revising the postseason/wilcard format

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Mike Carminati excerpted from BP, after crunching the 5-game series numbers:

What we find is that a team that starts a five-game series at home and loses is at a severe disadvantage. Under the old format, a home team (the underdog) losing Game One won the series just 23% of the time. Under the current format a home team (favorite) losing Game One won just 35% of the time.

However--and I think this is the kicker--when the underdog won Game One at home under the old format (2-3) they won the series 65% of the time, but under the current format (2-2-1) the favored team after winning Game One wins the series just 56% of the time. This is doubly perplexing when you consider that an underdog under the old format had just one more home game (Game Two) no matter how deep the series went but the favorite under the current system could potentially have two more home games (Games Two and Five).

Apparently, the advantage of winning Game One at home under the current format is not outweighed by the disadvantage of losing Game One. Under the old system, the result of Game One had a great deal to do with the result of the series, which seems to favor the underdog who hosted Game One. However, you can see above that the underdog under the old format had a 22-26 record.

Therefore, the old format (two at home for the lower seed followed by three at home for the higher seed) actually favors the favored team more than the current 2-2-1 format.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 November 2006 16:32 (thirteen years ago) link

I've read that about five times and I'm still confused ...

All rounds should be best of seven.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 2 November 2006 16:42 (thirteen years ago) link

But what about all the fine Fox programming we'd be missing out on? The Simpsons Halloween episode would air during Thanksgiving.

Stuh-du-du-du-du-du-du-denka (jingleberries), Thursday, 2 November 2006 17:27 (thirteen years ago) link

And less The War at Home during delays.

No divisons, only leagues. League champs play best-of-three best-of-seven series. Let's do what we can to eliminate the unexpected.

The Piper at the Gates of Brown (Andy_K), Thursday, 2 November 2006 18:06 (thirteen years ago) link

who mentioned the idea of a premiere(ship?) league(s) in baseball before? Now THAT would be interesting.

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Thursday, 2 November 2006 18:13 (thirteen years ago) link

I think it would only work if you divided the existing teams into two groups rather than incorporating AAA teams or etc. into the major leagues. Most of those teams don't have the infrastructure or fan base to support a sudden switch to major league ball. Splitting up the majors into two hierarchical divisions instead of two "equal" divisions would be interesting. I doubt this would ever happen, though.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Thursday, 2 November 2006 20:15 (thirteen years ago) link

Imagine one league consisting of New York, New York, Boston, Toronto, Oakland, Los Angeles, Los Angeles de Anaheim, San Diego, St. Louis, Houston, Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago Sur, Cleveland, Philadelphia and I guess Cleveland, all in one big division... with maybe four of them competing in the Fall Classic. Who will be relegated? SO EXCITING.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Thursday, 2 November 2006 20:19 (thirteen years ago) link

Oh I said Cleveland twice but you get the idea.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Thursday, 2 November 2006 20:19 (thirteen years ago) link


hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 2 November 2006 20:22 (thirteen years ago) link

I would like to see the meeting where someone proposes that Tom Hicks' $65mn payroll is now Quadruple-A, but if they work really hard they might make it with the big boys next year!

milo z (mlp), Thursday, 2 November 2006 20:24 (thirteen years ago) link



polyphonic (polyphonic), Thursday, 2 November 2006 21:30 (thirteen years ago) link

The elimination of divisions would be a prime opportunity to realign and abolish the DH.

MLB Right
Chi White Sox
NY Mets
NY Yankees
Tampa Bay

MLB Left
Chi Cubs
Kansas City
LA Angels
LA Dodgers
San Diego
San Francisco
St. Louis

The Piper at the Gates of Brown (Andy_K), Thursday, 2 November 2006 21:47 (thirteen years ago) link

^^ Yes. And ONE WINNER of each division compete in World Series.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Thursday, 2 November 2006 22:03 (thirteen years ago) link

you can't have an odd # of teams in each division because then there would be scheduling abnormalities.

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Thursday, 2 November 2006 22:07 (thirteen years ago) link


-- polyphonic (polyphoni...), November 2nd, 2006 9:30 PM. (polyphonic) (later)

which actually is related to a game teh vikings played, nice try.

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 2 November 2006 22:08 (thirteen years ago) link

which actually is related to a game teh vikings played, nice try.

I heard that Thor was using HGH.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Thursday, 2 November 2006 22:10 (thirteen years ago) link

major realignment = suckage

4-of-7 LDS is what we're after.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 November 2006 22:19 (thirteen years ago) link

you can't have an odd # of teams in each division because then there would be scheduling abnormalities.

Would this be preferable over an uneven number of teams in each league?

Three teams in each league should go, anyway.

major realignment = suckage

The initial "birth pangs" of the new major leagues.

