favorite MLB team (or the team you know the best) and answer the following
questions to prove whether you’re just a homer (“Someone who shows blind
loyalty to a team or organization, typically ignoring any shortcomings or
faults they have”) or whether you really know something about your team and can
honestly evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Please answer all three parts
of the question.
a. What will
your team’s regular season 162 game record be in 2020?
b. Will they
make the playoffs, and if so, how far will they go?
will be the most important SINGLE factor (hitting, starting pitching, bullpen,
an individual’s performance, the manager, injuries, etc.) in determining their
tickets to a regular season game with your favorite team (details to be
negotiated with moi.)
all of these questions.
Name the two teams who will play in the World Series in 2020?
Which team will win it all?
a. What will be the total number of games played in the 2020 World Series – 4, 5, 6, or 7?
b. What will be the most important SINGLE factor in determining the WS winner?
Prize: One ticket to either the 2021 World Series or the All Star Game.
Contest #3: Questions
submitted by MillersTime readers
Which of these three ‘replacement managers will have the
best won-loss record for 2020: Dusty Baker for AJ Hinch, Ron Roenicke for Alex
Cora, or Luis Rojas for Carlos Beltan? (Submitted by Tim Malieckal)
Which division in each league will be the closest race by
the end of the season? (Submitted by Justin Stoyer. Ron Davis had a somewhat
Which team will improve the most? Which team will deteriorate
the most? (Submitted by Ed Scholl)
Pete Rose will finally be allowed to compete for the Hall of Fame.(Submitted by Mary Lincer)
Either the Dodgers or the Yankees will NOT be in the 2020 World Series.
At least one pitcher in each League will win 20 games. (Didn’t happen in 2019)
At least four teams will win MORE than 100 games in 2020. (Two did in 2018 & four did in 2019)
At least four teams will lose 100 games or more in 2020. (Four did in 2019)
Mookie Betts will sign for over $400 million for 2021 and beyond. (Suggestion, sort of, by Nick Nyhart)
No player will hit MORE than 53 home runs in 2020. (Alonso hit the most in 2019 – 53)
There will be at LEAST six Triple Plays in the MLB this year? (Since 1876 the average has been approximately five per season.)
The Washington Nationals will NOT win their Division in 2020.
At least one of Grand Papa’s (c’est moi) grandchildren or someone who attends a MLB game with me in 2020 will witness a grand slam, a triple play, a no hitter, Teddy winning a President’s race at the Nats’ stadium, will go home with a foul ball, or will be seen on the TV screen at an MLB stadium.
Prize: Bring a
friend and join me for a Nats’ game next year, or if you’re not able to make it
to DC, perhaps I can make it to where you live, and we’ll see a game together.
All winners and those whose questions were chosen for this contest get the ‘one-of-a kind,’ specially designed and updated MillersTime Baseball Winner T-Shirt.
Enter as many or as few of the contests as you want.
If you get a friend (or foe) to participate in these contests, and he or she wins and mentions your name in the submission, you’ll get a prize too.
Any two-generation submission that wins will get a special prize.
GET YOUR PREDICTIONS IN EARLY. In case of a tie, the individual who submitted his/her prediction first will be the winner.
When I last posted on this topic of baseball – my beloved obsession forever (at least 70+ years), this life giving and taking, romantic, heart-breaking, exhilarating, logical and illogical, and occasionally magical game – I wrote about a dilemma, whether it was better for my grandson’s learning if the Nats won or lost the final game of the 2019 World Series.
I knew, as FH reminded me in an email, that I had no choice in the game’s outcome. But I was leaning towards the benefits to him of a loss.
Wisely, a number of you reminded me that he could learn from a victory as well as a defeat, although the lesson(s) would be different ones. (See these Comments from readers like Charlie, Tim, Janet, Brian, Hugh, etc.).
Even (even?) my son-in-law who hasn’t even reached his mid-30s yet had some wise counsel:
“While exciting, I hope tonight isn’t a pivotal moment in Eli’s life. Win or lose, the lesson he should take is that when a champion is crowned, it is final. If it’s the Astros, it isn’t unfair, it’s unfortunate (for him but not for the Houston version of Eli). If it’s the Nationals, he will probably be happy, and he will go to school tomorrow with a nice memory. Hopefully, he learns to appreciate the ecstasy the champion feels and recognizes the hard work that was put into the accomplishment.”
Plus, I had told Eli the moment the Nats had lost the third straight game in DC that ” it’s not over yet.”
