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MLB Changes 2017

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First, let me thank @Silent Wind of Doom for that superb long, omnibus-style post.  We need more like that.  (The rest of you are on notice.)

 

 

 

17 hours ago, Silent Wind of Doom said:

 

On 5/18/2017 at 11:31 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

"Baseball"; "Major League Baseball"; "the Majors".

 

While saying "MLB" instead of "Major League Baseball" is annoying but almost understandable, it's that article in "the MLB" that is a huge clunker.  Someone who says "the MLB" is announcing that he/she doesn't give a fig about history.

Huh.  I thought it was an "ATM Machine" thing, where it doesn't work when you spell it out.  I'm curious what your stance on RBIs vs. RBI is, since it's the same matter.

 

I have always said "RBIs".  As far as I can recall, the argument for saying "RBI" as a plural was not made until very recently; I remember no such discussion during the time that I watched baseball (1972-1996).  My perception is that the announcers for the local teams (the Yankees' Phil Rizzuto, Bill White, and Frank Messer; the Mets' Bob Murphy, Lindsay Nelson, and Ralph Kiner) all said "RBIs".

I suppose that the analysis is that the abbreviation makes a new word.  Similarly, we refer to multiple holders of a state's or the country's highest legal office as "AGs", even though the full term is pluralised as "Attorneys General".  Another example is "RFP", meaning "request for proposals".  We have no trouble speaking of multiple "RFPs", even though the plural of the full term is "requests for proposals".

 

But I confess that I don't see any direct parallel to the issue of saying "the MLB".  I want to be clear that I wasn't focussing on the argument that the article in "the MLB" is wrong on the grounds that we don't say "the Major League Baseball".  What I was doing, in my cranky but lovable way, was saying that no one spoke the letters out at all in my day.  We'd say "A.L." and "N.L."; but we had no call to say "MLB".  People would say "the baseball commissioner" (not "the MLB commissioner"), "the baseball All-Star Game" (not "the MLB All-Star Game"), and so forth.  If it was necessary to refer to the umbrella organisation under which the two leagues operated, people would say, in full, "Major League Baseball".  And this was true even if the letters "MLB" were written out: if someone were reading a text written as "A meeting took place at MLB offices in New York", that person would invariably say "A meeting took place at Major League Baseball offices in New York". 

 

(A similar practice is found with respect to the abbreviations "PF" and "PA" that we see in football standings.  We say these always as "points for" and "points against; we never read off the letters.  Further proof that we don't read off the sequence of letters is that we don't have any need to pluralise the letter sequences.  In other words: if we said "pee eff" for "PF", then we'd actually use the form "PFs".  But this is not done, because "PF" is prounounced as "points for". The abbreviation "MLB" was one of this type.)

 

The practice of saying "MLB" as "em el bee" instead of as "Major League Baseball" began at about the time when the internet became popular in the mid-1990s.  (It is worth noting the irony that Major League Baseball did not have the domain name "mlb.com" until about 2000, and so was forced to use the domain name "majorleaguebaseball.com" during the period when use of the term "MLB" was becoming common in the language and was supplanting the use of the full term "Major League Baseball".)

 

The practice of adding the article arose somewhat later, as people (chiefly non-baseball fans, I strongly suspect) analogised the now-established term "MLB" to the names of other leagues, and reasoned that "the NBA" and "the NFL" meant that we should say "the MLB".  So I was saying that I can sort of understand people saying "MLB" as "em el bee" even though I don't like it, but that "the MLB" is a total abomination.  It is an abomination because it marks the sayer as someone who is ignorant of baseball history moreso than because the article is not used before the full term "Major League Baseball".

 

 

 

17 hours ago, Silent Wind of Doom said:

The novelty [of the All-Star Game] shouldn't be in players who never get to see each other facing off.  It should be in players who never play together being on a team.  And it's bragging rights for your league.

