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The case for MLB going to 2 halves


If MLB season were divided up into two 81 game halves, the current standings in the NL Central would be:

 

Brewers 9-4

Pirates 7-5

Cubs 6-5

Cards 6-6

Reds 4-6

 

We would also not be looking at the prospect of this current Brewer team being completely dismantled because they played awful baseball the first 20 games of the season or teams in contention loading up on rental players making matchups between the "loaded up teams" and the deadline sellers over the final two months complete mismatches. How is that good for the game? Why should I pay major league prices to see the Colorado Springs lineup against Jon Lester for instance? That's a reason I never would buy a season ticket package and why I think those who do are fools.

 

Granted the Cardinals would have already won a first round playoff spot, so if they won the second half, why not give them a bye into the second round?

 

With potentially 12 teams (2 from each division) making the playoffs, give byes to the teams with the top 4 overall records or less than 4 if some teams win both halves and let the other 8 play there way into the quarterfinals.

 

Now this doesn't preclude teams from rebuilding by dealing off players nearing the end of deals but they'd be much more inclined to do it in the offseason, again keeping interest in the game year round.

 

Ask yourself, would this current Brewer hot streak have you jacked up for the last couple months of the year instead of worrying about winning "too many"?

 

I hated the 2 half idea back in 1981, but with the way the game is now, I think it's time.

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It feels kind of gimmicky to me. I don't really see the point.

 

That ship sailed long ago. Two wild card teams in a one game playoff isn't gimmicky? Teams loaded up with two month rentals from other organizations isn't gimmicky? You ever see a key player from a team out of it in the NFL end up playing for a contender in December?

 

The point is the Brewer season basically ended in April once management leaked that it was ready to be sellers. Fans that paid hundreds of if not thousands of dollars expecting to see Carlos Gomez for a full season instead might have to watch Logan Schafer for more than a third of it in CF. That's a fraud. Injuries are one thing. Having a team dismantled with a third of the season remaining is simply not good for the game.

 

Yes it's gimmicky and yes it's an idea with roots in the minor leagues, but the current system of the haves loading up from the have-nots in a given season makes the game a farce.

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I would tend to agree that I'm not in favor. It does however highlight that if the Brewers did keep playing like they have been for the last couple of months (not just the recent hot streak) should think differently about the last 2 seasons. Namely the possibility, that except for just over 2 months of nearly historically awful baseball at the end of last season and the beginning of this season the Brewers could have had 2 more playoff years. We will likely never know how strong they could have finished this season with the team as is, but the possibility is out there that the really bad baseball was more of a fluke than the pretty good baseball. If nothing else the really bad baseball could have been distributed less equally among the 2 seasons and giving us another playoff year.
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Makes you really wonder what happened behind the scenes at the end of last year and beginning of April. Seemed like they had tuned out RR for some reason. We'll never know, although I wouldn't be surprised if Lucroy spoke freely after he gets traded.
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Part of what makes baseball important is that all 162 games matter; splitting the season allows the first half winners to rest players down the stretch, as their second half is effectively meaningless.

 

Plus, there's also the trade deadline: if you start fresh in July, teams will have to make the buying / selling decisions based on one month of the second half. Yes, half of the playoff spots will be decided, but far too many teams would have to believe themselves "in contention" for the second half...since a poor first half would be washed away.

 

I can accept the split-by-halves formula for the minor leagues, where rosters are more fluid...and the post-season is more of a reward for the fans than an organizational goal. I can't really think of a reason for the split, other than how it could have helped the Brewers last year (which isn't really a reason, IMO).

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If be more receptive to losing the divisions, dropping the season games to 140, and having a 16 team (8 each league) playoff format.
"This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.
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I have thought about this as well. There's a lot to like about a split season, primarily because literally every team is alive until at least Sept 1.

 

We would also see some creative use of rosters, strategies, etc. for teams that wanted to load up in the first half or second half of the season. For example, a team may be willing to go with 4 man rotation for half the season- or 6. They may delay bringing a prospect up, or again, the opposite. That would all be fun to watch play out.

