Baseball's LCS's - why not "Pennant Series"?

I am sure this topic or variations have been covered before, but searches on “baseball” and various forms of “LCS” didn’t show me a thread that seemed on this topic.

Clearly, the names “A.L.C.S.” and “N.L.C.S” for the American and National League Championship Series stink. No poetry. No immediate power in the name, as with “World Series” or “Super Bowl”.

If winning the league means you get the Pennant, shouldn’t they be called the Pennant Series? Any baseball fan would immediately get the importance of the name and how it means the league championship. It would have more history and meaning and would be a great lead-in to the World Series. “The Cubs have won the Pennant Series and are ready to take it to the Yankees in the World Series!”. You get the idea…


There’s already some symmetry, though. The World Series covers all of Major League Baseball; the League Championship Series covers the respective leagues. I guess they could shorten it to “League Series,” though.

The problem with calling it a Pennant Series is that whenever a team wins a championship, it’s said they won the pennant. The Braves won their 12th consecutive division pennant, for example. In this sense, it’s used as a synonym for “title.”

You’re goddam right, WordMan. Blame USA Today.


:slight_smile: - thanks, Cliffy. Why blame USA Today? Did they coin the A./N.L.C.S. names?

and dantheman - I hear you, but have to believe that if the LCS’s were called the Pennant Series, then winning your division could easily be called “winning your division” and not winning a pennant. Not trying to be snide here, mind you - just say that there could be a clear distinction made. As far as I am concerned a team doesn’t win the Pennant unless they win their League. Period.

[old timer}

Winning the Pennant used to mean something. The Giants win the Pennant! The Giants win the Pennant! The Giants win the Pennant!!!

[/old timer]

Well, old timer - winning the pennant still means winning the LCS (when the Braves won the East this year, you didn’t hear “The Braves win the pennant!”); it’s mostly a question of semantics. We now have three levels of playoff play where we once had just one.

However, I don’t think the addition of the division round diminishes the LCS itself. Indeed, one could even say that winning the LCS is even more meaningful now, because to do so a team has to win 7 games instead of 4. And as we’ve seen, a lot can happen in those short series.

The phrase “pennant series” is confusing to the ear, sounding like “penance series.” That would be baffling to Catholic baseball fans. In the days before I paid attention to baseball, there were no playoffs. The team with the best record in each league won the pennant, and the last few weeks in the regular season were called the “pennant race.”

Gosh, I hope I’m right about that. Sorry if I’m not.

I believe you’re right AskNott. That’s why the Cubs (before the other day) hadn’t won a postseason series since 1908 when they won the World Series. However, they have been to the WS since then.

Pretty much from the beginning of major league baseball till 1968, that’s how it went: two leagues, winner of each league went to World Series. In 1968, baseball divided its leagues into two divisions (East and West); the winner of each division played its league counterpart, and the winner of that went to the World Series. In 1995, after coming back from the most recent ugly strike, baseball split its teams further, creating a third division in each league and adding a wildcard.

As long as were talking baseball semantics, prior to the leagues split into east and west divisions in 1969 and the simultaneous creation of the LCS, the phrase “second division” was used. The second division referred to the lousy teams in the lower half of the league. A team in the first division, or the upper half of the league, was said to be a contender or on the verge of contending; teams in the second division were lousy and were typically named the Washington Senators, the Cleveland Indians, and the Chicago Cubs.

And just to correct a tiny error dantheman made, the leagues split into 3 division (East, Central and West) happened during the 1994 season, not the 1995 season. The 1995 season was the first playoffs to include the division series because the moronic owners and greedy players caused the 1994 postseason, which was supposed to include the LDS, to be canceled.

That whole time frame is a blur now. I like to pretend it never happened.

Actually, I kind of remembered that one year they had three divisions and then the next added a wild card for the playoffs.