This home field thing is getting my goat. And frankly, between my two-year-old and the heat wave we just had, I don’t have that much goat left to get.
Let me clarify something, here: I do all of this analysis and spreadsheeting and bracket-making and all that not because I don’t have anything better to do, but because the friggin’ league – whose job it is to do this – won’t do it. It’s absurd that teams would not know the playoff structure by the end of the damn season. And lest anyone start with the “Well, everyone who needs to know already knows” song and dance, let me share with everyone the playoff document produced by the WFA.
At first glance, it looks like a lot of information. Upon further review, it’s utter malarkey. I may have mentioned once or twice that it does not include the procedure for actually determining division winners. It also appears to include tie-breaker criteria for determining home field, but in reality, none of it actually works. Observe:
Criterion 1: “Blue div winner”. This apparently means any of the divisions in any of the five shades of blue on the bizarrely-colored list of divisions, some of whom have a bye for the first week and some of whom don’t. OK, whatever. That leaves eight matchups to determine.
Criterion 2: Head to head. Not a single one of the eight matchups includes any head to head regular season games. So whoop-dee-zip to that.
Criterion 3: Common opponent. Lovely in theory. Impossible in practice. In not one of the matchups have any two teams played the same common opponent the same number of times. I played Team A twice. You played Team A once. How do we compare that in a way that’s fair? Do you average the scores of my two games? Just look at the first one? Or the last one? Compare winning percentage? All of those are deeply flawed if you ask me. Which no one did. But you’re still reading. So I’ll keep talking.
Criterion 4: Record. All regular season games? Inclusive or exclusive of interleague games? If it’s exclusive of them, you’re gonna be comparing an unequal number of games in a few of the matchups. (Is a 4-4 record better than a 2-4 record? Discuss.)
Criterion 5: Point differential. As above, do interleague games count? What about prior playoff games for later rounds? Is there a 40-point cap per game again or not?
Hence the gotten goat. Not only can I not finish my g.d. bracket, but unless there’s some super-secret OTHER memo that’s circulating around, there are a number of teams who will need to travel a hefty distance in like a week and a friggin’ half but no one knows for sure who they are! Here, you figure it out.
This brings me back to the beginning of this post. I’m not doing all this crap because with two jobs and two kids I have all this copious free time and I’m tired of playing mah jong. I’m doing it because I feel like if you drag your ass to practice multiple times a week and you put your body on the line next to your teammates every Saturday and you give up time with your family and your friends in order to try to make your team better and you do this all for months at a time AND you pay your own money to be able to do it, the absolute least you fucking deserve is some legitimate clarity around the rules of the goddamned league as they pertain to making and advancing in the damn playoffs.
ETA 6/12/13: OK, I figured it out.