 

At the end of the day though, I'm too much of a traditionalist. I was fine with inter-league play. I was fine creating 6 divisions. I was even fine adding a WC. Then they lost me with the 2nd WC. The grind of a 162 game season is one of the things special and unique about baseball. Whoever is left standing truly deserves to be there.

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Didn't MLB do this during the strike season? And didn't the team with the best overall record, the Expos, not make the playoffs?

 

In 1981, when the strike split the season into two halves, the Expos did make the playoffs. They lost in the NLCS.

 

The season you're probably thinking of is 1994 when that strike cut the season short (no playoffs, no WS, etc). Montreal did have the best record when the season ended.

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Like the idea....

Yet, like said earlier, one team could have the most wins in the division/league/all of baseball for the entire 162 game season and NOT make the playoffs by finishing 2nd in the division each half.

 

If this could be cleaned up a bit some how ( not sure if/how wild card teams would work), I could see it bringing excitement to many cities in Aug./Sept. Yet, the 2nd wildcard is doing that now, possibly even in Milwaukee yet this year. Stranger things have happened (see 2011 Cardinals or 2014 NFC championship game).

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Montreal and the White Sox were on a collision course for the World Series in 1994 when the strike hit. Those two teams were absolutely loaded, with star players in their primes throughout both rosters.

 

Frank Thomas had 38 HR and a 0.353 average, 106 runs, 101 RBI, and an absurd 1.217 OPS...the strike started on my birthday (Aug 12th...a really crappy way to celebrate a birthday as a kid who loved watching and playing baseball) - think of where his counting stats would've been had he been able to play out the last 45 or so games.

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I don't think most of the members here are old enough to remember this, but it was fun in 1981.

 

There was a strike, so they went with two half-seasons, and the Brewers wound up winning the second half in the AL East, clinching on the next-to-last day - it was a great time.

 

If we didn't have the wildcards in place, I'd like the idea, but I think the system they've got now gives teams plenty of opportunity. A month like the Brewers had last September, or this April, SHOULD knock a team out of the playoffs.

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I don't think most of the members here are old enough to remember this, but it was fun in 1981.

 

There was a strike, so they went with two half-seasons, and the Brewers wound up winning the second half in the AL East, clinching on the next-to-last day - it was a great time.

 

If we didn't have the wildcards in place, I'd like the idea, but I think the system they've got now gives teams plenty of opportunity. A month like the Brewers had last September, or this April, SHOULD knock a team out of the playoffs.

 

This was well said.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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I think the point is to get rid of the wild card teams and go with the first/second half winners instead; if the same team wins both halves, then take the next team(s) with the best overall records.

 

Taking the Brewers out of the discussion, what if a star player or two lands on the DL for a significant amount of time early in the season causing that team to miss the playoffs even though that team - when at full strength - is one of the best four teams in that league? Yes, that team played poor for a stretch, but it was because they weren't at full strength.

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I think the point is to get rid of the wild card teams and go with the first/second half winners instead; if the same team wins both halves, then take the next team(s) with the best overall records.

 

Taking the Brewers out of the discussion, what if a star player or two lands on the DL for a significant amount of time early in the season causing that team to miss the playoffs even though that team - when at full strength - is one of the best four teams in that league? Yes, that team played poor for a stretch, but it was because they weren't at full strength.

 

Well dang...that is unfortunate. It is a part of the game.

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I think the point is to get rid of the wild card teams and go with the first/second half winners instead; if the same team wins both halves, then take the next team(s) with the best overall records.

 

Taking the Brewers out of the discussion, what if a star player or two lands on the DL for a significant amount of time early in the season causing that team to miss the playoffs even though that team - when at full strength - is one of the best four teams in that league? Yes, that team played poor for a stretch, but it was because they weren't at full strength.

 

What about the Mets this year who played out of their mind for a stretch? Are they one of the best teams in baseball? No even close, but they could make the postseason in a "half" format.

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