First Pitch: Can We Agree That the Playoffs Are Random?

Just get there.

That should be the goal for every team in baseball when it comes to making the playoffs. Just get there, and then roll the dice and see what happens.

You’d like to think that there’s more to that. You’d like to think that having the best record, having the hottest team, having the best pitcher, adding the biggest names at the deadline, or any other factors would lead to post-season victory. You’d think that there would be a step beyond just making the playoffs that would allow a team to secure a World Series. But as we see every year, and as we’re seeing this year once again, the playoffs are just random.

It was disappointing for the Pirates when they lost to the Cubs and Jake Arrieta. It was especially disappointing when you consider they hit him harder in the sixth inning of the Wild Card game than any team hit him all year, only to see two of the hardest hit balls result in three outs. And then the frustration continued when Arrieta struggled in his next few playoff starts, including giving up four runs in five innings to the Mets, despite none of the run scoring hits topping 100 MPH.

That’s just part of the luck that’s involved in the post-season.

You’ve also got the fact that the Cubs absolutely dominated the Mets this season, winning all seven games of the regular season series. You’d think that would mean the Cubs would have an easy route to the World Series. Instead, they were swept by a team that went a combined 7-20 to the NL playoff teams this year.

That’s not even unique to this season. The Giants went 2-4 against the Pirates in the regular season last year, only to dominate the Wild Card game. They went 2-5 against the Nationals, then beat them 3-1 in the NLDS. They took 4 of 7 against the Cardinals in the regular season, but only needed five games to get four wins in the NLCS. And the Royals swept the Giants in three games during the regular season, but lost in seven to San Francisco in the World Series.

Every year at the deadline there is a belief that you can add a big piece to help your playoff run, and improve your odds of going deeper into the playoffs. That didn’t work for the Rangers, who spent big to get Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, and Sam “Don’t Bat Flip After Destroying My Bad Pitch” Dyson. It didn’t help the Astros when they added Scott Kazmir, Carlos Gomez, and Mike Fiers. The Blue Jays went all in on Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, and find themselves one game from elimination and needing to take two games in Kansas City this weekend to make the World Series.

Granted, the Mets made a few moves to upgrade their offense. They added Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe in one move, and Yoenis Cespedes in another move, with the latter being huge for them down the stretch. But even with all those bats, it was Daniel Murphy who exploded in the post-season and led them to the World Series. That’s the same Daniel Murphy who was worth 0.1 WAR more than Neil Walker, with a very similar offensive stat line, and a new post-season record with homers in six consecutive games.

It doesn’t get more random than that.

The Mets are the second NL team in a row to make the World Series with the worst record of all playoff teams in the NL. If they win the World Series, they would be the third NL team in the last five years to win the World Series with the lowest regular season record of all NL playoff teams. I don’t think anyone would suggest that the strategy is to be the worst of the playoff teams, but that has led to better results lately than having the best record in the playoffs.

And just like everything else here, this isn’t suggesting that there’s a strategy to follow. It’s just pointing out another case of how the playoffs are random.

A lot of my theories on building a team are centered around the idea that the playoffs are random. Don’t go all in on one year thinking it gives you a better chance than any other playoff year. Don’t sell the future pre-season to load up in the short-term. Build a team through prospects who will help in the short- and long-term, while continually improving the playoff teams that you’ve had in previous years.

The Pirates are set up well for these things. They’ve done a great job to make the playoffs three years in a row, act as buyers for five straight years, and yet avoid giving up any key part of their future for one season. They’ve got a fairly young team that just won 98 games, and they’ll be adding a lot of top prospects next year, which will only extend their “window”, if there is such a thing.

This approach hasn’t led to a World Series title yet, and it’s only led to them making the NLDS once out of three years. But they only have so much control over that outcome, as we’ve seen over the years, including this year. The goal should be making the playoffs as many times as possible. Roll the dice enough times and your number is bound to come up eventually.

**Baseball America Releases 2015 Pirates Draft Report Card. My quick thoughts on this draft: I was critical of the 2014 draft, and it hasn’t produced great results. The 2015 group hasn’t gotten off to a great start either, from a stats perspective, but I like the entire 2015 class better than the 2014 class. That’s not saying the 2014 class won’t produce prospects. They’ve got some interesting guys, from Cole Tucker to Jordan Luplow to Tyler Eppler. It’s hard to describe what’s different about the 2015 group, except to say that I think the Pirates really nailed it this year with finding guys who fit that “strong contact, plate patience, defense at a premium position, speed, and gap power but not home run power” combo. If any draft year will result in a late round sleeper, I think it could be this year, and after seeing him in Morgantown this summer, my early pick for that guy is Logan Hill.