But I knew the Nats were now facing two hurdles, as a loss in either of the final games in Houston would mean the end of this dream. And in my heart and soul I thought the Astros would win. (It’s hard to overcome the ‘schooling’ of being a Sox fan. Tho, I guess I may have forgotten the full lesson of that ‘schooling,’ – that when the win does comes, and it eventually will, it’s an overwhelming joy.)
Hell, I even forgot, ignored (?), to some degree, what my then 21-year old daughter had written to me fifteen years ago and I had posted about lessons I had taught her about “never say never” and the importance of believing in miracles (more on that word below).
So as everyone everywhere now knows, the Nats did win that final game, coming from behind in the 7th inning, to complete a simply amazing series of comebacks and five months of truly extraordinary achievements.
I shoulda known.
I shoulda believed.
And for those of you who have a few more minutes to devote to this important topic, even if you’ve read, listened to, and talked about what the Nats achieved, I’m posting below an article that sums up how truly extraordinary what the Nats have done. It’s written by Jason Stark in the The Athletic.
He writes that this was a truly magical event.
If you remove ‘divine intervention’ from the definition of magical and stick to simply supernatural, then I totally agree with Stark.
Actually, maybe there was some divine intervention. See what you think.
HOUSTON – Do you believe in miracles? You should. Here’s all the proof you need that miracles happen in sports: The Washington Nationals just won the World Series. Just don’t try to explain how. That’s the miraculous part.
They just completed a journey unlike any that has been completed before. They just spent their season and their October doing things that no team has ever done. And then, for their final act – in a wild Game 7, on a shocking Wednesday evening in Houston – they won one more game they couldn’t possibly win, which finished off one of the greatest upsets in the history of the World Series. That’s all.
Do you believe in miracles? Well, when it’s the seventh game of the World Series and you’re getting one-hit in the seventh inning by a future Hall of Famer – against a 107-win juggernaut that needs just nine more outs to start comparing itself to the ’27 Yankees – you don’t need to consult the Win Probability charts to understand what a preposterous formula that is for winning that game, let alone that World Series.
But “preposterous” is actually an excellent way to describe the wild and crazy ride of the 2019 Nationals. So of course Anthony Rendon launched one more staggering home run into the Crawford Boxes in left, off Zack Greinke. And of course the apparently ageless Howie Kendrick then sliced a game-changing, Series-changing, life-changing home run off the foul pole in right. And of course the Nationals would perform their latest elimination-game magic trick and turn one more near-certain defeat into one more death-defying victory.
Because this is what they do. A little over four weeks ago, the Nationals were four outs from not even advancing past the wild card game. And now they’re the champions of baseball. Because if ever there was a baseball team you just couldn’t kill, this was it.
“OK, this is now the most 2019 Nats thing to ever happen,” said reliever Sean Doolittle, as the champagne dripped from his championship goggles after one final 6-2 stunner of a win over the mighty Houston Astros.
For two weeks now, Doolittle has been spinning off variations of that quote, all while we’ve been carrying on a running dialogue about whether this team qualifies as miraculous. He instructed us at one point to come up with some sort of metric to determine what constituted a true miracle. Weighted Miracles Created Plus maybe? That sort of thing. That part of this project didn’t go well. But Doolittle continued to weigh this heavy-duty topic.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this,” he said – but he still wasn’t sure, even as the champagne flowed. So we were forced to turn elsewhere. We then asked this team’s hitting coach, Kevin Long, if he thought what this team has just done could be called a miracle.
“Yeah, I do,” Long said instantly, then realized tears were welling in his eyes. “I’m going to get emotional. But the stuff and the things that these guys have overcome, it’s truly amazing.
“I really do think this was a dream team,” he said. “I really think this was one of the most amazing feats that any team has ever accomplished. If somebody had said that we’d beat the (2017) world champions in Houston tonight and they’d crown us world champions, I don’t think anybody would believe that.”
But there’s no choice but to believe it now, because they’ve done what they’ve done. So why do we think it’s safe to call these men the Miracle Nationals? It’s our mission today to make that case to all of you. It’s not as hard as you’d think.
The miracle of the elimination games
When we say that no team has had an October like the October of the 2019 Nationals, that’s not an opinion. That’s a fact. Let’s lay out those facts for you now:
Other teams in baseball history have won five potential elimination games in one postseason. But the Nationals put a slightly different twist on that feat – because they trailed in all five of them at some point. And how many teams in history have ever come from behind to win five elimination games in the same postseason? That would be none, says STATS LLC.
