Sports with Patrick Townes
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the length of the Major League Baseball season and the playoff format leading into this year’s spring training – the best time of the year I might add. The schedule and playoff format has taken somewhat of a back seat to the other news concerning a certain Blue Jay player and the cheating Houston Astros. In addition to the buzzers under the Astros’ jerseys, hopefully they are planning to add some extra padding this year.
The baseball regular season currently consists of 162 games. The playoffs consist of 1 wildcard game, a best of 5 series, and 2 best of 7 series. Pending no tie breaker games at the end of the season, a team could play a maximum of 182 games to capture the World Series.
There are a total of 30 teams in the league, with 15 teams in the American League and 15 teams in the National League. Within each League, there are 3 Divisions of 5 teams. Under the current playoff format, 5 teams from each League make the playoffs. For many years it has been the opinion of many that the season is too long, and there should be more teams that make the playoffs.
The baseball season can seem long for players, coaches and fans; but can seem even longer for teams that are out of the playoff race early. If the number of playoff teams was to be expanded, the amount of games during the season would need to be reduced. Although I do not necessarily agree with increasing the number of playoff teams, I do understand the need for some teams to try and keep fans interested. One benefit of a team being out of the playoff race is they get to bring in their younger talent and these players gain valuable experience playing at the end of the season. If more teams are in the playoff race, it could result in the slower development of younger players.
Opinions aside, a revised baseball schedule with a 153 game season could look like this:
A team plays each team in their Division 12 times (12 games x 4 teams = 48 games)
A team plays the other teams in their League 6 times (6 games x 10 teams = 60 games)
A team plays each team in the other League 3 times (3 games x 15 teams = 45 games)
The above baseball schedule accomplishes many things. The number of games within your own Division is reduced. It is common that a team makes the playoffs solely due to the weakness of their own Division. There is a balance amongst games against other teams in their League. And lastly, this would ensure that every team plays each other for at least 3 games a season.
Now for playoffs, 7 teams would make the playoffs in each League and it would look like this:
The top team in the League gets a bye in the first round of playoffs
The next two division winners and highest wildcard get home field advantage in the first round of playoffs against the other three wildcard teams in a - 3 out of 5 series.
The top team then plays the lowest team in the standings in a 3 out of 5 series as does the other first round series winners.
The League Championship series is then 4 out of 7 games.
And finally, the World Series is 4 out of 7 games.
The maximum amount of games a team could play in the playoffs would be 24 games. Combined with the 153 game regular season, a team could play a maximum of 177 games compared to a maximum of 182 games right now. But remember if you are the top team in the League you get a bye in the first round so if you go all the way, you can play less.
These revisions accomplish what the players and owners are asking for -- fewer games in the regular season and more opportunity to make the playoffs. If this format was used during the previous season, no team with a below 500 record would have made the playoffs.
These revisions put more teams in the playoffs and reward the highest seed with a bye and time to rest their pitchers and, at the same time, play fewer games overall.
Saginaw Spirit: Following the last edition of the newspaper, the Saginaw Spirit received an extreme boost on the blue line. Bode Wilde was loaned back to the Spirit from the New York Islanders. There is no doubt the Spirit are ready to make another run in the playoffs this season.
Orillia Terriers: The Terriers have a new captain, and he is an Elmvale native. Congratulations to Owen King who was named captain when the team parted ways with former captain, Kyle Heitzer. A full article was authored by Tyler Evans which can be read at orilliamatters.com regarding King’s triumph to captain.
OMHA SHARES A “DAY IN THE LIFE” SERIES OF ONTARIO MINOR HOCKEY FAMILIES
Vignettes break down perceived entry barriers and show positive influences through the collective eyes of minor hockey households
RICHMOND HILL, ON (FEBRUARY 18, 2020) – The Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) continues to break down barriers by accentuating positive experiences and challenging myths surrounding families involved in minor hockey.
Three wide-ranging vignettes have been produced and shared over the OMHA network of associations to highlight a “Day In the Life,” a series of true stories of average hockey families across the province. The inaugural videos share individual stories with common threads – love of the game and sense of sports community.
“In many ways, these stories present the broader picture of what it means to be a hockey family – the commitment, the teamwork, highs and lows of a hockey season,” says Ian Taylor, Executive Director of the OMHA. “It’s more than simply playing the sport of hockey. At the end of the day, it’s not the wins and losses that will be remembered, it’s the experience where entire families benefit from the sport and are fulfilled through lifetime friendships and memories.”
Often, myths around travel, inclusion and simply being too busy keep families away from minor hockey, when in fact, the tendency is for families to become closer, meet new people and share a passion at the rink.
“We provide numerous levels of hockey, each with varying levels of time and financial commitment,” adds Taylor. “For players and families who want to participate in our sport, we have an option that fits their needs.”
The Gardiner Family South Muskoka Minor Hockey Association “Strengthening Ties” The Gardiner family enjoys the lifelong bonds that hockey has created for their family within their community. It has developed into an active lifestyle for everyone and promoted life skills among the children. The teamwork and friendships built during the season carry over into school and work.
the Davidson Family North Durham Minor Hockey Association “Our Second Family”
For the Davidsons, it’s not just the players that have become teammates. Over the course of the season the parents spend a lot of time together cheering in the stands. This has evolved into friendships for both the skaters and adults. Between carpooling and meal prep, the hockey team quickly becomes a second family.
The Wong Family Markham Minor Hockey Association “The Social Environment” In a house full of hockey fans, that passion carries over to the rink. With two young sons in minor hockey the Wong family has mastered the schedule of games, tournaments and practices and you’ll find them on the ice more often than not during the week. Hockey has brought out a sense of self-confidence and taught the importance hard work.
All videos can also be viewed on a playlist together.
The campaign is running through February-March and will live on the OMHA website, along with other social channels.
ABOUT THE OMHA The Ontario Minor Hockey Association, founded in 1935, is a leader in community sport and oversees a participant base of more than 300,000, consisting of players, coaches, trainers, officials, hockey volunteers and parents across the province. The OMHA works with its 225 local minor hockey associations and annually coordinates 28 leagues to create the best minor hockey experience in Canada. Visit http://www.omha.net.
Mike/Will Masters Bonspiel
The Elmvale Curling Club hosted the Mike/Will Masters Bonspiel on February 8, 2020. Teams from Barrie, Midland and Elmvale particpated.
The overall winner was a team from Elmvale of John Stevenson, Jack Hall, Paul Lambie and Lou Belcourt (Skip).
In second place was a Barrie team of Mike O’Neil, Bill Dawson, Joe O’Neil and Pat “Biggy” Wanamaker (Skip) (also in the picture was George Kolish, bonspiel convenor)
This was the 22nd consecutive running of this bonspiel, formerly known as the Jack Downey Masters.
The teams played three games of 5 ends each, and there were prizes for everyone.