Speaking of weird seasons

In Major League Baseball by andcounting34 Comments

Ron Cey was a Dodger than a Cub but always a Penguin
Ron Cey, one of 52ish World Series co-MVPs in what was, up until now, the weirdest season in MLB history

This was originally going to be a preachy post about how MLB owners are the ones who should be playing for the love of the game, since they’re the ones playing the sport we actually love most. (I’m going out on a limb assuming few of us actually play baseball but we all like to play baseball owner, arguing about what the rules should be, how the postseason should be structured, and constructing our ideal teams for hours on end.)

But then I realized most of our reader probably already leans pretty heavily in favor of the labor side of these negotiations, so I scrapped it.

This in-the-balance season just kind of hanging around waiting to be decided upon did get me to thinking about 1981, the year a strike interrupted the MLB season and ended up splitting it into two mini-seasons.

The strike nixed games after June 12 through the end of July, leaving the country baseball-less until an August 9 All Star Game and a 1981 Part Deux commencing August 10.

Much like this season, should it happen, is likely to do, that ushered in an extra round of playoffs that postseason. Disregarding the season totals, the leader in each division (each league had an East and West division at that point) as of June 12 faced the division leaders of the second half in an opening round.

As a result, the two NL teams with the best overall record in the 1981 season, the Reds and the Cardinals, both failed to make the playoffs. The Reds actually finished with the best record in baseball, finishing second in both half seasons (just a half game out of first behind the Dodgers who had won, and played, just one more game than the Redlegs).

So, it had been a few months. There’s your post, reader. See you in September.

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  1. Smokestack Lightning

    I feel uncomfortable posting in this thread. I’m going back to the other one, where things still make sense.

    Prove me wrong.

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  2. Author
    andcounting

    berselius,

    There’s no way they go back if they do that. Which would be great. I just don’t see the union agreeing to doing away with 15 starting jobs in the next CBA.

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  3. berselius

    andcounting:
    I mean, for real, we may never see pitchers bat again.

    If Mike Matheny ever gets another managing gig, he’d probably find a way to lose his DH about once a month and be forced to have a pitcher hit.

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  4. berselius

    andcounting,

    Dusty’s managing the Astros now, so I expect to see Verlander throw a 145 pitch outing and cap it off by batting for himself down whatever passes for ‘the stretch’ this season.

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  5. BVS

    most of our reader probably already leans pretty heavily in favor of the labor side of these negotiations

    Sign me up.

    On DH it depends on the rules.
    12th Inning runner on 2nd? Yuck, rather kiss my sister.

    But after last year’s post-season, I’m 100% on board with robot umps. You can teach old dogs new tricks, but not old umps.

    Funny that the whole negotiation hasn’t touched on umps yet. In a small miracke, imagine that MLB and the union agree to something on Thursday and then umps say, “Hold on, we’re pretty much all high risk. Forget that. ”

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  6. BVS

    As I recall, there’s been a rash of Fatherhood here at OV in the last few years, so happy Dad’s day all.

    My daughter will be ready to babysit next year, btw.

    Meanwhile, I finally finished installing the bead board on our cathedral ceiling in the kitchen at my wife’s request. It’s not the best remodel job in the world, but it’s up there.

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  7. berselius

    BVS,

    I read that as bread board at first and wondered why you would need to cut bread on your ceiling.

    /no coffee yet

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  8. uncle dave

    I don’t have a particularly strong opinion on the DH but I’ll be sad to see it go. We have 162 games to watch competent players take 90% of ABs and make 90% of plays in the field. Why deny the pleasure of watching a pitcher do something incredibly stupid at the plate, or choose not to give a fat oaf the chance to play in the outfield? People take the quality of play too seriously.

    Like, putting Daniel Vogelbach at shortstop would create the most compelling baseball action imaginable.

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  9. uncle dave

    WaLi,

    That was the first thing I thought of when I wrote that! I’m serious about wanting to watch athletes work outside of their comfort zone, by the way. I love watching linemen score touchdowns, or punters try to pass, or Randy Breuer try to guard MJ, or the French Open. We have ample opportunity to watch these guys work in a situation where they’re set up to succeed. It’s cool watching them fail from time to time.

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  10. Author
    andcounting

    So it looks like the agreed upon DH change Is for this seasonette only, which leads me to believe pitchers likely will hit again next year unless the virus forces an improvised CBA again next year.

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  11. EnricoPallazzo

    SK – I think it was you that asked about bill kreutzmann’s book? I am most of the way through it and it is pretty enjoyable. He goes off on a lot of random tangents but is for the most part a pretty cohesive storyteller. He comes off as kind of a hardass/tough guy in a few parts…I think that’s just his character. Overall I probably don’t like it quite as much as phil’s book but it is still very enjoyable. And if you have read any of the other books, I think most of them tell the same story…bill’s book tells a slightly different story and frankly comes off as more straightforward/honest. I recommend.

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  12. berselius

    uncle dave,

    I’d put the over under at the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.

    Seriously though my gut says there’s about a 20% chance that all the games are played. Effectively Wild had a good episode a week or so ago with an epidemiologist breaking down MLB’s plan and it was pretty grim.

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  13. dmick89

    berselius: Seriously though my gut says there’s about a 20% chance that all the games are played.

    I think there’s a 20% chance that Toronto will have to move their games to the US at some point during the season because Canada will no longer allow MLB teams to cross the border.

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