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Experience Matters in the Postseason?
Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

a) I'm not nearly as impressed with his numbers as he is. His runs allowed numbers are relevant, but his OBP numbers seem margin-of-error-ish.

b) It seems to me that I can think of just as many examples of experience being important as I can experience not seeming to matter at all.

c) I firmly believe in the importance of playoff experience in basketball, just as I firmly believe a championships is an important element of a player's greatness in basketball. I don't think I think the same thing about baseball.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

Why do you believe "C"

Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

Because in basketball one player really can make every other player around him better, but one player can also take care of himself not really impact the rest of the team at all.

In that sense, there are many cases where the successes or failures of a team can be attributed the performance of the best players in the game.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

Just to be clear here, does that then mean you DON'T think that in baseball one player can make everyone around him better? You DON'T think Albert Pujols makes, or even can make, Ryan Ludwick and company better?

Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

Can one player make every other player on a baseball team better? Not in the same way as basketball.

One player in baseball can not impact every aspect of the game the way one player in basketball can.

Pujols is a great example - perhaps the best overall player in baseball. Definitely the best hitter in the game, and probably the best defender at his position.

But if your bullpen sucks, your bullpen sucks. Not much Albert can do about it. Not like basketball, where each player has a hand in every aspect of the game.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

So the AL team has 20 of 25 players on their roster with playoff experience and the NL team has 5 of its 25 players with playoff experience. Does the AL team gain an edge in the World Series or doesn't it? I'm not sure how the one-player impact argument even relates.

Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

As to the one player impact discussion, I went off on a tangent.

As to the scenario you just laid out, I don't know the answer to that question, or that there even is one. It seems to me that the more experienced teams with more experienced players lose as often as they win, and since 1980 the World Series as gone to the team with less experience more than it has gone to the team with more experience.

Obviously, you look at the Red Sox and the Rockies, and post-season experience matters. But what about Red Sox vs. Rays?

Seems to me that the Yankees have done worse and worse in the playoffs over the years as they gained more and more playoff experience. In 2001 they lost the World Series to the D'Backs. In 2002 they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Angels, whose roster full of homegrown players were all playing in their first ever playoff series. In 2003, they lost the World Series to the Marlins.

Who has more post-season experience than the Braves and Indians did in the 1990s? But they consistently got escorted from the playoffs by less experiences teams.

In order to get to the World Series in 2005, the Chicago White Sox knocked off the Red Sox, who had won the World Series the year before, and the Angels, who'd been to the playoffs in two of the previous three seasons. In the Series, they met up with the Astros, who knocked off the Braves, winners of their 14th straight division title, and the Cardinals, who'd been to the World Series the year before.

In 1990, the Oakland A's played in their third straight World Series, and promptly lost to the Cincinnati Reds, who hadn't been to the playoffs since 1979 and had two or three guys with playoff experience.

I cannot say, looking at the last thirty years of playoffs that experience in-and-of-itself as a factor alone seems to have a determinative impact one way or another on a team's success in the playoffs.

You want to see consistent evidence that post-season experience matters? Go look at basketball-reference.com

You know how many teams have won an NBA Championship since 1980? Eight - the Lakers, Celtics, Sixers, Pistons, Bulls, Rockets, Spurs, and Heat.

In the NBA, if a team wins one championship, that team ALMOST always wins at least one more championship - the Lakers of the 1980s, the Celtics of the 1980s, the Pistons of 1989-1990, the Bulls part one of Jordan/Pippen/Grant/Cartwright, the Rockets, the Bulls part two of Jordan/Pippen/Rodman, the modern day Spurs, the Shaq-Kobe Lakers.

You also regularly see guys who pop up in the Finals with different teams - guys like Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Robert Horry, Shaquille O'Neal, Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Karl Malone, Dennis Rodman, etc.

Despite the fact that the NBA lets a lot more teams go to the playoffs than baseball does, the NBA Finals have featured very few different teams and very few players over the years, the more experienced teams and players traditionally do far better than the less experienced teams and players.

I cannot say the same for baseball.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

Wow, just eight? Yet another reason the NBA fails to interest me.

I don't think playoff experience matters per se. I do think that playoff success is a factor. I don't think the 2002 Braves went into the postseason with a lot of confidence, because the players on that team had a history of performing worse in the postseason than in the regular season for the most part. If the 2009 Cubs make the playoffs, I don't think they'll be brimming with confidence simply because they've "been there" for the past two seasons.

On the other hand, the Yankees winning the World Series four out of five years was one of baseball's more statistacally improbable occurances in our lifetime, so it's hard to say that there isn't some value to previous playoff success.

It would be difficult to analyze statistically, and the statistical significance would probably be small, but I bet there's something there. Success breeds confidence, and you need confidence to succeed in baseball.

Re: Experience Matters in the Postseason?

There's a good point - playoff success vs. playoff experience.

The Braves really didn't seem to gain anything from repeatedly going to the playoffs and losing.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

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