**AFL: Meadows Triples, Frazier Reaches Base Three Times. Austin Meadows picks up his first hit of the AFL season, while Adam Frazier continues his hot season.

**Winter Leagues: Garcia Returns From Injury, Strong Outing For Heredia. Good to see that Willy Garcia wasn’t seriously hurt in a collision at the plate earlier this week.

  • This is an excellent piece of writing Tim and yes, “random” is the word to describe the post season in MLB as the league has established it. The entire thing is a farce. You play 162 games to accumulate 90+ wins, only to have to face a hot pitcher (Arrieta) in a one game wild card game? Then the hot pitcher suddenly becomes unhot, gets hit around by the Cardinals and the Mets?

    Treating the post season as a “random” joke is entirely accurate, given the way it’s currently set up. Any hot team at the end of a marginally winning season can now win itself a World Series (Mets ?).

    By the way, did old man Maddon throw out the arm of Arrieta for this year and next by allowing him to pitch some 100 more innings than he’s ever pitched before? Dangerous territory for the Cubs. Ditto for several Cardinal pitchers who were extended into plus inning territory this year with negative results by the end of the year.

  • Maybe there is hope for next year. Their best shot at the playoffs would be sneaking as the 3rd place team in the Central and Washington and SF both having down years again. Does anyone think the Pirates will go 11-1 against NY and LA again?
    BTW congrats to the Cubs and their fans. Party like it’s 1908!

  • Its randomish. Playoff outcomes tend to be heavily influenced by explosive performances, which are pretty random, whereas the regular season is much more beholden to the law of averages. A 42% probability of scoring with one out and runners at first and second isn’t going to work itself out in the small sample size that is the playoffs.

    There are some things, though, that can help your chances hitting it big in the playoffs. Its still a roll of the dice, but even in craps (especially in craps) you can help your odds by knowing the probabilities. The pitching staff, for example, takes on a very different form in the playoffs, where your ace, and basically the back end of your bullpen, end up pitching up to 50% more often. Your #2 a little less than that. #3 even less. So “front loading” your rotation – having a top ace, a solid #2, and a shutdown 8-9, really does help your odds. Random power surges also make more of a difference in the playoffs. Murphy’s performance would average out in the wash in the regular season – 20 homers instead of 14, big deal. And while you can’t exactly tell who is going to T off, I think its fair to say guys with more power have a better probability of doing so, so being more power heavy – if equal overall – would help your odds. Of course the best thing is just being the better team coming in, but even that’s just playing the odds.

    Randomish. Its more like betting on craps than playing war.

  • The Pirates inability to hit Arrietta didn’t seem all that random to me. It seemed very true to form.

    Every team playing in the Championship series had a payroll above $120 million and every team added players at the deadline. It’s been nearly twenty years since a team in the bottom half in spending has won a World Series. Yes most successful organizations build in part by drafting and developing talent but most also add free agent talent at some point. Does that really seem entirely random?

    There is certainly a quite a bit of “randomness” – I think more accurately described as “luck” – to playoff success in every sport. That’s one thing that makes sport exciting. Otherwise the Russian Red Army team beats team USA, the Greatest Show on Turf beats New England, Georgetown beats Villinova and PSU loses to Miami. If what Tim is saying “better to be lucky than good” I’m not sure that’s entirely true or entirely false. It seems to me that good teams make their own luck. The same could be true of good organizations. All the underdogs I have mentioned had great players and great coaches. Their successes could equally be the “nexus between preparation and opportunity” as the saying goes.

    However you look at it, the Pirates had their fair share of “luck” this year. The Pirates weren’t planning on adding Happ until AJ was injured, for example. So, it wasn’t a situation where they were looking to improve their starting rotation. Without Happ, I don’t think they end up with a better record than the Cubs. My point being that they were kind of forced into making that change, and it wasn’t really planned. Ditto the situation with Ramierez. So, we’re they trying to improve at the deadline or just stay competitive?

