Archive for December, 2010

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day: December 10, 2010

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Today is Baseball Blogger Alliance Day, an organization started in 2009 to help promote baseball blogging throughout the  country.  There are currently 230 bloggers representing all teams except the Atlanta Braves.  There are chapters devoted to general discussions of the sport, history, fantasy, and miscellaneous; of which this blog is a member.

Being a Yankee and Met fan I enjoying visiting the sites devoted to those teams.  I get involved in discussions of current activities and appreciate being able to keep in touch with other fans.  I also like commenting on sites when I get the opportunity to talk about the pennant race league and how their teams might be faring.

BBA  has different activities that I enjoy participating in.  All-Star squads are voted on, end of season awards are handed out, and Hall of Fame recommendations are made.  They are also involved in charity work.  “Pitch in for Baseball” is an organization that donates lightly used baseball equipment to economically disadvantaged youth.  BBA has helped promote their resource mobilizattion activities.   BBA also has a weekly radio show at Blog Talk Radio and an iPhone app.

If you are a baseball lover you should check out the sites on my blogroll; and if you have a baseball blog or are thinking of starting one I suggest you  BBA at www.baseballbloggersalliance.com

Pennant Races vs. Wild Card

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Every time Commission Selig talks about the possibility of expanding the number of teams that make it to the postseason he compares baseball to football, basketball and hockey.  He does this to assure baseball fans that adding two more teams to the postseason roster is OK, because baseball would still have less teams playing than the other three sports.  If you accept his assumption that the wild card was a good choice to begin with, then certainly what could be bad about adding more of a good thing.  

Baseball is so different from the other three sports that no good comparision can be made.  By accepting the premise that the wild card is good for baseball, the argument for adding more is just one in which the Commissioner is arguing with himself.  By making the case for pennant races, we will make this a fair fight by putting another person into the ring.

The fact that the regular baseball season is twice as long as the season in hockey and baseball is the reason that any comparision between the sports is meaningless.  Pennant races are superior to wild cards because they better represent the quality of play that occurs during baseball’s extra long regular season. When you give pennant losers any chance to resurrect their season by defeating pennant winners in the postseason, the integrity of the sport is seriously weakened.  Having a 2nd place wild card team winning the championship is bad.  Giving a potential 3rd place team the same opportunity would be even worse.   Any talk of wild card teams needing a handicap in the postseason is an admission of the mockery that the wild card makes of the regular season division races.  In a season as long as baseball’s, these teams don’t need a lesser chance at the World Series;  they need to be given no chance at all by eliminating them entirely! 

People are complaining that the baseball season is too long.   If this is true it is because wild cards, and three divisions per league detracts from strong division rivalries and the pennant races they produce.  Pennant races are higher quality, are more competitive and intense, than wild card.  Adding other wild card team to the regular season mix will only weaken still the division races as teams realize they only need to win a wild card to have a chance at a championship.   This will weaken the quality and competition of the regular season not only for contenders, but also for the fans of teams that are not in contention.

Baseball’s weak regular season is most evident during the month of September.  The sport will never be able to compete with football in September and October until it produces a stronger national product.  Pennant race games throughout the season will develop fan interest in baseball’s best teams.  This interest will  increase when the races heat up in August and September.  Instead of losing viewers as their teams drop out of contention,  MLB will experience increased ratings as all baseball fans are attracted to the best baseball of the year.  After season long races in September fan interest will carry into October as they will be ready to watch the best teams they  have been following all season.  Adding more wild cards and postseason rounds will only hurt baseball further.  Pennant races in September are a much better leadin than extra rounds of playoff for the League Championships and World Series.  By focusing on its best feature, attendance, ratings and revenues will increase and there will be no need for extra rounds of playoffs.

MLB needs to reject the false comparisions of baseball to other sports; and 8 vs. 10 postseason teams.  By closely examining pennant races vs. wild cards they will be in a better position to decide the future structure of the sport when their media contract runs out in 2013.  When this comparision is made it can be seen that between good and bad, pennant races are good for baseball and the wild card is not.  In this light, adding more wild card teams and postseason rounds is only making a bad situation worse.

1951-American League

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

While most people remember 1951 for perhaps the best pennant race ever between Brooklyn and New York in the National League, the season also saw another long pennant race in the American League.  On May 1, Washington (8-3), Cleveland (8-3), and New York (9-4) were all tied for 1st place.  Boston was in 4th place 1.5 games back at 7-5.  On May 5 the Yankees took over sole possession of 1st place and with a 14-7 record maintained their position until Chicago (in the midst of a 14 game winning streak) tied them at 24-9 on May 27.  Boston was now in 3rd place at 22-13, 3 games behind.  The White Sox would remain in 1st place throughout the month of June.

Chicago would stay near the top of the league through a good part of July.  The high point of the White Sox season would come on July 17-July 19 when the Yankees came in for a three games series in Chicago.  Chicago won the 1st game 4-3, New York the 2nd 5-1.  In the rubber match of the series Chicago won 2-1. Pitcher Howie Judson bested Eddie Lopat while 3B Bob  Dillinger had the winning RBI.  After losing 4 straight to Washington, 2 out of 3 to Boston, and 3 straight to New York;  on July 29, Chicago found themselves in 4th place 6.5 games back.  Their time in the ’51 pennant race was finished.

The standings on July 29 was as follows:  NYY 59-35 (—);  CLE 57-38 (2);  BOS 57-38 (2);  CHW  54-44 (6.5).  The Indians, who had been as much as 6 games back on July 3, would be the Yankees main competitor for the rest of the season.  Taking over 1st on Aug 8, Cleveland would hold or tie for it with New York until Aug 30.  New York would never be more than 3 games behind.  On Aug 30, at 75-51, Boston still was close enough to make a run in 3rd place, 4.5 games back.

Between Sept 3 and 15, Cleveland held on to 1st place. Including 2 ties, New York was never more than 1 game behind.  On Sept 15, with Cleveland openning a 2 game series in New York, Cleveland was 90-54 (—),  New York 87-53 (1), and Boston still close at 84-55 (3.5).  New York won the 1st game 5-1, as Allie Reynolds won his 15th game to beat Bob Feller.  Joe DiMaggio had 2 RBIs and Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Reynolds one each.  Cleveland and New York were again tied for 1st.  The Yankees took over sole possession of 1st when they won the 2nd game, 2-1.  Eddie Lopat outduelled Bob Lemon for his 20th win; and Phil Rizutto drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th.

From that point New York never lost the lead;  and Boston dropped out of the picture.  On Sept 28, 2.5 games behind  New York, Cleveland was idle.  The Yankees swept the Red Sox in a doubleheader, 8-0 and 11-3.  Reynolds and Vic Raschi were the winners; Joe Collins and DiMaggio the hitting stars.  It was now New York 95-56 (—) and Cleveland 92-60 (3.5).  With 2 days left in the season, New York had finally clinched the 1951 American League pennant.  For good measure, the Yankees swept the Red Sox in the last 3 games of the season.

references: http://baseballrace.comhttp://baseball-reference.com