What Makes NBA Basketball Games Famous

NBA Basketball games are the most famous in all of competitive sports. It probably has something to do with the game alone. Basketball is simple and easy game to follow. Run up and down the court and aim to place the ball with the hoop. As expected, there are subtleties and there’s a lot more to the game rather than satisfies the eye nevertheless for the regular observer it is simple to understand. For this reason basketball seat tickets are often sold out like the Celtic Tickets.

Some sports demand a huge time investment to sit and watch. The pace can be shatteringly slow at times and this can discourage new fans who are on the lookout for something with more thrills and a quicker pace. Basketball moves very quickly especially when the players are as skilled as some of the players at the NBA level. When you might get two or three really exciting performances in a baseball game, basketball game have tons. One guy steals the ball, rushes down and throws a dunk through the hook, the very next play the other team’s border shooter can place them right back in it by launching a three pointer.

There is always a possibility to return in basketball which makes it more fascinating to watch, particularly the last few minutes of a tight game once strategy comes in to play. This may be another factor that attracts fanatics to the game. You are totally out of the game. This is one of many reasons that admirers are able to be engaged in NBA Basketball games and continue getting basketball tickets like the Celtic Ticket. Their team has a fighting chance.

NBA players and their personalities are another part of what makes the NBA such a well liked league. You’ve got almost everything from hero to villain and everything in between – sometimes you might even get everything on the same roster. There are actually avid gamers with crazy emotions. Players who play with amazing performance, nearly ridiculous strength just like Kevin Garnett. Players whom you like to root for the reason that they are great people such as Tim Duncan and Dwyane Wade. And players who may just be the second coming of Michael Jordan such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James.

The rivalries in basketball are compelling story lines that keep the supporters riveted to the games and continually buy this excellent tickets just like the Celtic Tickets. Most of these rivalries have got a historical past much like the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers or the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks. Even personal rivalries such as Kobe versus Lebron are exciting to watch out.

NBA Basketball games are usually played indoors so that they don’t have weather as a factor. You can buy tickets like the Celtic Ticket to take your little one to a game and not have to worry about getting rained out or freezing cold. The sights and sounds of an NBA game are fascinating to kids and parents likewise.

7 Tips for Becoming a Better Basketball Player

7 Tips for Becoming a Better Basketball Player

Secret #1 Develop Skill Synergy
The fastest way to get better is to learn and practice the fundamental skills. Fundamental skills like passing, catching, shooting, dribbling and basic footwork are as much responsible for basketball success as any cross-over move or behind-the-back dribble.

When you work on and advance your fundamental skill levels, you can develop what I call “Skill Synergy”. Skill Synergy is based on the idea that the better you become at any one particular skill, the better and more developed you will become at each and every other skill. Then with the development of each skill, your entire game becomes almost twice as effective as it was before. Each skill doesn’t just work alone it “stacks” or builds on every other skill. This “synergy” then catapults your game into more advanced levels and makes success in basketball much easier.

For example, if you become better at dribbling, it will automatically make you a better shooter. The dribbling will help you get a better feel for the ball and make you feel more comfortable with the ball. That will automatically help you become a better shooter. But the “synergy” doesn’t stop there. The result is you don’t just become a better dribbler or a better shooter, instead you become a more effective all-around player. The synergy starts filtering out to all phases of your game.

Your entire game will expand quickly because you can expand on each skill learned. That will flow into other areas of skill development. Soon you will be able to do more moves, make more shoots and play more effectively than ever before.

Take Michael Jordan for example. All of his high-flying acrobatic moves and game winning shots were not practiced or planned. Instead, they just happened “naturally” because he had become a master of the simple fundamental skills and applied Skill Synergy to make all those spectacular shots. Remember, however that most of his 32,292 points were compromised mainly of basic fundamental jump shots and lay-ins. Not the SportsCenter highlights he is remembered for. He mastered the basics first, then all those “fancy” moves developed from there.

If you want to become better, learn the fundamentals and practice them. Every skill you learn and develop will help you expand your game to new levels.

Secret #2 Practice The Right Way
One day I was “practicing” and my coach at the time walked by the gym and asked what I was doing. I said I was “practicing”. Then I added, “you know coach, because practice makes perfect”.

Then he said something very powerful to me. He said “No. Perfect practice, makes perfect.”

Him telling me this gave me tremendous insight into what it takes to become a better player. I quickly learned that how you practice and how you perform are directly linked.

By developing Perfect Practice habits and mentality, you can take your game to new levels at a rapid pace.

