Thursday, October 30, 2008

Zen Dayley: Making sense of the Series sacrilege

That World Series half-game turned out to be not half-bad. It wasn't half-good either.

The question after the debaculous World Series -- sorry, but for a purist, Bud Selig making up the rules as he went along was a deal-breaker, even though no one says boo when the NFL plays fast-and-loose with the sport's integrity -- is what could be done to avoid a future recurrence. A shorter, 140-game or so regular season should happen; all the ball-and-stick leagues save the NFL should be playing fewer regular-season games.

The ex-manager Whitey Herzog is getting pilliored for his unearthing his pet idea for a neutral-site World Series (read the rebuttal at It Is About The Money). FOX Sports, to borrow the outgoing commander-in-chief's word, is "addicted" to those 8:37 p.m. Eastern time starts.

This is something where the only sane response seems to be to throw up your hands at the situation. A perfectly reasonable, albeit passive-aggressive recourse: If you really love baseball (and this is not wallowing in a game that never was), you could always just treat the league championship series is the true climax to the season. It's two teams who use the same rules for each game, home-field advantage is determined according to record and not a midseason exhibition game. Chances are, the two opponents might even have a long-standing post-season history, or have built up some enmity toward each other over the course of the season.

The preliminaries are often better than the main bout, anyways, just as in marriage and prizefighting.

Rays redux

  • To the tune of John Denver's, "Please, Daddy, don't get drunk this Christimas," Please, Tampa, don't throw a celebration for a team which came second. It would have been amazing if the Rays had won the World Series a year after finishing in last place.

    However, throwing a party for a runner-up is a surefire one-way ticket to Lame City; that's just an opinion. Ottawa did that in 2007 for the Senators, enough said.
  • Tampa Bay will be back. You're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

Other thingamabobs

  • The big Hot Stove League news today: Ken Macha is going to manage the Brewers (the Jays could have had him in 2007) and the Royals got first baseman Mike Jacobs from the Florida Lorias.
  • It looks like the Japanese pitcher Junichi Tawaza is free to come to the majors.
  • Brew Crew Ball congratulated ex-Brewer Geoff Jenkins for getting a World Series ring instead of just feeling sorry for themselves -- like you're supposed to, according to Toronto sports logic.
  • Apparently jamiecampbell got a little too caught up in Barack Obama's speechifying, because he figured it was OK to bring up the Civil War in reference to the Rays' super southpaw David Price, who is, uh, African-American:
    "David Price is from Mursfreesboro, Tennessee, which in 1862 was the site of a famous Civil War battle that resulted in a narrow Union victory. He's obviously hoping for a Southern victory tonight."
    Are references to 150-year-old wars really appropriate to bring up with any ballplayer? Granted, that is no worse than the attitude parodied in The Simpsons episode when Apu gets his U.S. citizenship: "Finally, last question, what was the cause of the Civil War." ... "Well, there were many factors, economic and ..." ... "Just say slavery." ... "Slavery it is."
  • Speaking of the Obama infomercial, a FOX Sports exec said, "we didn’t push back the game, it was really just about suspending the pre-game -- you know, Joe Buck." In other words, Obama-Biden meant America heard less of Joe Buck and, being totally tongue-in-cheek for all you literalists, if that doesn't convince people to vote for them ...
  • Via Rattler Radio, comes word that Baseball America has called Brett Lawrie "the best Canadian hitting prospect in a decade."
  • FanGraphs is also big on 19-year-old Reds right-handed pitching prospect Kyle Lotzkar, another B.C. ballplayer who was in Single-A ball this season. (Did he play with Lawrie with the Langley Blaze?) Keep his name on file.
(Herzog link via, who else, ShysterBall.)


Mikey said...

Oh Mr Sager. I was expecting an apology to the National League for all of your previous blog bashing, but instead you just suggest that the ALCS should be the real World Series and that there should have been a lame-o parade around St. Pete, a town that wasn't even filling seats until late September. And the nerve after Brad Lidge already spotted you home field advantage.

The Phillies were by far the superior team. Pity the second worst commish in pro-sports and the weather had to spoil it.

sager said...

Today's not the day for teasing, Mikey -- I'm not in the mood.

The Phillies proved they were better than the Rays, over a particular run of games. That proves nothing about AL vs. NL, though.

All I said was that in terms of teams who have a history with each other and the drama, import, all that, the ALCS and NLCS can often be more riveting than Series.

The AFC and NFC championship games are often better than the Super Bowl ... you can say that and not take anything away from the team that wins the Super Bowl.

That wasn't meant to take anything away from the Phillies. They would contend in any division in the AL, just as the Jays would contend in any NL division.

Mikey said...

I could not resist. On the bright side, you are getting mucho play around O-Town with your A.Y. story. Team 1200, my school, etc. Good work.

As a Dodger fan, I appreciate the compliment of the intensity of the league series. Sadly, that was mostly Manny and Stairsy up north.

It's true in nearly all sports---March Madness, the World Cup, the NFL/NBA...the hype and pressure to perform makes those games mostly a let-down and the odd good one overly revered. Maybe that's why Zidane...

I'm still waiting for your off-season "what if the Jays were in the NL West?" or "should there be re-alignment?" post. B-More and T.Dot bird posses unite.

sager said...

My one hypothetical scenario that I believe I did post in September though I'm too lazy to get searching for it ... group all the teams by the Forbes MLB valuation.

My other was to drop down to 2 divisions in each league with 2 wild-cards .... that would be more equitable.

Eighty-four wins is a third place team in most divisions, but the Dodgers got to play for a spot in the Series. A full season of Manny probably would have got them up to 88-89 wins, but still, it's a full season.