    The question I have is “Do the Pirates try to make the most of their opportunities?” Maybe they do. I really don’t know but I am not so sure. All of the “value moves” they make make me wonder if they aren’t more about low payrolls and higher profits than winning.

    The arguement that if they got Price, they wouldn’t have got Happ doesn’t really hold water. If they had the money and were willing to spend it why couldn’t they have had both? Why couldn’t they have signed both AJ and Volquez, for example. It’s easy to criticize in hindsight.

    Yes most of the moves they have made worked out recently. No question the front office has done a wonderful job. That could be a product of being good but it could also be a product of being lucky. No doubt they have spent more money than in years past. In that sense the Pirates successes don’t seem any more random than their failures.

    Let’s just hope that they can keep up the good work they have been doing. They’ve given us three good years of baseball.

  • A one game playoff has a high random factor. A 7 game series not as much. Forget the head to head record of the Mets/Cubs and you see that you have 2 teams that match up fairly well. The Met’s out performed the Cub’s offensively and the Cub’s out performed the Met’s on the pitching side over the course of the year.Once Jake’s Magic Lantern stopped working, the Cub’s were ripe for this given the two teams statistics.

    • 7 games are random and a SSS, also (altho less random than one game).

      .220 hitting Infielders can have 1.000 OPS weeks. Jeff Lockes can pitch 2 hitters and 5 hitters in one week.

      Kershaws can get hammered twice and Cutch’s can go 1-18.

      Randomness abounds in short series. Even statisticians will tell you that 162 games are random. 🙂

      • And mathematicians will tell you that the more you play, the more the things fall to the norm 🙂

        Of course you know what they say about statisticians and mathematicians 🙂

  • The Mets are in because they have the best young starting pitching in baseball. If that is random then so be it. The Pirates won all 6 games against the Mets this year but I would trade the Pirate starters for the met starters anytime. You have to understand it’s all about the pitching. Pitching dominates. Maybe its KC’s turn to be random this year.

    • You mean like the Dodgers aces dominated and David Price dominated and Arrietta/Lester dominated and Gerrit Cole dominated and…..????

      The Mets’ pitchers are dominating right now. Those other pitchers aren’t.

      David Murphy is dominating hitting more HRs than HR hitters. Lucas Duda is hot. Neil Walker is 0-30 in the playoffs.

      It happens.

      Look at the regular season………..non descript players play like HOFers and HOFers go 0-12 in a short series. HOF-like pitchers get hammered and scrubonies like Jeff Locke throw two hitters.

      In the playoffs, teams are so even that a bloop that falls in, a line drive right at someone, an umpire missing a call can decide games and series.

      IT. IS. RANDOM.

      • Speaking of dominating pitching, somehow all of those great Braves teams with Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz….THREE HOFers, could only win ONE World Series!

        Now THAT is Random!

        • What’s random about not having a closer/bullpen?

          • Oh, so it was all the closer’s fault now?

            Sheesh. 🙂

            • As I said to Tim above brother….If the Pirates take the pennant last night, we arent talking “randomness”. We’re talking the genius of our front office and Searage.

              Hey, all I got is conjecture. 🙂 But it feels like a lot of butthurt because the big trade/big signings variables that all of those teams did ( in addition to their comparable young talent) cannot be explained. And instead its “Boo hoo. Randomness.”

              • If we won, I’d be happy, but I still would agree about the randomness, because it is true.

                Look at our last 3 WS wins. Phil Garner hits .500? Bob Robertson is supposed to bunt and Homers? I could go on and on.

                On the opposite side, look at ’92. We all focus on Sid Bream, but Jose Lind, who only committed SIX errors that whole year, opened that 9th inning with an error. If he fields that cleanly, we are in the World Series in all likelihood.

                Short series…ANYTHING can and does happen.


                • Truth is, its a little bit of both.

                  I will say, if you arent going to make any big moves over a number of years (again….2-3 seasons) you need a lot of randomness to go your way. Part of my argument on this thread has been, the Pirates HAVE had some randomness in their favor and it wasnt enough.

                  Worried about the “value pendulum” swinging the other way.

                  I got to get some work done before NMR starts replying and gets me all flustered…Andrew Lane needs to drop his “English Premier League” season theory in this discussion. 🙂

                  • Scott Kliesen
                    October 22, 2015 5:44 pm

                    What’s your definition of a “big move?” Pirates have made several moves to improve the team in a big way over the last 2-3 years. Martin, Cervelli, Liriano, Burnett, etc.

