Contest #1 – What effects will the new MLB rules AND the new scheduling have in 2023. The more specifics you list, assuming they are accurate, the more likely you are to make the top five submissions. Winners will be chosen by the readers of MillersTime.
Joe Higdon, Matt Wax-Krell, Nick Nyhart, and Justin Stoyer made it to the ‘finals’
While Nick Nyhart (No. 3) came in second in the voting and was also on target with his answers, Matt Wax-Krell (No. 2) was overwhelmingly voted the winner with this answer:
*New rules will work well.
*Players will adjust quickly (and already have in Spring Training), and fans will like them. It will make the game more like it was 40+ years ago when game times were short, pitchers didn’t wait 30 seconds to throw a pitch, and there4 was more action (more SBs, 2Bs, 3Bs, etc.)
*The new rules will be considered a success, but won’t address the issue of too many Ks.(True)
*Average game time gets down to 2:46 (in fact, it was 2:38 minutes in 2023).
*A player steals 50+ bases for the first time since 2017 (three in fact did).
Matt has his choice of one of these two terrific books by my favorite baseball writer, Joe Posnanski – The Baseball 100 or his just published Why We Love Baseball. Plus, a MillersTime Winner T-shirt, if he doesn’t already have one. (The other three of you can get a T-shirt if you send me your size and home address)
Contest #2 – Are you a ‘homer’ or not? (a sports fan who is so blinded by their loyalty to their home team that they can’t be objective about the team’s prospects for the coming year:
a. Name your team
b. What will their season record be?
c. Where will they end up in their Division at the end of the season?
d. Will they make the 12 team playoffs?
e. If so, how far will they go in those playoffs?
f. What will be the reason for well or how poorly they do this year? Be as specific as possible.
This Contest was the closest of the three with nine fans definitely NOT HOMERS: Bill Barnwell, Jeff Friedman, Joe Higdon, Robert Higdon, Larry Longnecker, Ed Scholl, Brian Steinbach, and Dawn Wilson. The rest of you need to shape up and face reality.
Bill Barnwell and Nick Lamanatied for second. They each get copies of Joe Posnanski’s new book, Why We Love Baseball or his The Baseball 100. (Send me you home address, which book you want, and your t-shirt size.)
Jeff Friedman(Red Sox) and Joe Higdon (Nationals) are the Winners as each knew their teams were going to be hopeless and showed why. They can join me for a Nats’ game in DC, or I’ll try to join each of you for any regular season game elsewhere. In either case, I’ll pay for the tickets, and you buy the beer. (Jeff and Joe contact me about scheduling a game.)
All nine of those listed above as NOT HOMERS are welcome to a MillersTime Winners T-Shirt if you want one. (Please send me you t-shirt size and your home address.
Contest #3 –
a. Who will be the four teams playing in the League Championship series in 2023?
b What two teams will actually make it to the World Series?
c. How many games will the WS go?
d. Which team will win the WS?
e. What are the reasons that team will win?
About half of those submitting answers were only able to name ONE of the four teams in the Championship Series!
Only two of you, Ron Davis and Monica McHugh, were able to name two of the four.
And NO ONE had either of the teams in the World Series!
So I escape with not having to sponsor anyone for next year’s WS, but Ron and Monica can choose a Nats’ game to attend with me where I’ll pay for the tickets, and they can pay for peanuts and beer.
I know the baseball season ended several weeks ago, and for a variety of good and not so good reasons, I’m just getting to choosing the winners of the 2023 MillersTime Baseball Contests.
As you may or may not remember, Contest #1 involved what effects the new MLB rules and the new scheduling would have on the game and the fans in 2023. The winner would chosen by MillersTime readers from my selection of the five best submissions.
What actually happened in connection with the rules‘ changes and new scheduling in 2023:
Attendance was up 9.6% to 70.7 million. (17 teams exceeded 2.5 million in attendance, three exceeded three million.)
Length of game reduced by 24 minutes from 2022, 30 minutes from 2021. (Average length of game 2:39:49)
Batting averages increased 5% to 2.48. (Left-handed hitters increased their batting average from .285 to .295.)
