It’s October, which means the MLB Playoffs are back. It’s time for history to be made and for players to make themselves legends. So which team has what it takes to bring home the World Series trophy? Before we answer that, a word on the playoff format.
This year has exposed everything that is wrong with the current playoff format. The current format rewards division winners and seeds them based on their records, with the best two teams who did not win their division playing in a one game playoff for the right to play the best team in their respective league.
This year, the top three teams in the entire MLB came from just one division, the NL Central. So this year, the second best team (Pirates) and the third best team (Cubs) had their seasons rely on the outcome of one game, just so the winner could play the team with the best record in the MLB (Cardinals). Meanwhile, five teams worse than them waited comfortably knowing that they had a best of five series ahead of them, with three of them getting home field advantage.
Throw into the mix that home field advantage for the World Series is decided by the winner of a game that nobody, including the players and managers involved, really cares about (the MLB all-star game) and you have yourself a messed up playoff format. It’s time to reward overall record more than division winner. With this established, let’s move on to the teams.
The story of this post season has undoubtedly been the Chicago Cubs, and it’s not hard to see why. A young team full of rookies that thrives on home runs looking to end the longest championship drought in sports history? Sounds too good to be true, but this team is for real, evidenced by them defeating the St. Louis Cardinals and being the first team to clinch a trip to a league Championship series.
With all of the other divisional series being decided by a game five, it’s tough to pick any clear favorites. It’s tough to bet against the Dodgers and their one-two punch of pitching, and this may be the Chicago bias in me coming out, but I’m going with the Cubs to be the National League champions for the first time since 1945. On the American league side, the deadly offense of the Blue Jays is what will be the difference and I see them advancing to the World Series.
Being a Cubs fan make me very superstitious, and because of that I will not make a World Series prediction. But I have to imagine that for the casual baseball fan it is pretty tough to root against the Cubs at this point.