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Thursday, September 21, 2006

LoHud.com - Yankees clinch AL East despite loss

Yes, there’s already a clinch thread over at CTR, but…. Peter Abraham’s clinch story contains a nugget that launches Kyle Farnsworth (YES, that Kyle Farnsworth) up my list of favorite guys on this team…

As the celebration slowed, reliever Kyle Farnsworth took note of the fact that the Red Sox would occupy the same sodden room tomorrow.

“The best thing is Boston has to come in here next,’’ he said. “It’s the smell of victory they’ve got to smell. You can print that.’‘

And yes, I’m trying to handle this with my usual degree of maturity.

Sean McNally Posted: September 21, 2006 at 03:07 PM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, yankees

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   1. Fat Al Posted: September 21, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2184039)
That's an awesome quote. Now let's hope the Twinkies win the division so the Yanks can have a shot at playing in the ALCS.
   2. Rob Base Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2184044)
I believe the word is "pwn3d"?
   3. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:07 PM (#2184046)
Given the competition level they have had to overcome in the AL East over the years, I would say that winning this division nine times in a row has to be about equivalent to the Braves' thoroughly amazing streak in the National League of 14 straight first place finishes in completed seasons. Probably not quite, but roughly so. It really is amazing.

OTOH, it is probably also fair to say that they shouldn't get as much credit for it simply because they should be judged as they, themselves, set the bar. And the Yankees make clear that this franchise believes it's all (or virtually all) about the post-season, not the regular season.

So, oddly, I think the Yankees deserve more respect for the streak of division titles than they do. How weird is that?
   4. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:10 PM (#2184048)
I can't wait for the game tying, 3 run HR Farnsworth gives up to Justin Morneau in the ALCS.
   5. The Original SJ Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2184053)
Of all people to say that, why would Farnsworth?
   6. karlmagnus Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:22 PM (#2184054)
SJ, I agree, it sounds more like Damon or A-Rod. They're the ones who may feel insecure about Boston.
   7. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2184059)
"The devil himself is right in the house. And the devil came here yesterday. Right here.
It smells of sulphur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of."
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#2184064)
Given the competition level they have had to overcome in the AL East over the years, I would say that winning this division nine times in a row has to be about equivalent to the Braves' thoroughly amazing streak in the National League of 14 straight first place finishes in completed seasons. Probably not quite, but roughly so. It really is amazing.

Well, as long as we're handing out mulligans, I guess we can say that the Yanks won five straight World Series and eleven straight division titles. If there's any disagreement about definitiions, we can let an impartial observer from Montreal act as a tiebreaker. mulligans
   9. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:45 PM (#2184067)
“It’s the smell of victory they’ve got to smell. You can print that.’’

I love the smell of greenies in the morning
   10. Buster Olney the Lonely Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2184068)
You can print that.

What a tough guy, that Farnsworth. It'll be fun watching him close games in the playoffs.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:51 PM (#2184069)
Given the competition level they have had to overcome in the AL East over the years, I would say that winning this division nine times in a row has to be about equivalent to the Braves' thoroughly amazing streak in the National League of 14 straight first place finishes in completed seasons. Probably not quite, but roughly so. It really is amazing.


Maybe I'm bitter, but I don't find it amazing at all considering their payroll.
   12. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:53 PM (#2184071)
I was going to say the same thing, AG's #1F - with that payroll, they'd better damn well win their division.
   13. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:53 PM (#2184072)
Well, as long as we're handing out mulligans,

Sigh. Must we have that debate again? The fact is, the 1994 Braves never had the chance either to catch, or NOT to catch, the Expos, in anything resembling the full season upon which we traditionally judge these things. Plenty of teams make up six games with 50 or so to play.

We'll never know. I don't give them credit for winning the division, obviously. But neither is it fair to say that season interrupts their streak. At least that's how I see it, and I'm no fan of the Braves.
   14. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:04 PM (#2184078)
farnsworth is a head case, itl be great to see him blow a few games
   15. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2184082)
The fact is, the 1994 Braves never had the chance either to catch, or NOT to catch, the Expos, in anything resembling the full season upon which we traditionally judge these things. Plenty of teams make up six games with 50 or so to play.

And plenty of MVP and Cy Young candidates make up/lose a lot of ground in the last 50 games, but they handed out those awards. I don't see why the Expos don't get a division title for 1994.
   16. BDC Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:13 PM (#2184083)
Weirder still to me is that this could be the 8th of 9 years where the five East teams have finished in the exact same order. Talk about "why bother" ...
   17. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:15 PM (#2184086)
But neither is it fair to say that season interrupts their streak.

Well, I don't think it's fair to ignore that season.
   18. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:16 PM (#2184087)
Sigh. Must we have that debate again? The fact is, the 1994 Braves never had the chance either to catch, or NOT to catch, the Expos, in anything resembling the full season upon which we traditionally judge these things. Plenty of teams make up six games with 50 or so to play.

Plenty of teams also go from 2nd place to 1st place with 5, 4, 3, 2, or even 1 game left. That hasn't stopped us from giving out division titles in other strike/lockout-shortened seasons.
   19. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:18 PM (#2184090)
I don't see why the Expos don't get a division title for 1994.

Because the BBWAA doesn't hand out division titles.
   20. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2184094)
And plenty of MVP and Cy Young candidates make up/lose a lot of ground in the last 50 games, but they handed out those awards. I don't see why the Expos don't get a division title for 1994.

