I like the Devil Rays. I do. I think they are neat and I get a little sad for them at year's end when they finish 22 games out. I wish there were some way they could hoist themselves out of the cellar.
So I got to thinking. Those poor guys, they're in a pretty tough division. They do, however, seem to be fairly successful against the Yankees. Remember that season opener in Japan a couple of years back? That was awesome. Don't you think they should get some kind of special credit for that?
What if, through formulas and statistics and analysis, each MLB team was assigned a ranking based on their projected wins or something? Okay, they already have that. But say then you go a little further and instead of each team accumulating wins to advance in their division, they accumulate points based on the difficulty of their opponent and their own capabilities?
So if the Yankees have a three-game series in St Petersburg and they take two out of three, they might get five points for each victory. But say the Devil Rays go buck wild and SWEEP New York (which is exhilarating on its own), they might get 18 points each game! What a great way for them to pick up some ground in their division! That way, they aren't really penalized for being in the same division as Boston and New York. Furthermore, sure, you might be an NL West team, but just wailing on your weak divisional opponents won't be enough to get you into the playoffs anymore. You'd have to actually beat some tough teams to make it to post-season.
I realize that these are not revolutionary ideas and that many, many people have already thought of this and discussed it and whatnot. I also know that this concept is used in other sports, most notable "RPI". (Note: I have only a vague idea of what RPI means. Some guy at work told me about it just today and I think it's a basketball thing.) But I thought of it while lying in bed one morning as my alarm was going "BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP". So in a way, I invented this concept. In a special I-am-the-center-of-the-universe way.
Hey, Devil Rays: You GO, girlfriend!