East Coast bias? Try West Coast dominance

The West Coast reigns supreme this season


Noah Kopecki, Editor

When MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that baseball would be returning in 2020 in the format of a 60 game stretch with extended playoffs, the excitement around the baseball world arose. With that being said, the shortened schedule meant that teams would only face those in their similar geographic range. Making it difficult for any team to have extended dominance over the other. Not to mention it was now much easier to make the playoffs than ever before. When the season came to a close we found that three teams in California had made the playoffs. The would-be World Series Champs LA Dodgers, the Oakland Athletics, and the San Diego Padres. With teams like the San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Los Angeles Angels just narrowly missing the playoffs by 5 games or less. Overall, the shortened season was a success as it not only brought fans more baseball but a close race and a thicker rivalry that was built over the course of the 60 game stretch. 

Fast forward to 2021. The 162 game format was back with regular playoff formatting. Which now meant that now only 2 extra teams outside of the division winners could make the playoffs. Obviously, something would change. Right? However, as the season dwindles to the final month we see 5 west coast teams still in the thick of a playoff hunt. While the 6th just recently fell out of contention. Seemingly the 2020 season wasn’t a fluke. If anything, those who just narrowly missed the playoffs last season got better. Not only are these teams firmly cemented as some of the games best. The chances of all 5 making the playoffs remains a very real possibility. 

Beginning with the National League, the best team in baseball with a proud record of 90-50 is the San Francisco Giants – who not only went from missing the playoffs by 1 win in 2020 to being one of the league’s biggest superpowers. As they continue their success since the start of the season with contributions from rookies, role players, and aging veterans from past championship rosters, they currently hold first place in the National League West.

Moving on to the reigning champs, the Los Angeles Dodgers – for years people have stated that the World Series “hangover” is real. However, the Dodgers seemingly don’t seem to be slowing down. They enter the week of September 7th with an outstanding record and MLB’s second-best 88-53. Just 2.5 wins back of the SF Giants. Netting them the number 1 seed in the Wild Card round for now.

Finally, the San Diego Padres. They were once poised to be “the best in the west” going into 2021. However, key players’ underperformance and several injuries have netted them a respectable, but meager 73-64 record. They currently hold the second Wild Card seed just barely over the Cincinnati Reds. Although, the season is far from over. One thing is clear when it comes to the National League – the West dominates baseball. As they may have not one… not two… but three teams in the 2021 MLB Playoffs. 

Although, it’s easy to overlook the other teams on the west coast with the sheer dominance displayed from the NL (National League). The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners have turned in quite respectable records themselves. Beginning with Oakland, a team that finds a way to win with little money. Since 2012, the Oakland Athletics have found themselves in the playoffs 6 times. With no end in sight. They enter Tuesday play, with a record of 74-63, just games removed from the 2nd American League Wild Card. Going into the season, they were expected to perform well, but not make the playoffs. Yet here we are entering September and they remain in the thick of the hunt. Although they have a long road ahead of them, their chances of making the playoffs remain very much alive.

Second, the Seattle Mariners, who actually have a better record than the A’s themselves. Entering play, they have a record of 75-63 and are 2.5 games removed from a Wild Card spot. What makes them so interesting is they haven’t made the playoffs since 2001. While they may lack some of that certain superstar talent, their roster shows grit and what players can do in the right situations. Even though both the A’s and the Mariners could miss the playoffs, their outstanding seasons are nothing short of extraordinary considering their preseason predictions. 

All in all, as the season comes to a close, we’ve learned several things throughout this year.

One, to never count out the underdog (Giants and Mariners), and two, to never sleep on the established vets (Dodgers and Athletics). Overall, the road to the postseason may be coming to an end. Yet, even if not all 5 teams make the playoffs, one thing is for certain – the West Coast will be very well represented in the 2021 MLB playoffs.