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Thoughts on realignment, more wild-cards

Nov 17, 2011, 9:16 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Bud Selig announces his sport's pending changes today in Milwaukee.

We've known about the likelihood of the Astros' move to the American League and the addition of another wild-card team in each league for a while now. But both changes became official today at the owners meetings in Milwaukee, with commissioner Bud Selig announcing Houston's league switch in 2013 and the expanded playoff format that could take effect as soon as next season.

Why were these changes necessary? Well, since baseball expanded to 30 teams in 1998, the two leagues have featured imbalanced divisions. The NL, which has had 16 teams, has five teams in both the East and West divisions but six in the Central. The AL, which has had only 14 teams, has five teams in the East and Central but only four in the West. Is it really fair that the Rangers had to beat only three opponents to win their division while the Brewers had to beat five rivals to win theirs? No.

So the Astros, as part of their sale to businessman Jim Crane, have agreed to relocate to the AL West beginning in 2013. They'll give up more than five decades of history in the NL, but they'll now be pairedRead more »

  1. John C. - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Mark, are they retaining the Division prohibition on the Divisional Series? As it stands now, a Division winner does not have to face a Divisional foe in the DS round. Thus the Rays played the Rangers even though the Yankees finished with the top record in the AL and normally would have played the wild card team. If two teams play off for the right to go, and the winner is in the same division as the #1 team, would they still go play a team from another division in the DS round?Obviously if both wild cards were from the same division, as would have been the case in the AL this year with the Rays and Red Sox, they would still play each other in the Wild Card Round.

  2. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    You are 100% correct regarding the notion that a single Wild Card play-in game is somehow reasonable and fair. They might as well flip a coin or stage a home-run-hitting contest between each team's clean-up hitter.As for daily inter-league games, I am no worse than agnostic and perhaps even a bit in favor of that scheme. I have always found the blocs of inter-league games much too gimmicky for my taste. I understand that the unbalanced size of the two leagues made something of that sort necessary AND that MLB wanted to highlight the inter-league games when they first got started. But now I find the notion of all the teams playing their inter-league series at the same time to be 'annoying' (to use my teenager's favorite and most damning put down). I think, if anything, the daily games could limit attention to inter-league play — although I would certainly be in favor of deep-sixing the DH if that were possible.

  3. Section 221 (formerly Section 223) - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    I couldn't agree more with not needing or wanting another playoff team. This is the kind of gimmick you get from a used car salesman. Standard of excellence used to mean home field advantage in the World Series. Now it means you have enough relief pitchers in the All Star Game. I can't wait for Selig to just go away and leave this game the heck alone.

  4. Section 222 - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    You make a good case Mark, but I like the change. I'd much rather have the division races mean something. If you don't win your division, then I don't think you have a right to complain about having a much better record than some other WC team and having to beat them in a playoff to continue in the post season. I think the only reason that a lot of people now think that nothing was broken is the amazing last day of the season this year. But in a number of recent years past, there was little drama, and even the spectacle of teams not caring if they won their division, or preferring the wild card spot depending on who the opponent would be. This change makes pennant races matter, and I like that. Do I care if the wild card team with the better record doesn't advance? Not really. And those sudden death games could be pretty darn exciting. They also give the division winners a bit of an additional advantage because the WC teams will want to use their aces in the playoff.

  5. Hotdiggitydog - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Couple of thoughts:1) a one-game playoff is ridiculous. As another poster noted, you might as well flip a coin.2) Having the two WC teams face off, probably means that the winning WC team would not be able to use their Ace pitcher for Game 1 of the Divisional Series. So, I suppose this rewards teams for a strong regular season.

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    Off-topic, but the Cubs have hired Dale Sveum as manager for a three-year deal with an option for a fourth.

  7. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    I think the one-game format devalues winning what amounts to half a wild card, and not making the "real" playoffs. And with umpiring as unpredictable as it's been, they're almost guaranteeing an awkward problem.

  8. natsfan1a - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Yeah, I saw that. Seems that the Red Sox are the last team ISO a skipper at this point.Still trying to wrap my head around the playoff stuff but have to say that Bud pic is creeping me out.

  9. FS - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    I am not sure what I dislike more: inter-league games all season or another wild card. Why do we have two separate leagues with different ideas about the game if we are going to have DH in one series for a NL lineup and then not have it the next series? Think about changes 25-man roster will go through every other weekend?

