watch the Wild Card series, no matter how long of a series it may be. How did Terence Moore get to become a writer who gets to pen columns that are intended to be somewhat persuasive? 

The same goes for the AL, where the Angels would put one of baseball's faces on national display in Mike Trout, and Trout has a noted slugging partner named Albert Pujols. If it's the Twins or the Astros instead of the Angels, we're talking about a bunch of talented youngsters to keep us entertained. 

These players would all still be participating in a three game series. I don't understand what the fuck Terence is trying to prove here. 

In addition, Houston has Dallas Keuchel, a wonderful starting pitcher who leads the AL in victories (19) and innings pitched (226).

Yes, he is wonderful and fans will get to see him pitching wonderfully against the Yankees. Then fans can see Scott Kazmir and/or Colin McHugh pitch wonderfully against the Yankees. Then I can rest easy knowing the Astros used more than one pitcher to prove they deserve to make the ALDS after a 3 game series and 162 game season. 

The Yankees are just the Yankees, and that's enough.

And yet, over the span of one game played after 162 other games were played it wasn't enough. 

So is one Wild Card Game.

Just like the one Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser is not enough. Shorten the season if needed (it's pretty freaking long anyway, even if it were 154 games) and then make the Wild Card series a three game series. I think it best represents the team game that baseball has shown itself to be. 

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Freaking classic. I love your commentary... But who is it presented by? I need to know so I can pimp that product appropriately.

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