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Baseball’s playoff tie-breakers stink

Column by Steve Yingling

One game decided what 162 couldn’t.

After an overinflated regular season, Major League Baseball sure gets stingy with games in the postseason.

With so much at stake, it seems the Cubs and Giants could have played a best-of-three series to determine the National League’s wild-card participant.

And why in the world should a flip of the coin decide who hosts such a playoff? Neither teams deserve an edge over the other. Consequently, they should have played the wild-card playoff in Atlanta since the survivor has to open a best-of-five series with the Braves on Wednesday.

Wouldn’t it have been something if the Mets had beaten the Braves on Sunday and created a three-team deadlock with the Giants and Cubs? If that had happened, the Cubs would have received a bye and awaited the winner of the opening playoff between the Giants and Mets.

That makes about as much sense as building a major city in a vulnerable inlet at the mouth of the hurricane-infested Gulf of New Mexico.

In case you’re interested, the Cubs earned the bye by faring better in their head-to-head matchups with the Giants and Mets.

* * *

Poor Mark McGwire. He doesn’t hold the home run record, after all.

Imagine hitting 70 home runs and falling two short of the all-time record.

That’s right, Joe Bauman hit 72 dingers for Roswell, N.M., in the Class A Longhorn League in 1954.

Maybe next year, Mark.

* * *

Congratulations to Scott Erickson, a part-time Stateline resident for leading the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff with 16 victories.

Erickson capped his successful season with a six-hitter in a 5-2 win over the playoff-bound Red Sox on Saturday.

The 30-year-old right-hander, who is signed with the Orioles through the 2003 season, led the American League with 11 complete games.

* * *

South Tahoe High’s boys and girls soccer teams are proving that you shouldn’t be judged by your first few games of the season.

The Viking boys have reeled off four wins after a 1-4 start to take a firm hold of third place in Division II of the Northern Nevada League. After missing the playoffs a year ago, Joe Winters’ boys would be in if the postseason started today.

Meanwhile, first-year coach Julia Peyser also has the Viking girls in the playoff hunt after a slow start. The Vikings have won three of their past four games to improve to 4-4 and a fourth-place standing.

* * *

The Viking football team shouldn’t approach their final four games like their playing out the string. At 0-3 the last-place Vikings appear to have no postseason hopes.

But hold on!

With wins over Hug on Saturday, then Douglas and Fallon the Vikings could level their division record and snag the fourth-and-final playoff berth.

* * *

And last but not least, a speedy recovery to U.S. Freestyle Ski Team member Travis Ramos, who recently underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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