There Will Be Chats

In Canto IV of his Inferno, the poet Dante — led by other, more dead poet Virgil — enters a level of hell reserved predominantly for those people who had the misfortune of predating Christ. One can ask reasonable questions about the justice of this arrangement — is it the fault of Socrates, for example, that he was died before the arrival of an unborn prophet? — but neither Virgil nor Dante nor even the occupants of this region appear to be lodging any serious complaints.

While this intermediate state, known as Limbo, is technically situated within the first circle of hell, it doesn’t feature any of the punishments typically associated with the underworld. No fire or rivers of fire or anything involving fire, really. It’s mostly a bunch of guys sitting around.

Today, we find ourselves in a kind of baseball Limbo*, occupying a place on the schedule that’s technically situated within the regular season but possessing all trappings of a postseason game. It is very strange.

*It’s possible that Dante’s Purgatorio actually serves as a more apt metaphor for these Game 163s, but the author hasn’t read it and has no plans to do so for the moment.

Indeed, the purpose of post is less to meditate on the finer points of a long Italian poem and more to announce that a number of FanGraphs writers will be attempting to understand the strangeness of baseball Limbo in real time today during an extended “live chat” that will start around 1pm ET and continue for the duration of this afternoon’s divisional tiebreakers. Chats for the Wild Card games on Tuesday and Wednesday will follow, as well.

Here’s the playoff chat schedule for the next few days. Times in ET and presented in sophisticated 24-hour format. (Note: prospect and fantasy chats not included here.)

Monday
13:00 Game 163s Live Chat Jubilee

Tuesday
20:00 National League Wild Card Game

Wednesday
20:00 American League Wild Card Game

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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v2micca
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v2micca

Just another way that Baseball isn’t always fair. All four of these teams will finish with a better record than the Atlanta Braves. But, the Braves will arguably be in the best position of all of them as they will not have to burn one of their better starters for a game 163.

stever20
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Member
stever20

In theory right. But look at least with the Cubs, Dodgers, and Rockies….

Cubs would have Lester and Hendricks for 1st 2 games.
Dodgers would have Kershaw and Ryu for 1st 2 games.
Rockies would have Freeland and Gray(admittedly not so great) for 1st 2 games.

So really Cubs/Dodgers would have their pitching set up perfectly for the playoffs, and Rockies aren’t set up poorly either….

Brewers starters weakest of the 4…..

tb.25
Member
tb.25

Either you accept divisions as unfair in this sense, or you accept worsening already unfair travel schedules through eliminating divisions and requiring teams to travel to each city equal amounts of times.

Poor West Coast teams in scenario 2. Already travel 2+ times further than Northeast teams.

TKDC
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Member
TKDC

Putting aside how hard the Braves played after they eliminated the Phillies from the East, going into the last day of the season, the Braves, Rockies, and Dodgers all had the same record. The Dodgers and Rockies playing for their lives won their games. Lane Adams, Ryan Flaherty and the other Braves B-teamers played most of the game and the Braves lost a game they knew would almost certainly not matter one bit. Even if we were going to accept that this structure of fairness should exist, if the rules don’t reflect it, you cannot make conclusions based on hypotheticals that are contrary to the reality that shaped the results.

TL;DR There is no crying in baseball, my friend.