Balls in play were up seven points to 2.97 & OBP up 8 points to .320.
Increase in runs per game from 8.6 to 9.3.
Stolen bases base success rate increased from 1.4 to 1.8 per game (75.4% to 80.2%. Acuna – 73, Ruiz – 67, Carroll – 54)
Most players and others directly associated with the game ended up liking the changes. Pitchers adjusted best, hitters least (because of increased relief pitchers?)
TV ratings of games didn’t change much despite shorter games and more action. (Possibly because some popular teams had disappointing seasons?)
Advertising grew by 6%.
My selection of the five best submissions, with attention to accuracy and specifics:
Faster games, more stolen bases, more balks, strikes called without a pitch, balls called without a pitch; it will be taken for granted by August; it limits pitcher strategy vis-a-vis base runners; fewer pick offs of runners, fewer runners caught stealing.
New rules will work well; players will adjust quickly; fans will like them; it will make the game more like it was 40+ years ago when game times were shorter, pitchers didn’t wait 30 seconds to throw a pitch, and there was more action (more SBs, 2Bs, 3Bs, etc.) the new rules will be considered a success but won’t address the issue of too many Ks. Average game time gets down to 2:46. A player steals 50+ bases for the first time since 2017.
Long time rivalries will seem less important, as will the benefits of familiarity we feel when a team from your own division comes to town. The rest will seem somewhat scattershot – fun to see a small group of superstars more often, but too many teams with players you’ve never heard of will bake the game a bit less engaging. On the other hand, the new rules will shorten the game but condensing the action will be the real benefit. Expect just a few more stolen bases, and the anti-shift rule will add a few hits, further enlivening the game, but not dramatically so. It’s the faster pace that will make the biggest difference. Most of the pitchers will adjust their timing as the season goes on. Craig Kimbrel will struggle more than most. One thing to expect in April and May is some well publicized battles with umps as players work the edges of the new timing rules.
I think the biggest effects of the new rules will be the pitch clock affecting pitch counts and give control to pitchers. The bigger bases will see more left-handed batters have a bump in their batting averages. I see a jump of .010.
For the fifth in this list, there were seven options in the running, but I couldn’t choose between them. I considered choosing Jere Smith’s, “Aw man, this is deep…I’ll just say people will still complain,” but I resisted. So you only have to choose from four.
Let me know your choice of which of the above you believe should be declared the Winner of Contest #1.
Send your choices to me at Samesty84@gmail.com by Nov. 20th.
What effects will the new MLB baseball rules AND the new scheduling have in 2023? The more specifics you list, assuming they are accurate, the more likely you are to make the top five submissions. Then, I’ll ‘crowd source’ these for all participants to vote for which one wins.
Prize: A copy of Joe Posnanski’s The Baseball 100 or a copy of his new book to be published this year, Why We Love Baseball.
Contest # 2:
Are you a ‘homer’ or not? (a sports fan who is so blinded by their loyalty to their home team that they can’t be objective about the team’s prospects for the coming year).
Choose your favorite team and answer the questions below.
Name the team.
What will their season record be in 2023?
Where will they end up in their Division at the end of the regular season.
Will they make the 12 team playoffs?
If so, how far will they go in those playoffs.
What will be the reasons for how well or poorly they do this year? The more specific you are the better.
Prize: Join me for a Nats’ game in DC, or I’ll try to join you, if possible, for any regular season game elsewhere. In either case, I’ll buy the tickets. You can buy the food and drinks.
Contest # 3:
Who will be the four teams playing in the League Championship series in 2023?
What two teams will actually make it to the World Series.
How many games will the WS go?
Which team will win the WS?
What are the reasons that team wins?
Prize: One ticket to the 2024 All Star game or the 2024 World Series.
1. In case of a tie in prdictions, the contestant with the earliest submission will win.
2. You don’t have to enter all three of the contests.
3. Send your predictions to me at Samesty84@gmail.com with as much specificity as you can as I suspect that will be important in choosing winners.
4 MillersTime Winner T-Shirts go along with the prizes mentioned above, for those who have never had the ‘pleasure’ of receiving this unique gift.
