I’ve now reached the conclusion that divisions are completely useless and we need to go back to the pre-nineteen sixty whatever era of just the two division-less leagues, with one slight modification: the top four teams from each league make the playoffs, period.
I reached this conclusion recently whilst watching the Rangers get pummeled by the Toronto Blue Jays, a team hopelessly stuck in the money division, a team that should probably make the playoffs, but probably won’t. This coming from a guy who has some strange, irrational hate of the Blue Jays (probably because they own the Rangers).
Yeah, yeah, I know all the arguments in favor of divisions and against no divisions, but to me, if you balance the schedule to where every team plays every other team the equal (or close to equal) amount of times, then the teams that finish in the top four slots are the teams worthy of making the playoffs, plain and simple. Anything else is just artificial intervention by the league that renders the playoffs meaningless.
Case in point: If the season ended today, the Blue Jays would not be in the playoffs, and the Rangers would be. This is bull$hit, because right now, not one team in the AL West deserves even a whiff of the playoffs, and I suspect this will be the case come October, because the AL West is nothing but a pit of mediocrity and suck.
If MLB were open to shortening the season, I’d even be open to an NHL/NBA-like playoff (sans the division implications), with the first two rounds being best-of-three series. Some would argue that this is letting TOO MANY teams into the playoffs, to which I would have agreed in the past, but to which I now disagree (just ask the NHL Flyers and Canadiens).
Regardless, the current divisional layouts are crap, and leave otherwise playoff-worthy teams out in the cold while AL West-caliber teams somehow end up wasting network airtime in October.