A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

It’s Time MLB to Change Postseason

Every year I question why on earth the season has to be so long. There are obviously many reasons for it; some are understandable, others not so much. People enjoy baseball a lot and are willing to pay to go to every game.

Then you have the higher-ups who just want as much money as possible with television contracts and ticket revenues.

The logic of a 162-game season and just an eight-team postseason doesn’t make sense. In the other major sports, more teams have the opportunity.

The NFL allows 12 teams out of 32 into the playoffs; the NHL allows 16 teams out of 30; the NBA 16 out of 30.

Now obviously for baseball purists, having that many games and so few postseason participants is what makes the game special and unique. I can’t argue with that. It’s a great game.

But I can’t help but wonder how teams with 90+ wins don’t get in simply because there’s not enough room.

And what’s the incentive for bad teams to continue competing past July?

“Hey guys, it’s not looking good for us 82 games in. But it’s almost over—oh wait, we have 82 more games to play. Damn.”

I enjoy parity and while baseball has gotten better with parity, it could use a more consistent format to bring it more to fruition.

This may seem like a crazy idea, but rock ‘n’ roll seemed like the dumbest idea ever at one point too.

This also comes on the heels of talks of having an amoeba-like division system; smaller market teams have a chance to switch divisions because they can’t compete with teams like the Yankees who fork out money like it’s cheese samples.

I’m not sure about that idea, but a new postseason debate needs to be started.

So, submitted for your difficult-to-get approval, here are some options for a new format:

1. Shorten the season by about 30 games (a month) and add two teams from each league to the postseason. This would take on an NFL-type format with the top two teams receiving byes. That doesn’t sound like baseball, but it does give two extra teams a chance.

2. Shorten the season by 30 games and add four teams from each league. This is the NHL and NBA style of doing things. The early series would have to be five games to keep things short.

3. Shorten the season by 30 games and keep the existing four-team postseason, but allow the division series to be seven games. Hopefully, this way November games would disappear, if not be few and far between. It also allows for more intense division and wild card races, with the shorter season.

4. Shorten the season by 15 games and allow five or six teams from each league in the playoffs. Then, execute a round robin format and have each team play the others four-five times. It’s the most radical suggestion so far, but have to throw everything out there, right?

5. Keep it as is.

There’s probably some variations of those options you can do to make it unique to baseball. I’m guessing I’ll see 95% opposition to this, but go ahead and let me know what you think in the comments — if it should be changed, any options you like, options of your own.

Let’s get the debate going.

–Ray

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | , , , | Leave a comment

Virginia Tech sweeps first 4 games of season

PUBLISHED Feb. 23, 2009

The Hokies opened their 2009 season by winning all four games this weekend in the Courtyard by Marriott Classic, held in Spartanburg, S.C.

The team scored 10 or more runs in each game, outscoring its opponents 57-19.

The first game, against UNC Asheville, ended in a 21-4 blowout. After allowing a run, Tech plowed through the Bulldogs’ pitching staff, which used six pitchers.

Junior college transfer Steve Domecus was hit by three pitches during the game and still went 2-for-4, driving in three and hitting a home run.

Senior standout Rhett Ballard pitched five solid innings where he struck out nine batters.

The second day of the Classic was a double-header against Wofford. Tech won 14-10 in the first game and 10-2 the second.

Junior catcher Anthony Sosnoskie hit two home runs and junior outfielder Steve Bumbry hit one in the first game.

Sosnoskie wasn’t done, belting another home run in the second game.

The final game was a 12-3 win over USC Upstate. Sean Ryan went 4-for-5 with three runs in the finale.

Sosnoskie won most valuable player honors for the event, batting .643, with three homers, two doubles and seven runs batted in.

The Hokies’ home opener comes against East Tennessee State, Tuesday at 3 p.m., on English Field.

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | , , | Leave a comment

Virginia Tech Baseball Outfield

PUBLISHED Feb. 19, 2009

The Hokie outfield has depth that maybe no other Tech team has seen in its past. It’s something head coach Pete Hughes thinks is a vital component to be competitive in the ACC.

“(This is) the most competitive position on our team,” Hughes said. “They’re (players) fighting for their life out there. There are six guys who can start for us.”

One thing that comes with depth is the fierce competition. Throughout the offseason, practices have been hard-fought by all the players.

“We’re going to be more competitive,” Hughes said, “Because every single practice and every single day those guys are fighting to get the edge over each other. That’s what great programs do. They have competition every single day.”

The six players competing are Klint Reed, Sean Ryan, Steve Bumbry, Steve Domecus, Mike Kaminski and Buddy Sosnoskie.

