Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Does the Unbalanced Schedule Make Baseball More Boring?

As of today there are only 1, maybe 2 of the 6 divisions in baseball in which the winner of the division is not already settled, with almost a month of baseball to play. I honestly do not remember a close race in September -- ever. Now, part of that is the fact that I'm a Mariners fan and they haven't been exactly competitive the past decade or so, since I've become a fan (remember, kids, correlation is not causation!).

The thing is, I remember in about the year 2000 that a new "unbalanced" schedule was introduced, in which teams would play the other teams in their divison more often. This was specifically introduced to make September more exciting. It's clearly had the opposite effect. At least I don't have to worry about important baseball games interfering with preparation for the upcoming school year.

That's why I'm skeptical about schemes like adding a second wild-card team or realigning the divisions. I remember the claims made with past innovations (Exhibit A: "This time it counts!"), and I cannot remember one that really worked. Of course, I wasn't around when they introduced the DH, but I always must support that innovation because it gave us St. Edgar of the ALDS Double. I'm not diametrically opposed to so-called innovation, just skeptical.

On the other hand, advanced statistical metrics for understanding baseball? More please.

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