That feat is miraculous enough, but now let’s move along to the three winner-take-all games this team played. The Nationals trailed by two runs in the eighth inning of the wild card game against Milwaukee, with the fearsome Josh Hader on the mound. They trailed by two runs in the eighth inning of NLDS Game 5 in Los Angeles, with the great Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Then on Wednesday, they trailed by two in the seventh inning of this Game 7, with Greinke dialing up the most dominant postseason start of his life. So what happened? Yep. The Nationals roared back to win all three of those games.
So how many other teams have ever won three elimination games — let alone winner-take-all games — in one postseason after trailing by two runs or more in the seventh inning or later? How many do you think? There are no other teams that have done that, according to our friends from STATS. Ever. In fact, just one other team — the 1980 Phillies — has even won two potential elimination games like that.
We were down in the wild card game,” Long said. “I mean, are you kidding me? We were down five times (in elimination games). Really? I can’t say that enough. We were down in all these games late, and just continued to fight and come back and stay together. And the pitchers knew if they just stayed close, we’d find a way to win. And we certainly did.”
The miracle of the World Series
Now let’s think about the team the Nationals just beat in this World Series. The Astros won 107 games this year. That’s the most in baseball. But even that doesn’t adequately capture how good they were.
Teams like that don’t lose the World Series. Teams like that normally dominate the World Series. But that isn’t how this World Series turned out, is it?
Their powerhouse pitching staff had an Adjusted ERA-Plus of 127. Their deep, talented offense had an adjusted OPS-Plus of 119. That’s nuts. Want to know how nuts? Over the last 100 years, there has been only one other team that had both an OPS-Plus and ERA-Plus of 119 or higher. That team was Babe Ruth’s 1927 Yankees.
The Astros won 14 more games this season than the Nationals. And only two other teams in history ever had that large a win differential over the team they played in the World Series and didn’t win it. One was Vic Wertz’s 111-win 1954 Indians, who lost to Willie Mays’ 97-win New York Giants. The other was Three Finger Brown’s 116-win 1906 Cubs, who lost to Jiggs Donahue’s 93-win White Sox.
So just based on the history, this goes down as one of the biggest World Series upsets of all time.
There’s also the Vegas take on how large an upset it was:
Yet from the first inning of Game 1, the Nationals played like a team that never bought either of those narratives. And even after they lost Games 3-4-5 at home without ever leading for a single pitch, they still thought of themselves as 100 percent alive — because they never looked at the Astros as the unbeatable behemoth that Vegas thought they were.
“There was something going on,” Doolittle said. “We totally felt it. We totally fed off it. We kind of thought coming into the series that the pressure was on them. We could tell right away from the questions that they got on Media Day, versus the questions we got on Media Day. There was a totally different vibe to those questions.
“They were getting asked, ‘What are you gonna do after you win the World Series? What are you gonna buy?’ And people were asking us, like: ‘What does it mean to be in the first World Series ever in Nationals history?’ And we were like, ‘I don’t know. It’s cool. We’re happy to be here.’ So we were very aware that they were the team to beat and we were the biggest underdogs, according to Vegas, in the last — what? — 15 years? Something like that? But you know what Han Solo says: ‘Never tell me the odds.’”
The road-field advantage miracle
The 2019 Astros didn’t merely run up the best home record in baseball (60-21) this season. They were one of the most unbeatable teams at home in modern times.
In fact, in the nearly six decades since baseball went to a 162-game schedule, just four teams won more home games in any season than the Astros won this season:
So just winning a World Series in which the Astros had home-field advantage would have been a sensational feat. But as you might have heard, that isn’t all that happened, right? In a very weird World Series, in which the home team won zero games, the Nationals did something unheard of:
They became the first team in the history of any of the four major professional sports to win a championship by winning all four games of a best-of-seven series on the road. How many times did the Astros lose four in a row at home all season? Yessir. That would be never. In fact, they didn’t lose four games at home over the course of the entire season to any team except the A’s — who beat them four times, but needed 10 games in Houston to do it.
“Remember the other night, when I said after Game 5, ‘Hey, we’re just fine. The road team’s winning every game?’” Doolittle said. “I was just joking. But hey, look at us now.”
The “Fall of the Titans” miracle
Before the Nationals wiped out those 107-win Astros, they pulled another monumental upset — by beating the 106-win Dodgers in the NLDS. So who does that — wins a World Series by upending two teams that won at least 106 games in the same postseason? Nobody does that, naturally. Or at least nobody did it until now.
“We believed in ourselves from the beginning,” said catcher Kurt Suzuki. “You know, everyone always says that to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best — and we beat ’em.”
