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Sports fans time of year

Well, it looks like the last of the warm weather will be leaving us until spring.

We always seem surprised, but we shouldn’t be. Once October is past the midway point, we should expect the warmth of the sun to go away.

Oh sure, we’ll have a day or two that will be enjoyable. But for the most part, it’s time to find a jacket to wear or reacquaint yourself to the layered look.

We will soon be watching the World Series. By the time you read this, the teams should be decided.

It has been entertaining, to say the least. Atlanta, Los Angeles and Baltimore, the three teams with the best records didn’t make it out of their best of five game division series.

Which makes one wonder, just how important is it to get a bye instead of playing in that first best-of-three series.

A split squad scrimmage just isn’t the same as a playoff game. Major League teams play a 162 game schedule before playoffs start.

Before divisions were set up the American and National League winners would finish their season on a Sunday and start the World Series on Tuesday. Tuesday and Wednesday with a travel day on Thursday then three games at the other team’s ball park.

If necessary, they would travel on Monday and finish things up either on Tuesday or Wednesday for sure.

There were no playoffs games or wild card teams it was the Top 2 from each league playing in the World Series.

A team that was leading by 10 games or so in the last week or two of the season would rest players and keep them fresh for the start of the Fall Classic. Teams do rest players now, but it is important to make sure all games are competitive so teams fighting for a wild card spot have a fair shot.

League expansion allowed for more teams to make it to the playoffs.

The best team during the season doesn’t always become the champions. It is the team that is playing the best at the right time of the playoffs after the season has concluded.

Playoff expansion is everywhere in sports today in the MLB, NFL, NBA, WNBA, NHL and MLS. By allowing for more games there is also more revenue for the owners and players. There are also more opportunities for teams that are from small markets to share in the fortunes.

Playoff expansion has hit college sports as well. In football the NCAA champion was normally the team that had the best record after the New Year’s Day bowl games were completed. This was usually done by a vote of sports writers.

Then they decided to pick the highest two rated teams to play a game after the bowl games were done. Most fans wanted to see a championship game between the best teams. In the last couple of seasons they went to a Final Four concept with two games played around New Year’s Day with the winners battling it out about ten days later for the big trophy.

This year there will be 8 teams fighting to stay alive and it may be that only two teams are worthy of a spot in this playoff format but fans think their team should at least be able to play on that same field hoping that several plays go their way and are able to pull off that upset victory in order to play on. At this point in time it looks like Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma as the top of the heap. Alabama keeps winning as does Washington so watch them as well. It will be fun watching as the games get more interesting.

Finally we get to NCAA basketball which has had a big hand in trying to perfect the playoff system with now 68 teams getting the opportunity to play at least one game. But with all of those teams in the mix honestly there are really only about four teams each year with the talent and depth to take home the championship trophy.

But this is a great time to be a sports fan with the World Series, football at all levels and basketball and hockey getting started. A fan should be able to find something to watch.

—Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].


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