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2 issues

April 12 2005 at 9:19 AM
BigE  (no login)
from IP address

1. The NHL's proposed new playoff format.

2. Instant replay in baseball.

When I first heard the new format, I thought it wasn't a bad deal, if the powers that be feel more playoff teams are needed. 10 teams per conference instead of 8, simple as that. But instead, the plan actually calls for more emphasis on divisional standings. The top 2 teams in each division get ranked 1 through 6 and receive a buy in the first round. Then the others end up battling it out in a 5-game series to widdle the field down to the normal 8 teams. I'm already a hater of divisional ranking privilages, such as when the South-least division's leader is usually on par with whoever would normally be ranked 8th or 9th in the conference. Considering teams only play their division rivals once or twice more per season than the rest of their conference rivals, this is not an accurate way of ranking teams for playoffs. Under the new proposed system, last season the Atlanta Thrashers (who ranked 10th and finished 13 points out of 8th in the East) would be ranked 6th and receive a buy to the next round. In contrast, the Ottawa Senators (who finished 5th with 102 points, 24 POINTS AHEAD OF ATLANTA) would be ranked 7th and have to play Buffalo who had 85 points in this relegation round. One point in the difference for Ottawa would have put them from 7th and having to play an extra 5-game series, to 4th and automatically playing in the next round. IMO, a 10-team system only works if they screw off with the ridiculous divisional bull****. But to get to the real question, why the hell do we need 2 more teams in the playoffs? I mean, if you're ranked 9th or 10th in a conference, which likely puts you at 18th to 20th in the league, why do you deserve to be in a playoff tournament to see who the best team in the league is? IMO, last year was one of the best NHL seasons in a long time. Tight playoff position races down the stretch actually make the regular season seem significant. Besides, there are way more important issues for the NHL's brainpower to be solving than this. The net size issue would also be a moot point if the league actually put a decent effort into cracking down on goaltender gear and obstruction penalties that are let go all the time.

And I'm hearing grumbling up here about a need for replay officiating in baseball. Now, part of what attracts me to baseball is that of the 4 major sports leagues, baseball is the most traditional. But I've got to wonder. Baseball is a sport that is played in such a way that modern technology could be used to officiate 90% of the game. The talk got going on TSN after Cory Koskie was called out at the plate against the Sox on Sunday when on replay he was safe. Boston ended up tying the game in the 9th, however the Jays knocked one in in the bottom to get back the win. Then there was the fan picking the ball out of the park in the Sox/Yankees series last year... we all know what might have come of that had the umpire's little debate leaned the other way. Then there's the strike zone. In yesterday's 8-1 thumping the Sox laid on the Yankees, the Red Sox really got things going after a pitch made by Mussina was called a ball that in all honesty looked like a strike. Mussina and Posada even started heading for the dugout as it would have been a strikeout on 2 outs. Instead, the Sox filled up the bases and knocked in a few runs to put a big lead on NY. Then Wakefield picked up some strikes that were argued hard by the Yankees. Now, Wakefield's knuckle balls are so hard to see that Varitek can't even catch in games he pitches, and even Mirabelli misses catching a few every inning. Yet an umpire can tell if it caught the strike zone? Ok, I'll take their word for it. But I'm also wondering how accurate that strike zone thing ESPN uses is.

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