Playoff Baseball

I recently read Moneyball (I’m a little behind, I know) and in the book Billy Beane talks about how playoff baseball is essentially a crapshoot. He says his job is to get his team to the playoffs but “what happens after that is f***ing luck.”

A look at the last decade of postseason baseball does not disprove that. While we don’t know who will play in this year’s World Series, we do know it won’t be the New York Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies, the teams with the best records during the regular season. That is not uncommon.

Take a look at the teams with the best record in their league and the teams that ultimately advanced to the World Series:

American National
Year Record         Champion     Record Champion
2010 Rays Rangers Phillies Giants
2009 Yankees Yankees Dodgers Phillies
2008 Angels Rays Cubs Phillies
2007 Indians Red Sox Diamondbacks Rockies
2006 Yankees Tigers Mets Cardinals
2005 White Sox White Sox Cardinals Astros
2004 Yankees Red Sox Cardinals Cardinals
2003 Yankees Yankees Braves Marlins
2002 Yankees/A’s Angels Braves Giants
2001 Mariners Yankees Astros/Cards Diamondbacks
2000 White Sox Yankees Giants Mets
1999 Yankees Yankees Braves Braves

To make it easier to see, I bolded the teams that had the best regular reason record in their league and also won the pennant. As you can see, this has happened only four times since 2000. You have to go back to last millennium to find the last World Series match-up of the top teams record-wise.

Does this add to the excitement of playoff baseball? Does it affect your opinion on the possible addition of another wild card team? Sound off in the comments section.

Side note: As a Mets fan, the last few weeks have been about as sweet as possible considering the Mets have been out of contention for months and are facing the prospect of heading into next season without Jose Reyes. The Red Sox and Braves fell apart in September, meaning the Mets’ 2007 collapse is, undisputedly, no longer the worst. Then, as a bonus, the Yankees and Phillies were eliminated in the first round. When you’re a Mets fan, you need to take pleasure in the small things, even when they don’t directly involve your team.

One thought on “Playoff Baseball”

  1. I have two changes for the MLB playoff system. First, the divisional round should be seven games. Second, the games should be scheduled like they are in the regular season such that teams are forced to use their five man pitching rotations. Possible implementation: three home games for the top seed, then three home games for the lower seed, and then if necessary the top seed gets game seven at home. And, no days off during the three game home stands.

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