Of course it's not as big today. Baseball teams have played "unbalanced" schedules for years now. Directly comparing the overall records of two teams in the same league but different divisions is apples and oranges these days. Plus, there used to be no playoff series for the penant and it was decided strictly by wins and losses. The Penant, being so determined, decided which two teams faced off in the World Series as it still does. So in essense, the penant was the season. Of course much more emphasis was placed then on wins in the regular season. This is what we all would like to achieve for MLS.