A Little Baseball History…

A couple of days ago, I mentioned MLB’s “Double-Bubble” model for the baseball playoffs this year and that all the World Series games would be played at Globe Life Field.  Yesterday, I was chatting with a former colleague and sporadic reader of these rants who told me that he had just read that 75 years ago the same thing happened with World Series games all being played in one place; he wanted to know if I knew anything about that.  I did not; I said that 75 years ago we were in the midst of World War II and that could have been the impetus for such a move by MLB.  And, I told him I would do some checking on the subject.

[Aside:  The basis for my “World War II guess” is that I remember that they played the Rose Bowl Game in Wallace Wade Stadium on the Duke campus one year due to security concerns arising from large gatherings of folks on the West Coast during World War II.]

Notwithstanding my logical deduction above, that is not nearly the reason why the 1944 World Series games were all played in one stadium.  The reason is far simpler:

  • The 1944 World Series featured the St. Louis Cardinals playing the St Louis Browns.
  • Those teams played their home games in the same stadium – – Sportsman Park.
  • Ergo…
  • By the way, the Cardinals won that Series 4 games to 2.

In the process of uncovering that bit of baseball history, I came across a couple other tidbits to pass along this morning:

  1. Twice before the 1944 World Series all the Series games were played in the same stadium.  In 1921 and 1922, the Yankees and the NY Giants met in the World Series; at that time, both teams played their home games in the Polo Grounds in NYC.  So, all the Series games in those 2 years happened in one park.  The Giants prevailed in both of those World Series.
  2. The first time a World Series featured two teams from the same city – – but ones that did not share a stadium as their home field – – was in 1906 when the Cubs and the White Sox played each other.  The White Sox won that Series 4 games to 2.

Moving along to college football, the SEC will begin play this weekend.  The teams will play a conference-only, 10-game regular season with 1 game against each of its Division opponents in the conference and 4 games against opponents from the other Division.  The schedule includes a BYE Week for each team within the season and an open date for every team on December 12.  Those openings may be needed to reschedule games that might need to be postponed due to COVID-19.  The SEC Championship Game will be held on December 19th.

This week, the SEC issued its policies and procedures for dealing with games in these times of COVID-19.  These policies and procedures look good on the surface – – but they have more ambiguity than I would prefer to see.  For example:

“To play a football game, the SEC has established minimum thresholds of at least 53 scholarship players available to participate and the following minimum number of position scholarship players available to begin a game: seven (7) offensive linemen (which includes one center), one (1) quarterback and four (4) defensive linemen. “

That makes sense and sounds good until you go further into the policies and procedures and find the following:

“The impacted institution has the option to play the game with fewer than the 53 scholarship players or fewer than the minimum number of position players listed above if it elects to do so. Otherwise, upon approval by the Commissioner, the game would be rescheduled or declared a no contest.”

So, which is it?  The team must have those minimum number of players ready to play or maybe it has various other options available to it?  And then, the official statement from the SEC contains this wording:

“In addition, should an institution determine there are compelling reasons why it cannot begin a contest regardless of the scholarship and position minimums above, the institution may request to have the game rescheduled or, if the game cannot be rescheduled, for the game to be considered a no contest by presenting data (including total number of players not available to participate) outlining reasons why the game should not be played as scheduled. The final decision to reschedule or declare the game a no contest is vested only with the Commissioner.”

As I said above, the SEC will commence play this weekend.  Beyond that, there seems to be enough wiggle-room and sleight-of-hand contained in the “rules” governing the conduct of the 2020 season to allow or disallow just about any sequence of events.  My advice is to just sit back and enjoy the games that are played whenever they are played and under what circumstances they are played.  Any attempt to understand the whys and wherefores regarding these rules is destined to produce agita.

Finally, Brad Dickson had this comment recently related to the conflict between Nebraska and Big-10 officials over the cancellation – and then the reinstatement – of the 2020 football season this Fall:

“I wouldn’t say Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren feels vindictive toward the Huskers, but the new schedules were just released and Nebraska plays at Ohio State seven times.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………