Sunday, November 30, 2014

Baseball Fans and the Wild Card

I followed the baseball season fairly closely this year, especially the pennant races and post-season. I picked up on some conflicting sentiments that were attributed to fans on behalf of the media.

First, during the pennant races, I frequently heard about how much fans liked the wild card format that baseball has. Now that there are two wild card teams, the fans like it even better. You see, the wild card format creates extra excitement because there are more pennant races than there used to be, and the wild card format allows more teams to be in it at the end. Their regular seasons have more meaning.

Second, during the World Series I frequently heard about how TV ratings were so low. Fans simply weren't interested in a World Series played between two sub-90 win teams. (Both the Giants and Royals were wild card teams.) They wanted the top teams to face each other.

So, let me get this straight. The teams that the fans wanted to see in the pennant races were the teams they didn't want to see in the World Series? Huh? This may seem kinda simplistic, but you can't have teams making the playoffs that have no chance of winning the playoffs.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reflections on Game 6

2014 World Series Game 6: Kansas City Royals 10, San Francisco Giants 0.

Contrary to what this looks like at first glance, this was as painless a way to lose a game 6 that there is. Why would I say that?

The loss did not prevent the Giants from winning the World Series. And, they lost no emotional energy in the process. The game was over early. Aside from Bochy bringing in Petit for a long relief appearance with the hope of still scoring, it was over. Petit was better suited to start an inning at the beginning of his long relief. As it was, he was called on to put out a fire, then hold the Royals for a long period of time while the Giants came back. When he couldn't put the fire out, Bochy changed strategy.

He switched all of his focus to game 7. He lined up all the pitchers he did not want to appear in any game 7 scenario whatsoever, and used all of them to finish out game 6. The Giants never even scored, so there never was a possibility of losing a heart break game 6. Every run the Royals scored after taking Peavy out was actually meaningless. The crowd was on fire and the Royals were loving every minute of it, but it really was meaningless. They weren't driving a proverbial stake in any further, run by run. Bochy even put in the non-regulars to get WS appearances: Susac, Arias, Duffy.

But the biggest reason game 6 was painless, was that NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. There was no Dusty Baker to give the game ball to a pitcher while the game was still being played. There was no Scott Spiezio. There was no Tim Worrell. There was no career-ending arm blowout by Robb Nen. There was no Candy Maldonado losing a fly ball in the lights, there was no Bill Buckner, Don Denkinger or Steve Bartman. All the infamous game 6 collapses in history were not there. There was no psychological, emotional or physical damage. Just a looking forward to a game 7 with a stacked bullpen...the best bullpen in baseball.

Game 6 was one of the few times in this great game where it cost nothing to start thinking about tomorrow while it was still today.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Well, many people are calling the Giants' World-Series-winning ways "Dynasty." Yes, the Giants have dominated this decade, and winning three titles in five years is certainly nothing to write off. Usually, though, dynasties have consecutive championships. But I won't deny the use of the word. I simply put spaces between the letters in my title.