The miracle of 19-and-31
Back on May 23, the Nationals were 50 games into their season — and somehow found themselves 12 games under .500 (at 19-31), just like the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers went on to lose 114 games. The Nationals went on to win the World Series. You don’t see that much.
OK, to be honest, you don’t see that ever. No team in history had ever had that bad a record after 50 games and gone on to win a World Series. But the Nationals did. And only one team had ever been 12 games under (or more) at any point in any season and gone on to win a World Series. That, as you also might have heard, was Possum Whitted’s 1914 Boston Braves – who have been known throughout history as the “Miracle” Braves.
So if there’s only one other team that has followed this path and their nickname is “Miracle,” doesn’t that automatically qualify these Nationals as a miracle unto themselves? We’ll get back to that in a moment.
What’s more important than what we call it is how they did it. And they did it by reminding themselves, as they finally started to get healthy, that they were way too talented to be hanging out with the Marlins and Tigers in the standings.
The road back from 12 games under began with a team meeting, in a conference room off the clubhouse in late May. All the coaches and position players were there. The message from the veterans in the room was firm and clear.
Long’s everlasting memory of that session: “I remember these guys saying, ‘We can do this, and it will be the greatest accomplishment of our lives.’”
Maybe that resuscitation alone — from life after 19-31 to triumph in October — isn’t enough to make you believe we should hang that “miracle” sign on this team. But now add in all of it — the elimination games, the upset of the Astros, the upset of the Dodgers, the four World Series victories in one of baseball’s most intimidating environments — and think about this one more time.
Also remember that this is a franchise that had never won a single postseason series since moving to Washington. And remember that no team from Washington had won a World Series in 95 years.
So now add all that up. Has there ever been any World Series champion — any league, any town, any year — that did all of that on the road to the parade floats? You know that answer. That answer is: No way.
And even if you weren’t sure about these guys before Wednesday, how could you have watched the final chapter in this story and not believed in this miracle?
Their starting pitcher, Max Scherzer, went from having to fall out of bed on Sunday to gutting his way through five innings Wednesday. That’s not a miracle?
One minute on Wednesday, Greinke was making the Nationals’ lineup look so overmatched that Long said that when he saw Gerrit Cole begin to throw lightly in the bullpen midway through the game, his reaction was: “‘Please bring him in,’ because that’s how good Zack Grinke was.”But next thing you knew, Rendon was lofting a Greinke changeup into the left-field seats, for just the Nationals’ second hit of the day. And even that seemed like a miracle at the time.
“You know, momentum’s tough to change,” Long said. “And something like that really, really lifted everyone’s spirits in the dugout. You could see it on the field. It was almost like those (Astros) said, ‘Oh no. Here they come.’”
Yep. Here they came, all right. Juan Soto would walk to end Greinke’s day. Kendrick would welcome Will Harris to the festivities with a what-just-happened two-run homer. And in a span of only eight pitches, the Nationals had gone from nearly dead to somehow leading. You mean that wasn’t a miracle?
“I had a flashback — to the wild card game,” Suzuki said. “I said, ‘This seems kind of familiar.’”
They were eight pitches that changed a game and changed the World Series. But if they seemed miraculous to those on the outside, they seemed like business as usual for the Miracle Nationals.
“It was just fitting for our season,” Suzuki said. “We’ve been playing elimination games since the middle of May. At least it feels like it. We had to fight for everything. So what a fitting way to end this season.”
We understand that your definition of a miracle may be different from ours, or Sean Doolittle’s, or Kevin Long’s. So when we ask, one more time, if you believe in miracles, the answer doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this somehow happened. In real life.
And so, on this one last crazy evening at the ballpark, it was the Washington Nationals standing on a makeshift podium in Houston, kissing their trophy and wiping away tears. It was all so powerful an experience that even they don’t completely understand how everything it took to hoist that trophy was even possible.
“You know, I was just talking to a friend of mine,” said right fielder Adam Eaton. “He was talking about all the things (that happened to us). He just went through, like, six or seven or eight different things. And when you hear them, it’s like yeah, it’s remarkable. If I was not here, I’d be home watching it. That’s for darned sure.”
“And if you weren’t here, if you hadn’t seen it and you hadn’t lived it, would you believe it?” we asked.
“No,” said Adam Eaton. “And that’s why I’d be watching.”
Good idea — because how can you believe in miracles unless you watch them with your very own eyes?