  10. Anonymous - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    I'm not a fan of the new wildcard unless its the Nats who benefit from it in 2012. In that case, God bless the new format and I welcome post season baseball to DC.

  11. Positively Half St. - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    I would be more interested in this if they instituted a "2-game best-of-3" for the Wild Card teams. Let the better WC team start 1-0 in the series automatically. The better team has to win one game, but the other has to win two to advance. This makes the first wild card more valuable.+1/2St.

  12. Will - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    This helps the Nationals playoff chances immensely.I support things that improve the Nationals playoffs chances, whatever the method may be.Therefore, I support adding another wild card. You should too.

  13. John C. - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Why is it OK to have a one game "play-in" game (see, e.g., Mets-Reds 1999 or Yankees-Red Sox 1978) but not a one game playoff? It seems to me that the distinction is one of semantics. Don't want a one-game "playoff" (despite the fact that the impact is exactly the same as a playoff round)? OK, call the game a "play-in" regular season game and have done with it. Don't want to have to go through a one-and-done scenario? Win your foofnarfeling division.I'm for less interleague play rather than more, for having home field in the WS alternate leagues or (better) go to the team with the better record, and for a balanced schedule so teams don't have an advantage trying for the playoffs because either they play in an easier division or have an easier interleague schedule. But that's just me :)

  14. Unkyd - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    natsfan1a said:Woo hoo! Saved by the new post. (I hope you meant colonoscopy rather than colostomy, Unk. Either way, good luck.)——Right you are! I can never seem to say, or it write it, correctly…..thanks!!

  15. Anonymous - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Will, that prettydopey. Letsthen just really help tbeNats and go with 16playoff teams.

  16. Will - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    Mark, so what if teams with 88 wins make the playoffs? Or even 84 win teams for that matter.It wasn't that long ago when the Cardinals won the World Series despite only winning 83 games that season.Adding more wild cards ensures that the best teams make the playoffs, not simply the best team based on some odd, out-dated, pseudo-geographical metric like divisions. Remember when the 84 win Dodgers made the playoffs in 2008, even though the Mets were 5 games better?Or how about the 85 win 2007 Cubs making the playoffs ahead of the 89 win Padres?Or the 82 win 2005 Padres instead of the 88 win Phillies.And that's just within the last 6 years! I'm a fan of fairness, and adding another wild card ensures that the best teams make the playoffs. And that sounds pretty fair to me.

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    (I hope you meant colonoscopy rather than colostomy, Unk. Either way, good luck.)——Right you are! I can never seem to say, or it write it, correctly…..thanks!! Ummm, have you doublechecked this with your doctor? 'Cause that could make for a really awkward post-op. Just sayin.

  18. Will - Nov 17, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Anon,The ultimate goal of being a fan is wanting your team to win the championship. This increases the Nats chances.I could care less about what is proper or right. Last I checked, the entire idea of a playoff system rewards bad teams. If we wanted to anoint the best team the champions, then we would simply give the WS trophy to the team with the best record at the end of the season, like they do in most non-American soccer leagues. But we don't. So I see no reason why any Nationals fan would be opposed to any initiative that increases the Nationals chances of making the playoffs by at least 3.3%.

  19. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    John C @ 5:38,The difference — in my mind, at least — is that the one-game play-ins take place when two teams have exactly the same records after 162 games. And whether it's for a division championship or the wild card spot, I can live with playing one extra game to finish off the season and give us a bit — and it is just a tiny bit — of differentiation.But if you have two teams with different records — and there have been a number of cases where the difference between the wild card team and the next runner-up was more than six or seven games — I just don't see how a one-game playoff is appropriate. That said, I do see some virtue in the argument that you (and some others) have made, i.e., that 'if you don't want a one-game playoff, win your division'. And since this a already-made decision, we'll all just have to live with it and see how it plays itself out.

