FG on Fox: Two Wild Cards Are In the World Series, and That’s Terrific

So we’re all set, then, for a weekend without any baseball. The Royals did away with the Orioles in the minimum number of games, and the Giants almost did that same thing to the Cardinals. So out of a possible 14 LCS contests, we got nine of them, and now we’re set up for a showdown that isn’t exactly improbable, but that wasn’t predicted by (m)any. The Royals are in the World Series, after winning 89 games and after having once been 48-50. The Giants are in the World Series, after winning 88 games and after having once been 63-57. It’s going to be a World Series between two wild-card teams, and that’s absolutely terrific.

Major League Baseball is getting what it wanted from this postseason. And I don’t just mean in terms of the drama, although I think we’ve all been aware of that. The series haven’t been long, but the games have just about all been close. As one example, during the regular season, 19 percent of all plate appearances occurred with a score deficit of at least four runs. In the playoffs, that’s dropped all the way to 9 percent, and there were only three such plate appearances in the whole ALCS. It’s absurd how suspenseful and electrifying this has all been, but then that’s something more particular to this postseason. The wild-card thing is a bigger-picture issue.

It’s … I don’t know, what’s a good word? Controversial? The argument against being, wild-card berths dilute the level of talent in the playoffs. So perhaps the wild-card teams are undeserving, and then what does that tell you if you get a pair of them in the championship? What does a World Series title tell you about a team, if it’s a series between two teams who failed to win their divisions?

It tells you that a team beat another team in a baseball tournament. It tells you nothing more, and it’s not designed to tell you anything more. Tournaments thrive on drama and unpredictability. What baseball’s got set up is a hell of a tournament, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a couple of wild-card teams surviving to the end. In another sport, we’d call them Cinderellas.

Read the rest on Just A Bit Outside.





Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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Eric R
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Eric R

20th year of wild card play. Those 40 teams include 12 wildcards; if the play-off team who makes the WS in the league was entirely random, we’d expect 12.5…

If it was random, then we’d expect a pair of WildCards matching up in the World series every 8 years, so we should have 2.5 by now… we’ve had two.

Avatard
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Avatard

Still awaiting results of de Sulivian reconsideration of the probability numbers of each of the WC teams getting to the WS.

What we’ve got here is what looks to me something in that vein directed to the Royals; but KC isn’t the only WC team in this year’s really big shoo. Don’t the outcomes this year’s regular seasons appear to imply a greater probability for this sort of match-up than in most seasons?

Avattoir
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Avattoir

Real me (as opposed to 12 year old, immature and/or emotionally damaged attention-deprived ‘me’ imitator “Avatard”, among other such noms), would not have repeated what I already posted previously — with many of the same word-like symbols — on an earlier thread, and as well would acknowledge that Jeff Sullivan’s got it bang on right in his post here.