Five is not the same as seven

Remember last week when I listed my playoff predictions?

No? Admittedly, the column was pretty long, and the predictions were slapped onto its end, well after your attention had waned. (It’s probably happening now, at the end of this sentence. All these parenthetical statements wear you down, my high school English teacher said.)

Well, obviously, no one read that far or was in full possession of their wits when they got there, because no one noticed my hilarious mistake (part Freudian wishful thinking, part Courvoisier.)

Let’s take another look (emphasis mine):

The Twins will continue to be a team good enough to win the AL Central handily, not good enough to make it out of the first round. Yankees in six, with A-Rod doing something douche-tastic in the fourth game.

The San Francisco Giants will fall prey to The Curse Of Barry Bonds’ Jerkism (and paying way too much money for Barry Zito) and will be dispatched by the Braves. Braves in 5.

In a battle of sweet red uniforms (my personal favorite) the Reds and the Phillies will take it to seven games. Much as it pains me to say this (because the Phillies are my National League team) the Reds will take game 7. Tear.

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the hype. A rookie closer and Josh Hamilton’s sore ribs won’t be much more than a speed bump for Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria and Matt Garza. These boys know how to win, and they grind it out. Rays in 5. Four if Longoria has a beard.

If you guessed, “Angela made her predictions as though the divisional series were seven game sets, when they are actually five, what a jackass,” you are correct.

Five, as it turns out, is not the same as seven. (We’ll get to everything else I got wrong in a moment.)

But why shouldn’t the divisional series be seven games? I mean,

To say that it makes no sense that the first round of the baseball playoffs are best of 5 instead of 7 would be one of the gross understatements of our generation. Seriously how is this possible? You play a 162 game season and then you play a best of 5? It makes no sense on any level. Is it because of the weather concerns in eastern cities? Like two extra days will make that big of a difference? It just doesn’t seem fair that you fight for so long to get in the playoffs and then you blink and it’s over.

I know the comeback argument. “These guys are banged up, two extra games would put them over the edge, blah blah blah.” I’d counter with the recent Wall Street Journal study quantifying the actual amount of action contained in each baseball game (14 minutes) means these guys would really only have to suffer through an extra half-hour of action. Not too shabby.

But wait, there’s more. What if we cut a few games out of the regular season to expand the field of playoff teams?

Instead of a 162-game regular season followed by three rounds of playoffs for eight teams, baseball should have a 148-game regular season with four rounds of playoffs for 16 teams.

Instead of limiting the first round to best-of-five—as is the case now—make all rounds best-of-7.

Now you see why I made such a simple, stupid mistake – because, clearly, no matter how we do it, all rounds should be seven games. Heck, if the NBA did it, so can we.

So let’s look again at what I actually predicted. Subtract two from each prediction, and we’ll see just how wrong I was there, too.

Both the Twins and the Reds were swept, another great argument for expanding the playoffs to 16 and the series to seven. You better believe the White Sox and Red Sox would not have been swept. They may not have won, but they would have at least taken a game.

(Note: Atlanta just took the lead in the 6th. If they pull it out, I expect them to take game 5. Same with the Rays Tuesday – always bet with momentum). (Ed. note: Sadly, wrong again. The Giants won and advanced to the NLCS.)

Anyhow, my silly mistake or no, it’s time to expand and extend the playoffs. Because the only thing better than playoff baseball and Roy Halladay no-hitters and creaky old guys pinch hitting for homeruns is more playoff baseball, more Halladay, more creaky guys, more October homeruns.

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