Seattle’s Championship Banner

I have never toured the confines of Safeco Field. I watch a few Mariners games throughout a given season, mostly when the Rays visit the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve never asked anyone who would know, but I do not believe the Mariners have a flag flying or pennant hung commemorating their 116 win season. Though I wish they did.

Ask most baseball fans: what is the ultimate team goal in any given season?

The responses will be something along the lines of “World Series,” “winning the title,” “championship,” or a synonym thereof. Fair enough. That goal is certainly shared throughout the league itself and it’s probably the correct answer. I pose this question to Mariner fans: would you trade that 116 win season for a World Series title? And to fans of the Phillies: would you trade your world title for a 116 win season? Both sides likely reply no. In part because familiarity breeds comfort and most people hate change.

Let’s try something different with the next set of questions. Which is more impressive? Which is more valuable? Which should be more respected?

Consider this: winning 116 of 162 games means the team won 72% of their games. Winning the 11 games required to become World Series champions in the post-season could mean the team won 58% of their post-season games if each series went the distance. We expect that, as sample size increases, the true talent levels will be unveiled in more clarity. Compared to 19 games, 162 is a large sample. 162 is a pretty small sample compared to what we would want if our goal was true talent levels throughout.

A 162 game schedule also represents more time in which injuries could occur, but there’s also the ability to add additional players throughout a regular season. In the post-season, what you have is what you can use. Also, in the playoffs, the quality of teams against which you play rises – or at least it should – and the amount of home games is decreased. Although, that might be a wiling sacrifice for teams who in turn get to use their top three or four starters instead of starting a so-so-option every fifth day.

None of this is groundbreaking and some may call it obvious. There is a large sector of college football fans – casual and diehard – who very much want a playoff. A real playoff, they say. It makes sense, depending on how you weigh the BCS with the potential selection committee. The idea is a bit odd, though. Why is it that we need a post-season tournament to tell us which team is the best? Is that not what the regular season is for? In the case of two or more teams that seem equally qualified, then the means of additional play as a way to give conclusion to the crown seems adequate, but if a team wins 116 games, they were (a) incredibly lucky and (b) incredibly good.

So I’m torn. It seems the majority place unfair significance on the victor of the final game rather than the 160 before. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong and I’m not even sure there is a right or wrong. I do hope Seattle has a “116” flag though.

Some questions for discussion:
1. Is the ultimate goal to win, or to win the title?
2. What amount of regular season wins would you trade a World Series title for? What about the lowest amount of regular season victories with a World Series title for 116 regular season wins?



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Rob H.
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Rob H.

Seattle does have a banner for their 116 win season. It was incredibly sad to see that team lose in the playoffs. They deserved to be champions as much as any team has.

NEPP
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NEPP

If they deserved it, they would have won.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Yay, for stoopid comments!

AxDxMx
Member
AxDxMx

What teams did the Mariners face the most? Did they play an equal number of NL teams? So how can you even pretend like 116 wins was their “true” talent level and therefore they should have won the World Series? Seems silly to me. If MLB wants to keep the scheduling the way it is, then a playoff is the best answer. Otherwise, to crown a champ off the regular season you need some kind of round robin format where all the teams play each other. 5 games against each team would be a 145 game schedule and more indicative of “true” talent.

College football does not come close to approximating the best way to pick a champion. Imagine what would happen in MLB if the Royals were to have the best record, but everyone says the Yankees are the better team (BIG hypothetical), so they go to the title game along with some other big money team shutting out the team with the best record. In that scenario the TCUs and Boises of the world get left out of the title game. The magic of the playoffs is that anyone has a chance to win, as long as you were good enough to get there.

kevin s
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kevin s

if they were the best the Ms would havc won the WS. the regular season is one part of the season. tiutle rounds are a must. true champions step it up each era of the season. 116 win season could mean any number of things, none of which are as great as winning a WS…

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