“But he’s Canadian,” you say, “So what does he know about baseball?” Well, he’s from Toronto, the team most screwed by the current system, so let’s give it a shot:
A few days ago, the MLB announced that it was expanding its playoffs to include a second wild-card team. Under the new system, the two wild-cards will play a single game that determines who goes to the divisional series. Response has been, at best, mixed. The strongest criticisms, like this one from ESPN’s Joe Sheenan, have taken a traditionalist perspective. Sheenan worries about what this new system will mean for deep-seated, and still exciting, elements of baseball like the pennant race. He sees the wild-card system as debasing what has historically been one of the most exciting parts of being a baseball fan: following your team through a tense September race to win the division. By Sheenan’s estimation, the old system encouraged top teams to play their best throughout the whole season. If you happen to be one of the two best teams in the league by regular season record but can’t win your own division, tough grapes.
I sympathize with Sheenan and other traditionalists. Baseball’s regular season is long and arduous and does a pretty good job of determining the “best” team (or, at least, a better job than other pro-sports at determining the best team). Meanwhile, baseball playoffs, due to the nature of the game, are pretty close to random. As Billy Beane said, “my shit doesn’t work in the playoffs” – seven and five game series are simply too short to give us a good idea as to which team is best. In the 17 post-seasons since the advent of the wild-card, the wild card team has won five times Continue reading
Posted in Baseball, Common Sense, Pop Culture, Probability Analysis, Rules Analysis
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, baseball, Billy Beane, Boston Red Sox collapse, coin flip game, coin flip game is dumb, Division Series, ESPN, George Will, Joe Sheenan ESPN, League Championship Series, Major League Baseball, MLB playoff system is stupid, MLB playoff system proposal, MLB playoffs, MLB playoffs new rules, MLB playoffs new system, New York Yankees, pennant race, playoffs, probabilities, St. Louis Cardinals wild card World Series, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto, Toronto Blue Jays, Wild Card, wild cards, World Series, World Series odds
He shouldn’t be fired, but he’s going to get hammered for making the right call and QB sneaking twice on fourth and inches today against the Giants. Aikman questioned both calls but admitted with 5 minutes left that kicking field goals wouldn’t have won the game (it would have gotten the Falcons to 8 points, excluding garbage time). Unfortunately for Smith, he might have made the wrong call by going for it on fourth down in OT against the Saints earlier this year, in over time and in his own territory. It looks like a bad track record to the untrained eye. Good luck, Mike Smith.
Posted in Commentary, Common Sense, Football
Tagged 4th and inches, Atlanta Falcons, football, fourth and inches, Mike Smith, Mike Smith right call, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFL, over time, overtime, playoffs, Troy Aikman wrong, Wild Card
Fox has Rules Guru Mike Pereira, but he’s got nothing on my lawyer friend Adrian the Canadian. Here is my personal rules guru’s take on two key calls in the Lions – Saints game last night:
Don’t be surprised if Tyler takes a few days off blogging about football — last night’s Detroit/New Orleans Wild Card playoff game had to be tough on him. Not only did New Orleans pull away from his beloved Lions late, but they won in part due to two questionable pieces of officiating. The first call, Continue reading
Posted in Commentary, Common Sense, Football, Rules Analysis
Tagged Adrian the Canadian, backwards pass, Ben Roethlisberger, Calvin Johnson, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Drew Brees, Ed Hochuli, football, fourth down, fumble, Hochuli rule, Hochuli Rule does not apply, inadvertent whistle, lateral, Matt Stafford, Megatron, Mike Pereira, Ndomukong Suh, New Orleans Saints, NFL replay, NFL rule book, Nick Fairley, officials made a mistake, officials messed up, over time, Pittsburgh Steelers, pulled the ball back on fourth down, reach with the ball on fourth down, refs blew the whistle, rules guru, Wild Card, Willie Young