5. If you get a friend or foe to enter the Contests, if they win, and if they mention your name, you’ll get a (to-be-determined) prize also.
Deadline for Submissions: Noon (EST) Opening Day, March 30, 2023
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PS – I have a Nats’ half season plan this year (Plan B) with two seats. If you want to join me for a game, let me know. Or, if you have interest in using the two tickets for games I cannot attend., let me know that too.
On August 30th, I unequivocally, but sadly, wrote that after 18 years as a full season ticket holder of the Washington Nationals, I had terminated my annual contract with the team and its owners.
Primarily, I was fed up with the Nats’ model of getting good young players and then abandoning them when they reached free agency, which, among other things, is unfair to the fans. Getting attached to players only to have them go elsewhere maybe understandable (players have every right to determine their value, and the owners have their right to their business model). But as I came of age in a time when a fan could count on their favorite player being with their favorite team year after year, I found it hard to adjust to this new reality. And so I decided I wanted to withdraw my financial support of both the owners and players.
There were also other reasons I gave up the tickets. All my season ticket partners for the 81 home games had, for a variety of reasons, gradually dropped out of the partnership, and the tickets and parking therefore had become extremely expensive. Watching the Nats go 55-107 was another reason I was unhappy with the Nats and their ownership, even for this Red Sox fan who has endured many, many years of disappointment. While I still cared about baseball, it seemed I could choose to go to a few games a year and continue to ‘register’ my protest as a fan about being part of a system that rewarded the owners and the players to care more about the money than the game.
Then, over the last month or so of the season, I attended five or six games and found that despite all the reasons listed above, I still loved being at the ballpark, watching baseball, and always looking for something I had never previously witnessed (e.g., one umpire being overridden on three consecutive missed calls at first). Above all, I enjoyed being with family and friends for an afternoon or evening of baseball and companionship.
So, while I had terminated my full season three seats and parking, and with some encouragement from Cassie Bullis, my young Nats’ account executive, I decided to return as a partial season ticket holder (two seats, 41 games, and parking). I won’t have total choice of every game I want to see, but I can swap tickets for a particular game(s). The Red Sox, for instance, are here for three games in August and only one of those is on my 2023 Plan B.
If any of you have interest in being a partner for at least five games, let me know, and we can discuss which games, costs, etc.
And I will continue to invite various family and friends to join me and so urge you to let me know if you want to attend a game together. (Added Note: if you don’t live in DC but will find yourself coming to our ‘swamp’ sometime in the next year, consider checking with me about seeing a game, either together or with a friend.)
I will also continue to pass on some tickets to various charities and friends at no cost.
Baseball will remain a part of my life even while I disapprove of many aspects of what it has become.
As the Duke of Brooklyn (Sean McLaughlin) has said, “with all its faults, it is still THE best sport.”
Angell has helped us appreciate baseball by reaching deep into our chests and saying what we feel but cannot quite convey why we care so much about this odd and wonderful game. Joe Posnanski (Joe Blogs Baseball)
Over the past several days, many, many baseball writers have written about Roger Angell, one of baseballs best chroniclers, who died at Friday at the age of 101.
I’ve chosen to link to Posnanski’s post today as it captures why Angell stands in the very top tier of baseball’s best writers.
As I sat at Nat’s Park on Thursday, April 7th awaiting the start of the 2022 baseball season, I kept hearing the same comment all around me: “It’s so good to be back.”
And indeed it was.
No matter the rain which had delayed the game from 4:05 PM until the first pitch was finally thrown about 8:30 PM.
No matter the cold. I was wearing three layers and had a fourth, a knitted hat, and warm gloves close by.
No matter that Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman, Steven Strasburg, etc., etc. were nowhere in sight.
No matter that the Nats were simply awful, except for a 425 foot ‘useless’ home run from Juan Soto.
It was simply delightful to be back at the park with the green outfield, the freshly swept infield, and enough fans to cheer for either the Nats or the Mets.
And I went again two days later.
The weather was still cold.
There were fewer fans. Probably more Mets fans than Nats’.
The Nats were even worse..