The wonderful thing about the Perfect Practice mentality is that you can use it at anytime. It doesn’t matter if you are just shooting around with friends or are doing a grueling individual workout. The principles can and should be applied at all times.

Here are my Perfect Practice Principles:

Use Maximum Effort and Focus On Every Play.

Perfect Repetition, Leads To Perfect Execution.

Repetition Is The Key To Skill Improvement.

Practice Must Simulate Games.

Constantly Analyze Your Results.

Study and use these principles. These principles will save you hours of unnecessary frustration and wasted practice time. Your game will develop at a significantly faster pace and help you reach your maximum potential.

Secret #3 Add Variety
The great thing about basketball is that you can either play on your own or with other people. Basketball can be played in so many ways. Each can help you develop your skills in different ways.

To become the best basketball player you can be, it is important that you practice the game in a variety of ways. Your skills will enhance and you will see faster development.

Here are some ways to add variety to your game:

Practice By Yourself
This is the best way to learn the fundamentals of the game and to develop individual skills. You should spend lots of time by yourself working on different fundamental skills. Get in all the repetitive learning and practice you can with just you and the ball.

Playing 1-on-1 will help you learn how to both score on and defend against a single player. 1-on-1 is a great way to get in lots of repetitions and practice. It is also a great place to use both Skill Synergy and Perfect Practice techniques.

Lots of outdoor or “street” ball tournaments are played using the 3-on-3 format. This provides you with great opportunity to get in even more work on your game. 3-on-3 probably gives you the closet thing to real game simulation without having to run the full length of the floor. You can develop both 1-on-1 moves and learn to play in a team concept while still getting in a good number of personal repetitions.

5-on-5 Full Court
Obviously this is what most “real” games consist of. I recommend that you play as much 5-on-5 as possible. This is the best way to learn the game and develop your total skill package. It is also the best measure of telling you what you need to work on and what areas you need to improve in. If you don’t feel that you are able to score very often then maybe you should do some more 1-on-1 drills or learn to score off the pass in games of 2-on-2.
Playing 5-on-5 will also help your conditioning. Most 5-on-5 games are played using the full court, the others are usually in a half-court setting. Having to run the full length of the court will challenge your skill development because you add in the element of fatigue. The better conditioned you are and the less fatigue you encounter, the more successful your skills will be. Be sure to learn the skills you need by practicing in half-court games. Remember, that you need to develop your conditioning to achieve maximum results when playing in full-court games.

Secret #4 Seek Out Mentors and Be Coach-able
One of the biggest secrets to becoming more successful is to seek out mentors and be willing to learn from them.

Many times people are reluctant to seek out mentors and coaches, because it opens them up to being criticized. However, you can learn a lot from that criticism if you are willing to accept it. If you want to be more successful at anything, then you must find the right teachers and be willing to learn from them and be coached.

This is especially true in the game of basketball. There are lots of great coaches and players out there that you can learn from.

Another key to success is, don’t wait for theses coaches to find you. Instead, be assertive and go out and find them on your own. No matter what level of play you are at, there are lots of people out there that can make you better. It can be a coach, a personal trainer, even a nutritionist; all of these people have valuable information that can make you a better player and a better athlete.

To get the maximum results from this instruction, you must be willing to learn and be coached. I can tell you that virtually every big time basketball coach I have ever talked to says that the one trait that all their “star” players possess is their willingness to learn and listen.

The ability of the human mind and body to learn and process new information is remarkable. If you want to develop your skills to maximum level, then you find people to coach you and listen to them!

Secret #5 Watch All The Video You Can
Watching video is one of the best ways that I know of to get better and learn more about the game. With today’s modern technology, video is easy to get and use. I highly recommended that you get your hands on as much video you can and learn from it.

There are lots of different types of video that you can learn from. First of all, there are all kinds of games broadcast on television. It is easy to tape these games and watch them over and over again. I personally have over 400 games on tape. This has become one of my most valuable resources. I have learned, used, and taught thousands of moves that I have gotten from re-watching games.

Another great resource is instructional videos. There are a lot of different tapes that have been made through the years. Many have much of the same information, but it is important to learn those key fundamentals. Plus, even if you watch 10 videos and only learn one new move, that move could lift you from being an average player to superstar status. (For more information on instructional videos, be sure to check out my personal Dominate The Game instructional DVD video and basketball improvement program at [http://www.basketballpro.com/dominatethegame].)

There is one other video secret that I am almost reluctant to reveal. I find this technique so powerful and helpful that it is just too good to keep secret. It is very simple, but rarely used.