  20. Anonymous - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    This move will add fan interst and push up attendance too. Makes sense for MLB to add another playoff spot. The 1 game playoff will be a big hit, I would guess. And the AL West having 4 teams and the NL Central having 6 was stupid; and Houston cannot be complaining much as they have 1 less club to try to beat and Carlos Lee was built to play in the AL as much as any player ever has been. Can my seemingly once crazy in their boldness expectations that Rizzo provide us a Wild Card worthy club on opening day 2012 get some more support now? :-)dfh21

  21. joemktg - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    1) The team that plays the winner of the one game playoff benefits two ways: (a) the starter for the wild card winner, ostensibly having already pitched in the play-in game, is available for only one more start in the Division Series, while (b) the #1 guy for the division winner gets two starts on the bump. I like the concept (keeps more teams in the October discussion), but that wild card winner is going to be at a disadvantage in the next series, and that disadvantage doesn't exist today.2) Thankful they eliminated the inequity that existed between AL West (1 in 4 chance of winning the division) and the NL Central (1 in 6).3) The DH will never leave us, so the only thing that the anti-DH crowd can do is keep the NL safe from that monstrosity.

  22. natsfan1a - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    LOL, sec3 (literally)! That dog has been schooled.

  23. Anonymous - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    Please excuse my knee-jerk reaction, but come on, really, Bud Selig? Wow. Just when I think he can't get any worse, he proves me wrong. One thing I liked about baseball was that, in a playoff series, I felt that over the course of 5 or 7 games, the better team won. I could live with that. But a 1 game playoff "series"? Selig continues to make a travishamockery of the national pastime. No problems moving the 'stros, they were always kind of the odd man out in the NL West then the NL Central. I am an NL guy, so I have never really feel comfortable with the DH rule, but it does lead to a different style of baseball – both tactically and strategically. I understand that MLBPA will never let the DH go, so I've just learned to live with it.

  24. Section 222 - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Rock on dfh21! The Nats now have a shot at being the second WC with 88 wins, with Strasburg pitching the play-in game because they saved five or six innings before shutting him down, just in case. And voila, playoff baseball at Nats Park in October 2012. Woo hoo! Now let's go get the pieces we need to make it happen. Or should we be satisfied with another 3rd place finish and wait for 2013 or 2014?

  25. Anonymous - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    I still think the best scenario is a quasi-return to the glory years. 1) expand the current AL by two teams. Charlotte and Portland, maybe Nashville, wherever.2) make each league 2 8-team divisions. AL: New York, Boston, Toronto, Tampa, Baltimore, new team, Detroit and Cleveland in the east (where they used to be). Texas, Kansas City, Chicago, Minnessota, new team, Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle in the west. NL: Philly, New York, Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Cincy, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee in the east. Houston, St. Louis, Chicago, Colorado, Arizona, San Diego, LA and San Fran in the west.3) Institute 3 or more day/night doubleheaders per team per season, to free up 3 or more days in late September or October.4) have a three-day, three-game series between 4 wild card teams, seeded 1-4. There would be no restrictions on which division the 4 came from, so theoretically, 5 teams from the NL east could reach the playoffs, along with the west division winner.5) The wild-card series winners go on to face the division winners in the second round best of 5, just like today.Winning your division gets you a 4 day break, which seems fair to me. The leagues are balanced, the divisions are balanced. Anyone in the Central Time Zone who complains about their team having lots of games against Pacific teams, hey, sucks to be you.

  26. Feel Wood - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    There's probably no way around this, because despite the support in many corners for the abolition of the DH, the players association will never go for it.If the DH position continues to become marginalized as it has been lately, the players association might not complain about eliminating it. It used to be that teams gave their DH slot to an aging player who couldn't play the field any more, making it an extra year or two of payday for 14 older high-salary guys. But if teams continue the trend of making the DH slot just another position by using multiple guys instead of having a full-time DH, then the number of guys who are getting an extra year or two out of it that they wouldn't be getting otherwise diminishes to the point where that may not be an issue any more. Roster size is still 25, so it's not like the total number of major league jobs would go down if there's no DH.

  27. Feel Wood - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    I'm all for giving division winners more of an advantage — there's really no incentive at the moment for winning your division over winning the wild-card, aside from one extra home game per series — but I don't think the answer is to expand the postseason to include even more teams.One way of giving the division winners an advantage is to give the wild card team a disadvantage. If a team decides that it's going to play for a wild card slot instead of going all-out for a division title (for example, to save its best starters for the playoffs) it will now have to do that with the knowledge that it could be knocked out of the playoffs entirely in the wild card matchup. If a team wins the division, it has the advantage of being able to coast into the playoffs, get its rotation set up, etc.

