Okay, I don’t like the Astros for more than one reason, which we don’t need to get into here.
But more than that, I’m happy they’ve been eliminated because they had a sub-.500 regular season. IMO, any team with a losing record during the regular season has no business being in the playoffs in the first place. It’s absolutely ridiculous. The post-season is a reward for good play, and losing more games than you win does not qualify. At least the Brewers had the good grace to get swept in the first round.
If MLB keeps this ridiculous expanded playoff format beyond this season, it’s inevitable that someday a sub-.500 team will become World Series champions, and that will be the day the league finally loses all credibility.
First, this season is an anomaly, and I’m not inclined to “count” it or to draw any conclusions from it about what should normally happen.
Second, I’m inclined to agree with the OP, but to play devil’s advocate: it’s possible (theoretically) for a team with a losing record to genuinely be the best team in the league by the end of the season, due to improvements of various sorts over the course of the season; and one could argue that it’s not unjust for the currently-best teams in each league to be playing in the World Series.
As opposed to the highly discriminating “only the best may enter” NBA format where 16 of 30 teams enter the playoffs, or that of the NHL where 16 of 30 (or 31 or 32 depending on which recent year)? Which pretty much mathematically guarantees sub-.500 teams in the tournament.
Remember, none of this is sport. It’s all entertainment performed for money. Playoffs generate more audience interest (read “money!!”) than does the regular season.
Just like Christmas themed crap now appears in mall stores in August, soon enough the leagues will have a regular season little longer than their current pre-season and the rest will be a multi-month “playoff”.
We can gripe, but as long as we (at collectively) make playoff games pay the teams & TV channels better than regular season, we’re going to get more of one and less of the other.
As to the rest, it’s always been the case that all an MLB team needs to do is be mediocre from Feb-July, get hot in August & keep on a roll through Oct & they’re the champs. This isn’t new news.
Yep, the regular season in the NBA and NHL has been meaningless for years; basically just a qualifying round for the “tournament,” which is an apt word for it.
I’ll lament MLB’s grueling 162-game season becoming as meaningless as those other leagues’.
(One thing NBA and NHL have going for them, though, are 7-game rounds. 2-of-3 is simply ludicrous.)
@Wheelz just above: Agree overall. But as to the 162 game season there’s an interesting dichotomy these folks outlined but didn’t quite get to discussing:
If the World Series is to determine the best team of the whole season, then clearly @running_coach has it right. As MLB did for years.
Paraphrasing a bunch, Thudlow says maybe the WS is really about “best team in Sep/Oct.” If so, maybe MLB needs to crown monthly champions. Best in April, Best in May, Best in Jun, etc. With each month being no more important than the others.
But this distinction really only arises because baseball is such a marathon. At the opposite extreme: in a 16-game NFL season there simply isn’t time to start cold, get hot, go cold again, and finally get hot again late take home the big prize.
We know in fact that Thudlow’s explanation is close to the real truth: the MLB non-COVID post season system is really determining the best team in Aug/Oct who wasn’t also nearly dead the first 80% of the regular season. The “world” part of “World Series Champion” is already a misnomer and always has been. The “champion” part is becoming moreso.
Here’s a wild alternative. Maybe have those 5 monthly (Apr-Aug) league champs meet up in the post season. And if just one or two teams lead a league all season, those team(s) get post-season byes until we get down to the need to reduce the contender(s) to just 1 per league to then enter the World Series.
It’s crazy heresy talk, but it’s at least as logically defensible as what MLB has today.