September 20, 2006

Bizarro World Series!

I wonder how fun a sort of Loser's Bracket postseason would be to watch? Like say, the inverse of the current baseball postseason structure of 3 division champs (west/central/east) in each league, plus 1 wild card each (team w/best record that's not already a div. champ). There's still a week left in the season, but I'm pretty confident that the Bizarro World Series would be culled from these, the currently worst teams in baseball:

American League: East- Tampa Bay Devil Rays (58W-94L); Central- Kansas City Royals (also 58-94); West- Seattle Mariners (73-79). Wild Card: Baltimore Orioles (East, with a record of 66-86).

National League: East- Washington Nationals (66-86); Central- those poor, poor Chicago Cubs (62-91); West- Colorado Rockies (71-81). Wild Card: Pittsburgh Pirates (64-87).

Here's a win/loss record benchmark to see how bad the worst really are- Both New York teams have clinched their respective divisions at this point: Yankees (92-60) and Mets (92-59). (Incidentally they last met in the World Series in 2000).

I don't remember how the matchups go as far as who starts off against who in the division champ series, so I just thought I wouldn't have 2 teams from the same division begin against each other:

American:
Tampa Bay vs. Seattle
Kansas City vs. Baltimore

National:
Washington vs. Chicago
Pittsburgh vs. Colorado

Also, here are the current records each team has against the other:

Nationals are 4-2 vs Cubs, 3-3 vs Pirates, 0-8 vs. Rockies.
Cubs are 1-2 vs. Rockies, 6-9 vs. Pirates.
Pirates are 3-3 vs. Rockies.

Devil Rays are 5-13 vs. Orioles, 3-6 vs. Mariners, 5-1 vs. Royals.
Royals are 1-5 vs. Orioles, 3-5 vs. Mariners
Orioles are 4-6 vs. Mariners.

So, for those of you who can stand bad baseball, who do you think would win?

Since I don't know enough about any of these teams this year (even the Rocks, though I follow NL West teams!) I'll base my predictions purely on the above win-loss records (which usually worked in high school football pools):

Nats beat Cubs in 3 (how it hurts this Ryne Sandberg fan to say!), and it looks like Pirates-Rockies is a tossup. Washington would have an easier time against the Pirates, though- they haven't fared well against the Rockies at all. Let's assume the Rockies, who have more wins than Pittsburgh and would have home-field advantage, clean the Pirates' clocks in the thin air of Denver. Rocks in 3. They still have a better record than Washington, too, so down go the Nats in, let's say 4 games (best of 7 vs 1st round's best of 5).

Mariners also take the Rays in 3, and the Orioles beat KC in 4. That's not what I'd want- underdogs lose- but whatever. That makes mine an all-western Bizarro World Series: Seattle vs. Colorado. Pitchers' park Safeco field vs. homer-land Coors field. The Rockies are often tough to beat at home, but the Mariners do currently have the better record by 2 games. Let's say that Seattle wins in 7 games. Maybe the creaky old Mariners will also find the Denver air home run-friendly.

UPDATE 10/8: So after spending most of yesterday watching playoff baseball- which included, among other things, a Padre win to stave off elimination by St. Louis despite the Padre perennial sin of leaving men on base, a Yankee elimination by superior Tiger pitching, and a Dodger elimination at the hands of several ex-Dodger Mets- I've been wondering again when the definitive take on post-1994-strike baseball will come to light.

Sure, it's only been 12 years since the players' strike put the kibosh on the World Series, but in that time we've seen all kinds of records broken, all kinds of steroid use, all kinds of annoying (and often justified) arrogance from Yankee central, and probably most importantly, the rise of Wild Card teams to championships, and that by a large margin.

Maybe give it another ten years.

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