But It was baseball again.
Plus, this was not my beloved Red Sox, who were soon to lose their first two games against those thugs from NY.
Watching the Nats is more relaxing. I want them to win, but if they don’t, it’s not a big deal.
It’s still baseball.
And I think there are some changes coming that will make things better. Wunderkid Theo Epstein (Red Sox and then Cubs GM) is heading an MLB effort to collaboratively evaluate the State of the Game, to look at the rules and institute some changes. His effort is how to make the game better for fans, to restore some action, some drama by putting more balls in play and speed up the game.
*Already there’s no Designated Hitter in the National League.
*Some teams are already using the electronic system between the pitcher and catcher to signal what pitch is to be thrown.
*And there’s a lot of experimenting going on in the minor leagues to evaluate a variety of changes, and some of those will likely make it to the majors during this season.
If you have the time, I high recommend you listen to the interview with Theo where he discusses what is being considered and why:
Whether you believe that nothing should change in baseball, that somethings need to change, or you’re somewhere in the middle, I think you’ll find Theo’s thoughtful approach could just be the best thing to happen to baseball in the foreseeable future. (You can skip the first part of the link above and go to the 13 minute portion of the broadcast. The most important part begins about 23 minutes into it.)
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MillersTime Baseball Contest Update:
It appears that more than 30 MLB sportswriters as well as those from The Athletic have been looking at what the brilliant (?) MillersTime Baseball Contest contributors have predicted for the 2022 season.
Everyone, it seems thinks the Dodgers and the Blue Jays will face each other in the World Series, with the Dodgers the more likely winner. There were a few scattered votes for the Rays and Yankees making it and possibly winning.
But I suspect that both the professionals and the MillersTime contestants will once again be surprised come October/November.
Like last year. Who predicted the Braves would win it all?
As for the first question on the MillersTime contests, there many thoughtful and informed submissions and only a few ‘Homers’. It seems many of you know your team and follow them without blinders (not so Chris E).
But I don’t think anyone will match the brilliance/luck of what Chris Ballard was able to ‘foresee’ last year (see2021 Contest #2 results).
Baseball is back
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If you’re interested in joining me for a Nats’ game this year, email me and indicate if you have a particular game that interests you and/or a particular say or time that works best for you.
Also, if you’re interested in purchasing seats for a game, I have a full season plan in Section 127, Row Z, Seats 1, 2, & 3. They are terrific seats, just about 20 rows off the field, between the catcher and first base. I also have parking next to the stadium. We can negotiate a good price, especially if it is not a game that I already plan to attend (e.g., Dodgers, Orioles).
CONTEST #1: How will the COVID-19 virus affect the 2021 MLB season? Include some Overall Predictions as well as some Specific Ones. Creativity is encouraged. I’ll choose the five best submissions and have MillersTime baseball contestants vote on the winner:
Winner as chosen by you readers was #2: Very little overall. There will be some hand-wringing about vaccinations, but the season will happen and a champion will be crowned. Attendance will increase throughout the season, and the World Series will have a completely full stadium.
BRANDT & SAMANTHA TILIS who submitted that answer are the winners. As their Prize, they get to join me at a Nats’ game next year, or I’ll join them for a regular season MLB game of their choice anywhere they choose, at my expense (for the cost of the tickets and refreshments only).
(Full Disclosure: Brandt ‘happens’ to be my son-in-law and Samantha is his daughter and therefore my five year old granddaughter. Fortunately, I do not vote in any of the Contests and the selection in Contest #1 was chosen by readers/contestants who voted for this anonymously listed submission.)
CONTEST #3: Five Fill in the Blanks & Five True/False Questions.
There were five submissions that all answered seven of the 10 questions correctly:
Daniel Fischberg, Jeff Friedman, Larry Longenecker, Ed Scholl, & Matt Wax-Krell.
By dint of being the earliest submission, ED SCHOLL is the winner and his Prize is to join me (along with another guest of his choice) for any Nats’ game in the 2022 season. (If I’m not available, or if he prefers, he can choose to take two others with him to that Nats’ game.