One thing they all share is good defense, another thing Hughes said is necessary to win games.

“First and foremost, we have to be able to defend, in this league, in the outfield,” he said.

Ryan had a .992 fielding percentage last year and is considered to be one of the best defenders in the ACC.

Bumbry fielded at a .985 clip in 2008. Both only committed one error over the course of the entire year.

Of course, defense doesn’t put runs on the board. Ryan has shown he is just as good offensively as he is out in the field.

Ryan batted over .300 last year despite an injured hip, which means — when healthy — there could be even more production out of the senior.

Bumbry was inconsistent last season, something Hughes said changed over the offseason, especially with his good showing in the intersquad Fall World Series.

Two junior college players, Domecus and Kaminski, bring much needed leadership to the team.

Domecus can play catcher as well, giving depth for that position. Hughes described Domecus as high-energy and meeting his leadership, maturity and productivity requirement for junior college players.

Hughes is also high on Kaminski.

“Mike brings power and speed to the table,” Hughes said. “He has power potential, and he is a very good defender in the outfield.”

Rounding out the six players are Reed and Sosnoskie. Reed touts a .976 fielding percentage. He batted .287 last season with 27 runs batted-in.

Sosnoskie was redshirted as a freshman because of a shoulder injury but can now play outfield and first base. Hughes expects him to be a great candidate for the very important leadoff spot.

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philadelphia wins… unfortunately

Nathan was nice enough to give the nice side of the story but I will not.

I was willing to be nice to Philadelphia but after the owner of the Phillies told fans to congratulate the Rays on a good season, more than 75% of the fans booed.  Show some class.  You have obtained the title as worst fans in the world (although you kind of already had it).  You beat a team who came from worst-to-first, dethroned the Red Sox (who you would have easily got beaten by), and you boo them.  That is truly disgusting.  Enjoy not winning another title for another 25 years.  That is your kharma.

I have nothing against the players, though.  I have always been a Cole Hamels fan (not just because his wife is hot), and it was good to see Brad Lidge get the save, after everything in Houston.  I hope his streak ends soon, however, because I am not a fan of someone being undefeated.  I like to see people humbled.

As much as I want to shout the Phillies suck, I can’t because they really are good.  Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, etc.

As for the Rays, they are not going to be good like this again next year.  I picked them in this World Series because most of the time, heart beats skill, but not this time.  They are the new Colorado Rockies (remember they were in the Series a year ago).  Next year is Toronto’s time to shine.  Halladay deserves it.

For all the Philly fans, two words: JOE CARTER!!!

Go Blue Jays!!!

Epic Win

Epic Win

-Ray

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shocktober!!!

Let’s do some math.

162 games + 48 saves + 11 wins + 40 man roster = x

Luckily, the MLB has done the math for us and solved for x.

X is equal to 1 World Championship for the city of Philadelphia.

A mixture of young all-stars and old veterans and one hell of a manager has led the Philadelphia Phillies to another world series title.

Everybody knew Philadelphia was good, but never this good. And no one would have predicted them to win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Congrats to the Rays on a phenomenal season and once again, congrats to all you Philadelphians.

Next year, the title is going to the north side of Chicago.  Hmm…I think I have heard this before, once or twice!

Lets Go Cubs!!!

Its gonna happen... they think.

It's gonna happen... they think.

-Nate

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WTHWWT – Week 5 (Nathan)

So, in a week where the MLB saw the Cubs and Angels get eliminated from the playoffs, and the NHL started another season, with two games over in Europe, there was another week full of upsets and surprises in the NFL. The stock market continues to hit rock bottom and the presidential candidates continue to tour the country in hopes of people’s votes. Wachovia was bought out by Wells Fargo, and the University of Michigan got blown out of the water by the Fighting Illini and Juice Williams. As society continues to go downhill, the thoughts of where this world will be one year from today is just scary and unpredictable. But when times turn rough, you can always count on these blogs to cheer you up.

Atlanta vs Green BayAaron Rodgers vs Matt Ryan. Both very young inexperienced, starting quarterbacks and Lambeau Field on the first weekend of October, it does not get any better than this. People were unsure of how Rodgers would play because of his shoulder injury, but in an attempt to beat Brett Favre’s record setting streak of continuous starts, Rodger suited up and played. In the end, Matt Ryan was the quarterback who was leaving the field as a winner. This is the third week in a row that I have had to write about the Packers which is not a good thing. Hopefully they get the team back on track on their way to Seattle to visit former head coach Mike Holmgren.