It’s called Self Video Analysis. Many times coaches or parents will make tapes of games and watch them to critique the teams performance or to relive a personal sports moment. This is very useful for this purpose, but it isn’t the kind of video analysis that I am talking about. I am talking about taping yourself when you practice by yourself.

When you are alone working on your game by yourself, tape it. Tape it and watch it. It doesn’t take long to see what you need to work on. This also allows you to start seeing little tiny adjustments in your game and start correcting them. Even little errors can lead to bad habits which can negatively effect your performance.

I especially like to use this technique when working on shooting. Shooting is almost a fine art. Any minor problem can lead to a drop in the amount of shots you make. Tape your shooting practice and then analyzing it. Watch to see if you are using proper form and technique on every shot. Watch and see what is working for you and what isn’t. Watch and you will soon see a dramatic improvement in your shooting performance.

Secret #6 Learn From Different Sources
Basketball is a very popular sport. There are all kinds of books, videos, magazines and newspaper articles out there for you to learn from.

I recommended that you start finding and studying as many as these resources that you can. You will be amazed at all the useful information that you can learn from these sources. I find some “piece” of useful information in almost everything I read, watch, or hear about the game.

The most successful basketball players and coaches I know are constantly reading books on basketball. They read autobiographies on famous players. They read instructional books. They read books on training, books on motivation, books on other sports to see if they can learn something to apply to basketball and make them more successful. These high level coaches and players know that learning from all these different sources is a key to staying on top.

I also know of players that have made entire scrapbooks from newspaper articles that they collected about other teams and players. Then before they would play against them, they would read to be better prepared and to gain an “edge” against them.

I recommended that you start your own “basketball file” and collect or write down all the things you find useful. You can then look at them over and over again and apply them to your game. (Note: Printing out and saving this newsletter is a good place to start you new “basketball file”.)

Secret #7 Become A Better Athlete
I am a firm believer that skill development goes hand-in-hand with athletic development. The better trained you are as an athlete the easier it is for you to develop your basketball skills.

Most athletes struggle not because they lack proper skill, but because they lack the strength, conditioning, and speed that it requires to perform those skills at a higher level. Many times pro athletes aren’t any better shooters or players than some junior high players, but their athletic ability separates them from the rest.

One of the great benefits of training to become a better athlete is that you can often make significant jumps in skill development very quickly. The better trained you are, the faster you will be able to learn new skills. When you’re well trained you can perform skill repetition at maximum speed, strength and conditioning. When you do this, it naturally allows you to develop your game quickly, because your body isn’t holding you back with fatigue. In fact, having a well-trained body is helping you succeed because it just makes every thing easier and allows you to learn faster.

Let me give you a good example. Say that you were in good enough shape to shoot around for 1 hour. In this time, let’s say you could shoot 200 shots. Now if you were in even better shape you could probably shoot around 300 shots. That’s 100 shots more in the same amount of time. This would undoubtedly make you better! Plus, out of those 300 shots, you will make more of them because you are better trained!

Do you see how your game can grow on multiple levels just by training your body? It can have a positive impact in each phase of your game and your development.

I highly recommended that you start training to become a better athlete immediately. There are lots of different programs and training routines out there. Give it a try and watch your results soar!

7 Tips for Becoming a Better Basketball Player

Pool Trick Shots: It’s Called Artistic Pool For A Reason

Pool trick shots became popular as soon as the public first witnessed them. Trick shots are viewed as a kind of freestyle exercise by the general public. In reality though, the sport is divided into precise categories and disciplines. There are different types of event; some made expressively for TV broadcasting. They all have one thing in common; they are judged. The way the judging is proceeded differs though. For example, in the World Snooker Trickshot Championship, the players are judged subjectively by a group of judges who determines the winner of the event based on their tricks, but also on their presentation and entertainment capacities. In events such as the Trick Shot Magic, the format is a head-to-head one. A player is given one point for each successful pool trick shots and the player with the most points at the end of a given number of rounds is the winner. And then there is actual artistic pool; and as you are about to see, it’s called artistic pool for a reason.

Artistic pool discipline is the most defined one on the side of its rules. Its program features 160 distinct tricks players can attempt. Those tricks are divided into 8 categories:

Trick/fancy: The “standard” pool trick shots are part of this category. Setup shots with multiple balls as obstacles where the object is to make one final ball.

Prop/novelty/special arts: The shots with more of an entertainment purpose are forming this category. Shots making use of cues, bridges, racks, coins, chalk, etc. as well as shots including special requirements such as time, push shots, one-handed, behind the back, under the leg, etc.

