The World Series Has Begun

Well, the World Series started off with a bang last night; the first batter in the first inning knocked the ball out of the park.  A baseball historian found that this was the first time in the history of the World Series that had happened.  For the visiting Atlanta Braves, the hits just kept on coming and the Braves won the first game by a score of 6-2.

I think the most amazing happening of the game was the performance of Braves’ pitcher Charlie Morton.  In the second inning, a line drive hit him on the leg.  He struck out the next batter and then got another out to end the inning.  He came out for the third inning and struck out the first batter; then he walked off the mound and the field with a trainer because – – the line drive that hit him in the previous inning had broken his leg and he could no longer put weight on it.  However, he did get three batters out after his leg broke.

The win flips “home field advantage” from the Astros to the Braves and the Braves will start Max Fried in Game 2.  The Braves won 10 of Fried’s last 11 starts in the regular season; this could be a pivotal game in the Series.

The only negative thing about last night’s game – – other than Morton’s broken leg of course – – is that the game took just over 4 hours to play.  Fortunately, the ball was in play enough to maintain interest and consciousness throughout.

With regard to another MLB issue, there seems only to be negative news.  The existing CBA between MLB and the MLBPA will expire in early December and every report that I read says that a lockout/strike/work stoppage/ call-it-what-you-want is “inevitable”.  If those prognostications are correct, here is what that means:

  • For most of the “Hot Stove League” there will be no news of free agent signings or trades.
  • For most of the “Hot Stove League” baseball news will be PR crafted statements by the negotiating teams along with reports of the “sticking points” in the talks.
  • There will be speculative pieces on the likelihood of both sides reaching an agreement by the time pitchers and catchers normally report to Spring Training.

The Bottom Line is that all this will damage baseball.  This is not the kind of news that baseball fans want to hear and read about in the winter.  What they do want to hear and read about are trades and free agent signings that lead to anticipation of Spring Training and next year’s regular season.  I do not dislike either Rob Manfred or Tony Clark when I say that I would be more than happy to hear from them exactly one time between now and mid-February when Spring Training camps open as usual.  That single appearance from them would be to announce a new CBA that both sides are pleased-as-punch about.  I do not think there is much of a chance that I will get my wish here…

Moving on…  Yesterday, I wrote about some Congressional grandstanding that seeks to obtain and reveal information gathered by the NFL investigation into sexual harassment within the Front Office of the Washington Football Team.  The team owners are meeting and there was another grandstanding event yesterday.  One of the accusers/victims of the sexual harassment happenings hand-delivered a letter to Roger Goodell asking that he make the evidence gathered open and available.  She had to know that was not going to happen yesterday, but it did present a photo-op and it did get the story back in the papers again this morning.  Here is what The Commish had to say about what was discussed in yesterday’s meeting:

“We feel that this is the appropriate way to do it [inform other owners of the investigation and the aftermath].  We summarized the findings of [the investigation] and made it very clear that the workplace environment of the Washington Football Team was not what we expected in the NFL and then held them accountable.  But more importantly, steps were put in place to make sure that it does not happen again.”

Since I do not know what the findings of the investigation process were, I have no way to begin to know if the people involved with the Washington Front Office at the time of the harassment behaviors were held sufficiently accountable.  Goodell seems to think that levying a “record fine” of $10M on the team is part of having held the team accountable.  But let me put that in perspective here since Forbes estimates the value of the franchise in 2021 at $4.2B:

  • Imagine that you had a bank account with $100,000 in it.  That is an asset.
  • Now, imagine that you did something wrong, and someone levied a fine against you such that you had to tap into that bank account.
  • If you were fined an amount such that your bank account suffered the same depletion as the $10M fine did for the Washington Football team,  you would owe someone the grand sum of $238.10.
  • Your remaining balance would be only $99,761.90.

Putting aside the math exercise above, I have a much more fundamental problem with Goodell’s statement.  He said – I am not inferring anything here – that the league put steps in place to make sure this does not happen again.  Really?  What are they?  You should be proud to let everyone know how you prevented that kind of situation from happening somewhere else in the future.

Obviously, one good reason not to offer any specifics or any transparency here is that there are no such steps that might make sure this does not happen again.

Finally, since the events pertaining to the NFL happened at a meeting of the owners, let me close with this definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:

Meeting:  A business term meaning, ‘officially sanctioned waste of time.’”

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