Attention baseball fans! Prepare to have your beans completely and totally freaked! Intrepid caricature of a 1940s sportswriter Mike Celizic has arrived at a shocking, almost blasphemous hypothesis about the basbeall postseason. If you're not ready to question everything you have ever known to be true and good about the universe, please stop reading now.
Ready? Here goes.Wild Card teams have a chance of succeeding in the playoffs.
I imagine you're pretty shaken up right now; I'll allow you a few moments to compose yourselves.
Seriously, where has this guy been for the last ten years that he thinks it is in any way revolutionary to suggest, as he does in his opening sentence, "Winning a division is no guarantee of winning the World Series or even getting to it."
Writing that sentence is about as controversial as saying "Just because you swing at a baseball doesn't mean you'll hit it." Or, perhaps more appropriately, "Wearing a ridiculous fedora in your MSNBC.com photograph is no guarantee you'll be able to write coherent baseball commentary."
It's mind boggling to me that a person who covers baseball for a living felt is was necessary to make this claim. What's more, he waits until the 8th paragraph to mention that THE LAST THREE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS HAVE BEEN WILD CARDS.
Back to the article:
He talks about how the Marlins and Astros could be scary in the playoffs due to their pitching. Fair enough. I agree, I guess. But why did he have to include this gem: "It doesn’t really matter who the fourth starter is; he’ll be going against the other team’s No. 4 man and doesn’t have to be great."
I would love to see Mike Celizic manage a baseball team. "Well, we'll throw Dontrelle, Burnett, and Beckett out there, and then I think I might wanna pitch game 4. I mean, I've always wanted to, and it doesn't really matter anyway, since I'll probably be pitching against Jason Marquis."
He continues: "What’s more, wild card playoff teams have won the last three World Series, and two of those — the 2002 Angels and 2003 Marlins — did it with pitching. The other team — the 2004 Red Sox — had two great starters in Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez, a couple others who rose to the occasion, and a lot of great hitting."
Umm, did you watch the 2004 World Series? Aside from the Game 1 slugfest, the Red Sox allowed 2, 1, and 0 runs. Do you mean they got to
the World Series with great hitting? Because that's not what you said. Also, they had two great starters. You just said you only need three. Does your patented Crazyball system only
work with three starters? I'm confused."But the wild card wasn’t a threat to win it all, not in the beginning. Until 2002, only one wild card team — the 1997 Marlins — ever won the World Series and only one other — the 2000 Mets — made it to the season’s final best-of-seven."
Wow! It took a whole TWO YEARS for a Wild Card team to win the World Series. I'm surprised they didn't just cancel the whole experiment after 1996, when the Wild Card Orioles lost to the Yankees in the ALCS in a series where they lost Game 1 to Jeffrey Maier.
Here are the facts. In the ten years since the WC was introduced, it has produced 4 WS champions, 6 league champions, and 12 teams that advanced to the LCS. I'd say WC teams have done okay.
Stay tuned for Mike Celizic's next column: "World Series Winner Will Likely Be a Professional Baseball Team."