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Where's the excitement?

Extra round of playoffs hasn't produced much drama

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Latest: Wednesday October 04, 2000 09:51 AM

  Atlanta's John Rocker and Eddie Perez celebrated yet another Division Series loss by the Astros in 1999. Allsport

By Jacob Luft,

In the five years since major league baseball added an extra round of playoffs, the Division Series has produced little to validate its existence.

There have been 20 of the best-of-five Division Series played. Only in three instances did a series go the maximum five games and provide classic postseason moments -- Mariners vs. Yankees, 1995; Indians vs. Yankees, 1997; and Red Sox-Indians, 1999.

There have been nine three-game sweeps. Eight have been decided in four games.

It seems the only real purpose for the extra round of playoffs is to give the TV networks more games to show, and push the World Series back so far into October that sweaters and gloves are the dress of choice.

Contrary to what Bob Costas might say, the lack of drama is not the fault of the wild-card entry. Wild-card teams have gone a respectable 4-6 in Division Series play. Meanwhile, the NL West champion has been a measly 1-4, and the two
First-Round Routs
Division Series   20  
3-0 Sweeps 
Four Games 
Five Games 
wild-card entries from the NL West lost, making the division's record in the first round 1-6.

The AL West has been just as miserable, with its champion also posting a 1-4 record. The division hasn't been strong enough to produce a single wild-card entry.

The feableness of the Western divisions can be explained by the two teams from the state of Texas -- the Rangers and Astros. Houston and Texas have combined to go 3-18 in Division Series play, without either of them winning a postseason series in their history.

At least they both missed the playoffs this time around.

Team Years Div. Series
1995-99 5-0 15-2
1995-99 3-2 13-7
1995-99 3-2 12-9
1996-97 2-0 6-2
1995, 1998-99 1-2 4-8
1996, 1998 1-1 3-4
1995, 1997 1-1 4-5
1999 1-0 3-1
1997 1-0 3-0
1996 1-0 3-0
1995 1-0 3-0
1996, 1998-99 0-3 1-9
1997-99 0-3 2-9
1995-96 0-2 0-6
1999 0-1 1-3
1995 0-1 1-3
1998 0-1 0-3
1997 0-1 0-3

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