Peter Gammons Isn't Serious
Peter Gammons isn't serious. Ten baseball playoff teams? Because the pennant races aren't exciting this year he suggests adding two more teams and beginning the season earlier and lengthening the post-season further. Even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) isn't this stupid. At least they waited five years through a disconnect between popular pictures and nominated pictures before deciding to ruin 60 years of tradition by expanding the nominated pictures to 10—with the hope of somehow capturing a popular picture along the way. Gammons and others are suffering through one September without a legit pennant race (c'mon Twins!) and they want to mess with the whole works.
Or do they? Gammons writes:
I agree with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who says, "Most general managers don't want it watered down like the NHL or NBA. Not many are wild about the idea."
Oh. So what's the column about then? The answer comes a short paragraph later:
But why not think about having two wild-card teams per league? For instance, in what might be an aberrational season, the Giants, Marlins, Braves and Cubs would be within 2½ games of that NL spot right now.
"I agree with those who aren't wild about the idea...but why not think about the idea?" Nice.
The AMPAS analogy is apt. The Academy is fixing something that isn't broken (the five slots) because of something that is (disconnect between nominated and popular pictures). Gammons wants to exacerbate an exisiting problem (too many playoff teams for a 162-game season), because of, and while ignoring, its biggest problem: the disparity between the "have" teams (the Yankees), the "have some" teams (BoSox, Mets, Dodgers, Cubs) and all of those "have not" teams (most everyone else, especially the Pirates, A's, Twins, Marlins).
You want to fix baseball, you need to fix this.
You can't fix this? Here's a suggestion to make September easier to remember: Move the trade deadline up to Opening Day. The disparity between teams deepens as the season progresses because contending teams trade for while non-contending teams trade away. The good (and rich) get better; the bad (and poor) get worse. And there go the pennant races.
But would the downside for this be too much of a downside? Sometimes I like that late-July interplay between short-term gain (for the haves) and long-term gain (for the have-nots). Except, of course, the haves keep on having while the Pirates and Royals keep on notting. I'd give it a shot.
In the meantime, to honor Major League Baseball, would you please rise for the playing of our Leonard Cohen anthem:
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight is fixed
The poor stay poor while the rich get rich
Thats how it goes