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Thursday, April 28, 2005

[Sport] Football with Feet and Baseball with Balls

The Following is a conversation between Dom and Jim (James) Coe about soccer that became a conversation between me and Dom about Baseball. It is interesting stuff.

[Ed:this was an email conversation and has been edited because some people don’t spell too good well.]

James: Seems like it is up to the FA which team gets into Champions League if Liverpool win the trophy this year. England only gets four places, so it's either fourth place or the holders. No idea how they decide.

Not that Liverpool is going to win anyway.

Dom: What the hell? When did this happen? I thought the FA cup winners get a place in the CL as well. How come only four?

Damn it we don’t need this pressure!! I don’t want to have to go to the crappy UEFA crap.

James: No, as regards the FA and League Cups, the winners (or the other finalist if the winner qualifies through the league - hence Millwall this year) go into the UEFA Cup. The top four league clubs go into CL.

It seems that this decision on allocation of places is up to the national FA rather than UEFA. For example, the cup winners in Italy get no European spot unless they qualify via the league. So should Liverpool win the CL (and Everton hold fourth), the FA will have to decide between the holders of the CL and the 4th placed team in the Premiership.

Wouldn't want that job too much.

Here you go though, just found this [Ed: Jim doesn’t mention where so I can’t link to it]

[Ed: Basically it’s a long article that backs up what Jim said that Liverpool would have to place in the Premiership to get into the Champions League next year]

Hadyn: Who does Jim Support? Is it Chelsea?

Dom: No way. He’s a disciple of the arsenal. Man he'd slap you for even suggesting such a thing. Maja Lundun rivals, those two.

Hadyn: That's right, I remember now. It's Jules [Ed: Dom’s younger brother] who's a Chelsea fan ay?

Dom: Yup.

Sorry, I’m quite interested in your working for the baseball games. Are you sure its only 2300?

[Ed: Dom is referring to a question asked at the last pub quiz “How many games are played in the MLB regular season]

Hadyn: 5 divisions with 5 teams + one division with 4
=> (5x5)+4
Each team plays 162 games (except Tampa who only played 161 last year????)
=> ((5x5)+4)x162
But each team plays each other so divide by two
=> (((5x5)+4)x162)/2

Dom: It must have been because [Tampa] are so crap that not even the players turned up one day.

The teams don’t all play each other. There is a period during the middle of the season set aside for inter-league matches where they play a few teams, but some teams have never played each other.

Plus there are 30 teams. The NL central has 6 teams. So it’s about 2430 games. I didn’t do the halving thing in my initial guesstimate

Hadyn: Wait a minute. There is a division that has four AND a division that has 6?

And all the rest have 5?

Should I just pop over and explain it to them?

Dom: I guess it’s to do with boundaries. There are lots of states and teams in the central and east and very few in the west. It’s a logistical thing mate. You play the teams you're closest too the most often (I think it might even be as high as 50% of total matches are against your own division). If Seattle had to go to all the way to Chicago and St Louis and Milwaukee or one of those teams had to go to Anaheim and Texas and ‘Frisco.

Although having said that, Houston is in the NL central…Go figure

Hadyn: I imagine that it is more likely to be because certain teams have been in certain leagues since the start. Just like the Cowboys who are in the NFC East, even though they are not in the east.

Let’s have a look...[Ed: goes to ESPN.com]

Just move Houston into the ALW. They already have Texas in there!

OK that was too easy, lets say no two Texan teams in the same league (coz Texas aint big enough for the two of them)

...Sh_t they really are clustered aren't they?...

I would have to move St Louis to the ALW. In the NFL they are in the NFC West with the 49ers and Seattle et al.

Dom: Also. They are in different divisions and probably have been for years. Lots of different rules and habits. The DH in the American league is probably the biggest difference. But there are lots of little things. You know how they talk about this "West Coast Offence" thing in NFL [Ed: Long deep throws ala Steve Young to Jerry Rice] it’s kinda the same in MLB.

Both leagues have their little nuances like the way their pitchers pitch, the temperature they keep the balls [Ed: snigger], the style of offence and how the order their batters. The change would be pretty significant and too much probably for fans and purists.

Lots of long time rivalries that hard core fans hang out for.

Hadyn: What’s a DH? Oh, does it stand for Double Header?

Dom: DH stands for Designated Hitter. Seattle's recently retired Edgar Rodriguez was the best of these. Jason Giambi from the Yankees is usually one cos he’s a crap defender. That’s usually the reason.

The DH is a good place to blood new players, stick old players that aren’t as sharp in the field anymore but are still good bats, bring back newly fit players after injury lay-offs (Ken Griffey Junior seems to be a perennial DH for this reason ever since he moved back to Cincy).
The AL has it so there is more offence more hitting. The NL don’t and it shows. Their pitching is tighter and scores are generally lower.

Also, the NL pitchers also hit. Most are crap but some are pretty handy (D-Train, Mike Hampton and this Houston pitcher forgotten his name). They pitch to strike sides out.

The AL know they are going to get smashed and just have to hope that their offence is stronger than that which they are pitching too. Well at least it appears that way to me.

Hadyn: So what happens in the final?

Dom: Well it depends on the location.

The hosting of the World Series depends on the result of the previous all-star game. Whichever league wins that gets to lead off the hosting 2-3-2 I think. It’s a bit controversial and they always whinge but i can't see them changing it.

So anyway if it’s at Yankee stadium, then the NL pitchers get a night off. If it’s at Shea Stadium then the AL pitcher better have got some practise in midweek.

I dunno. I’m an American League boy so I like the DH and by the number of American League winners of the World Series over the last decade I suggest that offence rules