Baseball Musings…

According to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

Emerson lived in the 1800s, so he did not have the joyful experience of having to cope with the consistency not demonstrated by today’s politicians and by virtue-signalers everywhere.  The latest example of inconsistency might be ascribed to the commissioner of Baseball, Rob Manfred.  It was a little more than 6 months ago that Manfred led MLB in a tour de force of virtue-signaling.  Here is the sequence of events:

  • The duly elected legislature in Georgia passed new voting laws and the Governor signed them into law.  [For the record, I have never lived in Georgia but from all I have read, that law was put on the books in a way that is consistent with the Constitution of Georgia.]
  • Lot of people were outraged by the law.  [For the record, based solely on reports I read I would not have supported passage of that bill were I in the Georgia Legislature – – but I have never lived in Georgia, so my philosophical opposition carries little to no weight.]
  • MLB broadcast its outrage by moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver back in April 2021.

And so, we now come to October 2021 and we have a potential test of the level of MLB’s outrage.  Consider:

  • That abhorrent voting law that caused the  All-Star Game to be pulled out of Georgia in protest is still on the books.
  • As of this morning, the Atlanta Braves are two wins away from being in the World Series.
  • Will MLB allow those games to take place in Georgia?
  • Will the Commish attend any of the games in Atlanta if he allows the games to happen there?

At the time the decision was made to move the All-Star Game to Denver, here is how NPR reported the position of MLB on the issue:

“When the MLB took the summertime game away from Atlanta, Manfred, the baseball commissioner, called it ‘the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport,’ adding that the league ‘fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.’”

So, if the Braves go on to win the NLCS, having the World Series in Atlanta should run counter to MLB’s “values as a sport” simply because that law placing “restrictions to the ballot box” is still there.  Anyone want to bet that no one asks the Commish to comment on that?

Speaking of the MLB playoffs – obliquely – there are some fans who reacted negatively to the Giants (best record in MLB) and the Rays (best record in the AL) being sidelined in the Divisional Series round of the playoffs.  And some of those fans also think that the Braves having the home game advantage in the NLCS over the Dodgers who had a better record is a flawed system.  I have read about and heard several proposals nominally to address those complaints but the only one I think it reasonable is to re-seed the teams based on regular season records after every round.

The fact of the matter is that in 99% of the MLB seasons, all the teams that are playing in the Divisional Round are good teams.  That means it is certain that good teams will be eliminated there and sometimes it will be the teams with the better regular season record that get to book tee times sooner rather than later.  This is not a basis to expand the Divisional Round to seven games; the end of the World Series this year could be as late as November 3rd; that is already a tad too late in the year for my taste.

Another idea I heard about is even worse:

  • The playoffs would be expanded to seven teams in each league.  The team with the best record in that league would get a BYE into the Divisional Round.
  • All the Wild Card series would be best-of-three.  As a reward for regular season performance, all three of the games would be home games for the team with the better record.
  • After those six teams in the Wild Card round sort themselves out, the team that had the BYE would get to choose its opponent for the Divisional Round and each Divisional series would be best-of-seven.

If we keep thinking in this creative mode, we might wind up with the World Series ending on Christmas Eve.  So, if this kind of thinking begins to gain traction, the only compensating thing MLB can do is to cut back the regular season to something like 144 games.  Dwight Perry had this observation in the Seattle Times over the weekend:

“And then there’s the hard-core baseball fan who uses a Yankees-Red Sox replay to time the cooking of his Thanksgiving turkey.”

Make these sorts of changes and it might not be necessary to use a replay…

Finally, since I began today with words from Ralph Waldo Emerson let me close with two more of his observations:

“Go put your creed into the deed, nor speak with double tongue.”

And …

“Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.”

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



2 thoughts on “Baseball Musings…”

  1. Four-hour baseball games played until Christmas Eve. That’s got to qualify as a potential outer ring in Dante’s Inferno. Perhaps Bill the Beer Man can make the scenario even worse?

    1. TenaciousP:

      Baseball in December in a place like Boston or Toronto or Pittsburgh would make Bill the Beer Man over into Bill the Hot Chocolate Man.

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