Saturday, August 22, 2009

Let’s Talk About Getting To The Playoffs

(click chart for larger view)

Here’s where we are as the Durham Bulls go to Syracuse for four games. I’ve added Syracuse’s standings to help me think about the way things might go over our remaining 17 games. Here are the current overall standings. Louisville seems a lock for the West Division and the number 2 team is well out of contention for a wild card spot.

Every team in the South, except Charlotte, is in contention for a playoff spot. Syracuse is only 2½ back of Scranton for the division title, and 1½ behind the Bulls for the wild card. The Bulls are 3 back of Gwinnett for the title and lead in the wild card. Norfolk is 3 back of the Bulls in the wild card. If Syracuse gets hot they could push Scranton out of the top spot in the Northern Division. Then Scranton gets into the wild card mix. That’s why it is so important for the Bulls to go for the Division title.

Durham Bulls schedule:
  • Syracuse: 4 games away
  • Norfolk: 6 games, 3 away, 3 home
  • Gwinnett: 4 games home
  • Charlotte: 3 games away

Gwinnett’s schedule:
  • Charlotte: 10 games, 7 home, 3 away
  • Durham: 4 games, away
  • Norfolk: 3 games, away

So we have this very weird circumstance of having much of our playoff destiny in the hands of the Charlotte Knights. Not sure that I really want to think too much about that. Still, it seems to me that if the team can keep it’s focus we’re OK.

However, the teams we’re playing next week are not the teams we’ll be playing the week after that, and we won’t be the same team either. I don’t mean that Norfolk won’t be Gwinnett, I mean that Norfolk won’t be Norfolk; that the Charlotte we played this week won’t be the Charlotte we play in September. Once the September call-ups start, every team is going to start changing. I’ll do my best to keep you informed on changes on the Bulls roster. As far as the other teams go, this is where Neil Solondz comes into his own. I am sure he will give it his best shot to track the changes. So listening to the first ten minutes of his show before the game and as the game starts is about the only way I know of to track what is going on with the rosters.

How the playoffs work (a cut-and-paste from the International League’s website):

The International League Playoffs will begin on September 9 in the home ballparks of the South Division Champion and the Wild Card club. In the IL’s predetermined format, the Wild Card club will face the North Division Winner while the South Champion will face the West Division Champion in a best-of-five first round series. Following a pair of games hosted by the Wild Card club and South Division winning clubs, the series will shift to the opponents’ stadiums for the final three games as necessary.

The survivors of the two first round battles will advance to the best-of-five Governors’ Cup Championship Series to begin on September 15 in the city of either the South or West Division Champion. After two games, the series will resume at the home of either the North Division Champion or Wild Card club on September 17 for the final three games as necessary.
For what it’s worth that means that, if we’re in the playoffs, we’ve got a home game on September 9th. Otherwise our last trip to the DBAP will be for a Monday afternoon day game on September 7th (How dumb is that? The last game of the year a Monday day game? There won’t be many of us there to say thank you and good bye to the team.)


About that last game on September 7th. It's Labor Day. Ooops! So the dumbness is mine. Instead, what I should have said, and will go ahead and say now, is:

What a great idea for the Bulls to have their last game on Labor Day when all the schools are closed and everyone can celebrate by coming to the DBAP for a day game.

And it is a great thing. So, my apologies to the schedulers who, this time at least, did a fine thing for the Durham Bulls. If not before, see you on Labor Day!


  1. Good rundown of how everything stands right now. It will be interesting to see if Syracuse and Norfolk are less affected by the Sept. call-ups since their parent teams are out of the chase. I don't know what is the common practice in regard to that kind of thing, but I do remember the Rays leaving us a lot of our key parts back when they were the Devil Rays.

    Also, I agree 100% about the schedule for the last game of the year. Horrible idea, especially for after kids are back in school. If our playoff spot comes down to that last day, it will be frustrating to be at work and not be able to be following along.

  2. Work? Work? This is baseball! This is the Bulls! You'd go to work? Try to make a living? What are you thinking? Just tell your boss ... oh, yeah, recession ... never mind.

  3. Hmmm. Just looked at a regular calendar instead of my Bulls schedule. Last game of the season is on Labor Day. Not a big deal in North Carolina, but some chance that schools will be off (don't have any school age kids, so haven't paid attention to school calendar in a long time). Anyone else out there know?

  4. That is excellent news. Labor Day never even occurred to me.

    Durham Public Schools does not have school that day, for either students or teachers (which means that I get to go to the game).