Monday, October 01, 2012

It's questionable whether the Detroit Tigers really belong in MLB's playoffs

I've been puzzled by the lack of excitement regarding the Tigers "pennant" race.
Pennant races don't happen very often in Detroit. The Tigers have not reached the postseason in back-to-back years since the mid-1930s.
Miggy and Prince, No.7 in the AL and headed to the postseason
To me, it doesn't matter. I remember the Cardinals having great teams year after year and faltering in the postseason. They had an 83-win team virtually back in the playoffs in 2006 - and they won it all. That is all anybody will ever remember.
But I must admit, the detractors do have a point, and there should be some concern that baseball is joining other sports by diluting its regular season product.
Through Sunday, the Tigers had an 86-73 record. Before baseball went to an playoff system in 1969, it would have placed the Tigers seventh in the American League. Not only are there six teams with better records than the Tigers in the AL, but only seven who are worse. The Tigers are in a not-so-epic battle with the Cardinals for which team will be the "least" of the "best" to make the postseason..
And the wild card system, even with a team added, does seem to lack fairness. The Angels and Rays are on the verge of missing the postseason if they have better records than the Tigers. You can wax poetic all you want about the glory of a pennant race (certainly I've done my share this summer), but in truth it hasn't been much of a race because the White Sox, literally, lose every day.
There is no downside for this town, however, to the Tigers being in the postseason, and they do have enough talent to make a run to the World Series.
But if we're really honest about it, reaching postseason will be more a reprieve than a triumph.
It'll be about what the Tigers make of the opportunity. Does anybody remember the NY Giants were 9-7 last season, or there were a dozen NHL teams who were better than the LA Kings? Or that the Cardinals sneaked into the playoffs on the last day of last year?
You can debate all you want whether the Tigers are worthy of their spot in the postseason, but it's almost an omen they will do something once they are there.
I don't know if it necessarily good for sports, but it's just the way it has become.


Blogger Barry said...

Well Pat, they are not the best team going to the playoff but I truly would not want to face them. If Max can come back, there starting pitcher is very good with a lot of depth in the bullpen on the right side. Which they didn't have last year. Having Smyly waiting in the wings is a nice option to have especially against left handed line-up. Coke is a bit weak on the left side though. If the bottom of the line-up starts hitting to go along with Cabrera and Fielder then you have lots of runs. Their defense is improved from last year with Delmon and Raburn on the bench. Key to the Tigers chances comes down to their pitching. I hope JL takes advantage of their depth.

11:53 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Preface - this reply will not jinx the final three games so that the Tiger's get swept and the White Sox sweep - (we are counting chickens before hatched and I don't need more egg on my face!)

Deluding the product? We are not a wild card candidate - we are (trying to win) the AL Central Division champs. I'm sorry the AL Central stinks - but it does - and the Tigers are the best of the stench!
Are the Angels and Rays better than the Tigers? Then let them lobby to be in the Central. Remember how Atlanta used to be in the West?

The issue seems more as two how decide divisions - and geography as the decisive determinator alone brings us to this place.

To fix this "problem" - a whole new mechanism of ranking teams and then evenly dstributing them across divisions would be needed. Then each year the divisions would be re-written and schedules couldn't come out for the next season until after the WS - maybe even borrow from the Engklish Premier League and drop the worst team and bring up 3A team in it's place ... or even better we switch to the College Football model and different arenas could invite the teams they want to play in the post season ... cool eh?


The good news, Pat - the GREAT NEWS is that with succe3ss comes complacency. But even still, I don't know anybody not excoted about this postseason - except a bunch of Blue Jay Fans over here who feel they must root Canadian.

Me ... I figure the Tigers are right where they should be - and as for rooting Canadian ... Detroit did fly the Quebec flag before the Louisiana Purchase ...

12:23 PM 

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