Additional Prizes for those who sent in questions that were chosen for the 2021 Contests: – Tim Malieckal, Zach Haile, Dawn Wilson, and Steve King: Choose either to join me, and you can bring a friend, for a game of your choice with the Nats in 2022 or get one of the MillersTime Contest Winners Exclusive T-Shirts. Let me know which you choose.
And if you missed the winners of Contests #2 & #4, check here.
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For anyone interested in attending Nats’ games next year, here is an offer from a friend, Jim Cooke, a long time Nats’ season ticket holder:
I have a full season plan for a pair of seats at Nats Park in Section 117 (3rd Base Dugout Box), Row K, seven rows from the field, 90 feet from home plate. I’m relocating to Philadelphia and would like to hold onto them for the sake of three current partners. The seats are available at cost ($80 per), so a 10-game share costs $1,600. You pick the games you want in a draft of dates in early March. For more information, please contact me at my cell phone number (240) 731-9576. Thank you, Jim Cooke.
Well now that that Super Bowl thing is over, and those of us who wanted the Chiefs to win have recovered, it’s time to focus on baseball.
Pitchers and catchers are gathering this week and full Spring Training, though with restrictions, will be underway shortly.
It’s hard to imagine what the 2021 MLB season will be with the continuation of the COVID virus – how many games will actually be played; will fans be able to attend games; and if so, will they; how much enthusiasm has faded for baseball, which was already in decline in some ways; and if there is a credible season, what teams will do well; and what players will shine; and which will falter?
Let me know if you are interested in the continuation the MillersTime Baseball Contests.
If you are interested, please help on the questions. Are there totally different types of questions to ask this year and which, if any, questions from the past continue to be part of the contests (e.g., How will your favorite team do in 2021; T/F questions; WS contestants and winners)?
Please send me any thoughts you have. Use either the Comments section of this post or send them to me at Samesty84@gmail.com.
Contest #IV: What will be the main takeaways from having a 60-game, or shorter, season?
Which ONE of the following five submissions, in your view, should be the main takeaway from the shortened season?
NL Designated Hitter is a good idea that should be permanently adopted.
Play without fans sucks/Fans matter.
They should try the runner on second rule in extra innings during the 162 games season but not in the playoffs.
The 2020 season will forever have an asterisk.
Spouses of baseball fans will not be as aggravated as usual because the season is shorter.
MillersTime contestants who voted which of the above was the best answer chose #1 – DH a good idea that should be permanently adopted.
Four of you had predicted this would be the the main takeaway.
Winner: Ed Scholl, by virtue of having the earliest submission of this prediction – July 3 at 2:33 PM.
Runners Up:Daniel Fischberg (July 18 – 6:01 PM), Matt-Wax-Krell (July 22 – 2:30 PM) and Chris Ballard (July 23 – 10:43 AM, just 77 minutes before the Contests closed!).
Ed’s Prize is his choice of one of these books – 25 Best Baseball Books of All Time – and a MillersTime Winner T-Shirt, if he doesn’t already have one. Let me know Ed, along with your home address and t-shirt size, if applicable.
Daniel, Matt, and Chris all get T-Shirts. Please send me your T-Shirt size and your home address.
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For those of you who care about important issues:
Assuming COVID-19 issues are under control, 2021 Spring Training begins Sat., Feb. 27 (111 days from now), and the 2021 Regular Season will begin Thursday, April 1 (143 days from now) with all 30 Clubs playing their opening game on this date. And importantly, April 1 will be the date for the closing of the 2021 MillersTime Baseball Contests.
First, a thank you to Bill P., Brian S., David E., Ed S, Chris B., Elliott T., Matt W-K, Carrie T., and Anonymous for your comments on the shortened season. You can read what they said by going Here. Good stuff.
Second, I’m re-posting what MillersTime Baseball Contestants predicted at the beginning of this abnormal season started. See Baseball’s Back! Your Predictions. Again, lots to show the ‘wisdom’ and a bit of foolishness from MillersTime readers.
Third, The Athletic, the newish go to source for some of today’s best baseball (and some other sports) writing just came out with the results of a baseball survey that sums up how almost 7,000 fans felt about some of baseball’s changes and new rules. A few surprises and lots of agreement on what this year’s 60-game season has revealed.
