I begin today with a correction from yesterday. I said then that Tom Brady’s record against the Jets was 28-7. The reader in Houston who is a sports stats maven extraordinaire sent me the following email:
“Actually 29-7 in the regular season and 1-1 in playoffs for 30-8 overall. He never faced the Bills and Dolphs in the playoffs.”
My apologies for the misinformation and thanx to the Houston reader.
For the record, it did not occur to me to look at Tom Brady versus other AFC East teams in the playoffs, but now that the subject has been introduced let me pose a rhetorical question about the playoffs and teams that do not make the playoffs regularly.
- With the addition of two more teams to the playoffs starting in 2020, should there be an asterisk next to a team that breaks a longstanding playoff drought by being the third wildcard team in its conference?
If you think that is a reasonable idea, let me suggest that any team with a double-digit playoff drought receive “the dreaded asterisk”. Currently, there are only 3 NFL teams that would approach that level of frustration. As of this morning:
- Browns have not made the playoffs for 17 seasons.
- Bucs have not made the playoffs for 12 seasons.
- Jets have not made the playoffs for 9 seasons.
The next longest drought is 4 seasons shared by the Bengals, Broncos, Cardinals and Skins.
The Olympic Torch Relay has been interrupted; the torch was lit in Greece earlier this week, but the runners never made it out of Greece. Too bad; the Olympic mavens had arranged for it to be ever so environmentally correct this time; no fossil fuels would be used; the torch would have burned hydrogen.
- Memo to the IOC: Time to postpone the 2020 Games. You can put them in Tokyo in 2021 or even in 2022 – – but not this year.
There are several ideas floating around regarding possible starting time for the MLB season this year. Just about every week between mid-May and the All-Star Game has received some attention for that event. I do not have a firm position on the season starting date but I do have a suggestion for MLB to consider. This is an idea that might work very well for a truncated season and maybe should be considered more permanently:
- Change the existing playoff structure to the one used by college baseball – – use a double elimination tournament format.
Yes, that would probably reduce the number of games for TV, but it would increase the number of “win-or-go-home games” and those might generate much better TV ratings than some of the games in the current format. Another potential advantage is that this new format could be squeezed into smaller time frame meaning the likelihood of al “World Series Game” in sub-freezing conditions is reduced.
The MLB sign-sealing scandal has receded from the headlines over the past couple of weeks but that does not mean the story is over. However, I have used this respite in the public shaming of the Astros – – and likely the Red Sox to come – – by reading some articles about the history of sign-stealing in baseball.
Here is the link to a long and interesting look at sign-stealing in baseball 60 years ago and beyond that. In this article, you will see a report in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette in which NY Giants manager, John McGraw talks about sign-stealing and distinguishes between legitimate sign-stealing and nefarious sign-stealing, Here is part of what he said:
“… the unfair method of getting signals is to employ artificial means such as field glasses and buzzers and other devices that have broken into baseball from time to time as first aid to the batter.”
John McGraw was referencing the use of “buzzers” more than 100 years ago. So, what José Altuve is alleged to have done with a “buzzer” may well be considered to be nefarious and improper, but it would seem not to be novel.
Here is another revelation in the article that I did not know anything about:
“At the NL’s annual meeting in December 1961, NL owners had given league president Warren Giles the power to declare a forfeit if a game could be proved to have been won with signs obtained through mechanical means.”
I commend this article to your reading…
In addition, here is the link to another article by Frank Fitzpatrick in the Philadelphia Inquirer about how the Phillies stole signs with an electrical link all the way back in 1900. Some of the shenanigans related here are comical – – but they do indicate that whatever the Astros did in recent years did not break ground in the cosmos of baseball cheating. Fitzpatrick’s article is not nearly as lengthy as the one above nor is it intended to be as broad a look at the issue; but it is very interesting and well written.
One statistic from Fitzpatrick’s article is interesting. The Phillies in 1900 led the NL in attendance averaging 4,313 fans per game. Finding ways to cheat in baseball may not have changed but attendance certainly has.
Finally, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times referred to an event that likely did not adhere to current exhortations regarding social distancing:
“Some 3,549 gathered at a carnival in Landerneau, France, to break the world record for most people dressed as Smurfs.
“Thus eclipsing the mark for all-blue get-ups set by the 2018 Boise State football team.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………