Friday, September 28, 2007

Parity in Baseball

Going into the last weekend of the Major League Baseball season, we've seen a remarkable amount of parity between the teams. With each team having three games remaining on the 162-game schedule, note the following points:

1. No team in the National League has yet clinched a postseason spot. The three division leaders and the wild card leader all still have at least one team within striking distance.
UPDATE: The Cubs clinched that night, but the postseason invites weren't set, of course, until after the 13th inning on Monday, a day after the regular season was supposed to end. That was a fantastic ballgame, one of the best in recent memory.

2. No team in the majors has a record of .600 or above, nor is there a team with a record of .400 or below. No team will win or lose more than 97 games.
UPDATE: This held up. No team won or lost more than 96 games. Arizona's 90 wins was the fewest for a team with a league's best winning percentage since the season expanded to 162 games.

3. If the Padres and Mets were to both fall out of a playoff position, then no National League team will get a repeat trip to the postseason from last year. Five of the seven teams vying for the four playoff spots did not win one last year.
UPDATE: Both the Padres and Mets missed the playoffs. The National League's postseason delegation has no repeats from last year. In fact, none of them had been in the postseason since 2003.
UPDATE 2: Somehow it slipped my notice that 3 of the 4 American League teams in the playoffs weren't there last year. With 8 postseason berths each year, the only team to repeat is the Yankees. Fully half (15 of 30) of the teams in MLB were in the playoffs either this year or last.

4. There is still a possibility for a massive four-way tie at the end of the season that would lead to three days of playoffs. Until last night, there was still a chance for a five-way tie.
UPDATE: Three teams tied, but one of them (the Phillies) was their division leader, so there was just the one playoff game.

Things will either get a lot clearer by the end of the day on Sunday or very, very muddy.


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