Let's put a third team in New York

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While we all grouse about how much money the Yankees have, Sports Illustrated’s Tim Marchman reminds us why, exactly, they have so much money:

According to the measure used by the Office of Management and Budget, the New York metropolitan
region numbers about 19 million people. In other words, New York has
one MLB team for every 9.5 million people. Chicago, by this measure,
has one for every five million people, just as Miami and Atlanta do.
Los Angeles has one for every 6.5 million people, as do Dallas and
Philadelphia.

So, with such an inherent advantage in eyes, which gives their cable outlet an inherent advantage in revenue, which gives the team so much more money, the obvious solution is to impose a salary cap, right? No, silly. That’s hard. This is much easier, at least theoretically-speaking:

The better solution would be to place a third team in New York. That
would bring the town’s population:team ratio down to the level of Los
Angeles or Philadelphia, and with the same number of people and dollars
chasing more baseball, would quite likely bring Yankee spending down a
hair without doing anything punitive or unfair.

Easier in that the territorial rights system which keeps a third team out of Gotham could be cast aside by the owners themselves, whereas a salary cap would require a labor battle that the owners could never win.

Not that getting the owners to roll over for that would be easy — both New York teams and their affiliated interests would go crazy, and the teams in Los Angeles and Chicago could fear that they’d be next.  Plus, you have the small problem of where specifically a third New York team would play and who would pay the billion dollars+ for the building.  New Jersey, in a ballpark paid for buy an eccentric billionaire?  OK, we’ll work on it.

The point is that a third team in New York is merely hard, not impossible.  It worked for nearly sixty years, so it could work again.  At any rate, it seems more realistic to agitate for that than it would to agitate for a salary cap.

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp were staked to a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they had only played five innings of baseball. UPDATE: they played a full game today, the BayStars won, so now it’s 2-1 Hiroshima.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?