The Piper at the Gates of Brown (Andy_K), Thursday, 2 November 2006 22:43 (thirteen years ago) link

Three teams in each league should go, anyway.

How so? Are you saying there wouldn't be badly run, 100-loss teams if there were 24 teams again? They existed when there were 16 teams.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 3 November 2006 14:25 (thirteen years ago) link

Dumping six teams would almost certainly ensure that Neifi Perez never sets foot on a MLB diamond as a player ever again.

Check this (I didn't come up with it):

1 Ski Melillo .284 5536
2 Neifi Perez .285 5439
3 Ed Brinkman .288 6640
4 Tim Foli .295 6573
5 Pete Suder .296 5473
6 Leo Durocher .302 5827
7 Everett Scott .307 6373
8 George McBride .309 6234
9 Wally Gerber .313 5816
10 Rey Sanchez .316 5246

And no, I wouldn't care about badly run, 100-loss teams. If they still happened, they'd at least have more talent than the 100-loss teams of the last several years.

The Piper at the Gates of Brown (Andy_K), Friday, 3 November 2006 15:23 (thirteen years ago) link

nah, more talent now than ever. It's dumbass decisionmakers who keep Neifi employed, not excess teams. You sound like Bob Feller!

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 3 November 2006 16:12 (thirteen years ago) link

The talent level would be higher with fewer teams. That's all I'm saying. I'm not trying to say it was better in 19__ or whenever.

Plus, I think there are too many teams.

Plus, I am being kind of silly.

The Piper at the Gates of Brown (Andy_K), Friday, 3 November 2006 16:28 (thirteen years ago) link

The Premiereship idea for baseball would never work because MLB is a closed, mafia-style system where only members of the club are allowed the chance to make megabuxx.

On the "problem" of minor league clubs not having the infrastructure etc. to support a major league team, the same "problem" exists in the UK and it's not a problem at all. If a team gets good, fans go to see it, money pours in, new stadia get built. If a team gets relegated, the bandwagoners stop showing up and the team has to tighten its belt but that's life and it does make it exciting.

It is a shame that, say, Nashville knows it will never have a major league club until a zillionaire can bribe convince the powers that be to allow them to have one. I'd love to see the Sounds join the big boys.

Euai Kapaui (tracerhand), Saturday, 4 November 2006 13:32 (thirteen years ago) link

See, for some of the AAA teams (Portland, Nashville, etc.), I completely agree with you. But some of the AAA markets are pretty damned small compared to those cities.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Saturday, 4 November 2006 19:48 (thirteen years ago) link

Green Bay's pretty small too

Euai Kapaui (tracerhand), Monday, 6 November 2006 09:51 (thirteen years ago) link

And only survives because of the TV contract and having the stadium sold out three generations ahead.

milo z (mlp), Monday, 6 November 2006 17:14 (thirteen years ago) link

eight years pass...

hot take from David Laurila:

"At the risk of sounding old fashioned, I think the World Series was better when it was simply the team with the best record in the American League versus the team with the best record in the National League. There were no layers of postseason series to fight through, no chances the better squad would be prematurely ousted due to the foibles of five- and seven-game sets. You earned the berth by conquering the six month slog.

That’s not to say the current system isn’t highly entertaining. It is – especially for fans of the teams involved – and a few extra weeks of baseball is certainly a good thing. (There’s also extra revenue to take into consideration, but that’s a subject for another day.)

We’re never going back to the pre-divisional-play format. Nor should we. Time marches on, and the current structure works just fine (OK, maybe not the part where the teams with the second- and third-best records play a one-and-done.)

Of course, not every team that reaches the postseason is as good as the 2015 Cubs and Pirates. Is it fair to win 100 regular season games, only to get knocked out early by a team that won 85 in a weak division? It depends on how you look it. Personally – and I’m saying this as someone who enjoys every October game – I think the World Series was more appealing when fans knew they were getting the best versus the best."

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 1 November 2015 15:03 (four years ago) link

i can't remember if i started a thread on it or not but i always thought an FA Cup style tournament for baseball would be pretty cool, though almost certainly impossible for logistical/scheduling reasons

jason waterfalls (gbx), Sunday, 1 November 2015 15:17 (four years ago) link

best records in each league:

2015: Cardinals vs Royals
2014: Nationals vs Angels
2013: Cardinals vs Red Sox
2012: Nationals vs Yankees
2011: Phillies vs Yankees
2010: Phillies vs Rays
2009: Dodgers vs Yankees
2008: Cubs vs Angels
2007: Diamondbacks vs Red Sox/Indians
2006: Mets vs Yankees
2005: Cardinals vs White Sox
2004: Cardinals vs Yankees
2003: Braves vs Yankees
2002: Braves vs Yankees
2001: Astros vs Yankees
2000: Giants vs White Sox
1999: Braves vs Yankees
1998: Braves vs Yankees
1997: Braves vs Orioles
1996: Braves vs Indians
1995: Braves vs Indians

would have been living hell for non-barves/yankees fans in 90s and early 2000s, but the better competitive balance in recent years makes it a little more palatable.

but yeah, it doesn't matter, they're never going back.