Draw: Shots requiring the cue ball to hit an object ball and then backspin in order to somehow pocket another final ball. The cue ball and object ball have to be at a greater distance than ½” from each other.

Follow: Shot with the same concept as the draw, but with topspin.

Bank/kick: A bank shot means to pocket an object ball by using a cushion and a kick shot involves the cue ball to hit “X” number of rails before pocketing an object ball.

Stroke: With the cue ball and object ball being less than ½” from each other, the shot involves a draw of follow action.

Jump: As its name indicates, any pool trick shots where the cue ball gets airborne is included in this category. The only exceptions being the shots that rank in the prop category or some special stroke.

Massé: Shots where the shooter elevates the cue stick to create a wicked spin on the cue ball to make it go around obstacles.

It’s called artistic pool and it makes sense because the sport is judged just like any artistic sport (skating, skiing, gymnastics, etc.) The way the competition format works is that 160 tricks are to be attempted by the contestants. Each competitor has three attempts to successfully execute each trick. The pool trick shots have an associated difficulty rating that increases proportionally the value of it in points. Full points are collected for succeeding on the first attempt and points taken off for every additional attempt. After a preliminary round of 40 tricks, the top 12 contestants then proceed to head-to-head match-ups to eventually determine a champion.

The World Series Is Baseball’s Only Post Season Games

When Baseball started the World Series (WS) in 1903, (prior to that year the games were considered exhibitions) the NFL (1920) and NBA (1946) didn’t even exist. Since their inception, all of these Professional Leagues kept separate statistics for their regular season, inter-league playoff games and Championships. That is, until the granddaddy of them all, decided to lump Playoff stats and WS stats together and call them Postseason stats. Like adding a WS home field advantage to the All-Star Game, baseball has chosen to upgrade Playoff games to the equal of the WS in order to increase their value to TV broadcast networks, to the detriment of the sport.

By MLB actions, many of those members of the Hall of Fame (HOF) that did not have the opportunity to participate in Playoff games will eventually have their WS records relegated to the ash heap of history. During the Playoffs, and WS, TV broadcasters are evidently instructed to refer to all individual stats as Postseason.

For example, during the 2011 Playoffs, TV announcers told us that Jorge Posada of the Yankees had eclipsed a Postseason Yankee team record for Runs Batted In (RBI) previously held by HOF Mickey Mantle. The rub is that Mantle only has WS stats, because Playoff games didn’t exist when he played. This is not in any way to denigrate Posada, who had an excellent career, but the bulk of his stats came from American League Division Series (ALDS) and American League Championship Series (ALCS). “So,” you might ask, “what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that all those Playoff games were played against other AL teams that they play all year, every year, in cities and ballparks that were familiar. All WS games are played against teams from the other league at unfamiliar cities and ballparks, that except for, maybe, a few inter-league games each, they never see during the regular season. Since there were no inter-league games when Mantle played, he was always facing a National League (NL) team in the World Series that the Yankees never played during the regular season and that had earned their League’s Championship based on their regular season record, not winning Playoff games. Let me say that again – the teams with the best regular season record played each other in the World Series. It was the best against the best.

The result is that the way the Playoffs are presently constituted two teams could now conceivably play 13 games and three teams 12 games prior to playing seven WS games.

Mantle played in 65 WS games (40 RBI) and Posada in 29 (11 RBI) against the NL. However, Posada also played in 96 Playoff games (31 RBI) against AL teams, a total of 125 games; almost twice as many. It’s the basic apples to oranges comparison which skews all lifetime stats in his favor, both in number and familiarity with opponents. Please, Posada was not Mantle.

During the TV broadcast of a 2013 NLCS game the Postseason, On Base Percentage plus Slugging Percentage (OPS) of the St. Louis Cardinal’s, Carlos Beltran, was compared to the Postseason OPS of the Yankee’s HOF, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, evidently to hype the importance of Playoff Games. This comparison is way beyond the pale. Beltran, a very good player, had the excellent OPS in Playoff Games at that point, (1.160) but he had never participated in a WS game when the comparison was made. Ruth and Gehrig, two of the best hitters in Baseball history, only appeared in WS games.

In the 2014 American League Divisional Series (NLDS), during the second game between the Tigers and Orioles the broadcasters were comparing the Postseason Slugging Percentage (SLG) of the Oriole’s, Nelson Cruz and Beltran against Ruth and Gehrig. For the record these are the SLG and OPS WS stats for all four players: Ruth 10 WS, 41 Games (G) -.744/1.211; Gehrig 7 WS, 34 G -.731/1.208; Cruz 2 WS, 12 G -.444/.724; Beltran 1 WS, 6 G -.294/.694. Compare those!

At the beginning of the 2015 WS the announcers added pitching to the Postseason mirage. They were comparing the Postseason strikeout (SO) totals of the New York Mets starting pitchers to St. Louis HOF, Bob Gibson, who also only pitched in WS games. During the WS, Mets’ starters had a grand total of 25 SO over five games. Hardly dominating. In addition, Gibson had 8 Complete Games out of 9 WS starts with an ERA of 1.89 and 92 SO. The kicker is that the Mets had one (1) CG, by their oldest pitcher, Bartolo Colon (42) during the regular season, Playoffs and WS – none by the WS starters. Comparing Mets pitchers with Gibson? Really!

I don’t even have the words to describe how ridiculous it is to total the Playoff Game/World Series stats of today’s players and compare them to the WS stats of Mantle, Ruth, Gehrig, and Gibson, but disgusting is one that immediately comes to mind. When will Baseball stop diminishing the records of previous generations to promote the current game for the almighty dollar? Somewhere down the road, a price will be paid for their ham-handed promotion of the Game. A player’s WS stats should not be combined with Playoff stats, and should only be compared to another’s WS stats, PERIOD!

Major League Baseball Playoffs – Is There a Better Way?

Being that it is October and the postseason of Major League Baseball is currently in progress, I thought that I’d devote a few moments of my time to share my thoughts with all of you about some alternative ways Major League Baseball could use, or has used, to promote a great postseason experience for everyone. I firmly believe there are a number of scenarios that could improve the game. I’m going to share three of those scenarios with you, and also, I’ll be sharing some pros and cons of each scenario. You may also learn some history and facts about Major League Baseball that you may not have already known previous to reading this post.

First, let’s discuss Major League Baseball’s current postseason format.

Right now, Major League Baseball operates under the new “Divisional Play Rules,” which, when restructured following the 1994 player strike, state that there are to be three divisions in each league, the East, West and Central Divisions. The team with the best win-loss record in each division after the regular season ends will compete in the playoffs, and one Wild Card team (the team in each league with the best win-loss record out of all the teams who did not win a Division Title) will compete in the playoffs. The current MLB playoffs consist of a Divisional Series (best-of-five games), a League Championship Series (best-of-seven games) and World Series (best-of-seven games). Typically, the #1 seed (Division Champion with the best regular season record) plays the #4 seed (Wild Card) and the #2 seed (Division Champion with the 2nd best record) plays the #3 seed (Division Champion with the 3rd best record) in the initial, Divisional Series. Four total Divisional Series take place, two in each league. The winners of each Divisional Series will compete with each other in their corresponding league’s Championship Series. Two total League Championship Series will take place, one in each league. The winner of each series is crowned as either National League Champions or as American League Champions, depending on the league in which they compete. Each will represent their respective league in the World Series. The winner of the World Series is crowned as the World Champion of Baseball.

Your probably also wondering how Major League Baseball determines which teams will host certain games of each series, and how many games each team will host. Home-field advantage is based strictly on regular season records, but this only holds true in the Divisional Series and the League Championship Series. The #1 seed in each league entering the playoffs has clinched home-field advantage for their entire league playoffs. If the #1 seed is eliminated following Divisional Series play, the team with the next best record who is not a Wild Card will hold home-field advantage for the League Championship Series. A Wild Card team can NEVER hold home-field advantage during league playoffs. Usually, teams in each Divisional Series follow a 2-2-1 format (the team with home-field advantage hosts the first two games and, if necessary, the final game of the series), but this can vary depending on the length of the series that the top seeded team chooses to play (the top seeded team of each series can decide on the length of over how many days the games of the series take place). For example, the top seed can choose to have the series played over a total of 5 games in 6 days or a total of 5 games in 8 days. This choice could ultimately change the format of the series, which is at Major League Baseball’s discretion. The League Championship Series ALWAYS follows a 2-3-2 format (team with home-field advantage hosts the first two games, and, if necessary, the final two games.) The length of over how many days the series is played and, also, which days the teams do not play is decided by Major League Baseball. Again, the team with the best regular season record who is not a Wild Card will hold home-field advantage for the LCS.