  28. Unkyd - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    (I hope you meant colonoscopy rather than colostomy, Unk. Either way, good luck.)——Right you are! I can never seem to say, or it write it, correctly…..thanks!! Ummm, have you doublechecked this with your doctor? 'Cause that could make for a really awkward post-op. Just sayin'…And………………….. Sec 3, My Sofa said…Ha ha, Biff! Guess what? I'm going to the vet to get tutored!November 17, 2011 5:57 PM—————Yep. No baggie required! And it's good to know I can simply show up, mistype something, and foster some silly banter… ;-DNow, I never would have thought that I would favor another WC, but the "Ace missing the first game of the Div makes it good for me…And, dfh…… That's the part I was already with you on….GYFNG!!!!

  29. Feel Wood - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    Can my seemingly once crazy in their boldness expectations that Rizzo provide us a Wild Card worthy club on opening day 2012 get some more support now? :-)dfh21The problem with you is not that you want to have expectations of a wild card team. The problem with you is that you demand that your expectations be fulfilled in exactly the way YOU prescribe. Must have leadoff hitter. Must sign expensive FAs. Etc. Etc. Otherwise, FAIL. You don't want expectations of a wild card team, you want the Offseason Championship, just like all those idiotic Redskin fans.

  30. DL in VA - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    I have to agree to an extent to the problems with the one game wild card. Essentially, for Team Five, the one game play-in could be the Magic 10 Win Game, worth 10 wins. Reds got 96 wins to get the wildcard, and the Giants get 86 to win the second wild card? No problem… if you're the Giants. If you win the Magic 10 Win Game, you're in, and the Reds are out.I'd be happier if it were a 3 game series. Or, another idea that I've kicked around in my head is the CONDITIONAL wild card: if you're 10 games out, you're outta luck. The fourth place team automatically advances. But if you're only 3 games out, you force the wildcard play-in game. I'd be much less concerned by a 3 win game than a Magic 10 Win Game.

  31. Unkyd - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    Hmmmmmm…….

  32. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    Feel Wood — When did I say they had to sign expensive free agents? I never said that. If you want to keep this vendetta against me going becasue I am harder on Rizzo than the next guy, ok, do what moves you, but at least use some actual facts. What I want is for the club to have a shot on paper as of opening day to win a WC spot in 2012. And I think that if Rizzo does not do that he should get axed. Disagree all you want, but don't conjure falsehoods. I used a lead-off man as an example, I never demanded it be someone expensive or a FA, and there were no other etc. etc.'s I said that there were a lot of different ways Rizzo could get one and I did not care exactly which way he goes so long as he fills the glaring void. Do other people prescribe the club go without a lead-off man?dfh21

  33. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    Banter or not, it's always nice to "see" you on here, Unk. :-)

  34. Section 222 - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    But but dfh21, didn't you hear that Davey is happy with Desmond as our leadoff hitter if that's way it turns out? Bleh.Rizzo should be judged on whether he meets the goals he himself set — a leadoff hitter/outfielder and a middle of the rotation innings eater (not Livo). I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised. There are alot of options out there.

  35. Tegwar - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Both are a horrible idea! Having an interleague game every day will bring about the death of the NL. It won't happen overnight it will probably take 15 to 20 years. Casual fans tend to like the DH better and MLB wants to attract more of them. The die hard baseball fan will begrudgingly accept it. Adding a WC team will create scenarios that are difficult to contemplate or explain. Mark showed the 3 team tie but what about two teams battling for the division title with maybe 96 wins apiece and the WC team is back with maybe 84 wins with two or three games left in the season. The 84 win team could rest its best pitchers for the WC game while the two other teams battle it out. The extra WC team also adds to the possibility that a team with a losing record could play in the playoffs and maybe become champion. This is something that should never be allowed to happen in any sport, it makes a mockery of the season.

  36. DL in VA - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Section 222 said: Rizzo should be judged on whether he meets the goals he himself set — a leadoff hitter/outfielder and a middle of the rotation innings eater (not Livo). I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised. There are alot of options out there.————I don't know if I can agree. I think a GM should be judged favorably on not giving in to making a bad trade just to meet a goal (like Ramos for Capps) as much as he should be lauded for making a good trade (like Capps for Ramos).

  37. Tim - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    They better be figuring out the tie-breakers. I can see that happening frequently. Personally, I like more playoff opportunities. Makes for a more exciting September, although it'd be tough to top 2011.

