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Monday 18th Dec 2017

There has been a fun controversy the last couple of weeks regarding the NFL Playoffs.

That is because with just a couple of weeks left of the regular season, the Chiefs might only be the fifth seed, the Cardinals might finish 9-7 and not make the party, and whoever faces the winner of the NFC South will carry the wrath of all the teams over .500 who was robbed.

The whole fuss about changing the rules to make the playoffs "better" really hit home, since this is the time when all of my baseball leagues go through the painful process of suggesting rule changes.

We just went through those gyrations in the XFL, and one simple note just noting thoughts to the Tout Wars community pushed 47 arguments on how to perfect the game within the first 20 minutes of distribution.

In fact, later today, the annual winter meeting of the MidWest Strat-O-Matic League will take place at my friend Dean Peterson's home in Palatine, Chicago. I will have to dial in along with a bunch of other owners who are scattered across the country as we finalize five basic rule changes that have generated a similar amount of league buzz.

It is just crazy to me. And, it is not that I don't want to play by the rules, or think the league and its parameters cannot be at least tightened. But, for the most part, the stronger the advocate of the rule change often is, the greater the chance that he or she feels the existing setup is between them and a title.

I do think if we spent a fraction of the energy spent on trying to change the rules on trying to figure out how to win within the existing confines, the world would be a happier place.

Right now, the XML Team in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) League has the fifth best power ranking in the 12-team league, but their 7-6 record means they will miss the playoffs that involve the top six teams, won-loss wise.

Fortunately, the XML owner took it philosophically, which is always refreshing, but apparently if the Browns can finish 9-7 and fourth in the AFC North, there will be sour grapes if the Falcons manage to scrape by with a 7-9 mark.

In the MidWest League, where there are strict usage rules: In the simulation, based upon the previous season, we are allowed to use a player for his total at-bats or innings pitched, plus 20%. As such, no injury factors are considered.

What is funny, was when the league was set up, the number of starts a pitcher made was that baseline, but we decided to change to innings simply because that is the actual usage.

So, now we have to vote again, trying to decide if we should move back to starts, because innings are too difficult to track, but starts are simple. But, the reality is innings are no more trouble to follow than at-bats, so that is a silly argument in my opinion.

It does show how consistent human beings are, especially when it comes to justice, for we all want it for ourselves, but not necessarily for anyone else.

And, while arguments about religion and politics are generally no more substantive than sports rules, it is hard to imagine getting twisted around winning a game when there are enough more serious things on the planet to try and handle. Like maybe Climate Change. And racism. And hunger. May as well toss in world peace, as long as we are at it.

As for the FSTA, Todd and I made the playoffs for the second straight year, and thought we had a bye Week 1, but, in the H2H playoff tie breaker rules, we missed by a point, and have to play after all.

Because, as my mate Lord Zola said, "rules is rules."


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