I awoke two days ago to the brief email below following the third World Series loss in a row by the Washington National’s to the Houston Astros in DC:
“I think I was happier when I didn’t care. It’s terrible to want something you have no control over. How about that, Dr. Miller!” – FH
The author is a long time friend who use to look askance at my interest in baseball. After listening to her for years, I invited her to attend Nats’ game with Ellen and me (she had never been to a MLB game in her seven plus decades!). Under my ‘light tutoring,’ and despite her skepticism, she found herself intrigued and interested, and surprisingly, to her and to me, she began to follow the Nats. Sometimes, intensely, it seems.
And that, FH’s quote, contains two of the many life’s lessons that baseball teaches.
First, some comments about last night. When facing elimination from the World Series, the Nats found a way to win game six (it often seems game six is a big deal (Buckner, etc.).
So now we go to the one game World Series, in Houston, that will determine who takes over from the Boston Red Sox as the new World Champions. (Yes. as of this writing, the Sox are still the World Champions!)
But it doesn’t matter who wins tonight.
Well, I guess it matters to the players for the two teams and for their fans and their two cities, including my 10 year old grandson who went to the fifth (disastrous) game with Ellen and me and stayed up until midnight – on a school night! – only to see his favorite team lose. (I did tell him after the final out to remember, “It’s not over yet.” But in my mind and soul, I felt the Astros would probably win the WS. After all, I was ‘schooled’ by my seven decades of following the Sox.)
But if the Nats lose tonight, at least there’s some solace. They didn’t give up. Even when they were behind and when that horrific umpire call seemed to change the direction of the Nats’ comeback chances. As they’ve done for much of the season, they found a way to win.
In fact, for all those of you who were sure the Nats didn’t deserve to be in the World Series, perhaps some rethinking is in order. After all, they had the best record in ALL OF BASEBALL since their horrendous 19-31 start to this season in May and that includes being better than the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Astros, etc. Plus, they did win the Wild Card suicide game and went on to defeat the Dodgers and the Cards, coming from behind in almost all of the games they won.
So if they lose do lose tonight in what hopefully will be a memorable game with Scherzer against Greinke in this winner take all game, the solace for Nats’ fans will be enough to take them into 2020.
Now, back to FH’s wise words and my dilemma with my grandson.
First, baseball’s life lessons, starting with the importance of caring and the wanting of something so badly yet you have no control over the outcome, two realities that baseball has taught me, and also my younger daughter. (If you’ve never read what she wrote when the Sox won the World Series in 2004 for the first time in 86 years and in my lifetime, read The Email on the Kitchen Table, written for / to me by my then 21 year old, daughter which said, in part:
“Being a Sox fan prepared me for disappointment; it taught me that there are some things that no matter how badly you want something, sometimes you just can’t make it happen. I think my perspective on life has truly been shaped by the virtue of my fanaticism for baseball. It’s taught me that life isn’t fair, you don’t get what you want, and other people can just be downright heartless.”
“More than anything, my father taught me to believe. And not just in the Red Sox, but in myself. Because if my team can come back from down 0-3 to the Yankees, and sweep the Cardinals in the World Series, really, there is no such thing as never. “
“I guess in the end, my obsession ultimately taught me that good things do come to those who wait. So I sit back and say to the rest of Major League Baseball, sit down; wait ‘till next year.”
And, finally, my dilemma.
Is it better for my grandson for the Nats to lose tonight so he learns these two lessons than to experience the joy he would have if they win it all? After all, he’s only 10.
I’m not sure I know the answer.
But I know I have no control over what will happen.
Starting with two thrilling Wild Card games, moving on thru the losses of my beloved Sox and adopted Nats in their Division series, and to Indians and the Cubs deserved wins in the Championship series, we’ve already seen wonderful playoff baseball.
And tonight to the World Series, where along with the rest of the baseball world — except those who live in Cleveland and those who are related to the players and staff of the Indians — I too hope the Cubs win it all and give relief to all those who have suffered for the past 108 years.
Spring Training has begun, and so, of course, it’s time to turn to the MillersTime Baseball Contests to test your baseball knowledge, hopes, luck, fears, prejudices, and ignorance.
The contests have evolved from just Red Sox (and Evil Empire) focused questions to ones that involve all of MLB as the majority of contestants are no longer Sox fans (poor souls).
You don’t have to enter all of the contests, and if you’re not baseball obsessed (pity), you can easily just choose a couple of contests to enter (see #1, #2, Extra Credit).
While it might be tempting to wait until late in Spring Training to submit your answers, you do run the risk of losing out to someone who submits a similar winning answer earlier.
Also, in addition to the prizes listed in each contest, all winners get the exclusive, one-of-a-kind “MillersTime Baseball Contest Winner” T-Shirt, a much ‘valued’ prize.