                    Just because they didn’t put all their eggs in one or two baskets, doesn’t mean they haven’t made “big moves.”

                    • Any contract larger than Kendalls and any trade involving a Top 100 prospect is my definition of a big move.

                      Other baseball teams refer to those as an offseason or typical deadline trade.

                      But keep crossing your fingers on JA Happ and Michael Morse.

                    • Typical deadline? I think its pretty excessive to characterize other teams typical deadline as dealing away top prospects and signing huge deals. Yes, LAD/BOS/NYY/CHC (or the ESPN only league) do that, but even they dont make major moves at the deadline on a regular basis.

                      Big moves have flash, but in no way give you any better love in the postseason. We could have made that big move for Price that many screamed for, but he’s actually been really average his entire career in the postseason and him+Tulo are a game away from not making the WS. Big moves make fans happy, but dont really do a ton unless you get the same randomness to go your way. TOR makes major moves, Mets dont, and shit happens.

                    • I have 98 reasons why NH’s methods work better than the way you suggest.

                      And unless your 107 years old, 98 is the most wins for the Pirates in your lifetime!

        • Scott Kliesen
          October 22, 2015 5:39 pm

          This brings up a good point. There’s such a thing as being able to perform under pressure. Tom Brady plays better in the playoffs than Peyton Manning. Derek Jeter played better in the post-season than ARod ever has or will. Simply put, some guys have it and some guys don’t. Have enough of the former, and your chances go up, too many of the latter, and they suffer.

          Of those 3 HOF Pitchers, only Smoltz raised his game in the post-season. Maddux was somewhere between Kershaw and David Price bad.

  • To say that a team is or isn’t built for the post season is a great myth that is continually perpetrated by unknowing pundits and fans.

  • Sorry, I just dont agree. We’re knocking teams that finished ahead of us.

    • We aren’t knocking them. We are speaking the truth.

      Cubs were 7-0 vs the Mets in the regular season and the Mets sweep them?

      Murphy hits 6 HRs?


      • You still need talent to get there. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying take a lien out on Seven Springs and spend a half billion dollars. You still need to draft and develop, make the value deal, and all the things along the lines of ” The Market Inefficiency, Rene Gayo is God” philosophy. But occasionally you do need to write the check. Its a blend of all those things.

        Heck, even McClendon was kissed by the Random Playoff Baseball Gods. Still doesn’t pay the checks of Bonds and Drabek to stick around to get you back there. Or go out and get Leyland a freaking closer.

        Money isn’t the MOST important thing, but its still important.

        • Do you really think money would have changed things for us? We could have went out and got Price at the deadline, but then we would have missed out on JA Happ, who pitched better then Price.

          I just don’t understand where the “payroll people” think we should have spent where we didn’t? We ran into Arrietta. That sucked for us.

          • Hold that thought. When Cole gets deeper into arbitration and near his walk year, I’d like to hear your payroll thoughts then.

            Payroll addition is not just external.

            And again, everything NH has done outside of Corey Hart, Ernesto Frieri, Ike Davis, and Andrew Lambo has turned to gold. Are you willing to bet that trend will continue? I always hear on this forum and others “regression to the norm”. That applies to front offices as well as those in the clubhouse. In my opinion anyway.

            • If the Pirates start letting homegrown talent walk when they don’t have a replacement, then I’ll have a problem with the payroll. I haven’t seen that yet from this FO. I think it’s unfair to think that they won’t, especially since that opinion is mostly based on almost 20 years of a different regime.

              There’s been plenty of other moves that haven’t turned to gold. He doesn’t hit on all of them, but this team is talented enough that if just one hits it provides a boost.

              And you didn’t answer my question. Where would money have helped this year?

              • 1st base? Probably would have aided every team since Laroche walked. That’s the long view. But how quickly we forget Gaby Sanchez and Jeff Clement.

              • The key is not letting them walk. You need a wave of talent behind the current group, so you can trade the guys prior to walking and replenish and increase the organizational depth. That is going to be tough to do with Pedro and Walker, but Melancon may fetch a good return. The true test is Cutch. Meadows will be ready in two years. Are they going to trade Cutch while he still has value?

