Giants Vs. Royals In World Series, MLB Season Officially Meaningless
Tonight the San Francisco Giants punched their ticket to the 2014 World Series when Travis Ishikawa - that guy you pick up for your fantasy team every now and then but does nothing for you - hit a three-run, walk-off homer. They got there with a combination of pitching and pitching and will now face their mirror image in the Royals, in a series that promises to have about as much scoring as a Star Trek convention.
Ishikawa in slow motion dot gif: http://t.co/Qkl5eeHIqf
— Sara (@gidget) October 17, 2014
While both teams played hard to get to the October classic, they didn't play hard all year, and made the postseason through wild card bids. So all you other teams that played your asses off to win your division (I am soooo not looking at you Oakland), thanks for playing, but it meant nothing.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 1, 2014
Starting with the 1995 postseason, the playoffs included a wild card team because the leagues were broken into three divisions, rather than an even two. Some cynically (but perhaps accurately) said the real reason was to give the AL East a chance to send two teams. Regardless, the system was kept in place through 2011, and during that time, nine wild card teams made the World Series and five of them won rings. But that didn't seem fair to the division winners, so a second wild card team was added in 2012. The idea was that the winner of a one-game playoff would then have to play a division winner with the disadvantage of a spent number one starter. But with both San Francisco and Kansas City winning the pennants, that logic appears to have been faulty.
— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) October 17, 2014
Baseball prides itself on its traditions, which includes having a long 162-game season that means something. But as teams are added to the postseason, the regular season becomes less relevant. Now 26.7% of MLBs team make the playoffs, as opposed to 12.5% prior to 1960's expansion, and 16.7% when the leagues were broken into divisions in 1969. That is less than the NFL's 37.5% and only half of the NHL's and NBA's laughable 53.3% (yes, the odds are against a hockey or basketball team NOT making the playoffs), but the gap is getting smaller.
MLB: How do we make the playoffs harder on Wild Cards? Gary: What if we added two more? MLB: Gary you genius G: That's a joke guys G: Guys?
— Adam Feralio (@adamferaliolo) October 17, 2014
With baseball's playoff door opening wider, it will no longer be, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" but "The Giants were one of three non-division-winning NL teams to be above .500, but not the worst of them, and got hot at the right time!" Suddenly 162 games is way too many.
Photo via Getty
David Young has been a columnist for ESPN and Sports Illustrated, and is now one for SportsGrid.com. Follow him on Twitter @turkeysflying.com
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