The Athletic’s state of baseball survey results: Following up as season closes by Jason Jenks, The Athletic,
As this one-of-a-kind season winds down, The Athletic wanted to circle back to see how fans felt about some of baseball’s changes and new rules.
Nearly 7,000 people responded. Let’s get to the results.
This has gone up from our survey before the season when just 66 percent of respondents said a World Series would be legitimate.
This one was really interesting. A total of 76 percent of fans of American League teams are in favor of the universal DH; the exact same percentage from our survey before the season.
NL-centric fans have pretty significantly changed their feelings. Before the season, 56 percent of fans of NL teams were against the universal DH. But after watching the DH in action, that number dropped to 43 percent. Before the season, a whopping 80 percent of Cardinals fans were against the DH; in this most recent survey, that total dropped to 58 percent. They were one of five teams whose fans were against the DH (Nationals, Cardinals, Pirates, Diamondbacks).
In the AL, White Sox fans were really in favor of the universal DH (85 percent) after watching their team rake this year. Two other AL fans crossed the 80-percent threshold, and neither should be surprising: the Yankees (81 percent) and the Twins (80 percent).
One fan had a particularly interesting comment: “Before this crazy season, I was adamantly opposed to the universal DH. Now, although I still don’t love it, I could live with it.”
Full disclosure: I hated this rule when I first heard about it. Absolutely hated it. But when I watched it … I liked it. If nothing else, it induced drama right away.
Several fans said that while they enjoyed the rule, they think it should start in the 11th or 12th inning. “Let them have an inning or two the normal way,” one person wrote. That seems like a sensible compromise to me.
One fan who liked it wrote, “The extra inning rule has added an excitement not just to extra innings but also adds even more importance to finishing a game off in the ninth.” Another added, “The extra-inning rule has been surprisingly good. I’m here for a good time, not a long time.”
But those people were in the minority. Wrote one fan, “The extra inning rule does the most violence to the fabric of the game and fixes a nonexistent problem.” Another person compared it to college football’s overtime rules. While still another said it felt like the rule was intended just to “get it over with.”
One person who was against the minimum made this point: “I don’t care for the three-batter minimum because I don’t think it helps make things any faster, making it pointless.” Our Cliff Corcoran did the math earlier this year and figured that the minimum would save … 34 seconds per game.
Here are some other reactions:
“I like the three-batter rule if only because it allows the pitcher to show he’s more than a one-trick pony.”
“It means a bullpen has to be filled with capable pitchers, not just specialists.”
“Absolutely loathe the three-batter rule. LOATHE. Kills the strategy and excitement of those old games. They were like a chess match.”
“Three batters is a superficial attempt to solve the time issue.”
This was a lot of people’s least-favorite change (The other most common answer was the extra-inning rule). One fan wrote that it turned the sport into a “carnival act.” Another liked it because it made “starting pitching have similar value to years past.”
Here are some other responses:
“Seven-inning double header is solid idea. Over the course of the 162 game season you only would have a handful, and it keeps the players fresher.”
“I don’t necessarily love the seven-inning doubleheader’s, but I like doubleheaders, so if that’s how we have them, then I’m for that.”
“I liked the seven-inning double headers as long as they keep it single admission.”
“I liked that there were more doubleheaders, so much baseball in one day. That those games were seven-inning affairs made it possible for me to listen/watch the whole thing.”
“Seven-inning doubleheaders are anticlimactic every time.”
“Seven-inning doubleheaders are not baseball. It’s trash. I understand it for this season just to be able to get through the games. But it’s not something I’d ever want to see become the norm.”
This one was a little surprising. Before the season, 57 percent of people were against the expanded postseason. But now that it’s here, that number jumped up to almost 71 percent.
One person wrote, “I like a limited expanded playoffs, but eight teams is too many, and the seeding is random and stupid.” Another said, “I think that expanded playoffs dilute the competition, especially the regular season.” And still another person chimed in with, “I’m most against an expanded postseason that does not reward division winners. I don’t mind an expanded field, per se, but there should be a better incentive for teams to win their division beyond just three home games in the first round.”
