All or Nothing
So, I mentioned last week that I got an interesting Bill James email about consolation games. On my birthday, I wrote about a pretty obscure NFL thing called “The Playoff Bowl,” which, for a decade or so, matched up the division runners-up in a heated battle for third place. And by “heated,” I mean the games were played in Miami; even then, no, there wasn’t a whole lot of stock put into the Playoff Bowl. But it was a very real thing. The players could use the extra money.
Bill points out that in America back then, there were LOTS of consolation games, lots of exhibition games that seemed to matter at least a little bit, lots of one-offs and tournaments that weren’t exactly for any kind of meaningful championship but still crowned champions. I will never forget my buddy Chuck emailing me once from the Great Alaska Shootout where he was pondering, as a voting media member, who to put on the Great Alaska Shootout second team.
And I asked, incredulously: “Wait. The Great Alaska Shootout has an ALL-SECOND TEAM?”
But that’s how it used to be. Was it better that way? Well, here’s Bill, and then we can discuss*: