|My first team|
So let's do a little history. Baseball is a very old game. It has been around since before time was invented and is distinguished to this day by the lack of a clock. Olden baseball players used to keep playing until the ball hit a badger or a wolverine and then everyone got to run at once. A somewhat later version called "stool-ball," though open-ended, tended to be quicker. There was only one pitcher, no one volunteered to catch, and the game was over as soon as the stool-ball was hit, until a new ball could be produced the next morning. By the mid-1500s, the game resembled modern baseball in many respects. The ball was set up on a tee and everyone got a chance to whack it off, but the bat was much more splintery and everyone complained about players scratching their balls.
|Preparing the stool-ball|
By 1876 the National League came into being and waited around for the American League to show up in 1901 so they could finally play in the World Series. Everything ran smoothly from then on, with the team with the best record in the National League facing off against the Yankees.
But more teams kept coming. Two more in 1977, two more after that in 1993, and a new structure had to be put in place with three divisions in each league. By 1995 the leagues had swelled to an unmanageable 28 teams and the divisions were further partitioned into committees and discussion groups. Also, the Wild Card was introduced to allow losing teams to scrap for a playoff spot, and in response to accusations that this ruined baseball, more wild cards were added. The joker soon followed.
Finally we had the system baseball teams enjoy today, where the season begins in April and the playoffs in late May. By early October, the winners of the previous year's playoffs have been determined, and later in the month, the current year's playoff series is suspended for a week so that they can play in the World Series. Playoffs resume in November. The Red Sox will not be in it.