Major League Baseball’s playoff system isn’t broken –
The 162-game season is the best in the sport. Some will say it’s too long, but it’s a testing ground. When Major League Baseball instituted a new system this year that included a third wild card, fans quickly got over it until it affected them.
Some NL East fans are crazy
New York Mets fans and a few other fanbases are complaining today that the Philadelphia Phillies have just 87 regular season wins and are now National League and World Series champions. The Tampa Bay Rays had 86, but I never heard the outcry. Atlanta Braves fans aren’t happy either. Bad luck, if you win, you win, if you lose, good luck enjoying the cold and harsh winter.
The 1973 Mets only won 82 games
I was 10 in 1973. If you think I complained that the Mets made the playoffs with such a poor record, still the lowest win total ever in a division? Certainly not. I was ecstatic and Phillies fans have a right to feel that way too. Once you’re in, you’re in. Most of the time, teams that are just getting in get hot late in the season and carry on through to the playoffs.
The 2006 Cardinals won 83 regular season games
The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals broke the hearts of Mets fans to make it to the World Series and ultimately win it all. Their regular season record was 83-78. When they beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1, I didn’t hear an outcry that the Tigers had won more games and were the better team. If it happened, I missed it.
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The best team is the winning team
The best team is the one that sees it through an entire season. The 162-game marathon, then all the playoffs. You play injured, frustration sets in and players stop hitting and good pitchers have bad games. The playoffs are a different animal and it’s something that makes great television. If you haven’t watched, you’ve missed some exciting games.
MLB ratings are up
According Front Office Sports, the playoff ratings are in double digits! The Division series on TBS and Fox averaged 3.47 million viewers, which is the most-watched since 2017. Having both New York teams, the Dodgers, Phillies and Astros helped these figures. Cleveland was probably strong too. You can try to hit the playoffs, but that TV market mix was solid.
Payroll matters if you want list depth
The NLCS featured the Phillies, who were second in payroll, and the Padres who were third. The Astros were sixth in payroll and the Yankees were seventh. For successful outliers with low payrolls, like the Guardians, high-spending teams have the best odds of winning on average.