I can’t imagine what this morning must be like for Tigers fans. That game actually turned out to be pretty good, but the Tigers lost it by several plays that could be variously described as sloppy (Fernando Rodney’s bad throw to first), unlucky (Curtis Granderson slipping in pursuit of a ball) or just cruel (Craig Monroe really, really needs Ichiro’s fishnet of a glove). Games like this are excruciating in June, and in October they’re miserable – I’d almost rather see a team get blown out than to lose by a death of a thousand cuts like this.
Now it’s 3-1 to the Cardinals, and they’ve definitely got the advantage – but as any fan of the Red Sox can tell you, 3-1 is nothin’. The Tigers finally got their hitters to hit last night – at least Pudge, who went 3 for 4, and Granderson, who doubled in a run. Now, if Magglio Ordoñez would start hitting the ball, the Tigers may yet put up a fight.
I know this was just an idle discussion item on an off day, but I seriously hope this idea never gains traction. With all the bad weather in the last few days, the idea of a neutral-site world series has been floated – and this year isn’t the first time it’s been talked about. This is a bad idea for about a million reasons. It is, first and foremost, an overreaction brought on by the incessant 24/7 coverage of all things sports – there have been three rainouts so far this postseason. Prior to this season, there were three rainouts in the decade from 1995-2005. This is also the first time there have been three rainouts in a postseason since the 1975 World Series.
Does something that happens, on average, once a year every three years, and three times a year in 30, really constitute a problem? Doesn’t seem so to me.
The other problem with the neutral-site scenario is the fans. I’m not necessarily talking about the fans that go to one or two games a year, although they’re to be considered as well – I’m talking about the season-ticket and ticket-package holders, who hork up a big wad of cash every year to watch their team try to make it to the Series. If I’m that season ticket holder, I want a reward for sitting through 81 games a year, I want to know that my efforts will be paid off by sitting in the seat I’ve sat in all season, watching my team play for a nice shiny trophy, and looking at an out of town scoreboard in October and seeing no other games on the board because my team’s one of the last two playing.
What I don’t want, if I’m that guy, is to have to fly somewhere, make hotel reservations, and thus triple or quadruple my expenses – and probably not be able to stay for the entire Series, either – in order to satisfy Fox, MLB, and whoever else is responsible for such a crazy idea. So please, Bud Selig, if you were ever taking this idea seriously (which it doesn’t seem like you are), please put it out of your mind now, OK?
And, speaking of Bud Selig, when is it time to realize that, despite what we all want to believe, Selig’s reign has actually been (hold on) good for the game? I know, I know, there’s the whole head-in-the-sand-on-steroids-until-it-was-too-late thing, but even the traditionalist in me has to recognize that the wild card has been a success, interleague play didn’t cause gravity to reverse itself, and now a new labor agreement means there will be 16 consecutive years without a strike. This is a pretty amazing run of play, considering that there were more strikes from 1970 to 1995 than at any other time in baseball’s history (I think).
This new deal was done largely in secret, but it seems like both sides just looked at each other and said “hey, guys, there’s a big fat pile of money out there with both our names on it – we’re both fat, rich, and happy, let’s keep this train moving. The Cristal and hookers don’t pay for themselves!” and went ahead and did the deal. There is an obscene amount of money in professional sports, and for the first time, baseball seemed to realize that it can be shared in such a way that there’s no “loser” in negotiations any more. I mean, really, whether you accept a 20 foot tall pile of money or a 15 foot tall one is a nice dilemma to have, and it seems that both sides have finally decided to make nice so everyone gets their pile.
As a fan of what goes on between the lines, this is great news – it means I get to watch complete baseball seasons for 6 more years, at least. How can that be a bad thing?