            • Oh, I could think of a whole lot more moves that proved to be of the toilet mode rather then the gold mode 🙂

  • But that would undermine the 100 year old cliches about how everything is earned and all wins are due to sheer ability (or something intangible that doesn’t exist except in the minds of sports media) and all losses are grounds for a referendum on everything!

  • We all agree that the goal is to win the World Series every year, right? Therefore saying that the playoffs are just random is an extremely unsatisfying answer, regardless of how much truth there maybe in it. During the season we delve into any and every statistic and trend to explain every meaningless game but once the playoffs and most critical games hit we should just throw up our hands and say “Aw shucks, it’s just random”?! I agree we shouldn’t sell the farm every year for some window, but shouldn’t we be doubling down on the analysis to find any trend or strategy for the most critical games to make it less random and give us any edge we can find?

    • I don’t think there is any way to ever make a baseball game, and by extension a small series of games, anything but a coin flip. A guy getting hot or a guy going cold or a bunch of hard-hit balls finding gloves can’t be influenced or planned for.

      • Don’t entirely disagree, my point is we should be looking for any advantage even if it’s boosts our chances by .1%. I mean people used to think umpire calls on balls and strikes were random until they discovered the effect of pitch framing. That’s what I’m talking about- what seems random, there could be some underlying trends that haven’t been identified yet. Just saying it’s all random is counterproductive.

        • If we can figure out why guys like Daniel Murphy do what they do, we’ll be set. But really, its something beyond finding advantages others dont see. Its getting a guy that is Neil Walker-like to break a record for HRs hit in consecutive postseason games and carry an entire offense.

          And thats not really a lone case. Every year or two you see a guy that wasnt spectacular have a huge series that changes everything. Jeff Suppan is a career 5.28 ERA guy who finished 2006 with a 4.12 ERA. But he shuts down the Mets over 15 innings in the playoffs and is the reason STL takes down the Mets.

          2010 saw Cody Ross go yard 3 times in the NLCS. There is an element of “some random guy is going to transform our offense from maybe to for sure if we get lucky”.

          • If it happens every year, it’s a trend, right? Then you can anticipate it- maybe you intentionally walk the Cody Ross. Figure something out. I don’t want to lose in the playoffs for the next 10 years and just say it’s random.

            • The only trend is that it’s random, and there is no analytic that will capture that. Cody Ross going yard 3 times was random. You’re not just going to start intentionally walking scrub hitters at the bottom of the other teams order.

              And just because we ran into MadBum and Arrietta these last couple of years doesn’t mean we’re doomed for the next 10.

            • You go ahead and try to find the common thing that ties together the list of NLCS MVPs. It’ll be fun to watch try to say why Jeff Suppan was likely or David Ross etc. Yeah, good luck explaining to the fans why you intentionally walked David Ross a ton. Either you guess and do it early, or he hits 2 HRs before you realize this is the random guy thats gonna burn you for no reason.

              You are always gonna fear the big name, the big bat, the real threat. And sometimes, thats the guy that clinches it anyway. But you dont, and really cant, plan ahead for the chances that Daniel Murphy hits 6 HRs in 6 games or Adam Kennedy hitting 7 HRs all year in 2002 and hitting…3 in the ALCS.

          • Speaking of PRNW, isn’t he something like 0-30 in the playoffs?

            • 2 hits in 31 at bats, none since the 2013 WC game. I can understand the 1 game WC thing against the guys he was facing, but that NLDS against STL was painful. Any output from him and that series may very well end differently. Not that Marte also hasnt been cold in that timeframe.

  • Nothing random about the 4 starting pitchers the Mets trotted out.

    • Crazy, right? I remember when they were trying to do the same with Wilson, Isringhausen, and Pulsipher. I’m getting old.

      • Just proves the randomness of baseball.

        Let’s see how many of these four are going to be still pitching effectively in two years. History will say, 1 or two, tops.

    • I read an article the other day which said to think that these four young pitchers would dominate the next few years is crazy talk. Pitcher attrition rate is incredilbe.

      • Which is what makes our early NH draft strategies so mind-boggling. Taillon over Machado is a tough sell once you discount Taillon’s talent due to increase injury risk and absurdly high pitcher attrition-rates.

        • Back then the Pirates didn’t have a method to repair pitchers. They believed the only way they were going to get elite pitching was through the draft. Since then they have changed course.

          • They also had their course changed by the rules a bit. They cant going HS arm 1st round and throw big money at a “tough sign” or high upside type in later rounds because spending is now capped. So rather than their earliest strategy, they seemed to have altered it a bit to go for a high upside arm later on after taking a few safe-ish picks to save money in comp rounds and 2-6.

            They had a strategy they seemed content on trying out, but once they won on Bell (in terms of signing him) baseball made PGH’s method not usable.

  • I mean, would the Mets have “just got there” without Cespedes? Royals increased there spending, and got back there. Including with a former Pirate.

    Nope, Value and Gayo. The Warcry…

    • See that right there is the point of the article. Did you miss where he mentioned the Rangers, Blue Jays, Royals? Add in the Dodgers that made a lot of moves. You can point to the Cardinals additions to their bullpen. In any given year you can point to multiple teams that made deals, even big name deals and only one team is going to win the World Series. Yes the Mets made moves that helped them, but so did other teams and it will not have helped. Either Toronto who got Tulowitzki and Price or Kansas City who got Zobrist and Cueto will not make the World Series.

      It’s random.

      • Yup. And the Pirates are the smartest guy in the room because they don’t do that, right?

        Or is it just as random and rare that you can find guys like Happ and Kang for nothing, and they put up incredible numbers?

        • Given the success the Pirates have had with a number of pitchers, I’m not sure I’d consider Happ’s success random. With Kang there was a certain amount of luck, but there was also plenty of evidence he had the tools to succeed. Maybe the Bucs got lucky in both cases, but as the saying goes, I’d rather be lucky than good.

          Talk about random bad luck; how about the Pirates running into the single hottest pitcher in all of baseball two years in a row in a wild card game? Just nuts.

          • I think the Pirates luck has been pretty darn good, considering the last two offseasons and this year’s deadline. And they still finshed 2nd twice and were the first team out in the NL. Randomness works both ways.

        • No the pirates are one of the poorest guys in the room…

          • Wrong, Mike. All you need is value, Gayo and randomness.

            You aren’t happy with 5th place? 🙂 Me, neither.

      • Is this the same Cespedes who the Mets settled on after their owner was too cheap to sign off on the Carlos Gomez deal? We are giving them credit for that and not acknowledging that they screwed up and were rewarded because of Cespedes got hot at the right time?

        I’d also say that they likely make it without Cespedes. They also added Conforto and d’Arnaud to their lineup at that time, plus had hot streaks from Flores and Granderson

        • Lets not lose track of the value getting back your team captain is for the team. Adding Wright is no small thing

    • The Royals got back thanks to relying on guys like Kendrys Morales to have suddenly good year, and sacrificing most of their remaining quality prospect depth for a big arm at the deadline.

      The irony about people who assume KC is succeeding because of big moves/more payroll is that its been the young guys and random filler that were key. Cain/Homser/Moustakas/Gordon as why KC is great this year, with a random “oh, Morales is gonna have his best year of the last 5”.

      Good on KC for getting it done and being good, but its not purely because they traded for Shields or Cueto or spent more. A large chunk was their young guys they built around started playing great. Moustakas remembered how to hit, Cain exploded, Gordon became a more reliable hitter, etc. And in 2 years, KC has to pay a ton of guys or realize its AAA depth is not ready to replace 2-3 key offensive options.

      • “And in 2 years, KC has to pay a ton of guys or realize its AAA depth is not ready to replace 2-3 key offensive options.”

        Sounds familiar.

        • It’d be more like if we had 3 key offensive players all becoming FA in the same year. We arent close to that unlucky. Its Walker, then in a few years Cutch, then in a few year Polanco, then a few years Marte.

          With guys like Kang randomly sprinkled in. KC has Hosmer+Cain+Moustakas in 2018 after Gordon+Escobar in 2016. Large chunks together.

  • This seems to be true every year. The team who’s players get hot at the right time. The players that turn it up a notch when the lights are brightest. The one last thing I’d want is shutdown pitching that doesn’t fold in the biggest games.

  • Of course the playoffs are random. Especially in baseball more than any other sport. Honestly, if MLB was interested in crowning the best team in baseball as champions most years, they would return back to having an AL/NL champ meet in World Series after the season. And the chances of that happening are 0.0%!

    As such, I’m in total agreement with Tim. Build a team good enough to get in and who knows how it’ll shake out.