Extending Baseball Playoff to increase Profit

I don’t follow baseball at all. I only watched the playoffs this year because the Cubs were in them.

Question --> It seems to me that if the playoffs or World Series goes to 7 games it means higher ratings, more sales revenue. How do they ensure it isn’t rigged? I mean what’s to say the Cubs throw one game. Not that they did but does someone keep track and see if there is a pattern of games going to 7. Or 6 or 5 instead of just 4.

The people who have to be in on the rigging – the players – are paid the same amount no matter how long the series runs. (It used to be their share was determined by the gate of the first four games only, so they made no more money if it went seven.)

They are also paid more if they win the series. So if you throw a game, you’re jeopardizing your paycheck. The financial incentive is to win the series, and throwing a game can cost you money.

Not to mention that, if someone pays you to throw the game, and it’s found out, you’re out of baseball. None of the players is willing to risk that.

The Cubs don’t need to throw games, fate finds a way of getting them to lose. :frowning: (I’ve been a Cubs fan all of my 21 years.)

In 1997, when Cleveland and Florida (boo!) went seven games some NBC exec complained, because the extended World Series would pre-empt NBC’s “Must See!!!” Thursday line-up.

I bet some Fox execs are praying that the WS finishes in four. That’s not gonna be much of a draw.

OK, the World Series is Seven Games - that’s tradition.
But why do the League Championships have to be 7 and the whatever-they-call-the-round-before-the-LCS be 5 games? Except greed. If I were King of Baseball, the WS would be Best of 7, the LCS best of 5, and that earlier round best of 3. I mean they’ve already played over 160 games. Get to the point. Determine a champion - before Halloween.


Well, the question as to why series aren’t etended by thrown games is pretty much answered so I’ll answer some of the others.

The networks do complain about extended playoffs, they don’t rate as well as original programming. The quote above from the NBC exec I recall as well. There are currently discussions goin on about extending the playoffs some more and FOX is balking, though ESPN is all for it.

The discussion now is to add two more wild card teams, one in each league who would play a best-of-5 “Wild Card Series” th winner taking on the division champ with the best record as the other two division champs (in each league) played best-of-7 “Divisional Series” teh winners advancing to best-of-7 L.C.S., then best-of-7 World Series.

FOX doesn’t want it because it wouldn’t draw better than X-Files re-runs, ESPN likes it because it would rate better than anything else they could throw up this time of year.

I personally, am against the expansion of the playoffs to two more teams (I’m against the wild card as it stands and even three divisions) but as far as 3 vs. 5 vs. 7 game series I’m of the opinion: the longer the better.

The fact that they’ve alread played 162 games to get there only makes longer series more important. After that many games you generally know who the best teams in each league are, yet a team who has won 20 less games can make the playoffs and luckily win a best-of-3, or best-of-5 series over a far superior team. These teams shouldn’t b in the playoffs to begin with, but if they are they should play in longer series, anyone can bat anyone in one game, with every game you add the chances grow greater the best team will win the series. Thus finishing wiht the best record is more impressive than winning a playoff series (assuming a balanced schedule, which is not the case, but I have problems with that as well).

Planman, the longer the series, the better it reflects who is actually the better team.

If baseball would go to a NBA type playoff system, we could be playing baseball into February. And most of the telecasts would be like the NBA games now, the fans from the two cities would be the primary viewers.

I think we’ve gone too far already with post season games in the major sports.

I’ve heard - and a cite woudn’t be difficult to find - that this year’s LCS received very, very good ratings for Fox, thanks to the BoSox and Cubbies.

World Series prospects are much grimmer for them.

LCS ratings were pretty high, your right a site would be pretty easy. In print I have it in the October 13 edition of “Mediaweek”. They were salivating for Cubs vs. either. Now they’re pretty much hoping for a Yankee sweep.

That’s the thing unpopular teams sometimes win, thus incentivising the leagues and networks to expand the playoffs to a point where the popular teams have a greater chance to get in. But in doing so, they water down the competition and the interest of fans of all teams (particularly the neutrals) begin to waiver, and no-one watches anymore, except the real die-hards, who would watch anyway. Catch-22.

Isn’t it funny that 3 days ago they were calling these “The Best PLayoffs Ever” ESPN.com, and now, already we’re talking about their failure?

That is quite obviously untrue. If the Yankees were to play your local Little League team, would it go four games or seven? The greater the difference in quality between the two teams, the likelier it is it WON’T go seven games. A seven game series can be decided by a single play; a sweep, by definition, can’t. Luck can play a big part in a 7-game series; in a 4-game series luck clearly wasn’t as big a factor.

I would also point out that if you examine series that were clearly upsets, they’re just as likely to have gone seven games as four.

To answer the OP - if they were going to fix the World Series, aside from the fact that it could not possibly be kept a secret because you’d need both teams in on it, if they did do that sort of thing we would expect almost all World Series to go to six or seven games. But that is not the case:

2002 - 7 games (Angels 4, Giants 3)
2001 - 7 games (Diamondbacks 4, Yankees 3)
2000 - 5 games (Yankees 4, Mets 1)
1999 - 4 games (Yankees 4, Braves 0)
1998 - 4 games (Yankees 4, Padres 0)
1997 - 7 games (Marlins 4, Indians 3)
1996 - 6 games (Yankees 4, Braves 2)
1995 - 6 games (Braves 4, Indians 2)
1993 - 6 games (Blue Jays 4, Phillies 2)
1992 - 6 games (Blue Jays 4, Braves 2)
1991 - 7 games (Twins 4, Braves 3)
1990 - 4 games (Reds 4, Athletics 0)
1989 - 4 games (Athletics 4, Giants 0)
1988 - 5 games (Dodgers 4, Athletics 1)
1987 - 7 games (Twins 4, Cardinals 3)
1986 - 7 games (Mets 4, Red Sox 3)
1985 - 7 games (Royals 4, Cardinals 3)
1984 - 5 games (Tigers 4, Padres 1)
1983 - 5 games (Orioles 4, Phillies 1)
1982 - 7 games (Cardinals 4, Brewers 3)

Of the last 20 World Series, 8 went the distance and 4 were sweeps; without doing the math it seems to me that 4 sweeps is actually more than you would expect by sheer random chance, since randomly a sweep should only happen once every eight years. The spread of results seems pretty normal to me.

The ratings for the LCS were good for FOX. The reason everybody west of the Mississippi heard the weeping from the east get louder last night was because the TV execs and MLB brass are just as sad that the Yanks and Marlins are in the Series as the BoSox and Cubs’ fans. The Yankees and Marlins do not appeal to the casual baseball fan and they don’t have the same sentimental value as either the Red Sox or Cubs.

I can’t wait for the WS to go into November & be in Boston & Chicago & be “snowed out.” Bowie Kuhn years ago was laughed at for refusing to wear a topcoat at a game when it was about 38 degrees-in either NYC or Cincinnati in 1976.

Now, I ain’t trying to start a fight, and IANA Statistician, but it quite patently is true.

If two teams play one game, the better team is more likely to win, yes, but they have an even greater chance of winning 2 out of 3, 4 out of 7, or finishing with a better record over 162. Or put the other way, the underdog has less of a chance to win 2 of 3 or 4 of 7 than a one-off, this may be more accurate.

Your point is well taken that in the case of a sweep its less likely to be about luck then one play in a game 7. However, that discounts the luck potentially involved for the underdog to win three prior games to get to game 7.

Now I’m am quite confident some of the mathemeticans out there can better explain this point than me, I’m here for the baseball aspect of this thread, so I am putting the call out for one of them to do so. If not I will try to find some collaborating evidence to prove my point.

(Please math guys, spare me)

pfbob, I think that your theory would be valid only if you were required to play seven games every time, rather than just stopping when one team wins four.

That’s correct, of course. I was making a totally different point which, unfortunately, wasn’t even the point under discussion.

Having said that, the real warping factor of a short series is not that the best or worst team has a greater or lesser chance, but that what constitutes a better team is in fact changed by the nature of a short series. It is entirely possible that a team that went 92-70 during the regular season would, in fact, be a better team for a short series than a team that went 102-60, if the 92-70 team is more frontloaded with a few big hitting stars and a 1-2 pitching punch plus one or two ultra-ace relievers, while the 102-60 team was a team with slightly inferior top stars but a vastly better bench. In a short series, you can ride your pitchers hard and ignore your bench to some extent, so a team with front-end-loaded talent has an advantage over a depth team.

RickJay :

absolutely in total agreement with you on your last post.

Upon re-reading your prior post I understand better what you were trying to say. I guess that was just my baseball Puritanism kicking in.

The Yankees versus a Little League team is a straw man argument.

Sure, the Yankees could whup your sandlot kids in four straight games, seven straight games, or 100 straight games. But what does that prove?

Here’s a better analogy. Consider the grand slolom ski races in the Winter Olympics. The difference between first and second place is measured in the tenths of seconds, sometimes in the hundredths of seconds.

Is one single race with a second place winner finishing 0.07 seconds behind the first place skiier really sufficient to say that one skiier is conclusively better than the other?

Well, if you only had time to do one race, you’d have to judge one skiier better than the other.

But wouldn’t it be much more satisfying, and lead to more confidence that you have reallly discovered a difference between the two skiiers, if you were to run seven or, say, eleven races and declare the skiier who won the majority of races as the true better skiier?

The answer, of course, is yes.

Now, because the MLB teams making the playoffs after a 160-game season (even the wildcard teams) are so close in skill and ability that it truly makes sense to play at least seven games, IMHO, to truly distinguish between two teams.

Is it true that more games played in a series, the more the pension funds of the players? I’m not saying anyone would throw a game, but if 7 games equal more pension funds than 4 games, wouldn’t that be a worthy goal for the players?

I believe that every pro sport with playoff series stops the players shares after 4 games (unless it’s a 5 game series in which case they stop at 3 games.)