San Diego vs Miami – So as I should have done when picking my picks for the week, the Chargers will now be known as the Padres. Hopefully this will give them a reason to start winning… Miami once again surprised the league with another upset victory. The Miami Dolphins are the team that everyone is going to overlook this season. Expect the Dolphins to finish at least .500 this season. They are that good. Or that average. However you want to look at it.

Buffalo vs Arizona – If any Buffalo Bills fans thought that JP Losman was a good quarterback hopefully this week proved something to you. The only good thing JP is good for is riding the bench and maybe giving the plays to the quarterback. On his first drive, JP lost a fumble and the Cardinals subsequently scored on the following drive. Hopefully, Trent Edwards can heal up over the bye week and come back in two weeks and start at quarterback. Concussions are so unpredictable so I’m sure we won’t find out until next week whether he can play or not.

Pittsburgh vs Jacksonville – Once again, the Jaguars let me down. Their lack of a running game has imploded my fantasy teams all season long and until they find a decent tandem in the backfield, it’s going to be a long season for the Jags.  Jones-Drew and Taylor must pick it up for Jacksonville’s success. The Steelers are going to have another dominant year in their division and will end up making the playoffs once again.

So, as this will be my last blog before the NHL Season officially starts on Thursday, let me finish this by saying Go Wings… HEY HEY HOCKEYTOWN!

– Nathan

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Baseball, Football, Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dissecting the Blue Jays

This Blue Jays team as of late has shown the MLB what it can really do once it gets rolling. It was necessary for GM J.P. Ricciardi to fire then manager John Gibbons. He had shown the Jays’ potential but could never really activate the potential when need be. So it was time for a change. Former Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston replaced him and had a goal of a .500 record before the All-Star break. Toronto came close but did not achieve the .500 mark, but the message had been sent. The Blue Jays could come back into the AL Wild Card Race.

The Blue Jays lead the MLB in ERA with 3.55 and complete games (13). Ace Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett have been carrying the work load combining to pitch 437.1 innings and a combined 412 strikeouts. Unfortunately, their records have not really shown that with Halladay being 18-11 and Burnett 18-10. Still, the long innings these two pitch have helped to craft a very young bullpen still getting the hang of things. The only big name in the ‘pen is B.J. Ryan and has converted 30/34 save opportunities with 57 K – a solid season coming off Tommy John surgery. So, if you have pitching, you should be able to win games, right?

Well, let’s look at fielding, which was a problem for the Jays last year. After bringing in a slew of NL players in the offseason, the Jays are 6th in fielding percentage at .986. The defense is good, the pitching is fantastic. And the have a great offense already don’t they? With Rios and Wells? Not exactly…

Here is the struggle for Toronto: Offense. You can’t win games if you can’t get runs. Halladay doesn’t get you 5 runs for throwing a complete game, so the offense has needed to step up. Unfortunately, it has a little too late. Toronto is batting .265 on the season, good for 14th in the majors. A big problem has been missing ad that is a big bat in the lineup. Without Frank Thomas to protect young Rios and Wells, there have only been 117 homers hit out by Jays players: 25th in MLB.

Let’s focus a little bit more specifically on the offense. Believe it or not, there is not one Blue Jay that has 20 HR. The closest is Alex Rios with 17. Pitiful. Unacceptable in this day and age of the long ball. GM Ricciardi MUST address this in the offseason. If it means giving up a young pitcher or two, do it. You have got to manufacture runs. Keep in mind though, the Blue Jays have been bitte by the injury bug a lot this year, which they have the last two years. Only 3 players have played over 106 games (Overbay, Rios, Scutaro). Rios has been the money man for the Jays though, leaving me wondering if the Rios for Lincecum deal would have went through in the offseason if the Jays could do anything offensively. Rios has hit the most home runs, hits, doubles, and stolen bases. He can’t do everything though. He has got to have help. OF Vernon Wells just has never been the same since that huge deal a couple years ago.

There has been hope though! The last 30 days, the Jays are 4th in batting average, 4th in hits and the top 10 for most hitting categories in the MLB. They can do it. As much as I hate saying wait until next year, Jays fans, we are going to have to. Ricciardi will lose the big Burnett salary and hopefully can bring in some serious hitters, while keeping the main core of pitching together (Halladay, Marcum, McGowan, Litsch). Perhaps maybe bringing in a good arm or two for the bullpen. Maybe the slogan next year will be “Not the Rays, it’s the Jays!” Boston continues to get old, and the Yankees are a complete mess. It could very well be the Rays and Jays becoming the new Boston and New York. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

-Ray

September 18, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment