What the F*@k?! A f*@king Tie? In the playoffs?

Call this one a straight up rant.

Tonight’s playoff game, Climax Series game, part of a best of seven series, ended in a 5-5 draw. A draw. A tie. All even. Call it what you will, it makes no sense whatsoever. It’s flat out stupid.

The official game post is coming, but I thought I’d vent some frustration here. Anyone care to fill me in on what I’m missing? Instead of Game 5, maybe we’ll all join hands and sing “Kumbaya”? Maybe the series will end in a draw and we’ll cut through all the pretense and just give the trophy to Yomiuri?

Somebody out there, please explain the reasoning behind this. Explain how this is anything other than abject stupidity.

Hey, maybe there’ll be a Game 8 and Yomiuri will get to pocket more cash. Anyone who goes to or watches such an event is an apostate who should be stoned. This nonsense has to stop.

I used to think NPB execs had their heads up their asses. Now I feel like their collective heads are up my ass.

  • pau

    I’m afraid there won’t be any extra games. The rules say that in the event of a tie in number of victories (counting the advantage game for the #1 team), the pennant winner goes to the Japan Series. Gomiuri only needs one win (or two ties) in the next three games to advance.

  • It gets worse. There IS no game 8 by the rules. Not even a game 7 — there’s really only 6 games scheduled and a team has to win 4 (with Gomiuri starting with the one-game advantage) in those 6 games.

    Essentially, this means that tonight’s tie counted as a win for the Giants for all intents and purposes, because Chunichi can’t win the series unless they win the next 3 games anyway. They have 1 win, they need 4, there are 3 games remaining. So I think if there is another tie, Yomiuri simply wins the series.

    By the way, you might or might not care that Hajime Miki retired and is joining the Fighters coaching staff as a ni-gun infield coach. Crazy. So you guys really did get three young players and we got Shaggy and Yataro and a ni-gun coach out of that trade 🙂

  • I’m speechless…………..

    The CLCS have now become a sham. I may even cease to pay attention from here on in.

    Kumbaya my lord kumbaya…..

  • Rob

    Yeah, I’m with David. I guess it’s good in the sense it makes it harder to pretend the whole thing is not a sham, but aside from that….

    Nice to see Tanishige wake up from his 0-for-October slump. He hasn’t done much with the bat for years, but until last year he called a great game and threw runners out. This year he couldn’t throw many guys out at all (and I think TYS ran all over him to make that clear). But there’s nobody really waiting to step into his position.

    Go Rays!

  • Pau, Deanna, thanks for the clarification. I actually had bad dreams about this. I heard the sportscasters say the game was essentially a win for the Giants, but I suppose I was in denial that the scales could be weighted so very heavily. I actually dreamt that the score was 5-3 and that I had gone off half-cocked and ranted about something that hadn’t even happened.

    I’ve made this complaint before, but if the Pennant winner gets a bye, then gets a one-game advantage, then gets a win by decision in the event of a tie, they’d have to completely collapse to lose Stage 2 of the Climax Series and as both Tokyo and Yokohama tend to have their meltdowns during the season, that’s not going to happen.

    I understand wanting to preserve the meaning of the Pennant by giving the Pennant winners some kind of advantage, but the gimmes have gone so far as to make this incarnation of the postseason an utter farce. Stage 2 exists only as yet another advantage for the Pennant winners in the form of a bit more revenue from ticket sales.

    It’s crap like this that reminds me why I hate Yomiuri. To like baseball or competition or a level playing field and to like Yomiuri are wholly incompatible leanings. You are either a baseball fan or a Yomiuri fan, you cannot be both.

  • Rob

    Yeah – the pennant winners already had an advantage under the old system – home field under the 2-3-2 format, and an extra week or so to rest while the second- and third-place teams beat up on each other. That’s not an advantage? But that wasn’t enough.

    The NBA’s postseason is a joke because more than half the team make it, but even with that there’s no wonky advantage system like NPB has.

    What kind of craziness will they try if the Dragons win the next three? A two-game advantage and and a best-of-five format?

  • They could handicap Giants games – every game starts in the bottom of the 7th (all games would be at the Tokyo Dome, of course) with Yomiuri up 5-0 and opposing teams required to start with a middle reliever on the mound.

    Heck, why not play the whole season that way? Just start Yomiuri off with 90 wins.

    Given the end goal, though, the best thing would just be to give Yomiuri the trophy in April and let everyone take a rest for a few years.

  • Milky


    All Dragons have to do in order to advance is have 2 more wins than the Giants do according to the site above (scenario 6). So after the first 3 games, the Dragons have to win at least 2 games and secure a tie against the Giants, something they were unable to pull off after game 4 last night. 🙁

  • In an event of a tie game, the team that has the better record against the opponent gets the “win”…

    Forget about the stupidity of this rule, I think the whole “CLIMAX SERIES” is nonsense. When there’s only two leagues, both without any separate divisions, why should the 2nd place team, forget the 3rd place, even get a chance to play in the NIPPON SERIES?

    In my opinion, NPB shouldn’t even exist anymore. Why should they when neither they nor the commissioner can’t regulate anything?

  • NPB, as an organization, does seem kind of useless. They have no power over the leagues, which have little power over the teams, and NPB owns only the All-Star Game (pointless) and Nippon Series, but even then sees the terms and rules dictated by the clubs, which essentially means Yomiuri.

    I’d like to see NPB continue to exist, but get some real power to push the league in new directions. No more of this crap where one club’s self-interest can keep the whole league in a morass of backwardness. A powerful NPB would be able to push for changes. If Yomiuri doesn’t like it and threatens to leave the league, a united NPB could easily call their bluff and wish them luck trying to play freelance pro baseball in the 21st century without access to NPB opponents.

    I’m still a little on the fence as to the merits of a playoff system, but I’m leaning way over to your view, John. If 144 games aren’t enough to determine which of six teams is the best, what will be?

    You hit the main point squarely, too – with no divisions and six teams in a league, having half the teams enter a playoff does seem kind of pointless and does make the long season less important. Attempts to rejigger the playoff to keep the season meaningful make the playoffs so stacked as to be meaningless.

    This is just off the top of my head, but what does everyone think of a conditional playoff? For example, if the second place team is a game behind or less, the two teams play a best-of-three at the stadium of the team that finished in first. If the gap is greater than a game, no playoff.

  • Milky

    Conditional playoff? Why not?

    No playoffs if a first place team has a winning record against ALL of the 5 opponents in the same league (Dragons, 2006 CL; Giants, 2002 CL; Baystars, 1998 CL – Not sure about Swallows in 1997 & Lions in 2002 though). The 2005 Tigers would not qualify for that as they tied with the Dragons in season series. (11-11)


  • I like it, Milky. The only situation I can think of in which I’d definitely want to see a playoff of some sort would be in the event of the top two teams having the same winning percentage. In some years, the Pennant has gone to the team with more wins, in other cases, the team with more ties (fewer losses) – it’s not all that common, which could be why there seems to be no set rule. For whatever reason, the teams’ head-to-head records have not been used to determine the winner. This would be a case in which a brief tie-breaking series would make sense.

    While I still say that, if there are to be playoffs, they should occur on an even field, I’m with John in wondering why Chunichi, who finished 12 games out of first, would even get a shot at the title, especially when we see that, over in the PL, last-place Fukuoka was only 12.5 games back.

    I’m not sure about Seibu’s head-to-head records in 2002, but they won the PL by 16.5 games, which is reason enough to say a playoff would have been unwarranted. Ditto Yakult in 1997, Yomiuri in 2000 and 2002, Hanshin in 2003 and 2005, and any other season in which one team overwhelmingly wins the league.

    Now, Hokkaido in 2006 is a case where a playoff looks more reasonable – winning the league by 1 game with an 82-54 record over 2nd place Seibu, who had an 80-54-2 record.

  • flick

    Yeah, I have to admit I enjoyed watching the battle for third place in both leagues, but if whiners like Yomiuri and Soft Bank can get their way, I think they should just get rid of the CS as well.
    Do they have tie games in the Nippon Series as well??

  • Milky

    the Pennant has gone to the team with more wins Swallows in 2001
    the team with more ties (fewer losses)Lions in 1988 & Buffaloes in 1989 (I still think that both the Buffaloes in 1988 and the Blue Wave in 1989 deserved a better fate as they finished the season with ZERO game behind.)

    I’m with John in wondering why Chunichi, who finished 12 games out of first, would even get a shot at the title, especially when we see that, over in the PL, last-place Fukuoka was only 12.5 games back.

    I think it might have something to do with the “A-Class and B-Class” -not those Mercedes Benzs- which theoretically divide both leagues in half. The NPB used to schedule their opening games according to the standings in previous year until several years ago. Teams which finished in the top half of the standings always hosted those that finished in the bottom half. 1st VS 4th; 2nd VS 5th; 3rd VS 6th.

    The last-place Dragons were just NINE games behind the first-place Swallows in 1992. Ditto for Baystars in 1994.

    Do they have tie games in the Nippon Series as well??

    Yes they do. http://www.npb.or.jp/nippons/2008information.html

  • The BlueWave were the Orix Braves in 1989, no?

    The 2001 Swallows finished 3 games ahead of Yomiuri, with only one more win, but five fewer losses and a whopping 4 more ties, for a win percentage of .567 to Yomiuri’s .543 – close, but not close enough that I’d call for a playoff.

    This is where my stereotypically American traits manifest themselves, though. The tie is the refuge of niddering hedgers and has no place in competitive professional sports when it can be avoided. Baseball has a clear and easy way to reach a conclusion: keep playing extra innings until there’s a winner.

    When Japan had curfews, serious power supply and rationing issues, ties were an unfortunate side effect, but there is no excuse now. If electricity usage is a concern, tear the roofs off the domes and stop the massive waste of power that goes on at them. If some fans have to leave before the end of a game, so be it. That happens anyway and we’d be looking at maybe 2 or 3 greatly extended games per team per season, which wouldn’t change much. As doubleheaders have apparently gone the way of the dodo in NPB anyway, there wouldn’t be any shceduling catastrophes due to eliminating ties. The regulations against drums and trumpets after 10 p.m. could stay as they are.

    I think you’re right about the A-class and B-class mentality being the rationale behind sending the top three teams to the playoffs, but not every reason is a good reason.

  • Rob

    I kind of like the old system of with a first-half and second-half champion playing for the league title at the end of the year (unless, I guess, the same team wins both halves). I think Japan had this waaaay back, and some minor leagues have/had it.

    But for the record, the only thing I care about is the regular season. No Olympics, no WBC, no All-Star Games (plural), and not really the Japan Series. And no Climax Series. Exhibition games are so-so, and I’m not really into the current interleague format.
    (Okay. I feel better now – thanks!)

  • Japanese pro ball had Spring and Fall seasons (like Koshien and the Big 6 still do) in 1937 and ’38, then the Pacific League declared First Half and Second Half Champions from 1973 to 1982. During that period, if a team won both halves, they got the title outright, with no playoff (like the 1978 Hankyu Braves), but if the First and Second Half Winners were different, they played a best-of-five series to determine the League Champion.

    I like the idea, it’d be interesting and preferable to the current Climax Series.

    That said, I like Interleague play (which I consider vital), I watch the Nippon Series, and I like the WBC, mostly because it occurs in the off-season. I couldn’t care less about the All-Star Games and care around squat plus the hair on a rat’s ass for the Olympics, though.

  • Milky

    The BlueWave were the Orix Braves in 1989, no?

    My bad. Forgot they didn’t rename their nicknames until after the 1990 season.

    The 2001 Swallows finished 3 games ahead of Yomiuri, with only one more win, but five fewer losses and a whopping 4 more ties, for a win percentage of .567 to Yomiuri’s .543 – close, but not close enough that I’d call for a playoff.

    I remember it was the (only?) year when the pennant (only in CL?) was awarded to the team with the most wins. The Giants would have been the champion had they had more wins than the Swallows, regardless of winning percentage. HOWEVER, the wikipedia suggested otherwise that there would have been a 3-game playoffs if the team that has the most wins had not owned the highest winning percentage.


    It is complicated, and it changes all the time. 🙁

  • Milky

    and # 23 as well, Garrett.

    What was going wrong???

  • Milky, I added the link to comment #18 and deleted our exchange over getting that sorted. It appears to be working now. I’m not sure what happened there, but I noticed that things were a bit wonky last night, too, so I fear it was a problem on our end or with WordPress. Hopefully that’s all done with. Thanks for your patience.

  • Milky

    thx very much Garrett. 🙂

  • Ed

    I am a Fighters fan so I don’t watch CL games very often. About the only time I watch a CL team is during interleague play, which I like very much. I didn’t even know about the tie until I found this thread by accident in a search.

    That said, there should be no ties in professional baseball. It is profane. Oh, there were a few ways that a tie could occur in the MBL. There have even been ties in the World Series way back when. Until recently, if a game was called due to weather with the game tied after the bottom of the fifth it was a tie. That game would be replayed later. Or perhaps not, if it was not important to determine the winner of the League Championship and hadn’t been replayed earlier in the season. In 2007 the rules were changed. Now the game will be resumed, not replayed. And that is just what is happening in this World Series. Game 5 is tied 2-2 to be resumed no sooner than 8:00 pm tomorrow.

    No Ties In Baseball!

    As for the Climax Series, I can live without it. The leagues are small enough not to need it. But post season baseball is fun so I can live with it, too.

    The League leaders should have an advantage, but not an overwhelming one. A full game is too much in my opinion. How about home field advantage for the first five games only going to the challenger’s stadium for the last two games should they be necessary?

    No Ties.


  • John Lewis

    If the NIPPON SERIES is only going to be championship match by winners of a tourney (in which effect they are…) then the tourney should include the winners of the Toshi-Taiko (non-professional corporate teams), Independent league champs and Club team champs. That makes more sense.

  • I’d watch that, John, but I don’t quite follow the logic. I see where you were coming from earlier, when you said the Nippon Series should be the winners of the CL and PL facing off, period. Why does having tournament winners face off imply including tournament winners from outside NPB itself?

    What would you say to a revival of the 1970s PL system, in which First and Second Half winners were decided and then those two faced off in a playoff, with no playoff if the same team won both the first and second halves? (That’s what I’d like to see, especially with Interleague play entirely in the first half of the season – it’s like a team passes two different tests within the season itself, without a flabby, nonsensical tournament like the Climax Series tacked onto the end.)

    Or there could be a whole soccer-type thing, in which the league winner is different from the winner of a separate tournament involving the same clubs.

    I’m kidding.

    Then again, expanding the minor leagues and working more closely with the corporate and industrial leagues, then instituting a system of relegation could really spice things up.