Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wild Card and Cactus

Take a look at these AL and NL Wild-Card standings:

AL Team W-L GB
Yankees 68-55 --
Athletics 68-55 --
Indians 69-56 --

NL Team W-L GB
Astros 67-58 --
Marlins 66-58 .5
Phillies 67-59 .5
Nationals 65-59 1.5
Mets 64-60 2.5

As Stu Scott said last night, this is punking "all those haaaters in the house that cried and went 'boooooo hoooooo,' saying the Wild Card is gonna ruin baseball."

That's not exactly how I would have put it in front of a national television audience, but he's right: The Wild Card turned out to be the greatest thing about the game of beisbol today. We've got a three-way tie in the Junior Circuit and five teams within three games in the Senior. Not exactly a bad thing to have eight teams vying for two spots (and four divisions are still up for grabs) this late in the season.

My obviously biased predictions: The Yank'ums take the AL WC because they'll finally figure out how to score clutch runs and not just hit in meaningless aituations, and the Marlins take the NL WC because their pitching staff from top to bottom is on an incredible run right now.

Sound off below, who do you think takes the final two playoff spots and why?

Slack Quote of the Day: From a WSJ article about U.S. birth rates compared to the rest of the world -- "Indeed, if fertility and mortality rates from 2001 continue, researchers say, Japan's population would drop to one person by the year 3300."

Slack Link of the Day: The new calypso-inspired CD from Michael Gordon (the G is soft) and Leo Kottke drops today, and the Burlington Free Press has a nice review.

For all the Phish-watchers that look to these articles like economists do Alan Greenspan's Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes, there's this:

"He noted that he and drummer Jon Fishman will probably collaborate at some point, and that Fishman played on Anastasio's upcoming CD and has recorded demos with Phish keyboardist Page McConnell. Just because Phish has broken up, Gordon said, doesn't mean they shouldn't play together in pairs every now and then."

Slack Song of the Day: In honor of Mike and Leo, here's a repeat of the Ya Mar I posted last week sometime...this is off the new album, and it's awesome. Definitely bodes well for the rest of the album, which you can sample at Mike's new website.


At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BA Baracus says the 2 A Teams

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I ain't gettin' on no mound, hannibal.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger MDS said...

The thing about the wild card is, of course it makes for some exciting races. But it also takes away some exciting races for the division, which become less exciting if you know the loser is getting the wild card. The real question is where do you draw the line? In the NBA, a lot of players (Shaq most notably) take plenty of games off in the regular season because they want to be at peak form for the playoffs. If only two teams from each conference made the playoffs, that wouldn't be as prevalent, and the regular season would be more exciting.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Like, for instance, in college football.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Are you honestly comparing the 12-game college football season to the 162-game regular season in baseball? C'mon, that's not a legit comparison. The ONLY thing baseball folks could do to make the regular season more important is to shorten it. And that's not gonna happen because the owners will never give up that revenue.

The wild card has definitely made for more exciting races overall (and the effect on divisional races has been negligible at worst) and it will continue to do so. Plus, a handful of WC teams even won the World Series the last few years, usually at the expense of the Yanks unfortunately.

Basically, I buy your regular season argument in every sport but baseball.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger John Howard said...

Baseball needed more teams n the playoffs, it's ridiculous that you could have had the 2nd best record in all of baseball and been left out, simply for not playing in the right division.

Basketball and football are different because a lot of teams already make the playoffs, adding more teams there would be silly. I don't know about hockey, since I don't pay any attention, but I suspect they have too many teams in the playoffs.

Anyway, as long as beseball doesn't add any more teams, they have it right. The division races are barely affected because only two of the division losers will get the wild card, and for it to have any negative impact, those two teams would have also had to be involved in division races, but even if they are, that race could be replaced by a possibly even better wild card race. Also, teams can be in both a division and a wild card race, which pits more teams against each ther opening up lots of different possibilities. Only idiots like Bob Costas are against the wild card, and only because they are stubborn, the fact is it has helped baseball.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger MDS said...

"Only idiots like Bob Costas are against the wild card"

OK, let's just calm down here. Free speech has its limits, and one of those limits is you can't go around calling Bob Costas an idiot. Bob Costas is brilliant. If you want to call someone who opposes the wild card an idiot, start with the only team owner who voted against the wild card, the man who is now president of the United States.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Baseball does have it about right now. The goal of playoff participation should be twofold.

1. Provide incentives for the top teams to keep playing well until the very end.

2. Provide an incentive for all but the worst teams to play well until near the very end. (Let's face it, some teams are hopeless).

This seems to be the case in baseball right now. But it does devalue the division crown, if you care about such things. Of course, creating more divisions watered that down more than the wild card did.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Holy shit, MDS, I'm not sure who you are, but get out of my head. I literally started to write this exact comment before I stopped and just moved on to the Doc post above.

Agreed, hating Bob Costas is showing yourself to be a douchebag. And I don't mean that as a compliment (as douchebags are hygenic products). I honestly think people who hate Costas are wholly insecure and totally incorrect.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger ethan said...

everyone talks about the fish's staff, but i think the stros have a scarier rotation.

and what's the deal with the costas fetish? he's a complete non-factor for me. what am i missing?

At 3:46 PM, Blogger TJ in OH said...

I too like the 'Stros to win the WC. It would be a great story to see the Phils pull it off without Thome, and I love seeing Petey Martin in October so sentimentally I'm rooting for the Metropolitans, but I have a feeling that 'Stros is spoken here.

The Indians have the easiest path the rest of the way in the AL, but really...who cares about that glorified softball league? Aren't they playing with aluminum bats this year? (just trying to raise your ire, Acey)

I'm hot and cold with Costas. I got really sick of his casual familiarity with the Bulls during their run, but had to give him props when I heard he refused to interview the mother of that girl that got killed in Aruba when he was subbing for Larry King. That sort of thing ain't Bob's bag, baby.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Costas has the total package. Good voice, knows his stuff, does his research, provides amusing anecdotes during downtime, and he's never overexcited like a pro-wrestling announcer or Joe Theisman.

He was also once in an uncomforable sketch on Saturday Night Live with Jimmy Smits in which Smits is starting a new job in a news department and everyone there is white, but speaks with a mexican accent for certain words like Tornado and Colorado.

Ah, here's the transcript:


Good sense of humor.

By the way Ace, your word verification thing is having me write the word "sucks" right now.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I'd like to see the Astros win the WC for two reasons...first, because they were like 70 games back in the division and they climbed their way back to respectability. Gotta hand it to a team that doesn't give up.

Secondly, Andy Pettitte was by far my favorite Yankee for the last 10 years, and I'd like to see him get into the playoffs and pitch big games. There's a crazy stat that Pettitte pitched Game 2 of every ALDS the Yanks played in from 95-03. At least I think that's right.

TJ, nice try, but it's well-documented that despite being a Yankee fan I enjoy NL ball much more than AL. And I will bait ya right back and say your arrogance on this subject continues to rival the supposed East Coast mentality you so openly disdain.

And while I agree on the fact that the Aruba story is NOT news and all the shiite on CNN should not be national stories, I actually am gonna flip the script and say Costas was out of order. He knew what he was getting into when he decided to take over for Larry temporarily. This shit is Larry's show, and Costas had to know that. Unless of course he made a deal that includes the right to be managing editor and in charge of all editorial decisions. I like Costas, and I guess I agree with him here (I really do), but I'm wondering why he took the job if he didn't want to play the stupid CNN game.

And Noonan, that was a great skit, I loved that one.


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