The topic of home-field advantage in the World Series has become one of the most hotly debated issues in the sports world. Previous to 2003, the two teams competing in the Fall Classic decided who held home-field advantage based on who had the best regular season record. This was soon dramatically changed. Following 2002, Major League Baseball, and Commissioner Bud Selig, ruled that the All-Star Game each July would determine which league would hold home-field advantage in the World Series each October. This was, in large part, due to the All-Star Game disaster that took place in July 2002. During that game, which was held at Miller Park in Milwaukee, both mangers approached Commissioner Selig during the 7th inning and informed him that they were both out of players. Selig ruled that the game would end, right then, in a tie. In my opinion, Commissioner Selig had no other choice. Had he kept the game going, players would have been at an increased risk for injury and pitchers would have been overthrown, affecting their respective team’s strategy in the weeks following the All-Star Game. This decision resulted in much criticism from the press, players, and fans. Baseball had to do something to prevent this occurrence from ever happening again. So, the Commissioner, owners, board members, and MLB Player’s Association (MLBPA) heads got together to figure out a solution. The result: the All-Star game would determine home-field advantage each season for the World Series. The game was actually going to mean something more than just plain old bragging rights, and, in addition, extra players would be added to the rosters of each league’s team. This final decision resulted in even more criticism than that of the decision to end the game in a tie. I do not personally believe that making the game count was the best move, but that’s a topic for a future post. The All-Star Game was meant, simply, to be an exciting experience and a terrific opportunity for fans and players. People believed that Major League Baseball’s decision to make the game count demeaned the actual intentions the league had when it began the playing of the Summer Classic in 1933. (The All-Star Game began as a fun addition to the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, Illinois. It was the brainchild of The Chicago Tribune sports editor, Arch Ward. The game has grown into one of the most prolific events in professional sports. In the years following Major League Baseball’s acceptance of the infamous game, every single professional sport in America has followed with its own variation of an All-Star Game.)

Anyhow, the World Series ALWAYS follows the 2-3-2 format, and home-field advantage is decided based on the result of the All-Star Game. The league that wins the Summer Classic will give their league champion home-field advantage in the Fall Classic. The “Designated Hitter Rule” is in effect when playing at an American League park (the “DH rule” was initiated in 1973 by the American League as a solution to having a much lower attendance rate than their counterpart National League). The rule is another controversial one, and it is one that I absolutely despise. It contradicts the first rule in the book of baseball. Rule 1.1 (Official Major League Rulebook) states that “baseball is a game of two teams, each side consisting of a total of nine players.” When the “DH rule” is in effect, it is in direct violation of Rule 1.1. Again, the World Series is a best-of-seven game series. The first team to win four games is crowned as World Champion.

Now that you are familiar with the current Major League Baseball postseason setup, here are three other possible scenarios baseball could go with, or once had gone with:

Scenario #1, “The Purist’s Way”: Previous to 1969 (the season in which Divisional Play began), the team in each league with the best win-loss record after the regular season would meet in the only playoff series of the year, the World Series. There are no Divisional Series or League Championship Series played when using this format. This format was used from 1901 (the first season in which a World Series was held) to 1968 (the final season of non-Divisional play). Baseball purists are almost always advocates of this format, as it was the first format ever used to crown a champion between the two competing leagues. A TON of arguments can be used when debating whether or not this format was a useful one. First off, purists argue that having only one team make the playoffs from each league results in a much more exciting and competitive regular season. They argue that a Wild Card team has no place in the playoffs and that Wild Card teams are winning and competing in too many World Series because of the current postseason format. Purists also argue that this is the way Major League Baseball had intended when crowning a World Champion.

Because of the way in which money and economic status dominate the game in modern times, owners and investors of the game have a much more formidable argument as to why this format is no good: including more teams in the postseason will result in a greater amount of profits from ticket sales, advertisements, and other resources. With more teams participating in October baseball, there are more games being played. This directly results in much, much more money being made from ads in the stadium and through alternative viewing platforms (such as television, the internet, 3G devices, and Apple Inc.’s iPod), a greater number of tickets sold because there are more games being played, and much greater non-ticket profits from a variety of team merchandise, concession sales, and also via franchise bonuses from Major League Baseball. Also, with more teams in the postseason, more organizations are able to present their “product” (or team) to a wider variety of consumers. Instead of their game only being broadcasted regionally, team’s games are broadcast to the entire nation and to different parts of the world. This attracts newer fans in huge numbers, something every MLB organization is trying to accomplish in attempting to compete in the playoffs.

Purists cannot stand the argument of business and economics being brought into the conversation of the game. They believe that baseball was never about the money and, also, that baseball being promoted as such a big-time, big money-making business is demeaning to the game itself. In reality, professional baseball is all about making money. The game going professional was a business venture that investors used to reel in the big bucks, although most want to believe that the formation of Major League Baseball held other meanings. Once again, every professional sport, baseball included, is all about making money. That is why “The Purist’s Way” will never again be considered as a legitimate format for Major League Baseball playoffs.

Scenario #2, “The Pre-Divisional Series Format”: If more games being played can result in even higher profits, why not incorporate more games, more teams, and maybe a whole new series into the postseason? This type of scenario is one that is not usually discussed when debating alternative MLB playoff formats, however, I’m not sure why. After all, the three other major professional sports in America (NFL, NBA, and NHL) have all incorporated an extra playoff series (NBA and NHL) or an extra week of playoff games (NFL) into their league’s playoff formats. All three sports have done so in different variations, but based on the same profitable concept. All recognized that a significant amount of money could be made by expanding on their sport’s playoff format. This theory has worked out exceptionally well for each sport, and it has resulted, not only in the expansion of each respective sport, but, in a profit increase for each team competing, as well as a profit increase for each individual league. This scenario also gives more teams more opportunities to get involved in the postseason. The greater probability of making the playoffs excites most fans and tends to encourage more fans to frequently follow up on how their favorite team is doing. If a team has fans that believe their team has a chance, those fans are going to come to the games more often. They may also tune into alternative viewing platforms, which could result in higher profits via advertisements.

Purists argue that allowing more teams into the postseason, once again, results in a much less competitive regular season. They also argue that when you allow too many teams into the playoffs, there will be significant numbers of sub-par teams that do not belong. The purists that buy into the concept of baseball as a business say that fans will not turn out to as many regular season games, believing the season is less competitive and far less important when you allow more teams into the playoffs. Purists deny that this scenario would be effective when considering baseball, although most purists intensely reject change to the game itself. There are many examples that lead me to believe that this scenario might actually work and be good for baseball.

The National Basketball Association is a prime example of this scenario being put to good use. The NBA decided, just recently, to incorporate an extra playoff series into their postseason format. The league came together and came up with the idea to add Conference Quarterfinals to the postseason. This decision resulted in a total of four extra teams from around the league being able to compete in the NBA’s playoffs each and every year. The decision to expand on their playoff format has led to good results for the NBA and for the game of basketball. Not only is more money being made, but the league is attracting a significant amount of new basketball fans. Take China for example. There are now an estimated 300 million basketball fans there now. That’s the entire United States population! The growth of the booming NBA market can be linked to the idea of expanding the playoffs. Of all major basketball broadcasts in China, over 60 percent are related to the NBA postseason. Generating millions of new fans provides a much larger consumer base that the league and its teams can profit from and draw upon. When new markets are created, there are millions upon billions of dollars of profit that have just been created as well.

Let’s also not forget how exciting the new NBA playoffs have become. The NBA playoffs provide some of the most improbable, stunning and exciting games of the year in sports. I’d also like to point out that having longer playoffs may also weed out the teams that do not belong. An NBA team must win a total of 16 games over four best-of-seven playoff series. Winning that consistently is what separates the good teams from the great teams, and it may also result in the sub-par teams eventually being eliminated. In a long playoff format, teams must prove themselves. This is the answer to the purist’s belief that too many sub-par teams are let in via this scenario.

NBA playoff series, as well as NHL playoff series, all consist of best-of-seven game formats. This brings us to our next type of scenario.

Scenario #3, “The Seven Game Divisional Series”: For the last decade, ever since the institution of the Divisional Series, people have been arguing over the length of the five-game playoff. They want to know why the series is so short and why it’s not the same length as the other two MLB postseason series that are now in effect. The only answers to these questions that I can provide is that the series is so short due to Major League Baseball and the MLBPA being iffy when finalizing the decision to expand with a Divisional Series. At the time this decision was made, the process of purifying the game of baseball was at a high point and was, you could say, on Major League Baseball’s “to-do list.” You may not believe this fact because of the amount of change that took place following the 1994 player strike. But just take into consideration that the idea of keeping the game pure may have been on the minds of people who factored into making the final decision to change the playoff format. These people of Major League Baseball faced the daunting task of trying to devise a plan to increase profits as a direct result of the players demanding higher wages. This, while trying not to upset baseball fans by enforcing too much change. Before the players declared a strike, fans were horrified by the thought that baseball may never again be the same. Major League Baseball knew this. They had to find a way to keep everyone happy. They did not want to over-expand the postseason, so they increased the number of games that would be played in the League Championship Series and equaled the number of games played in the Divisional Series to that of the League Championship Series from 1969 to 1993. By doing such a thing, Major League Baseball felt they had found a way to sufficiently increase profits while not interfering too much with the pureness of the game. (I’m still unable to answer why the LCS was a short five games when that type of format was instituted in 1969. I can say that pre-World Series playoff series were a brand new concept to Major League Baseball at the time, and the pureness factor has to also be considered. Keeping the game pure had to be even more important to baseball then when compared to the 1994-95 format changes. The postseason had been virtually the same for nearly 68 years up to that point, except for the change in the length of the World Series from nine games to seven games in 1920. At the time when playoff format was changed and expanded for the first time ever, changes in season routines were unheard of, as well as unwanted. Baseball had to do whatever it could as to not affect the routine too much, just like in 1994-95.)

