Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Dec. 1.
If nothing else, there won’t be a strike this year. I’ve dealt with the strikes of 1972, 1981, 1990 and the calamity of 1994-95 when the idiots in charge took away the World Series from the fans who invested in that year’s regular season.
With the clock ticking down last night the two sides reached a deal to save the season, which given the intelligence of the people at the top would have probably been cancelled in its entirety this time. Baseball has made a relentless effort to kill itself since the first strike back before anybody heard of Watergate. A season-ending strike this year might have dealt a fatal blow to this once-great game. The penny finally dropped about 8:30 PM Eastern last night, some three and a half hours before Baseball Midnight, the strike deadline. We fans should be safe through the season of 2021.
One unexpected bonus is that the World Series’ home field advantage will no longer be tied to the All-Star game. The former Midsummer Classic has been a farce since the early 1970’s with exceptions in 1999 and 2008. Of course there was the 7-7 tie in 2002 that prompted Bud Selig’s misbegotten notion of giving home field advantage in the World Series to the league who won the All-Star game. Selig’s move didn’t change the minds of players who are no longer honored to be All-Stars but would rather take time off even if it means claiming injuries.
Mickey Mantle was one of the earliest and most flagrant disrespecters of the All-Star game and the disease is now pandemic among the players. So the home field advantage in the World Series now goes to the pennant winner who has the best record, as well it should. Admittedly, this gives little time to arrange hotel and press box accommodations but that’s somebody else’s worry. The best system was the pre-Selig system where the leagues alternated, one year NL, one yar AL for home field advantage. Barring that, this is the best scenario if it proves workable.
The rest of the deal centers around a lot of legalistic mumbo jumbo that gives me a headache just trying to make sense of it. One thing that won’t happen is the expansion of rosters which I thought was badly needed. The talk was the rosters would be increased to 26, which I don’t think goes far enough. I’d go for 28 men on a roster-14 pitchers, 14 position players. With the fragility of pitchers, this seems necessary to a man with an ounce of sense, so it didn’t happen. We still have 25, and 40 in September. I’m one of the few who enjoys the juggling act that is September baseball, and it gives youngsters a chance to make a name. Lastly, injured men now have a 10-day disabled list (DL,) rather than the minimum 15 that’s been around since who knows when. Up to now, a guy with an injury might not be put on the DL because he might be well in less than 15 days. That would leave his team one short for the duration. Now with a 10-day DL a man can be shelved and a replacement brought in.
And here I thought the only Thames was the river in London. In fact there’s another one, Eric Thames by name. He signed with the Brewers following 3 very successful years in Korea. He hit .349 there after being just a .250 hitter between the Jays and Mariners in 2011-12. He had been a 7th-round Blue Jays pick in 2008 from Pepperdine. He’s a Brewer for 3 years under the terms of the deal he signed. To make room they got rid of Chris Carter, who just by the way led the National League in home runs last year. They applied the Branch Rickey rule. He had told Ralph Kiner “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you. He’ll be 30 in 2 weeks, where Thames turned 30 recently. Carter was a White Sox draftee in 2005 though he never played on the south side. He also was a D-Backs minor leaguer before reaching the show with Oakland. With Houston he led both leagues with 212 strikeouts in spite of his 29 dingers. Even his 41 bombs in 2016 didn’t save his job in Milwaukee.0