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Los Angeles Dodgers (1958-), National League, West Division


DonRocks
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But there's a reason they picked up a Darvish rental for the remainder of the season - the regular season doesn't count. Only a WS ring matters, and it's been nearly 20 years since they brought one home even though they've won the division 4 years running.

Ask the 2001 Mariners, who tied the record for best regular season record, and bombed out in the ALCS. 

The team with the best regular season record only wins the WS about 20% of the time (since the wild card era started).

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28 minutes ago, DanielK said:

But there's a reason they picked up a Darvish rental for the remainder of the season - the regular season doesn't count. Only a WS ring matters, and it's been nearly 20 years since they brought one home even though they've won the division 4 years running.

Tell that to Ty Cobb. Ted Williams, and  Ernie Banks! Hell, tell it to Barry Bonds if you'd like.

Baseball is like backgammon - a *great* team will win 60% of its games. Up until 1968, the best team won about 60% of World Series match-ups, but the best team in each league was virtually guaranteed to get there - hence, the Yankee dynasty: Few teams could beat them over 154 (or 162) games, and they had about a 60% chance many years to win the WS.

You know this. I personally think that it's almost as impressive to make the playoffs than to win the World Series.

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Yeah, the pre-1969 was because having the best record in baseball guaranteed you a trip to the WS. Then they added the LCS, adding a round of playoffs, and then in 1994, the Wild Card.

It's very hard to make the playoffs, and very hard to have the best record in baseball.

But if that mattered, the Dodgers wouldn't have just dropped 3 prospects and a truckload of cash to rent Yu Darvish for the rest of this season. The ring is all that matters.

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41 minutes ago, DanielK said:

The ring is all that matters.

We fundamentally disagree about this. If the ring was all that mattered (as opposed to merely being something that matters a lot), then nobody would go to regular-season games, nobody would care about individual records, there would be no All-Star game, and the Cubs would have dropped out of existence sometime in the 1930s.

Cal Ripken, Jr's consecutive-games streak means more to Baltimore (and to baseball) than the 1983 World Series Championship; what you're implying is that Ryan Zimmerman's career is meaningless.

I remember Orel Hershiser's consecutive-shutout-innings streak, but I don't remember a thing about the 1988 World Series except which team won it. Okay, okay, I remember Kirk Gibson's (*) home run (I actually don't remember the home run; I remember him pumping his fists while rounding the bases).

If dominant teams could win 90% of their games in baseball (like they do in basketball), I'd be more inclined to agree with you.

(*) Most people don't know that Kirk Gibson was voted into the Hall of Fame this year ... the College Football Hall of Fame!

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15 minutes ago, DanielK said:

I'm saying that finishing with the best record in the regular season means nothing.

Unfortunately I generally agree with your sentiments upthread, because (and this is somewhat tangential) the playoff-driven nature of U.S. sports has become an increasingly bigger turn-off the older I get.  The NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL and their owners would be horrified at the thought of so much potential revenue passed up, but this is one aspect of sports competition that European soccer leagues have perfectly right IMO.  You play each team in the league twice, home and away, best record at the end wins.  Simple, makes every regular season game relevant and valuable.  Keep playoff-style knockouts in the cup competitions, worthy of winning but still ultimately subordinate to the league championship.

Also, college football has started going down this slippery slope and college basketball keeps expanding the tournament field.  I hate it.

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12 minutes ago, silentbob said:

You play each team in the league twice, home and away, best record at the end wins.  Simple, makes every regular season game relevant and valuable.  Keep playoff-style knockouts in the cup competitions, worthy of winning but still ultimately subordinate to the league championship.

Also, college football has started going down this slippery slope and college basketball keeps expanding the tournament field.  I hate it.

This would be the ideal way to determine who has the best team, but as you say, it wouldn't maximize revenue: The playoffs are all money-driven.

As a Clemson graduate, I couldn't be happier with the results of the past two years of college football, but winning the College Football National Championship is becoming more-and-more like buying a winning lottery ticket.

Just getting to the College Football Playoffs is a bear; then, once you get there, you have to go 2-0 against probably the two best teams you'll play all year. Yes, someone will do it, but that's almost meaningless (unless you're a fan of that team, and then you get your twelve months of joy).

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40 minutes ago, silentbob said:

... the playoff-driven nature of U.S. sports has become an increasingly bigger turn-off the older I get.  The NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL and their owners would be horrified at the thought of so much potential revenue passed up, but this is one aspect of sports competition that European soccer leagues have perfectly right IMO.  You play each team in the league twice, home and away, best record at the end wins.  Simple, makes every regular season game relevant and valuable.  Keep playoff-style knockouts in the cup competitions, worthy of winning but still ultimately subordinate to the league championship...

This also drives promotion/relegation, which is even further away in American than eliminating playoffs.

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I got a hint that promotion/relegation wasn't immediately obvious to many, so here's a brief description.

In many European soccer leagues, in particular the English football leagues, there aren't playoffs. In the top flight (Premier League), there are 20 teams, and they're ranked 1-20 by points (3 for a win, 1 for a tie, and a series of tiebreakers). At the end of the season (38 games - one home and away match against each of the other 19 teams), the team at the top is the winner, and the bottom 3 teams (18-20) are "relegated" - that is, they drop to the next lower division of English football. At the same time, the top 3 teams in the next division down are then "promoted" to the Premier League. This actually goes on down 9 or 10 levels.

In the USA, the best equivalent would be in baseball. Imagine if the 3 worst MLB teams found themselves in AAA the next season...

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