 

Carl Hubbel's famous performance was less that he got to strike out players that he didn't normally see ("How cool is it that Hubbel got to face Foxx?!") and more than Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, and Cronin were on the same team one after the other in the lineup to make that moment happen.

 

It's definitely both things.  Growing up in the 1970s, we argued over whether Palmer and Catfish could hold Schmidt and Parker, or whether Carew and Brett could hit Seaver and Carlton.  Seeing these matchups was like seeing seeing crossovers between supehero groups. When Dave Winfield doubled off of Dwight Gooden in the 1986 All-Star Game, that was a huge moment whose meaning as a New York battle was greatly increased because it was between players who had never met.  And when John Kruk faced Randy Johnson in the 1993 game, the main part of the fun was that Kruk was seeing a guy whom he had never seen before (and, clearly, never wanted to see again).  The separation of the leagues gave baseball's All-Star Game a lustre that it cannot possibly have today, and that no other sport's ever had.

 

 

 

17 hours ago, Silent Wind of Doom said:

I'm confused by your beliefs as your expressing them.  It sounds like you're defending the idea of a pure divisional race not for better and fairer competitive balance, but just because of the arbitrary title of "champion" sounding better in the playoffs.  If the second team in one division is better than the first in the other, then I agree with the earlier statement that an imaginary line drawn in the sand does not benefit the sport's integrity holds true.

 

There is nothing arbitrary in the title of "champion".  In the plan that I laid out (four 4-team divisions per league; no interleague play), each team in a given division plays the same schedule.  The team that does best amongst the four who are playing that schedule has won something significant.

What's more, the division champion's record in relation to the records of teams in another division is completely irrelevant, for the reason that you alluded to when you said:

 

17 hours ago, Silent Wind of Doom said:

High-record teams can feed on crappy teams while two incredible teams in a better division may have a lower record as they face each other and better caliber teams.  And you can't compare the record of a team in one division to a team in the other division because increased inter-divisional play means you don't play the same teams, even if interleague weren't a thing.

 

In an earlier response in this thread I mentioned that the regular season should be thought of as the "first round" of the entire championship competition.  The division champs are the winners of that round, and so are the only ones who have earned the right to advance to the subsequent rounds (that which we call "the playoffs").

 

 

 

17 hours ago, Silent Wind of Doom said:

I think playoff series are plussed by having met earlier in the season.  It gives it a bit of a rematch feel and you have something in your mind to go back to.

 

This is true.  You said "In the 70's and 80's, the Yankees and Royals faced off a number of times, and while I wasn't around yet, I'm sure the two fanbases hated each other."  You got that right!  The Royals were Yankee rivals second only to the Red Sox.  (George Brett was the player whom I feared most.)  Every regular-season meeting between the teams carried the tension of the playoff history and the anticipation of more of the same.   

 

But let's realise that these teams were not in the same division. I strongly object to facing a team from one's own division in the playoffs (except in a split-season format such as in 1981, wherein each participant is itself a champion of something).  The 1996 f̶i̶r̶s̶t̶-̶r̶o̶u̶n̶d̶ ̶s̶e̶r̶i̶e̶s̶  ALCS series [thanks to @leopard88 for the correction] against Baltimore felt all kinds of wrong: we had already bested these guys; what were we doing playing them again?  By that point I had already made up my mind to retire after the season due to the coming interleague play; but I knew I was deeply uncomfortable with this format. So, in a way, interleague play did me a favour by pushing me out right then; I am glad that I was no longer a Yankee fan for the absurd spectacle of a playoff series between the Yanks and the Red Sox. 

