Thursday, October 1, 2015

The sweet 16

The second round is complete, and the 64-team field has been winnowed to 16. One fourth of the tournament remains to be played.

Of the 16 teams left:

  • Four are from 1987, obviously. (The 1987 teams were segregated into the Ringo bracket.)
  • Six are from 1969
  • Six are from 2009.

The 1969 teams won four of the six second-round head-to-head series with 2009 teams. There will be just two such series in the third round, both featuring a pair of genuine win-it-all contenders: the 69 Twins vs. the 09 Angels and the 09 Red Sox vs. the 69 Orioles. For the tournament as a whole, 1969 teams have won 14 head-to-heads, 2009 16.

  • Nine are American League teams
  • seven are National League teams
This is probably a bit distorted because the Ringo bracket was set up with the NL teams in one half and the AL teams in the other.

  • Seven won more than 90 games
  • Two won more than 100
  • Three had losing records
One World Series champ (1969 Mets) was eliminated in the second round, as was one World Series loser (09 Phillies). The other World Series participants (69 Orioles, 87 Twins, 87 Cardinals and 09 Yankees) remain.

The 09 Yankees have yet to face a team with a winning record, and (presuming they keep winning) won't until the final four. The 69 Orioles also haven't faced a winning club through the first two rounds, but will meet a very strong 09 Red Sox team in the third round. The 09 Reds, the Yankees' third round opponent, are the one team left that hasn't faced a sub-.500 club.

The tournament began with 25 franchises represented. Fifteen had three entries, from 1969, 1987 and 2009; nine had two entries, from 1969 and 2009; and one, the Blue Jays, had one, for 1987. Forty-eight series later, 11 franchises have been eliminated completely -- Expos/Nationals (three teams); Mets; Pirates (three); Indians; Senators/Rangers (three); Tigers (three); Braves (three); Padres (three); Athletics; Phillies; and Royals (three). Two franchises, the Twins and Giants, have two versions in the third round.

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