Nate Silver in 2015 on NY1. “Nate Silver in Conversation with NY1’s Pat Kiernan” on the YP Stage on Day 1 of Internet Week New York May 18, 2015. INSIDER IMAGES/Gary He

When it comes to his presence in the sports world, Nate Silver first made his name as a writer and analyst for Baseball Prospectus.

So it was a little bit curious to see the former FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief, of all people, share the tired trope that the upcoming World Series matchup between the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks isn’t “compelling.”

Not only that, Silver took his take a step further, calling for MLB to contract its playoffs to prevent such a matchup from happening. Under the previous playoff format, the fifth-seeded Rangers would’ve been subjected to a one-game Wild Card matchup (as opposed to the best-of-three series they swept against the Tampa Bay Rays), while the sixth-seeded Diamondbacks wouldn’t have even qualified for the playoffs.

“This is the least compelling World Series matchup in a long time, maybe ever,” Silver wrote on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter). “MLB made a lot of great and overdue changes this season but it’s time to contract the playoffs and give the regular season more meaning.”

It would’ve been nice to at least know why Silver doesn’t find this particular World Series matchup appealing. While both teams might be Wild Cards, they’ve each enjoyed impressive postseason runs, including Game 7 victories in their respective League Championship Series’.

Moreover, Texas’ roster features six All-Stars, while Arizona’s  includes four. The Diamondbacks lay claim to one of baseball’s best pitchers in Zac Gallen, while the Rangers acquired one of the best pitchers of this era, Max Scherzer, at the trade deadline. Altogether, this World Series will feature five of the top 30 players in Fangraphs‘ WAR (Wins Above Replacement) statistic from the 2023 season.

Would a World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies have been more appealing to the casual or even non-baseball fan? Sure. But that’s why they play the games. If the only goal is to create an intriguing matchup, who needs the playoffs? Just put the Yankees and the Dodgers in the World Series every year.

It’s also curious that Silver would argue that playoff expansion has given the regular season less meaning. One could argue the exact opposite, as teams on the fringe of playoff contention — like the Rangers and the Diamondbacks — are more inclined to go for it in the second half of the season as opposed to selling off key players to established contenders at the trade deadline.

Suffice it to say, Silver’s take — which has now been viewed more than two million times — wasn’t a popular one. And many on social media were quick to point out the flaws in it.


[Nate Silver on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.