The 162-game season is the best in sports. Some may say it’s too long but it’s a proving ground. When Major League Baseball instituted a new system this year that included a third wild card, fans got over it quickly until it affected them.
Some NL East Fans Are Mad
New York Mets fans and a few other fan bases are whining today about the Philadelphia Phillies only having 87 wins in the regular season and now they’re National League Champs and in the World Series. The Tampa Bay Rays had 86, but I never heard the outcry. Atlanta Braves fans aren’t happy either. Tough luck, if you win, you win, if you lose, good luck enjoying the cold, harsh winter.
The 1973 Mets Won Just 82 Games
I was 10 years old back in 1973. If you think I complained about the Mets getting into the playoffs with such a bad record, still the lowest win total to ever win a division? No way. I was ecstatic and Phillies fans are entitled to feel that way too. Once you get in, you’re in. Most of the time, teams that barely get in get hot late in the season and carry that into the playoffs.
The 2006 Cardinals Won 83 Regular Season Games
The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals broke the hearts of Mets fans to make it to the World Series and eventually win it all. Their regular season record was 83-78. When they beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1, I didn’t hear an outcry that the Tigers won more games and were the better team. If that happened, I missed it.
The Best Team is the Team That Wins
The best team is the one that sees it through an entire season. The 162-game marathon and then all the rounds of playoffs. You play hurt, frustration sets in and players stop hitting and good pitchers have bad games. The playoffs are a different animal and that’s something that makes great television. If you haven’t been watching you’ve missed some exciting games.
MLB Ratings Are Up
According to Front Office Sports, the playoff ratings are up double digits! The Division Series on TBS and Fox averaged 3.47 million viewers that’s the most watched since 2017. Having both New York teams, the Dodgers, Phillies, and Astros helped those numbers. Cleveland was probably strong as well. You can try and bash the playoffs, but this mix of television markets was solid.
Payroll Matters If You Want Roster Depth
The NLCS featured the Phillies, who were second in payroll, and the Padres who were third. The Astros were sixth in payroll and the Yankees were seventh. For the outliers who make it with a low payroll, like the Guardians, the teams who spend a lot are the ones who have the best chance of winning on average.