Now that the acceptance of the current MLB postseason format has taken full effect, why not match the idea of the other major professional sports by making the number of games played in each series an equal one? Most believe that five games are not currently enough to decide on a series victor. I, for one, believe that the five-game Divisional Series has resulted in way too many Wild Card teams winning the World Series or, for that matter, even competing in the World Series. Remember the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals? That team won a total of 83 games in the regular season. 83 games! What a pitiful win percentage for a playoff team (.512). They entered the postseason as the #4 seeded Wild Card team in the National League and they proceeded to become World Champions. If you look at their performance in the Divisional Series, you might think that if there had been an extra two games added to the series (meaning the organization would have had to win one more game), the Cardinals would not have advanced. This concept can be applied to several teams playing in the Divisional Series since 1995. Adding two extra games to the Divisional Series may quiet the baseball purists who are against the outrageous number of Wild Card teams getting into and winning the World Series. Also, adding two more games would, again, increase profits, although not by much as it is just two more games in a series.

The facts are that while the game of baseball itself and the way the game is played have so greatly evolved, the players, owners, league, and fans have all resisted other changes that have been imposed upon the game.

There are many who love the game because of its spontaneity, and then, there are many who love the game for its immortal legends. There are some who hate baseball for what it has become, and there are some who hate baseball for what it once was. There are purists and then there are modernists, statisticians and enthusiasts. There are owners and there are managers. There are players, critics, and fans. There is umpiring and there is official scoring. There are organizations, franchises, associations, and teams from cities big and small. The game has seen rage from a fierce competitor who once beat a man in the stands who had no hands, it has seen a nation fall in love with the right arm of a cool-headed pitcher who preached spirituality, a man who was so adored that his hometown now devotes an entire holiday in his honor. It has seen two best-friends from different walks of life put on a home-run display unlike any other, only for that summer to soon be forgotten because of the two men’s appearances in front of grand juries in order to explain their alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. The game saw a nation provide no appreciation for a man they all hated, a man who broke the most hallowed record in all of sports. The hate was all because they believed he used drugs to alter his performance.

Baseball is a game that saw a 1922 Supreme Court ruling be upheld, a ruling that stated the game was, somehow, not interstate commerce, thus, becoming the first business to be exempt from a group of laws that no business had, or has, ever beat. It also saw a group of eight men, “Black Sox” if you will, have to appear in court because they were believed to having accepted money to throw the 1919 World Series. The game has seen a player hit a home run to win a World Series just twice, both times a feat that lifted the respective cities to the top of the sporting world. It has seen a team win a World Championship an unprecedented 26 times, watched another team win its first World Championship in over 86 years, and it has witnessed one team suffer a miserable 100 years, and counting, without winning a single World Championship for themselves or for their beloved city. The game saw a team fall behind three games to none in a League Championship Series, only to come storming back and win the series in seven games, a feat never before accomplished. Baseball twice has seen a team finish with the worst record in the league one season, and then finish with the best record in the league the following season. Baseball has seen just three men hit over 700 home runs, one of which became the face of baseball forever as he captured the essence of an ever-changing sport. He was a man who helped a country forget about its greatest economic demise with only the crack of his bat.

The game of baseball has seen the good and the bad. However, it is a game that can never be matched. It is a game that has defined a country through thick and thin, and it is a game people turned to when they needed more than help. It is the only game in which its legends will be forever immortalized for what they did on the field, and often times, for what they did off of it. Perhaps the postseason format that baseball decides upon will never again change, and maybe it doesn’t even make a difference. Whatever happens, we will always know that the game’s history is written with every pitch, and, we hope that the game will be there for us when we face darker times; we hope it is there for us just as it has been for the last 150 years. We hope when we do have trouble in life there will be something we can turn to, and we hope that answer will be the game of baseball.

Baseball may just be a game, but it’s a game that has held a special place in the hearts of billions of people ever since its creation. Baseball is unlike anything else we know of. For that reason, the game’s significance will never be compared to anything else, ever.