Breezing Through the Division Series?
Hey everyone, I’m back from a week of travels and ready to tackle the heavy hitting issues with the vicious wit and side splitting humor you’ve come to know and love. Ok…well….I’m back at least.
So over the weekend we saw the MLB playoff picture continue to take shape. The Cubbies were swept by the Dodgers. Apparently this year it was the fault of one of the stadium hot dot vendors. He delivered cold hot dogs to some of the Cubs players, which therefore distracted them so much that they couldn’t win a game.
In other news, the Phillies knocked out the Brewers to move on to the NLCS for the first time since 1993. That’s about the only thing they have in common with that year’s team. The 2008 Phils have less hair, smaller waists, and fewer tobbacco stains on their jerseys.
In the other two series, the White Sox stayed alive by defeating the Rays in game 3, and the Angels are trying to fight off elimination by the Red Sox. I may have to wrap this up before that game concludes, so my apologies for the lack of an up to date post.
Is it just me, or have the Division Series been slightly anti-climactic the last few years? I don’t mean that the teams involved haven’t been interesting, it’s just that there haven’t been a lot of nail-biting match-ups in recent memory.
Consider this: in 2007, three of the division series were sweeps and the fourth only went to 4 games. In 2006, two were sweeps, and the other two went 4 games. In 2005, two were sweeps, one went 4, and one went the full 5. Put that all together and in the three years of playoffs prior to this year, the winning teams in the Division Series were 36-6. How is there so much imbalance when the top teams in the game are playing each other? Is it luck? Is it more? Or both perhaps?
I’ve heard players mention before that there is a world of a difference between a 5 game series and a 7. At first I didn’t quite get it, as I didn’t see the difference in just 2 extra games. But the more we’ve seen of division play I can see what they mean. When it’s best of 5, the importance of every play, hit, and pitch is magnified even more. Bottom line is, there is almost no room for error. It’s much harder to come back from a mistake in a short series, and the concept of “getting hot at the right time” comes into play even more.
The last couple of years, the idea has been floated that perhaps the season should be shortened by a couple of games so that the Division Series should be lengthened to 7 games, and I think that would be a good decision.
It’s not that I think the outcome of the playoffs has been drastically altered due to the short first round. I mean let’s face it, if a team loses the first 3 games, it’s unlikely they would be able to come back even if it were best of 7.
However, I do think the short series changes the feel of the series. It feels more rushed and you almost feel like that first game determines the whole outcome. And as I stated above, the last three years of Division Series haven’t provided the kind of back and forth outcome that we had seen prior to that.
Perhaps it’s just a weird phase the game is going through. After all, the imbalance hasn’t stopped there: the last four champions have won the World Series with a combined record of 16-1.
But I believe the Division Series has a bit of a different tone to it, and because of that I think it would be a good move to change it to 7 games. I think it would allow for even greater competition and energy.
Plus, it would give the Cubs a chance to lose one more playoff game each year.