This one really seemed to bother a lot of people:
“My greatest concern is growing the game. Every choice MLB makes is about short-term financial gains at the expense of future growth and engaging the next generation of fans. I mean seriously, MLB is eliminating minor-league teams, heavily attended by families and kids.”
“Without the minors, for me it’s like one-third of baseball, because I’m the rare fan who follows all of my team’s minor league teams.”
“Great that teams are playing, but fearful of the consequences of no minor leagues and impact on next generation of players.”
“I am sad to see what could be the implosion of the minor-league system as we know it. … While I have been to only a few major-league games in person, much of my love of baseball comes from summers at all sorts of minor-league stadiums.”
“Canceling minor-league baseball was bad for the players but mostly for the small towns that support the teams.”
“I understand why the minor leagues aren’t playing this season, but I don’t like the negative effects on player development and the possible future of the minors in general.”
Here are some responses across the spectrum:
“The D-backs being terrible ruined the whole thing for me, but as a league I think the season went better than expected after the ridiculous labor arguments and early COVID issues. Granted I had very low expectations early on.”
“Good year to experiment. I wish that they tried more things to quicken the pace of the game.”
“It’s a season with multiple asterisks.”
“Short and sweet.”
“Made the games more important.”
“I would have liked even more experimentation. It’s been tough to get overly excited by the season when 50 percent of teams will make the postseason.”
“This season is a joke. Players and owners alike are to blame. They fiddled around and now we’re stuck with a shortened season, ridiculous rules and accommodations to make the season ‘work.’ I’m boycotting MLB this year. I may or may not be back.”
“The season’s sprint to the finish really has me believing a shorter season could be more fun for all.”
“The shortened season has given us a chance to see what the sport might look like if we didn’t have 150 years of history telling us it was something else. Baseball needs to ask itself what it wants to be. Does it want to be more like basketball, with a shorter number of regular season games and a longer postseason? Or does it want to embrace its history and everyday nature and keep the regular season meaningful?”
I was curious if people would change their minds after watching a shortened season. They didn’t. At least not much.
Before the season, just 2.2 percent of respondents thought the ideal season consisted of fewer than 100 games. That number actually went down (slightly) to just 1.9 percent.
Not much change from the survey before the season, when 38 percent percent of fans expressed no confidence at all in Manfred and 47 percent said they weren’t very confident.
Thanks to all who participated in both surveys. Enjoy the postseason.
On or about July 23rd or 24th, a 60 game ‘season’ will begin.
How far it will go, what it will be like (compared to an 162 games season), whether it will shortened by the virus, or is it possible there will be fans in the stadiums before the season ends?
No one knows the answers to those and a number of other questions about MLB in 2020.
But we do know some things:
Look at the two articles below, the first outlines the main the guidelines and ‘rules’ under which the teams will compete. The second is an attempt to calculate if a 60 game season will need asterisks in the baseball history books. (Ed. Comment: Of course it will, but for those of you who like to get into the ‘weeds’ of baseball, it’s an interesting look at how 60 games can be compared to 162 games.)
Whether or not you read either of these articles, I need your suggestions for a three question MillersTime Baseball Contest for 2020.
And I need them quickly.
By Sunday, July 5.
That way I can get the Contests out to everyone in time for you to submit your award winning answers prior to the first game.
So, see what you can come up with in regard to this “season like no other.”
Send them to me at Samesty84@gmail.com., and if one of your questions is chosen, you will be ‘entitled’ to a MillersTime Baseball Contest Winner T-Shirt.* (You can also make suggestions for the prizes for this year’s Contests.)
Deadline for Potential Questions: Sunday, July 5
Contests Will Be Announced by Friday, July 10
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I don’t want to try to summarize Joe Posnaski’s blog this morning, other than to say it’s definitely worth the few minutes it will take you to read it. Don’t get lost on the details of his solution. Just focus on how he is thinking of a whole new way to imagine a 2020 baseball season.
