The World Series is set. Starting on Friday, the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies will decide this year’s World Champions of MLB. The Astros had the best regular season record in the AL; of all the teams that qualified for the NL playoffs, the Phillies had the worst regular season record. I said earlier this month that if the Phillies made it to the World Series, there would be calls for changes in the playoff system citing some sort of unfairness regarding the teams with better regular season records. Well, it is happening, and it is mostly nonsense
It is beyond imagination to have a situation where all the teams entering the NL playoffs would have an identical regular season record. So, by definition, there will be matchups between teams where one of them had a “better” regular season than the other. If you let that regular season difference be your guide, then there is no reason to waste time playing any playoff games. Take a look at the team with the better record and give then a walk-over. That is – in essence – what the World Series used to be; the team in the NL with the best record played the team in the AL with the best record and that was it.
Teams that had better regular season results are rewarded in the MLB system. They get an “extra” home game – – assuming they can stretch the series to its limit – – and the two teams with the best regular season records get a BYE through the first round of the playoffs. In the AL, “the chalk” prevailed; in the NL, “the chalk” lost every playoff series. And somehow, some folks portray that as a “bad thing”. Sorry, I don’t get it…
Last weekend, my TV remote got a real workout flipping back and forth among NFL games and MLB playoff games; next weekend will provide another stress test for that “Recall” button on the remote and the AA batteries inside.
Moving on … While browsing around for sports tidbits, I came across the following statement:
“Indonesian police are bringing criminal charges against three officers and three civilians for their roles in the deaths of 131 people at a soccer match when police fired tear gas inside a stadium, setting off pandemonium.”
I recalled an incident at a Turkish soccer match where fans were so upset with a loss by the home team that they set fire to part of their own stadium to show their displeasure. So, I wondered what had happened here.
The game took place in Malang city in East Java. The home team – – Arema – – lost to Persebaya by a score of 3-2. Fans of Persebaya were not in attendance; they had been banned for fear of hooliganism and/or a riot. It turns out that precaution was not sufficient.
After the game, fans stormed the field to “demand answers” and part of the fans’ ”demanding” included throwing bottles and other objects at players and officials. Things got really out of hand when the “demand for answers” continued in the area outside the stadium where fans overturned police vehicles and that led to the police employing tear gas. That caused a stampede and the stampede caused deaths and injuries that would turn out to be fatal injuries later. All that because the home team lost a soccer match 3-2…
The President of Indonesia ordered a complete suspension of Indonesian soccer league games until a “thorough safety evaluation” is carried out. [Aside: Good luck with that.] and tighter security measures are provided for games once they resume. The Indonesian soccer mavens have banned all home field matchups for Arema for the rest of the season. [Aside: If anyone ever asks you to give an example of “locking the barn door after the horse has bolted”, tell them about this move to avoid home games for the rest of the season.]
I just did a quick check to see if the Indonesian National Team is part of this year’s World cup Tournament in Qatar. It is not. So, officials there are probably happy not to have to deal with fans and supporters who can be provoked to rioting so easily.
And speaking of the World Cup Tournament and the hosts in Qatar, I ran across this report at frontofficesports.com saying that the government in Qatar is going to require all foreign visitors to download two apps to their phones – – and that those apps are a form of spyware.
One app – – Ehteraz – – is an app for tracking COVID and by extension for tracking people movement. The app evidently can “manipulate content” on the phone (whatever that might mean) and it can “override other installed software” on the phone. Sounds like fun …
In case that just makes you shrug your shoulders, the other app – – Hayya – – intends to track tournament matches but it also has permission to “share other content on the phone” with persons or organizations not specified in the downloading process. What could possibly go wrong …?
The Qatari government is serious about security for the World Cup. They have requested – – and the request has been granted – – Pakistani military troops being sent to Qatar to provide security for the game venues AND those Pakistani troops will be augmented by “an unlimited number” of military police from Turkey.
Now that you mention it, I think I made the right choice to stay home and watch the World Cup games on TV here in Curmudgeon Central.
Finally, apropos of nothing, let me close with this observation by humorist, Dave Barry:
“The best babysitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………