 

 

 

17 hours ago, Silent Wind of Doom said:

I went back and checked to see how things would be different with the old system.  On the plus side, Montreal would have made the playoffs in 1996.  On the other side of the coin, the Marlins would be down a championship, their two wins likely the only thing that kept them alive as long as they've been here.  Now they have a level of hope, whereas there might not even be a team there.  Speaking of which, rather than the moment and series that saved baseball in Seattle, they would have hit the buzzsaw that is Cleveland.  Mattingly never would have seen the playoffs, and the team wouldn't even get in until 1998, if Big Stein hadn't blown up the team before then.  Arizona wouldn't have been around to create an iconic world series.  The Angels would still be cursed.  Aaron Boone would be a nobody and there would be no comeback to reverse the curse.  There would be no Rocktober.

 

As big a Yankee fan as I was, and as much as I was emotionally moved by the 1996 World Championship that marked my final moments as a follower of Major League Baseball, I have to say that I value the integrity of the competition more than the idea of my favourite team winning.  I previously mentioned my lack of sadness (and even my feeling of relief) when the Yankees lost to Seattle in the first round in 1995.  On account of my position that a wild card doesn't deserve to be in the playoffs in the first place, I would hope that such a team would never beat a division champion.  

 

 

 

17 hours ago, Silent Wind of Doom said:

And it's hard to look at all the moments that have been made possible only under the current system and want to trade them in for something else.  Of course there would be other moments, and historical records wouldn't be exactly the same under different circumstances, but we'd lose so much.


While I commend you on your research and your act of compliation, I have to say that presenting a list of things that wouldn't have happened if baseball didn't have its current format is pointless, because (as you seem to grasp) it is counterbalanced by the list of things that would have happened if the 1969-1993 format had been retained.  Unfortunately, those events are unknowable, except to the residents of the alternate universe in which sanity prevailed and baseball never brought in the wild card or interleague play.

 

 

 

17 hours ago, Silent Wind of Doom said:

So many fanbases would be left with nothing.

 

They wouldn't have "nothing".  They'd have the thrill of competing in real pennant races.  I'll mention again that 1985, a year in which the Yankees finished second, is one of my most cherished memories.  Giant fans have three recent World Championships to feel proud of.  But I am sure that many of them still thrill at the 1993 season, in which they didn't win the division but battled the Braves to the final day of the season, or the 1982 race, when they were in a three-way battle with the Braves and Dodgers up until the final weekend.  The wonderful 1993 N.L. West race was bittersweet because it occurred after baseball had already committed to scrapping the format that made such an exciting finish possible, even though it showed conclusively the inappropriateness of the wild card.

 

And the fans of teams that would have won divisions in a 1969-1993 format carried forward would possess the pride in an accomplishment that is much more meaningful than that which is available to division winners in the current system.  It is doubtful that any current-period division winner will be as fondly remembered as the 1983 White Sox or the 1985 Blue Jays are. Today's division winners be remembered merely as one of the teams that made the playoffs and lost (and as no different from wild card teams), rather than true champions in their own right.  I call this a loss for fans everywhere.

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Without a long response, I'll just say that @Ferdinand Cesarano doesn't speak for me as a baseball fan. His assertions of what was and wasn't said in the past doesn't mesh with mine.

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4 hours ago, raysox said:

Also did I mention that the Rays are wearing fauxbacks the first game of the double header vs Oakland June 10th?

Are they wearing the good ones? Or the atrocious yellow ones?

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35 minutes ago, Sec19Row53 said:

Without a long response, I'll just say that @Ferdinand Cesarano doesn't speak for me as a baseball fan. His assertions of what was and wasn't said in the past doesn't mesh with mine.

 

I hope that you are not claiming to have heard people saying "em el bee" in the 1970s and 1980s.  It just wasn't done that way back then.

Don't take my word for it.  Watch the many games from that period that are on YouTube.  I doubt that you will find instances of someone saying "em el bee".  Notably, this even includes moments when the announcer was reading a graphic that actually contained the written element "MLB".  For instance, if the graphic said something like "MLB Record for Errorless Games", the announcer would say "Major League record..."; if it said something along the lines of "Leads MLB in Complete Games", the announcer would say "leads the Majors...".   The locution "em el bee" was exceedingly rare if not nonexistent before the mid-1990s.