This morning’s baseball ‘news’ is that both sides remain deadlocked after MLB rejects the lastest Players Association proposal. I suspect (hope?) there will be some last minute agreement between the players and owners. Likely an 80+ game season without fans, at least initially, in three realigned divisions with an expanded playoff scenario, with many built in safety measures , re COVID-19, and with a pay scale that won’t satisfy either side but will allow the game to continue.
My two cents, without getting into the weeds of the negotiations – who’s right, who’s wrong – is that both sides need to step back, take a longer view of where the country is now, where baseball may be headed, and come together to preserve some semblance of the game for now.
As is so often the case, Joe Posnanski, one of my favorite baseball writers, hits on what is essential in his blog post yesterday: The Future of Baseball.
Joe’s wordy, but knows and loves baseball and most often seems to get things right. This article is not another lecture about baseball as a dying sport, but really a plea for understanding what is at stake.
In part, he writes:
“What you see, I believe, is a shortsightedness, a submission to the moment, a perpetual fight over the game’s riches. This last part, in particular, has played out over the last few weeks while a global pandemic rages on, and do you think most people care if it’s the owners or the players who are at fault? No. Most people just see that people can’t come together, even now, for this game that they’re all supposed to love.
“So who can blame someone for asking: If that’s how they treat this game, why in the hell should I care?
He writes about Dayton Moore, a friend with whom he disagrees about many things, but about baseball, Joe thinks Moore gets it right:
“THIS is how baseball should be thinking about everything, not just now but always: How can we celebrate baseball? How can we reach new audiences? How can we bring live, exciting baseball to more communities (and for less money)? How can we show young people how much fun the game is to play and watch and follow? How can we get into communities? How can we make a difference? How can we draw more young people?
“There aren’t easy answers. But there are no answers if you don’t take the time to ask the questions. If I was commissioner, I would put Dayton Moore in charge of the game’s future.”
With news yesterday and probably more details later today, it appears there maybe a baseball season consisting of 82 games starting in July. There are details remaining to work out, including the two biggest issues of finances for both the MLB owners and the players as well as safety concerns for the players and those who will participate in the shortened season.
At least at the beginning, there will be no fans present.
Baseball without fans?
It’s happening in Korea now, since their season opened about a week ago, without fans in the stadium. (It also happened once previously, for one game in Baltimore in 2015, for a game between the Orioles and the White Sox.)
And while it’s too early to really evaluate how significant the absence of spectators in the stadium is affecting the game in Korea, it’s clear that things are not the same.
Time will tell if this substitute for the real thing is safe, is satisfying, is something that helps everyone in these troubled times.
All of this, the absence of one of my life’s obsessions, baseball, and the role of sports in the lives of people everywhere, but in this instance particularly in our country is ‘explored in the two links below: one a 4:29 minute YouTube video of President Bush throwing out the opening pitch of game three in the World Series at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 30th, following 9/11 (hat/tip to Jere Smith for the update on this) and one a recent article in the NYTimes entitled The Healing Power of Baseball by Franklin Zimmerman, M.D. (hat/tip to Harry Siler for alerting me to this article).
While baseball fans wait to see what will become of the 2020 season – if any games are gong to be played and under what circumstances – most sports writers are digging deeply to keep readers engaged (and no doubt keep their jobs in the process).
One sports writer, one of my favorites, Joe Posnanski, has been on a year long project of writing a column on each of the Top 100 Players in Baseball (The Baseball 100: A Project Celebrating the Greatest Players in History). Initially, Posnanski had planned to get to the number one player on the 2020 Opening Day. But he slowed down his columns and only recently published the last two, identifying The Greatest of the Greatest (in my lingo).
As some of you probably know, Posnanski has been writing in the somewhat new The Athletic (subscription required, but worth it imho) which is now the on-line, go to home of some of sports best writers. Posnanski himself has won virtually every baseball writer’s award given, some multiple times, and has his own blog, JoeBlogs – Baseball and News and Life(again, subscription required, $30, also worth it).
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a couple of worthwhile reads while awaiting baseball to resume, as well as in need of a break from the COVID-19 ‘news’, check out Posnanski’s final two columns on the two best players ever: