10/08/2004: Thought for the Day:
The way Major League Baseball decides its champion has been likened to breaking a World Cup soccer game tie with penalty kicks. You do everything you can right for an entire season, finding the right balance and depth, tweaking and adjusting all the way, and then you reach the playoffs and it's just a mad, depraved dash, feet flying and flopping all over the place like in a Warner Bros. cartoon, soles all worn down, ankles ground to a stump, to the finish line of the World Series. What comes before is meaningless; it's like playing a different game all together. The St. Louis Cardinals finished 13 games ahead of the Houston Astros during the regular season -- and once led them by more than 20 -- yet this week, they are exactly even. It almost doesn't seem fair.
The soccer analogy doesn't quite work, mainly because: a) soccer is really a stupid-ass game -- we repeat: Any game that requires you not use your hands is perverse, against human nature and likely the work of terrorist and/or terrorist sympathizers -- and b) even though the sample size of five or seven games is insanely smaller than a 162-game season, they still really are playing baseball, rather than trying to kick a dumb ball into a net past some guy who shaves his legs. But the sentiment is the same: Ever since baseball made moves in the NFL direction by expanding the playoffs from four teams to eight, predicting what will happen in the postseason has become the equivalent of trying to catch a water balloon between greasy thighs.
--Will Leitch [blacktable.com]
Len on 10.08.04 @ 06:59 AM CST