  38. FS - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    I am not sure why everyone believes that division winners should be given any other advantage besides home-field against wild card. Wild card winners usually have to win 90 or so games to qualify which is not significantly different than division winners. If a wild card team is behind a division winner by 1 game, you want 95-game WC1 winner to face off against a 85-game WC2 winner for what? You are telling me that you want A's of 2001 (102-60) face off against Twins (85-77)? I know I am picking an example that suits my argument and there probably are counter-examples to this. however baseball season is a marathon, if you run out of steam at the end of the season, too bad for you. Postseason should not wait or be tailored for you to catch a break. It would be sad if Nationals make it to postseason for first time as second wild-card, no matter whether they go past the first round or not. I think this whole move is about money. More postseason games, more money on-the-bubble teams.Anyways, I am still disgusted by having inter-league all season long. I am surprised not more fans are complaining.

  39. Feel Wood - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    What I want is for the club to have a shot on paper as of opening day to win a WC spot in 2012. And I think that if Rizzo does not do that he should get axed. Disagree all you want, but don't conjure falsehoods. I used a lead-off man as an example, I never demanded it be someone expensive or a FA, and there were no other etc. etc.'s I said that there were a lot of different ways Rizzo could get one and I did not care exactly which way he goes so long as he fills the glaring void.My point exactly. You insist that the club have a shot on paper as of opening day to win a WC spot in 2012. But how do you determine that they have a shot? There's no algorithm, no SABR pseudo-stat for that. It has to be the way YOU want it to be. So really, what you're saying is that if Rizzo can't GUARANTEE a wild card spot to your satisfaction before the season even starts, he has failed and should be fired. Do you not see how ridiculous you sound? Go root for the Yankees or Red Sox if you're going to have an attitude like that. You'll fit right in there.

  40. Feel Wood - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    Mark showed the 3 team tie but what about two teams battling for the division title with maybe 96 wins apiece and the WC team is back with maybe 84 wins with two or three games left in the season.In that case they could just declare the two tied teams as co-division winners, with no need for a tiebreaker or wild card play-in game. Just proceed straight to the playoffs with those four teams.

  41. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Rizzo should be judged on whether he meets the goals he himself set — a leadoff hitter/outfielder and a middle of the rotation innings eater (not Livo). He didn't meet the goal he set last offseason to sign a starting pitcher. Yet the team still improved by 11 wins. Would you have fired him anyway because he failed to meet his offseason goal? If not, then if the same scenario repeats again this year it sounds like you're saying he should be fired this time around. Why?

  42. Tegwar - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    FS you are correct this is only about money but it is really being done to help the big market teams.Adding more playoff teams really helps the teams that spend a lot of money. Adding extra teams will almost guarantee that the Yankees and Boston make the playoffs every year. I know most people look at it differently but spending money adds depth and over a 162 games this will almost always give you a winning team, maybe not a great team but a team that will make the playoffs. I would be surprised if Boston or the Yankees every miss the playoffs again.

  43. FS - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    Tegwar, big market teams do bring more money than others because ratings for postseason will be higher and so on.

  44. sjm308 - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    dfh:You have battled back & forth with various people all day, you must be exhausted – my stance is that I am not about firing Rizzo at any time in the near future. Rizzo has done a nice job so far and like Theo and several others I will keep my season tickets to go enjoy the game of baseball in my hometown. I am not crazy about "fans" like yourself that are always up in arms and wanting change. This is a team that has improved for 3 straight years and you are still screaming for someone to be fired. I can only guess that you have no experience in management and are frustrated with more than our nats. Go sell you season tickets, find a nice hobby that does not involve the stress of winning & losing and enjoy yourself for a change. I will chose to root for our boys, our front office and yes, even our owners as I enjoy an overpriced beer in a nice park watching the best players in the country make at least one outstanding play each and every game. I am not calling you any names or trying to pick a fight, I just find it silly to jump up and down and scream about firing someone who in my opinion does a better job then most of the GMs in this league. My other point is, who would you hire? Its just silly to speculate on stuff like this.