Justin B models
his ‘prized’ T-Shirt
Contest # 1:
Pick your favorite MLB team (or the team you know the most) and answer the following questions to prove whether you’re just a homer (“Someone who shows blind loyalty to a team or organization, typically ignoring any shortcomings or faults they have”) or whether you really know something about baseball.
a. What will your team’s regular season record be in 2016?
b. Will they make the playoffs, and if so, how far will they go?
c. What will be the most important factor (hitting, starting pitching, bullpen, an individual’s performance, the manager, injuries, etc.) in determining their season?
Prize: Two tickets to a regular season game with your favorite team (details to be negotiated with moi.)
Make a prediction about something that will happen during the 2016 MLB season.
Your prediction could be about a team, about a player, about a new record, about an ‘event,’ or about something, hopefully unique, you think will happen in 2016. One prediction only.
Of those that come true, MillersTime readers will determine which one is the best prediction. Voters generally have selected the most specific prediction, one that showed baseball knowledge, and/or one that predicted something unusual.
Prize: Join me to see a Nats’ game next year in wonderful seats. If you don’t live in this area, can’t get here, or don’t want to come to DC, you can give your prize to someone who can get here, or I can take a kid to a game in your place.
Contest # 3:
Part A: In 2015, the top ten MLB players’ Batting Averages averaged .322. Will the average of the top ten players batting averages be higher, the same, or lower in 2016? What will that average be?
Part B: In 2015, the top ten MLB players’ OPS (OBP/On-base Percentage + SLG/Slugging Percentage) averaged .931. Will that be higher, the same, or lower in 2016? What will the OPS be in 2016 for the top ten hitters?
Part C: In 2015, the Top ten MLB pitchers Earned Run Averages averaged 2.38. Will the top ten pitchers ERA average be higher, the same or lower in 2015? What will that average be?
Part D: In 2015, the top ten MLB pitchers won 183 games. What will the number of wins be for the top ten pitchers be in 2016?
Part A: Choose two teams whose combined won/loss record in 2016 will be closest to .500.
Part B: Which MLB team will make the most improvement in their won-loss record in 2016?
Part C: Which MLB relief pitcher will have the most saves in 2016? How many?
Prize: A copy of A. Bartlett Giamatti’s wonderful collection of baseball writings entitled A Great and Glorious Game.
Contest # 5:
Predict who will lead the AL and who will lead the NL in getting the most All Star votes in 2016. Which of the two will receive more votes?
Prize: Join me after the All Star break to see a Nats’ game in wonderful seats. If you don’t live in this area, can’t get here, or don’t want to come to DC, you can give your prize to someone who can get here, or I can take a kid to a game in your place.
Predict the ten (10) teams who will be in the 2016 playoffs. Which two teams will make it to the WS? Which team will win it all?
Prize: One ticket to the 2017 World Series.
Make up your own question about MLB in 2016 and then answer it.
Of those that come true, we’ll put it up to MillersTime baseball readers to decide who wins the prize. And that question will be incorporated in next year’s contests.
I’m not sure if the contestants in this year’s 2015 MillersTime Baseball Contests are geniuses, fools, frustrated writers, or wannabe comedians (see #s 28, 32, and 43, for example).
Judging by previous years in this contest, at least 10 of the predictions below — Question #2 in this year’s contest — will come true.
Which 10, of course, is the question.
If you predict how many actually come true, you will also receive a prize — a t-shirt proclaiming you a MillersTime Baseball Contest Winner. Send your guess (the number of predictions that will come true) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or put the number in the Comments section of this post. Multiply winners are possible, but you only get one guess/prediction.
Well, the votes are all in, and, according to the MillersTime baseball prognosticators, here are the results of two of the six contests:
Contest #1. Favorite Team Record and how far they’ll go:
a. Sox – 89.5-72.5 – lose in ALCS
b. Nationals – 99-63 – win WS
c. Os – 92.5-69.5 – lose in ALCS
d. Dodgers – 92.5-69.5 – lose in WS
e. Yankees – 86-76 – no playoffs
f. Royals – 83-79 – no playoffs
Contest # 6: Who will play and who will win the WS:
Overwhelmingly Nats win WS over the Angels.
In my humble opinion, the Nats fans have bought the hype and don’t understand that while pitching is most important, you need some hitting and good defense. Nats may make the playoffs but will be a disappointment (and disappointed) again.
The other predictions above are pretty good, I think, tho the Sox fans may be disappointed too, as my heroes, if they do make it into the playoffs, are unlikely to get very far.
