Saturday, October 8, 2005

The Weird Division Series

I'm not a fan of the division series and I've figured out why. Originally I was opposed to another round of playoffs being added to baseball. But there are also some odd things that go with the division series.

For instance, it's only five games. In 1985 after baseball realized that the 5 game LCS just wasn't doing it, it stretched it to 7 games. I know of nobody that disagrees with that move. Yet, we're back to a 5 game series. There are also too many of them. Four going on at once with odd playing times. The 2-2-1 format, while superior to the old 2-3 format that prevented the opening team from viewing the clinching game on their field, has that weird one game at the end. Some teams have to travel 3000 miles late at night just to immediately head back home again.

But the biggest reason it's not a hit is I believe is this: the winner of the division series doesn't win anything except being able to advance on to the LCS. When a team clinches first place it wins the division flag. Or crown or championship, or whatever you call it. It wins a title. It gets bragging rights over the other teams in the division. It gets to print up T-shirts and raise a flag on opening day. A big celebration takes place. The same with the pennant. Win the LCS and you win the league. Again, bragging rights and a title. A trip to the World Series. Raise a flag. With the World Series you get the biggest prize of all. The trophy, a ring, the title and a parade. With each clinching of the division, pennant and World Series, there are tangible rewards, something to play for, spoils, booty and take home.

Win the division series and there's nothing to take home. No flags, no bragging rights, no rings or titles. It doesn't even have an MVP award. It's also the biggest yawn of them all. I like the LCS the best.

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