With exception to the “Bucky-friggin’ Dent” game decades ago between the Yankees and Red Sox to decide the AL East, why should they even need a tiebreaker to find a division winner? Granted this may sound like sour grapes after my Twins lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Chicago in game # 163 last night to end their season, but even if Minnesota had won, it’s a valid question.
These teams played 18 times during the regular season, with the Twins beating the White Sox 10 times. And how did that benefit them when both teams finished with identical records (amazingly home, away, and divisional were the same as well)? Not a single bit. Rather than decide the standings based on head-to-head in the case of similar records like they do in the other major sports, Major League Baseball calls for an extra game to settle things. Unfortunately for the Twins, the site of the game is determined by a coin flip, not head-to-head records. So the Twins lost the coin flip and had to play the game in Chicago, where their record was an awful 2-7 during the year (conversely, the White Sox were 1-8 in Minnesota). If baseball isn’t going to choose a division winner based on head-to-head, the least they can do is award the team with the better record home field in the tiebreaker game. And if the two teams split the season series, well then you flip the goddamn coin.
None of this may have mattered in the grand scheme of things (the Twins mustered only two hits and their studs, Mauer and Morneau, failed to reach base at least once for the first time all season), but I sure would have liked to find out. After a tremendous and surprising season full of many ups and downs, and the valiant effort they gave taking it past the last day of the season despite the losses of Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, and others, they deserved better. I have only next year to look forward to… now Go Rays!