Hopefully, one of you readers will remind all of us of these predictions at the end of the season.
PS – Lots more predictions to come, including some ‘remarkable views’ of what might happen in MLB this year.
(Not shown: Multiple Red Sox tickets to win the 2014 Pennant & World Series.)
The Facts: The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles secured playoff positions last night in their respective MLB Divisions (NL East and AL East). Thus both have a shot at winning the 2014 World Series. I have been a Nats’ fan (a distant second, of course, to being a Red Sox fan) since they arrived in DC. I have rooted against the O’s for years, except when they play the Yankees. I hold two Las Vegas $10 bets. One for the Nats (payoff $110) and one for the O’s (payoff $260).
The Dilemma: Whom do I cheer for to win the World Series?
(Note: I also hold three $10 tickets for the Nats to win the 2014 Pennant. Total payoff for the three tickets, $145.)
The Facts: On my Orioles’ WS ticket, I have written the name “Nelson” in the upper right hand corner of the ticket. Nelson is a friend who roots for the O’s and rubs it in when they beat the Sox. Nelson does not know I bought this ticket with him in mind.
The Dilemma: Do I inform Nelson I have the ticket, and do I give it to him?
The Facts: I also bought a bunch (I’m embarrassed to say how many) of Sox tickets for them to win the 2014 Pennant and World Series. (If either the Nats’ or the O’s win the World Series, I can recoup the cost of most of my foolish Sox bets.)
The Dilemma: What do I do with all my useless Sox 2014 tickets.
(Shane Victorino hits a grand slam home run to put the Sox ahead, 5-2 in the the sixth and deciding game of the 2013 ALCS playoffs.)
The last time you spent the night at our house, you said, “Tell me how well the Red Sox are doing?”
Well, while you were asleep last night and I was worrying about the game, a Red Sox batter hit a grand slam home run, scoring all three runners who were on base, plus himself. That put the Sox ahead of the Tigers, 5-2, and shortly thereafter, the game ended.
I appreciate that you have been quite patient with my mishegas (craziness) again this year with the Red Sox.
I have also noticed that you haven’t ‘rolled your eyes’ when I’ve said that getting into the playoffs isn’t enough, that the Sox need to have the best record in the American League too.
But I’m not sure you understand just how important it is have the best record.
So a quick post for you to know why I am continuing to stress about my heroes even tho they will be in the playoffs.
If they have the best won/loss record that means the following:
1) They will have home field advantage in the two series they would have to play to get to the World Series. In the first best of five series and then in the second best of seven series if there are final games, those crucial games would take place in Fenway, home of the brave.
How important is that, you may ask?
Of the 81 games they have played at home this year, they are 53-28. They have won 65% of their games at Fenway.
Of the 78 games they have played away from home so far this year (they still have three left to play this weekend in Baltimore), they are 43-35, 55%.
Enough of a difference to matter.
2) They will face the winner of a one game Wild Card play off. And that team will have used their best pitcher in that Wild Card game, meaning the Sox won’t have to face the likes of say a David Price in their first game.
3) They will not have to face Detroit in the first playoff series. Detroit has both terrific pitching and strong hitting. And there is always the chance they will be defeated by the time the Sox have to play them.
4) They will not have to make two trips to the West Coast to play Oakland (going back for a final game if the series goes that far), which means they will be more rested.
But you may ask, “Don’t they still have to beat the Tigers and whoever wins the playoff games against the Wild Card anyway?”
But playing at home, playing with the most rest possible, and not having to face one of the best pitchers in baseball to get to the World Series all matter.
Those are not guarantees that the Sox would make it to the World Series.
As the 2013 MLB season winds down, or, for some of us, winds up, there are already three winners to announce for this year’s MillersTime Baseball Contests.
Contest #4 – Will Nats make the playoffs? If yes, how far will they go? If no, why not?
More than 90% of you said the Nats would make the playoffs, and some of you thought they’d make it to the World Series or even be the winner of the WS. Most seemed to believe the Nats would pick up right where they left off last year (98-64). With four games remaining, they are 84-74 and have been eliminated from the Wild Card.
Matt Gallati (“they will be plagued by injuries and thus lose more often than they win.”), Larry Longenecker (“Davey Johnson will eventually upset people by speaking his mind…”) and David Price (“…they won’t even be close…”) all thought they wouldn’t make the playoffs and seemed to understand that 2013 would be different for them than 2012.
But Randy Candea wins this contest with this prediction for 2013: “Nats (88-74) will finish behind Atlanta and not make the playoffs due to sophomore jinx. Unlike last year, they won’t win the close games.” He gets two tickets to a Nationals’ game of his choice in 2014.
