The new playoff expansion for MLB just goes to show, again, that the more teams you let into the postseason, the less likely it is the “best” teams will win it all. Case-in-point: The Philadelphia Phillies, the No. 6 seed in the National League playoffs, have just reached the World Series. Coming into this season, the high-spending Phillies had the longest playoff drought in the NL, but it’s all a memory now.

Let’s review: Philly posted losing records in one-run games this year (22-25) and in games against teams with winning records (34-47). Yet in the postseason, the Phillies have flipped that script, going 2-0 in close games and obviously going 9-2 against winning teams. In a sport where even the worst teams beat the best teams one in three, you can see how slim the margin is for both error and luck in the playoffs.

The Philadelphia organization, though, spent the money, so in that sense, it’s no surprise to see them in the World Series—more so than if the lower-spending teams that qualified for the postseason made it this far … like Tampa Bay did in 2020. They have All-Star players that recent managers like Gabe Kapler couldn’t get to the playoffs, so kudos to Manager Rob Thomson for righting the ship.

Break it down: Philly started the year just 22-29 under Joe Girardi, a former Manager of the Year winner (2006) and World Series winner (2009). Since then, they have gone 74-48 under Thomson, an age-59 Canadian who played 216 games in the minors at catcher, hitting .225 and never rising above A ball. If baseball truly is still America’s pastime, then the Phillies will win the Series and perfect this story.

Save the sport, Philadelphia—just like you did a few years ago in the Super Bowl.