Sunday, October 23, 2005

Farce

Barring a remarkable final five games of the World Series, the 2005 playoffs will go down as one of the most uninspiring, boring, and horrifically officated playoffs of recent memory--certainly of the last five years. Looking at the last five postseason, the 2000 playoffs are in the same sort of boat, although without the horrific umpiring which has sullied it this year. Looking at 01-04, though:
01--35 games
02--39
03--38
04--34
The maximum possible number of games in the 05 postseason is 29+5=34, the same number as 2000. Looking at extra inning games, which I consider a fairly good quick indicator of the closeness of the games(although certainly there are many fantastic games of 9 innings or less, but just about every extra inning game can be considered a great one), you see this:
01--2/39=5%
02--0/39=0%
03--6/38=16%
04--7/34=21%
05--1/29=3%
Again, 05 is at or near the bottom.

What are the great moments of the 2005 playoffs? The Pujols HR game was fantastic, and the Astros/Braves epic battle ranks among the greatest games I've ever seen. Game 2 that we just saw will be remembered but will be sullied by bad umpiring. Outside of that, the moments which will live on will be the atrocious umpiring. The Josh Paul play took Game 2 of the ALCS from an extra-inning pick-em to a potential White Sox victory. The umpires in Game 5 whose strike zone can only be rivaled by Eric Gregg and his Pacific Ocean-sized zone for Livan Hernandez in the 1997 NLCS. The catcher interference non-call in the ALCS that probably had no impact on who won but had to increase the ire in the Angels to remarkable levels. And finally, the phantom hit by pitch tonight which loaded the bases and denied Wheeler the opportunity to retire Dye.

In the interests of full disclosure, if you had asked me before the playoffs started who I was pulling for, I would have responded in order:
1 Yankees
2 Red Sox
3 Astros
4 Cardinals
5 Angels
6 Padres
7 Braves
8 White Sox
So the fact that my least favorite team of the eight is winning the thing could well be a factor in my bitterness(incidentally, the team I favored least also won the World Series in 2001, 2002, and 2003). But I firmly believe that when objective baseball historians of the 22nd century write the ex post facto history of the playoffs, 2005 will be an afterthought.

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