Sunday, October 25, 2015

Why predict the World Series?

Baseball's last series starts on Tuesday, with the wildly unlikely Royals playing the equally unlikely Mets, and if you are a fan of either of those franchises, I'll try to be happy for you, and fail. Both teams show the essential wisdom of not trying for years, and stocking up on as many draft picks as possible, and bottoming out in a way that would have gotten them relegated in more responsible leagues and countries. Instead, they got to load up on top tier young pitching in bulk, make a savvy move or three, get hot at the right time and hey presto! Someone's going to be a World Champion, and fail to defend it next year, and people will think that baseball needs the Yankees and Cardinals to get to the Series to get decent ratings.

Here's the problem with playoff baseball: there's too much of it. Baseball used to have a 162-game playoff season, in that its regular season was one of the few that was all-important and all-encompassing. Fall too far behind in the spring, and there was no back door wild-card way in. As few as four teams got in for all of baseball, which meant that pennant races, still the best thing about the sport even though it no longer really exists, went away.

Instead, we've got teams just making the playoffs as one of the top 40% of the league, winning small sample size series, and it's supposed to be an equivalent accomplishment. It's just not. It's like saying that a movie that comes out this year is the best of all time, because it does the most revenue, because ticket prices are higher now. The rules have changed, and will never come back to the way things were. Instead, we're going to have these random World Series, with random teams, and coin flip predictions.

So if you are a Mets fan, or a Royals fan, it's not that the rest of the world really hates your team, especially when you see bad ratings later. We just don't watch baseball unless Our Team(s) are involved, and in the case of the Mets and Royals... hell, I don't even have anyone on these teams to worry about, even in fantasy.

So, a prediction? Yeah, sure, why not. The Mets have better starting pitching, an offense that can put up crooked numbers, and a fan base that's grown suspiciously large in the last week or so. I'll take them in six, not watch much of it at all, and start thinking seriously about baseball in half a year.


Albert Klyachko said...

This was one of the best playoffs in several years. And the mets run this year has been nuts. So I think this baseball season was one of the most exciting in a long time.

Also, where do you get 40% from? And isn't basketball your favorite sport, where the regular season means nothing?

DMtShooter said...

If you care about the teams or players. The point I was making is that people are fans of MLB teams or players, not MLB itself. So if you have no horse in Mets-Royals, you don't watch. You can argue with me on that if you like; the TV ratings will prove it out.

Sometime in my lifetime, the Cowboys will play the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (It will happen. God is, basically, Beavis, and enjoys tormenting me.) I'll watch; I've watched every one since I was 8. I watch football. Whereas there have been many more WS that I haven't watched, than had.

40% is a whiff. I miscounted wild-card teams.

As for basketball's regular season meaning nothing, the last very low seed that went to the Finals were the Spreewell Knicks in the strike year, 15+ years ago. It may seem like it means nothing, but the regular season tells you who the best teams are. And the NBA Champs are never anything less than the best team.

Albert Klyachko said...

I just think baseball does the best job out of the other American sports at making the regular season mean as much as possible. Futbol is the true ideal but we're not getting rid of the playoffs here.

But this year's Mets run made me watch baseball again. Call it frontrunning or maybe me tanking our league helped, but I know I'm not the only one who would say that about this team and its run. And yeah the Royals are boring for me, but that just gives me more hope to an actual NY World Series win I'll be rooting for, unlike all those Yankee years.

DMtShooter said...

Baseball *did* that, before the wild-card. Now? No different than any other league.

If you like a team, and that team does well, you like baseball. I grew up Not Liking New York. Last year's Royals team had the same impact on other people, and the Giants made people in the Bay Area mark out, and so on, and so on. It's a regional game, masquerading as a national sport.

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