Tag Archives: division

Two Wild Card Teams, Too Many!

This past off season Major League baseball did something they had not done since 1994. It changed it’s playoff structure by adding a new element.

Prior to 1995 there were just four teams involved in the post season. There was an Eastern and Western Champion in Both leagues who would play each other for the League Championship. Those two winners would go into the World Series and face off against the opposing leagues Champion. This had been the case since 1969.

The new system was enacted in 1994 but due to the strike shortened season it debuted in 1995.  The system worked with each league having three divisions.  Each division winner would go to the playoffs and the team with the best record that did not win a division would also go to the post season.  There have been five wild card teams that have won a World Series since MLB instituted the wild card.

In November the commissioner of MLB, Bud Selig announced that their would be a second wild card team for each league.  The two wild card teams would play each other in a one game playoff.  The winner will advance to the divisional round of the playoffs and face one of the divisional champions.  All that was added was basically one more game to each leagues playoff.  We will see the first wild card playoff game in less than two weeks from now.

The new system obviously adds something to the final month of the season.  More teams will be in the hunt for the post season with the additional wild card.  Those teams games will also be more exciting down the stretch when MLB can be boring at times.  It will also create a new buzz in the playoffs.  However there is a draw back.

The two wild card teams might actually be pretty far apart records wise.  The second wild card team will be given an opportunity for the playoffs they may not deserve. As of right now you have two teams at the top of the National League wild card race.  The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.  The braves lead the Cardinals by 6 games.  If the playoffs were to start today the Cardinals would get a one game playoff opportunity with the Braves they should not have.

This new system seems nice right now but over time it will dilute the MLB post season.  One wild card team per league is just enough.  If you have too many non playoff worthy teams getting a shot in the playoffs it will spell disaster for MLB.  This is just another scheme by Selig to make more money off of the last month of the season and add more money to the post season television deals.  MLB should go back to the four team per league system before the post season become watered down.  As the old adage goes if it is not broke don’t fix it.

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“Let’s Get Rowdy” Rousey Defeats Kaufman Via Armbar

Much like a pro wrestler has a finisher so does female MMA fighter “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, the armbar submission.  Rousey is a former Olympic bronze medalist in judo and comes from a tradition of judo, her mother also being a judo practitioner.  Trained by the great “judo” Gene Lebell and training with the Diaz brothers in California.  Rousey has ascended to the top of womens MMA in less than a year.  Rousey has a 3-0 amateur record and a 6-0 pro record, all of the victories came via armbar submission with the latest victory coming Saturday night.

135 lb Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
(Getty Images)

Rousey the 135 pound Champion defended her title against challenger Sarah Kaufman.  Many thought Kaufman’s experience and striking ability would be a tough challenge for Rousey to over come.  There was nothing difficult for Rousey in this fight.  She took Kaufman down early and got the submission victory at 54 seconds.  Rousey has only had one fight that went longer than one minute.  That fight was against Miesha Tate when the fight went 4:27, Rousey claimed the title in that March fight with an arm bar.

The next fight for Rousey will most likely be against former champion Cyborg Santos.  That would be an intriguing fight and would likely be a great one.  Santos striking is the best in womans MMA and we already know what Rousey is bringing to the table.  It could be the highest rated women’s MMA fight in History.

Rousey is very popular and her popularity will only get greater with her submission victories.  Not quit as popular as Gina Corano was a little over 3 years ago when she was on top of the division, Rousey is getting close to that level though.  The myth could grow to the point she may reach the level Mike Tyson in the 1980s.  The only thing that might hold her back has nothing to do with her fighting but rather how she acts outside of the cage.  She does not carry herself like a superstar, Rousey comes across more as an everyday person in interviews.  If she continues her demolition of the women’s division superstar appeal may not matter.  The eyes of the MMA world will be on her even more in her next fight and we will have to see how she handles all of the attention.

The Miami Marlins After 2 Months Of Baseball

It has been an interesting season for the Miami Marlins so far.  This team had a very new feel to it going into the season.  A new name came first, no longer are they the Florida Marlins they are to be know now as the Miami Marlins.  The new retractable roof stadium located in downtown Miami known as Marlins Park.  The new manager Ozzie Guillen, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the off season.  Also new were big time free agents in Short Stop Jose Reyes, Starter Mark Buehrle and Closer Heath Bell.  The team had not acquired free agents of this caliber since the 1997 season.  But the newest thing for the Marlins was hope of contending in the N.L. East and winning their first ever division title.

The Marlins new home, Marlins Park
(Getty Images)

The Marlins finished April with just 8 wins and 14 loses.  Many of those loses were to N.L. East foes the Phillies, Nationals and Mets. The Fish ended April at the bottom of the division.  Not much seemed to go right for the Fish in April.  Manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended by the team for a few games due to some ridiculous comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.  The team also was not preforming well on the field.  Their production on the offensive side of the ball was horrendous.  Stars such as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez not playing very well consistently.  Their young power hitter Giancarlo Stanton had no power to speak of.  The guy that was supposed to be saving games for the team Heath Bell was blowing leads and games left and right.  The team was in need of a restart when April ended.

They got their fresh start in May and boy did they take advantage of it.  The Marlins went on a road trip where they swept the Giants, Padres and took 2 out of 3 games against the Astros.  The fielding got better, the pitching was awesome and the bats came alive in May.  Giancarlo Stanton had an incredible month of May where he hit 12 home runs and had 30 RBI’s.  Stanton even had a walk off grand slam in a home game against the Mets.  Pitcher Ricky Nolasco got his 5th win of the season. Carlos Zambrano the loose cannon from the Chicago Cubs has pitched well and not lost his mind yet.  The Marlins also played a lot better against division rivals.  They took 2 out of 3 games against the Phillies, split a 2 game series with the Braves.  The Marlins finished the final series of May by sweeping the 1st place Nationals in a 3 game series.  The Fish had a record of 21 wins and just 8 losses for the month of May.

Marlins power hitter Giancarlo Stanton
(photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Marlins begin the month of June with a 29-22 record.  It took the Marlins 2 month to make it to first place but they did it.  They hold a tie with the Nationals for 1st place in the N.L. East.  June is not going to be an easy month schedule wise.  They will play 5 games total against the Phillies and 3 games against the Braves.  The biggest challenge could be when they play a total of 6 games against their inter state rival Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays are also tied for 1st place in their division and have played really well as a team this year.  So that series could be a tough one for the Fish.  The Marlins are hoping to finish June the way they are coming into it, very hot.

The rest of the season is going to be the real test of course.  The Marlins were looking bad in April but impressed in May.  The Fish play in the toughest division in baseball but have held their own so far.  I believe the Fish have a very good chance of taking their first division title.  This is a really good ball club that is finally playing as a team and are clicking on all cylinders.  The prospects look very good for the rest of the summer but we will know for sure what this team is made of by September.