Contest #5 – Predict the Sox-Yankee Split of the 19 games they play against each other. Since Jere Smith failed to take the opportunity to appeal my decision, Meg Gage wins the two tickets to Fenway in 2014. (See this earlier post for more details on the results of this contest.)
Contest #7 – Worst Prediction.
Actually this one was not one of the six original 2013 contests. In a moment of anxiety about how the Sox were doing, I distracted myself by going through everyone’s predictions and decided to add a category of the Worst Prediction for 2013. I found 15 predictions that were pretty wide of the mark and let you folks choose which one was the worst. (See all the 15 in this earlier post.)
Elizabeth Hedlund ‘won’ (got the most votes from you) with her prediction that “Stephen Strasburg wins 30 games, first since Denny McLain in 1986.” And because contestant Tracy Capullo encouraged Elizabeth to join the contests, these two Red Sox fans get to go to a Nats’ game of their choice in 2014.
Contest #3. Which League wins the All-Star game, what will the score be, and who will be the MVP?
Finally, there are still three contests to be decided: Best overall prediction (#1), Best Team Prediction (#2), and World Series Contestants and winner. We’ll have to wait until the end of October to see who wins these.
The Nats’ record at the half way mark of the season is primarily due to poor hitting. They are 13th of 15 teams in the NL, scoring only 295 runs. Only the Marlins (259 runs) and the Dodgers (294) have scored fewer runs. The team BA is .236, and other than Rendon, no position players is hitting close to .300.
Their pitching hasn’t been all that bad. They are 5th in the NL with an ERA of 3.54 and have done about as well as any other team converting 23/31 save opportunities.
And their fielding hasn’t helped at all. They are dead last in the NL and have made 59 errors (only the Dodgers have made more, 60). The Nats have given up 31 unearned runs compared to the Braves 20.
To be a bit more specific, if we look at Runs Scored vs Runs Given Up, The Braves are + 68, the Nats -20, and the Phillies -46.
And, unlike what I predicted, their weak showing has not been particularly a result of losing close games. They are 24-24 in games won or lost by two or less runs (16-13 in one run games). Last year at this time, they were 21-23 in games decided by two or less runs (15-10 in one run games).
Their Division is a tougher, as everyone expected, with the Braves starting off in spectacular fashion, tho they haven’t maintained the pace they had in April (.645).
Certainly not having Harper for the month of June has hurt the Nats, but perhaps not as seriously as some might think. In April and May, when the young phenom was playing, the Nats were 28-27. Without him in June, they were 13-13.
Yes. The season is only half over, but if the Nats don’t start scoring a lot more runs than they give up, all those ‘fans’ who thought a WS playoff was a near certainty, are going to (continue) to be disappointed.
It’ll probably be the Nats they defeat in the World Series, tho some of you think the Nats will lose out in the NLCS to either the Giants or Dodgers, who then in turn will lose to the Tigers.
Got all that?
Tigers win World Series (Contest #6).
(Note: Last year you thought the Angels would beat the Phillies in the WS, and we know how far off that prediction turned out to be. For those whose memories are a bit challenged, neither the Angels nor the Phillies made the playoffs, and the Giants beat the Tigers in four games to win the WS.)
If the Nats win it all, the Millers stand to win $1,040.
As you can see from the two pictures above, on Jan. 6, 2012, when no one was predicting the Washington Nationals would make the playoffs, yours truly was in Las Vegas with younger daughter Elizabeth. As any good father would do, I purchased some Pennant and World Series bets.
Actually, I purchased four tickets, two for Elizabeth and two for myself.
So, if the Nats win the NL Pennant, both Elizabeth and myself will each collect $160.
Then, tho unlikely, if the Nats win the World Series, we each stand to win an additional $360.
Total between us would be $1,040, $520 each.
If you subtract the cost of the tickets, that’s a ‘profit’ of $1,000.
Additionally, I bought a World Series tickets for both my Atlanta nephews, and they stand to win $200 each should the Braves make it from the Wild Card spot all the way to winning the WS.
Then, I threw in another $10 to buy my so-called Baltimore O’s friend a WS bet/ticket. I don’t know how much he stands to win if they go from their Wild Card spot all the way to win the WS. But it probably doesn’t matter. It seems NR (true initials) can’t find his ticket. Typical O’s fan, I guess.
(Full Disclosure: Because I am a loyal Red Sox fan, I also made bets for then AL favorites, two for the Sox winning the AL Pennant and two for them winning the WS. That was $40 down the drain.)