Wooden's World of Baseball

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Expansion and New Playoff Format in the Can-Am?

Thanks to Joe at Spirit Fans HQ, we've learned that the Can-Am League may be tinkering with its playoff format yet again — another tangential admission that the North Shore were given short shrift for the second straight season. In the same Nashua Telegraph article, there is reference to expansion and the elimination of the All-Star series with the American Association (nee Central League).

Playoff Format
I recognize the financial implications of having a split season. Nashua and Quebec, the two bottom-feeders in the 1st half, were much more competitive in the 2nd half, even if it didn't show in Nashua's attendance figures (that's another topic altogether). In any other season, Quebec would have won the 2nd half, but the Spirit's 33-win tally (a league record, including its former incarnation as the Northeast League) was the roadblock.

That said, I've never been a fan of "predetermined" formats. Quebec — a #3 wildcard team — getting the 5th and deciding game was a joke. Quite frankly, I'm now starting to think that a team that wins both halves should get to host the final four games (since a 2-1-2 format would create "too much travel") but that's probably something that will happen once every 10 years or so.

If 2-2-1 is out, then I believe that the team with the best overall record gets to host three games. I'm sure most teams would prefer to go 3-2, but I like the idea of having a choice. If the teams are in close proximity, then a 2-3 format might be in order, especially if you finish the season at home.

The perennial rumor of Atlantic City leaving the Atlantic League has resurfaced. The Nashua Pride are saying they'll give it another try, but the betting man has to go with one team out, one team in rather than Atlantic City joining and the Grays or Aces being reborn. I'm sure some folks think the Plymouth Eels may be the 10th team, but that's also assuming that both Atlantic City and Plymouth can join (all indications seem to be pointing towards Plymouth gunning for the CanAm). Further complicating matters: The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs — will they be online and ready to go in 2007? One would think that the Atlantic League's goal is to drop the Road Warriors in favor of the Blue Crabs. Food for thought, but way too early to call.

All Star Game
I think they mean more in the minors when they're intraleague, but not the stupid "World" vs. USA format, which is really contrived (especially when Puerto Rico, an American territory, is deemed to be non-USA). Think Northern Division vs. Southern Division. Or first team vs. second team. But given the shortness of the season, naming a midseason and postseason team is probably the way to go. I'm sure the players would appreciate those three off days added into June, July and August (perhaps the 1st monday of those months?) to get more rest.


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