Originally Posted by doublem23
And if you think the best two teams always play in the World Series you're completely out of your mind. The regular season doesn't matter in terms of who advances and who doesn't, but (and this is like... 2nd grade math here) only a complete lunatic would take 7 or 8 data points over 162. Again, I'm not saying the Tigers didn't deserve to be in the World Series because they met the criteria to be there, they just weren't the best team in the AL last year. I'm quite certain by now your stance is just a big joke because it's unraveling to such absurdity I'm laughing as I type this, but anyone who would argue that the Tigers were the best team in the AL in 2012 (again, different from being the team that should be in the World Series) is just a nutcase.
That's irrelevant. If you are going to demand the best teams play for the championship, and you determine that the regular season record determines who is the best team, everyone plays the same schedule and rosters are frozen. The Red Sox and Marlins can't trade players mid season. The White Sox visited Boston when Red Sox when they were at their strongest roster-wise, placing them at a disadvantage in the race. For that matter, NL teams that played the Red Sox didn't deal with the same Red Sox that teams faced at the end of the season. The Yankees benefited from the collapse of the Red Sox and Blue Jays. The Giants had to deal with an infusion of talent on the Dodgers.
Baseball doesn't exist in a vacuum where all wins are created equal. Teams play know it is a six-month season where the goal is to win the division, with a very limited wild card possibility as a consolation. They sometimes lose some games because they rest some players, taking the chance because they believe that it will help them win more and more important games later. Teams mature during the long season. Some players improve. Some wear out. The baseball season is about parallel divisional races, each with their own dynmaics. The Tigers or White Sox might have had a better record if they had played in a different division. (The White Sox were 37-35 against Central teams and 20-12 against the West.) The baseball season is messy.
At the end of the 2012 season, the Tigers were better than the A's, who lost the deciding game at home. The Tigers were much better than the Yankees, who similarly went the distance in beating the league's wild card team. The Tigers were the best chance the American League had to win the World Series because the Yankees had nothing left. The National League side was more of a contest. It might have gone differently if Strasburg hadn't been shut down, but the team decided he was going to be no longer part of the pitching staff before October rolled around. I could do without the wild card, but otherwise, any team making the NL postseason could have been considered the league's best.
It is less of a joke than if you eliminated the divisions and invited second- or lower-place teams to complete for the championship. It is far less a joke than the NFL, which determines championships with teams playing different schedules and has a single-elimination playoff system. It is less of a joke than the NBA or NHL where the regular season determines seeding for the championship tournament. It is less of a joke than the NCAA Division 1 men's basketball tournament where teams that don't win their conferences, sometimes teams that finish fourth or fifth, play in the single-elimination tournament to determine a champion, as if the conference tournaments that precede the national tournament didn't exist.
If you are going to have playoffs to determine a champion, you are going to have fans complaining of inequities. More legitimate, is the contention in Curt Flood's autobiography that the World Series (he played in it in 1964, 1967 and 1968, the year before division play was introduced) is a joke because the players are too tired. I asked him about it a couple of years before his death, and it was something he continue to believed in strongly, although I have never heard any other player voice the same concern. But calling the World Series a joke because it doesn't determine a true champion, though, ignores the point of competition.
And this year, the Tigers, far from being the sevemth-best team in the league, emerged as the best chance the American League had to compete in the World Series with the stronger National League postseason teams, saving the Yankees the embarrassment.
Get over it.