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Thursday Afternoon Mets Newsstand

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Tim Marchman takes a look at the changes we will see this postseason with respect to extra off-days. The first is that the team with the best record in its respective league gets to choose between an LDS schedule featuring two off days and one with just a single respite. The confusing wrinkle is that each league gets this "prize" just every other season, alternating moronically for this unspectacular reward. The other change is that the LCS will now include four off-days, perhaps to avoid a situation like last year's NLCS where the Mets and Cardinals faced off seven times in a span of eight days. Marchman thinks it's a bit much:

What makes the baseball season distinct isn't that it is, as people say, a marathon. Rather, it's that it's a marathon followed by a really brutal sprint. This change makes the season seem more like a marathon followed by a light jog, punctuated by plenty of water breaks, and a lunch at which a local architect will give a lecture on the area's pre-colonial structures.
As Marchman points out later in the article, these extra off-days could be better used to extend the LDS to seven games, increasing the likelihood that the better team will prevail and giving more of an edge to the team that actually won a division instead of sneaking into the playoffs as a second-place team.

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In The New York Sun, Evan Weiner kicks the tires on A's owner Lewis Wolff's idea of adding a third baseball team to the NY metro area. Weiner suggests that New Jersey could be an ideal place for a new ballclub, citing the recent development deals in the Meadowlands area, the availability of big cable money (Cablievision no longer has a baseball pacakge to broadcast), and the fact that NJ has tried multiple times to lure the Yankees to the Garden State. The area could surely support it, but don't count on this ever actually happening. Messrs. Wilpon and Steinbrenner might have something to say about it.

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Things have reached an all-time low for the Marlin, at least attendence-wise. After moving the scheduled start time from 7:05pm to 1:05pm in respect for the Jewish new year holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Fish pulled out a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Nationals yesterday when Todd Linden plated Mike Jacobs (not Jewish) with the winning run. An announced crowd of 10,121 was reported to be as low as 375 actual human bodies in attendence. The Marlins actually have a very good track record for television viewership but seem unable to get much traction with ticket sales, which is a pity considering the left side of their infield is comprised of two of the five best hitters in the National League this year.

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Bruce Regal (of the Mets blog Metaforian) has a guest spot up at The Baseball Analysts on this season's freakishly high success rate for stolen bases, collectively, in the big leagues. Through 9/11, big leaguers have swiped bases at a 74.5% clip, far and away the highest rate in the last fifty years. Stolen base attempts have dropped dramatically since the early nineties, which Regal attributes to " a strategic reaction to the explosion of home runs in the late 1990s, which reduced the reward vs. risk ratio of stolen base attempts: the more likely it is that batter at the plate will hit a home run, the less rational it is for the runner on base to take the risk of trying to steal." Jose Reyes's 76 stolen bases have come at almost an 81% success rate, well above the league average, though not nearly as impressive as David Wright's 88.6%.

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Choose your own adventure!

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RIP, Alex, the world's smartest bird.