Karl Malone, Sunday, 1 November 2015 15:30 (four years ago) link

of course, if there had just been two 14 (or 15)-team races the schedules would've been different, but no matter.

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 1 November 2015 16:00 (four years ago) link

Since TV wants that draw in eyes, I'd think realigning everything geographically basically combining the east, west, central into 3 divisions with DH as law of the land could be a way to go. I'd then use a prior year results to setup schedule for the remaining out of division games, that way in theory you should get more good teams vs. good teams.

earlnash, Monday, 2 November 2015 01:53 (four years ago) link

it's unlikely that this year's scenario happens very often -- the majors' three best records being in one division -- but given that we're not going to have fewer teams in the playoffs, i'd suggest that the seeding within each league be based on record, not division titles

i.e. the dodgers and mets already benefited from playing their shitty division foes 18 times each; if their records are still worse than the wild cards then fuck 'em

(yeah i'm bitter, so what)

mookieproof, Monday, 2 November 2015 03:02 (four years ago) link

one thing that chafes about current seeding: Pirates will pick #29 even though they got a glorified tiebreaker (against a team they beat in the regular season) as their "playoffs"; Texas will pick somewhere around 22 but got a full series. equally chafes, ofc, that five years ago CHN would have picked #28 and gotten nothing at all. not clear to me why pick seeding isn't tied to playoff outcome.

franklin, Tuesday, 3 November 2015 23:50 (four years ago) link

(obvi picks in baseball draft are much less important in general, and draft picks are less distinguishable by the time you hit the mid 20s, but it's the principle of the thing)

franklin, Tuesday, 3 November 2015 23:52 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

lol EXCLUSIVE: MLB is planning a radical change to their postseason perhaps by 2022, hoping to move from 5 to 7 teams in each league and -- get this -- have the teams with the best records pick their playoff opponents.

— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 10, 2020

mookieproof, Monday, 10 February 2020 21:53 (four months ago) link

Baseball has too many games, they need to make the games they have mean something more. I would think some type of mid-season all or nothing single elimination 'cup' tournament would perhaps be more valuable than a further watered down playoffs. Have the Final four and championship in a weekend with the All Star game in the middle.

It would be in the middle of the summer when the other sports are not having anything big going on, don't know if the money and TV attention was there, I think it could work.

earlnash, Monday, 10 February 2020 22:09 (four months ago) link

too bloody European

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 01:10 (four months ago) link

No idea who made this new playoff format proposal, but Rob is responsible for releasing it, so I’ll direct this to you, Rob Manfred. Your proposal is absurd for too many reasons to type on twitter and proves you have absolutely no clue about baseball. You’re a joke.

— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) February 11, 2020

Andy K, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 03:08 (four months ago) link

too bloody European

it's pretty much the precise opposite of european

mookieproof, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 03:14 (four months ago) link

European style would see the wild card team advance to a separate qualification group where they'd play home and away round robin games to see who advances to play division winner #3, where the winner faces the loser of the bye team vs division winner #2, and then .....

I don't hate the new proposal -- the bye for the team with the best record is a nice incentive -- but nearly half of all MLB teams qualifying for the playoffs? No thanks.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 08:14 (four months ago) link

there's no point to having a 162-game season then; maybe he's looking for 80

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 12:33 (four months ago) link

i do hate the new proposal, and like everything else manfred likes it won't matter, he'll just push it through and wait a couple years for everyone to get used to it.

℺ ☽ ⋠ ⏎ (✖), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 16:13 (four months ago) link

Any proposal would have to be negotiated with the players' association. The current collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2021 season.

mookieproof, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 16:16 (four months ago) link

idk I think the biggest issue with the baseball playoffs is that the sport has so much variance built in making it common for the best teams with the most well known players to just scrub out in the first round because they hit .125 with RISP. so I like the idea of first round byes and expanding the first round to 7 games but expanding the # of teams is just a bad idea all around, you're just asking for a team like say the 85-win Diamondbacks to get hot for a few weeks and win it all

frogbs, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 16:26 (four months ago) link

This is, by the way, where we'll get to eventually. If you were starting a baseball league today, you'd *never* play 162 games over 187 days starting 3/26 and overlapping with seven weeks of the NFL. MLB has enormous amounts of low-value inventory in March, April, and September.

— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) February 11, 2020

mookieproof, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 16:55 (four months ago) link

just experienced a huge influx of cash due to local TV deals, let's cut the regular season so that fox has a few more games that do worse ratings than the masked singer

℺ ☽ ⋠ ⏎ (✖), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 17:29 (four months ago) link

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