I am not as young as I'd like to be, but I'm still semi-young, and yet I'm old enough to remember a time when two teams would actually compete for first place, one team would clinch first place on the next-to-last day of the season, and then the other team wouldn't get into the playoffs by finishing second.
This is the number-one reason why I don't have the interest in baseball I used to. The most enjoyable thing about baseball was always watching teams go down to the proverbial wire, and knowing that teams had the ultimate incentive to beat each other: if you don't finish first, you don't win. That was where all the competition, all the suspense came from, the fact that you could have the second-best record in the league and still lose if you came in second in your division (or, before 1969, second in the league). Where's the suspense if a good second-place team can reap all the rewards of a winner just by finishing second?
If you think about it, the Red Sox for the last two years have been exactly what they were in the '40s -- the perennial second-place team. Except that now it doesn't hurt them at all, and they can actually win the freakin' World Series by finishing second. I hate the Yankees, but I hate the idea of second-place "champions" even more.
And you know another thing I don't like? Them Ipods! Music warn't meant to be computerized. Now, in my day...