  45. MW - Nov 18, 2011 at 5:13 AM

    "So that means there's going to be one interleague series on Opening Day 2013, not to mention another one during the season's final week. It's not an ideal scenario, but the once-hard line between the two leagues has been disintegrating for a long time already, so this is only the latest move in that direction."Just the latest example of how the current commissioner is ruining the uniqueness of our game. I hate Bud Selig, the DH, ANY interleague play, wild-card teams that win the WS, players voted onto the All-Star team that are allowed to take time off to rest marginal "injuries" instead of making an appearance, paying a "convenience fee" for the privilege of using my own printer for my ticket, promotional ads for common football games during the World Series, 30 bucks to park near a stadium, 10 bucks for a dog and a soda, and team owners that are encouraged to think they have to move spring training sites to avoid an extra 45 minutes on a friggin bus a couple of times a week – and then charge 20+ dollars to see games loaded with future minor leaguers until almost the last week of camp.If BS (pun intended) insists on turning the MLB postseason into something akin to the NBA, maybe he should retire and go see if he could help them out of their current situation.

  46. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Feel wood — your inability or unwillingness to understand plain language is confounding, and your repeated misreprestnations of my statements are puzzling too. I'm punting. If Rizzo does not provide a roster than can win in 2012, fair enough, maybe we can at least agree that the lines on Metro will not be long at game time.sjm — you're worse. Arrogance and pontifications as to how I should enjoy the game for the sake of the game the same way you do (please let me know when the appropriate amount of time has passed before I am allowed to feel that the club should do more to win), and your suppositions and out of hte blue judgments are more than a bit much. You think I need a hobby? Though at least you were funny — it being "just silly to speculate on stuff like this"? Yeah, no one does much speculation on Nats Insider. dfh21

  47. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    FWIW, MW, Selig *is* retiring after next year. So there's that.And one might argue that arguing, itself, is pointless, since it never seems to change anybody's opinion about anything around here, as far as I can tell. Nevermind arguing about arguing.

  48. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    I cannot argue with that.dfh21

  49. Steve Sax - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    i think mlb should move to a bcs format and let a computer program determine who makes the "playoffs" or what we'll call basebowl games. each team only plays once, then, for the opportunity to win their bowl.

  50. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    Quoted for truth, as the kids say.Sec 3, My Sofa said… And one might argue that arguing, itself, is pointless, since it never seems to change anybody's opinion about anything around here, as far as I can tell. Nevermind arguing about arguing. November 18, 2011 8:25 AM

  51. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    I remember that 2006 Phillies team well because they faced John Patterson in RFK stadium on the last game of the season. They needed a Houston loss and Phillies win to earn a 1 game playoff. There were Phillies fans there but not as many as we're now accustomed to. Patterson had an uncharacteristically terrible performance, but Houston was winning and I remember the Nats fans chanting "Let's go Houston" in response to "Let's go Phillies" chants. Crazy to think how much the NL dynamics have changed since then. It was also the first game I saw Zim play in the majors.

  52. DFL - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Bud Selig is a one man wrecking crew of baseball. He's a Groundhog Day Black Sox scandal, slowly unwinding his cancer into the body of baseball. Whether it was his feigned ignorance of the steroid abuse that has fouled a fifteen year epoch of baseball history, his politically correct all encompassing retirement of Jackie Robinson's jersey number for all the teams of baseball, his adoption of the affirmative action NFL Rooney rule and his explosion of wild cards NHL-NBA-NFL style, he has done the exactly the wrong thing when it came to the National Pastime. The only good thing to occur on Selig's watch is the return(in most cases) to true baseball fields on grass and out-of-doors.Being the spectator sport that is most traditional, baseball should go back to the past. Two leagues and no wild cards. Ban the Designated Hitter. Phase out what's left of the astroturf domed stadiums. A World Series that ends sometime in mid-October.

  53. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Show of hands, how many thought he was going to go for the dead ball and segregation, too?

  54. DFL - Nov 18, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    No seg and no dead ball. But please add in no interleague play. Interleague play for Spring Training, the All Star Game, and the World Series.What would Mr. Sofa want? A BCS computer seeding of teams as mentioned by a previous poster? Maybe an 8 team playoff for each league? A green or orange baseball? Aluminum bats? Communications devices for all the players? A 7 run mercy rule? A double DH rule so that good fielding shortstops who can't hit can play? Free flowing substitution like hockey and football? Modernity is so grand.

  55. Scooter - Nov 18, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    My g-d, Sofa, it's like DFL has read everything you ever wrote. That's your entire platform, isn't it? (Well, except for the coeducational requirement.)

  56. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 19, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    He left off "last batted out pinch runs for the catcher with 2 outs." Speeds the game up. Oh, and more car insurance commercials.

Archives

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Brent Harris every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.

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