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Going To Extremes Newsbeat

Monday, September 23, 2019

Haves, have-nots: MLB ties mark for 100-win, 100-loss teams

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Baseball’s haves and have-nots sure do have it this year.

The Los Angeles Dodgers gave Major League Baseball its third 100-win team while Kansas City became its fourth 100-loss club Sunday, matching big league records for success and futility.

The Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 7-4, joining the 102-win New York Yankees and Houston Astros as triple-digit victors. It’s the third consecutive year three teams have reached the century mark. Before this run, there were only three 100-game winners in 1942, 1977, 1998, 2002 and 2003.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”

-Charles Dickens, baseball analyst

QLE Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:44 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: going to extremes, winners and losers

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

100 losses no novelty this year; same with 100 wins

The Baltimore Orioles might lose 110 games and still not end up with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

That race, so to speak, is pretty unforgiving this year.

The Orioles (49-101) split a four-game series at Detroit (45-104) that matched the teams with the two worst records in baseball, and as far as those two teams have sunk, they figure to have company in the triple-digit-losses club. Miami and Kansas City are on pace to reach 100 defeats, and Toronto could end up there, too.

After an age of relative parity, the gap between baseball’s top and its bottom has widened.

Mind you, this hasn’t been a good era for moderation in any regard- could we expect baseball to be immune?

 

QLE Posted: September 17, 2019 at 12:41 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: going to extremes, polarization, winners and losers

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

MLB Is a Game of Extremes in 2019. What Does That Mean for the Sport’s Future?

How many times has baseball been declared dead? My colleague Emma Baccellieri attempted to tackle that very question last week and found that writers and columnists have been shoveling dirt on the sport’s shallow grave for the better part of the last 100 years. The game, it seems, is constantly teetering on the edge of extinction, and always changing in a way that leaves its elders fearing for the worst. A few years ago, I stumbled across a piece in one of Sports Illustrated’s earliest issues in which several Hall of Famers were asked if the game had gotten softer. Most said yes, including Jimmie Foxx, who offered a look back to a bygone age: “Today they don’t have the great number of tough players and hitters. That is because life is different. As a kid I used to shovel manure with a pitchfork. Today everything is done by machines.”

The revolution came too late to save Double X from a childhood full of crap, but he’s right that the future—and particularly technology—changed both life and the game. In the most advanced age in human history, baseball now exists in a form that Foxx and the rest of his Cooperstown compatriots would likely barely recognize. Data, analytics, training, nutrition, science—all of those have helped create a generation of players who are, by every measure, the best the sport has ever seen. Baseball has never hosted more talent or more talented players. The result is something you see across the other sports too: Individual performance that is touching the upper bound of human ability, with pitchers and hitters who are stronger and faster than their predecessors.

That’s also created a game, though, that has morphed into a contest of extremes. Two weeks ago, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale decided to trudge through the seemingly annual column that is “old players hate how the game is now played.” To that end, he dug up two of the sport’s resident embarrassing Thanksgiving uncles in Goose Gossage and Pete Rose and recorded their bloviations. Normally, the complaints of such fossils are good for a dismissive gesture and maybe a laugh or two. But there is something to be said about some of what they dislike. “It’s like a video game now,” Gossage carped, later launching into an expletive-filled rant about how general managers now are nerds directly imported from fantasy baseball and the Ivy League into each team’s C-suite. To his chorus are Rose and Lou Piniella, each worrying that the explosion of home runs creates a version of baseball that isn’t baseball.

They’re not wrong. (To be fair, they’re not entirely right; the death of the hit-and-run is not a national crisis, as Piniella would seem to think.) Baseball is all homers and strikeouts now—unsurprisingly given the physical makeup of its stars, men who excel at throwing 97 mph and hitting 110, and by analytically-inclined executives who value and target those specific skills. The future of the game lies in the extremes of power, and it’s worth wondering what baseball will look like the longer that continues. Before the Home Run Derby, ESPN’s Sam Miller imagined a world in which the derby grew out of baseball to become its own hyper-popular sport—one that surpassed its predecessor. Given the game as it now exists, that doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

There is an obvious response to this- but I have a bad feeling I’ll be yelled at if I say it….

QLE Posted: September 04, 2019 at 01:41 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: going to extremes, home runs, strikeouts

 

 

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