This is the time for tight pennant races, epic collapses (or comebacks depending on your rooting interests), and crucial three game series against your division rivals with a wild card berth at stake.
Instead, it seems like this year’s playoff teams have been more or less solidified since the middle of August, if not longer — and the season doesn’t end until October. Yes, there are still individual incidents like Jays-Yankees brawls to get excited about, but September is supposed to be about “playoff implications,” and the chance for even mathematically eliminated teams to play spoiler.
So with nothing exciting to examine in the baseball world, let’s attempt to quantify just how boring the divisional races (and wild cards) are right now. First up, the NL.
St. Louis up 8.5 games on Chicago. Chances of making the playoffs: 99.8%
Boredom equivalent: A six-hour layover in an unrenovated terminal of the St. Louis airport with no TVs and a bunch of vending machines in lieu of actual food/newsstands. (Yes, this has actually happened to me.)
Philadelphia up 7 games on Florida. Chances of making the playoffs:98.7%
Boredom equivalent: Driving the entire length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike with a busted car radio after you forgot to charge your iPod.
Los Angeles up 5.0 games over Colorado. Chances of making the playoffs:99.960248%
Boredom equivalent: Wrapping up all your projects before lunch on your last day of work before a two-week vacation. (Sorry, I’ve never been to California so I couldn’t get geographically specific.)
Colorado up 3.5 games over San Francisco. Chances of making the playoffs:85.3%
Boredom equivalent: Waiting for the guy you just started dating to call. You’re pretty sure he’s going to, but there’s always the slight possibility he won’t, which makes you both bored and a little nervous.
To make matters worse, after the end of the Giants-Rockies series last night and a three game Cubs-Cards series this weekend, there will be no 1st place vs. 2nd place divisional or wild card match ups in the NL for the rest of the season. Can we just get the playoffs started already?
Bonus poll question!