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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Major League Baseball: Best End of Season Ever!!!


For those who don't follow Major League Baseball (and even for those who do), this last weekend of games is going to be the wildest finish to a baseball season in history. Nothing has ever come close. I will now attempt to summarize (please stand back, this might get messy):

AL East
The Red Sox lead the Yankees by two games with three games left to play. So, if the Red Sox lose all three of their games and the Yankees win at least two of theirs, or if the Red Sox lose two of their three games and the Yankees win all three of theirs, the Yankees would win the AL East and the Red Sox would be the American League Wildcard. Otherwise, the Red Sox would win the AL East and the Yankees would be the Wildcard (this is because the Yankees beat the Red Sox in head-to-head matchups this year, 10 games to 8, so if they end in a tie, the Yankees win).

Think that's confusing? Oh Lord, we haven't even gotten started yet...

AL Central
The Indians have clinched the division title, but currently have the same record as the Red Sox, which makes them tied for the best record in the league. They are also two games ahead of the Angels, who have clinched the AL West. If they finish with a better record than the Angels, they'll play the Yankees in the AL Division Series (ALDS). If not (same deal as above - Indians lose two and Angels win three, or Indians lose three and Angels win two), then the Angels will play the Yankees, and the Indians will play the Red Sox.

AL West
As mentioned above, the Angels have clinched the division title, but the last three games still helps determine who they play first.

Then, of course, there's the matter of home field advantage. The Red Sox are currently two games ahead of the Angels. If they hold onto that lead, the Red Sox/Angels series will play three of five games in Boston. If the Angels pick up two games on the Red Sox, then the advantage would go to the Angels, unless the Yankees also pick up two games on the Red Sox, in which case, they win the Division and play Angels in Anaheim. Unless the Indians stay ahead of the Angels (also currently a two game lead), in which case the Yankees play the Indians in Cleveland, and the Angels/Red Sox series stays in Anaheim.

And then there are ties: If the Indians and the Red Sox wind up with the same record, the series starts in Boston, because the Red Sox won the season series against the Indians 5 games to 2. If the Angels and the Red Sox finish in a tie, the series also starts in Boston, because Boston won that season series 6 games to 4. If the Angels and the Indians finish in a tie, there's a problem, because their season series was also tied (5 games to 5). In that case, the Indians would have home field advantage because their record inside their own division (46-23) is better than the Angels record inside of their own division (30-21).

Oh, wait - we're still not up to the fun part...

NL East
The Phillies and the Mets are tied for first place right now. Also, two teams in the NL West, the Padres and the Rockies, have similar records (the Padres have one more win, the Rockies have the exact same record as the Phillies and the Mets). If the Phillies and the Mets end up tied, and their record is better than both the Padres and the Rockies, then the Phillies would win the NL East, since they won the season series against the Mets (12-6). But, if the Padres or Rockies had a better record than the (tied) Phillies and Mets, then they would win the Wildcard, and the Phillies and Mets would have to play a one-game playoff on Monday (in Philadelphia) to determine who wins the division and who goes home. The location of the game was decided by a coin flip.

NL Central
The Brewers are two games behind the Cubs with three games left to play, so they are in the exact same situation as the Yankees and the Red Sox in the AL East, except the Brewers record is not as good as the Rockies or the Padres in the NL West, so if they don't catch the Cubs, they don't make the playoffs. If the two teams tie, they will also play a one-game playoff on Monday (in Chicago - also decided by coin flip).

NL West
Now, we're up to the fun part. The Diamondbacks are leading the division right now. The Padres are one game back with three left to play, and the Rockies are two games back with three left to play. So any one of those teams can win the division. The other two will be competing not only with each other, but with the loser of the Phillies/Mets in the NL East for the NL Wildcard.

Here's what happens if two teams tie for the NL West lead:
If the Diamondbacks and the Padres finish tied, they will play a one-game playoff on Monday in Arizona.
If the Rockies and the Padres finish tied, they will play a one-game playoff on Monday in San Diego.
The Diamondbacks and the Rockies cannot finish tied, because they play the final three games of the season against each other (this makes everything simple, right?!?)

And here's what happens if two teams tie for the NL Wildcard:
If the Padres and the Phillies tie for the Wildcard, they will play a one-game playoff on Monday in San Diego.
If the Padres and Rockies tie for the Wildcard, they will play a one-game playoff on Monday in Colorado.
If the Phillies and the Rockies tie for the Wildcard, they will play a one-game playoff on Monday in Colorado as well.

But wait, there's STILL more.

If the Phillies, Rockies and Padres end in a three way tie for the NL Wildcard, then the teams get to choose what happens next. The Rockies, who have the best combined record against the Phillies and Padres could either play two playoff games in their home stadium, or accept a bye for the first game, and then play the winner of that game on the road. If they decide to accept the bye, the Phillies would host the Padres on Monday, and the winner would play the Rockies in their home park on Tuesday. If the Rockies choose the two home games, the Phillies can choose to either play the Rockies in Colorado on Monday, with the possibility of playing the Padres in Philadelphia on Tuesday, or to take the bye and guarantee themselves a road game on Tuesday.

If the Mets, Rockies and Padres end in a three way tie for the NL Wilddcard, the same system applies, and the choices are as follows: The Rockies still choose first - either a two home games or a bye. If they choose two home games, the Padres choose between playing in Colorado on Monday and then (hopefully) San Diego on Tuesday, or taking the bye, meaning playing an away game on Tuesday against the winner of the Rockies and Mets.

So that's it, right? WRONG!!! What if there's a four way tie? There are two possible ways that can happen:

Mets, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Padres: The Mets/Phillies and Diamondbacks/Padres each play for their division titles on Monday (in Philly and Arizona, respecitvely), and then the two losers would play for the Wildcard on Tuesday. The Diamondbacks would have to go to Philly or New York. The Padres would host the Phillies, and the Mets would host the Padres. Got it?

Mets, Phillies, Rockies and Padres: The Mets/Phillies and Rockies/Padres would each play for their division titles on Monday (in Philly and San Diego, respectively), and then the two losers would play for the Wildcard on Tuesday. The Rockies would host either Philly or New York. The Padres would host the Phillies, and the Mets would host the Padres.

Thankfully, there can't be a five way tie, for the same reason their can't be a three way tie in the West - the Diamondbacks are playing the Rockies this weekend.

Ok, that's the scoop. Grab some provisions, park yourself in front of your TV, and fire up the calculator - it's going to be a very, very wild weekend...

posted by Brian at 3:55 PM


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