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

* * * LONG POST THAT DOESN'T NEED TO BE QUOTED IN ITS ENTIRETY * * * 

 

1 hour ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

But let's realise that these teams were not in the same division. I strongly object to facing a team from one's own division in the playoffs (except in a split-season format such as in 1981, wherein each participant is itself a champion of something).  The 1996 first-round series against Baltimore felt all kinds of wrong: we had already bested these guys; what were we doing playing them again?  By that point I had already made up my mind to retire after the season due to the coming interleague play; but I knew I was deeply uncomfortable with this format. So, in a way, interleague play did me a favour by pushing me out right then; I am glad that I was no longer a Yankee fan for the absurd spectacle of a playoff series between the Yanks and the Red Sox. 

 

One small point of correction.  The 1996 Orioles-Yankees series was the American League Championship Series, not a first round series.

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2 hours ago, leopard88 said:

One small point of correction.  The 1996 Orioles-Yankees series was the American League Championship Series, not a first round series.

Yeah, as I recall, the wild card played the best division winner in round one unless they were from the same division, so Baltimore couldn't play the Yankees in the ALDS.

 

I don't remember how that's handled with the new rules, where the wild card could come from two different divisions, and you don't know until just before who it's going to be. Hmm.

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1 minute ago, Big Yellow Flag said:

Yeah, as I recall, the wild card played the best division winner in round one unless they were from the same division, so Baltimore couldn't play the Yankees in the ALDS.

 

I don't remember how that's handled with the new rules, where the wild card could come from two different divisions, and you don't know until just before who it's going to be. Hmm.

I can't say this with 100% certainty but I believe that rule is just gone entirely. The 2 wild card teams play each other regardless of division and the winner plays the division winner with the best record, again regardless of division. 

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4 minutes ago, SilverBullet1929 said:

I can't say this with 100% certainty but I believe that rule is just gone entirely. The 2 wild card teams play each other regardless of division and the winner plays the division winner with the best record, again regardless of division. 

This is correct. The last time the Rays won the Wild Card Game (2013?), they faced Boston in the Divisional Series.

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10 minutes ago, SilverBullet1929 said:

I can't say this with 100% certainty but I believe that rule is just gone entirely. The 2 wild card teams play each other regardless of division and the winner plays the division winner with the best record, again regardless of division. 

 

That's right, the wild card plays the team with the best record in the league, regardless of division. Honestly, it makes way more sense than the strange "no in-division opponents in the LDS" rule that used to exist.

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4 minutes ago, Matito said:

This is correct. The last time the Rays won the Wild Card Game (2013?), they faced Boston in the Divisional Series.

 

Yep.  The Orioles played the Yankees in the ALDS in 2012.

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6 minutes ago, Victormrey said:

NO.

 

 

 

Mets have one too coming up...

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7 minutes ago, insert name said:

Why do people hate this?

Because it's just a stupid and pointless trend. But then again that describes a lot of trends these days lol.

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It's just a toy. We had similar stuff 20 years ago (finger skateboards, spinning tops).
The problem is that it's the new trend of the moment. Trends, by definition, end up generating anti-trends.

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2 hours ago, insert name said:

Why do people hate this?

 

When the Internet gets full of memes and :censored:posts related to this, it becomes annoying.

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Because this fad/trend/nonsense goes beyond any of its "related" predecessors.. This one is supposedly backed by science that promotes fidgeting as a means to curb hyperactivity, anxiety, ADHD, etc, as a way to channel energy and focus towards the topic at hand.. You've got grown adults not only tolerating this trend, but supporting it, advocating it, and even participating in it.. It's out of control

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You know I find it great that we give our falen soldiers a holiday and honor them.

 

But I find it absurd to rob all 30 mlb teams of their team colors for 3 whole days for it, along with mothers/fathers day and 4th of july.

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