The BBWA handed out those awards. Those awards don't carry with them a ticket to the post-season. Division titles do. Nobody really got a division title, not in any meaningful way. But even if they did -- even if the 1994 Expos deserve that for what they did accomplish -- fine. What does that have to do with being fair to the 1994 Braves, too?

But anyway, let's say a player had gone into 1994 with a streak of three straight MVPs, had been a strong contender for a fourth, but finished second -- and then went on to win three more from 1995 to 1997, I'd certainly honor what he accomplished by finding a way to talk about his six in a row "in completed seasons." That wouldn't dishonor the guy who won the balloting in 1994, would it? But it would recognize the special circumstances.

And it wouldn't be a "mulligan." Given a full season, no one -- NO ONE -- from 1991 until now has been able to beat Schuerholz and Cox. Whatever respect is due the 1994 Expos, I don't think we need to quibble about that.
   21. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#2184097)
That hasn't stopped us from giving out division titles in other strike/lockout-shortened seasons.

Your use of the word "other" suggests you fail to grasp the difference between "shortened" and "canceled."
   22. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2184099)
What a tough guy, that Farnsworth. It'll be fun watching him close games in the playoffs.

Um, some new developments with Rivera's elbow I didn't hear about?
   23. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2184100)
Your use of the word "other" suggests you fail to grasp the difference between "shortened" and "canceled."

Funny, last I checked they played the first 110 games in 1994. That doesn't sound like "cancelled" to me. Sounds like "shortened".
   24. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2184103)
But even if they did -- even if the 1994 Expos deserve that for what they did accomplish -- fine. What does that have to do with being fair to the 1994 Braves, too?

I don't know - I'm not the one that doesn't want to count the 1994 season. Just because there wasn't a postseason doesn't mean the games didn't happen.

As has been pointed out, 1994 wasn't the first strike-shortened season, and I don't see anyone wanting to not count other seasons.

I'm not giving the Expos more credit than they are due - I'm not calling them the 1994 National League champions, because they never went through the established process of determining the National League champion.

But by the established process of division titles (most wins when the season ended), the Expos were clearly the 1994 NL East Division champions. I don't see how that takes anything away from the Braves - they did what they did.
   25. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2184114)
It seems to me that by the definition of a season in the CBA, the 1994 season was completed after the 183rd day from the start of the season elapsed with no agreement between MLB and the MLBPA to make up the scheduled games that weren't played.

While I personally believe the strike was righteous, the fact still remains that Braves players made no effort to play the scheduled games that weren't played, so in my eyes, they forfeited any so-called right to make up their distance behind the Expos.
   26. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:39 PM (#2184116)
Funny, last I checked they played the first 110 games in 1994. That doesn't sound like "cancelled" to me. Sounds like "shortened".

So something can't be canceled after it has commenced? That's your position?
   27. Cutter Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:39 PM (#2184119)
What a tough guy, that Farnsworth. It'll be fun watching him close games in the playoffs.
You mean when he's closing for the Padres in 2009? I'm not sure they're such a lock for the postseason.
   28. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2184120)
But by the established process of division titles (most wins when the season ended), the Expos were clearly the 1994 NL East Division champions. I don't see how that takes anything away from the Braves - they did what they did.

No. I'm sorry, JRE, but I just couldn't disagree with you more. By the "established process," the division title goes to the team with the most wins at the completion of the games scheduled at the beginning of the year. About a third of those games didn't get played in 1994. The Expos had the most wins at some arbitrary point that no team planned around or for, that had no precedent whatsoever in baseball history, and which had no impact on the thing which the regular season is supposed to effect (post-season eligibility, since there was no post-season).

You count the other seasons because those division titles had meaning in producing champions. Real-life implications -- post-season berths, play-off shares, ultimately post-season statistics for the players. Uniquely, there was nothing but a void after the season was canceled in 1994. It was just over. The "title," if there was one, was a completely empty one.

And as I said, if you want to say the Expos won something, fine. The issue for me is whether it is fair to say that what they won in 1994 can fairly be said to interrupt the Braves' streak. Since the Braves did not have the chance to fully and fairly extend (or fail to extend) their streak, I call it a no-contest. And whenever I describe the Braves' streak, I'm careful to find a way to express it in a way that DOES honor the 1994 Expos, because not to do so is unfair to them. They never got the chance to hold off the Braves, either. I never just say the Braves "won 14 in a row." It's not the neatest of solutions, but hey -- 1994 sucked and it was unfair to everyone.
   29. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2184127)
The Expos had the most wins at some arbitrary point that no team planned around or for, that had no precedent whatsoever in baseball history, and which had no impact on the thing which the regular season is supposed to effect (post-season eligibility, since there was no post-season).

But it wasn't arbitrary. The players chose the date to strike and the Braves players went along with the strike on the set day, forfeiting their opportunity to catch up to the Expos. By refusing to play games, the season completed, by rule, after the 183rd day, without the Braves having a chance to catch up.
   30. Fridas Boss Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2184128)
Semantic arguments are a real treat.
   31. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2184129)
the fact still remains that Braves players made no effort to play the scheduled games that weren't played, so in my eyes, they forfeited any so-called right to make up their distance behind the Expos.

Oh, Dan. Do you really believe that? I could just as easily say that the Expos made no effort to play the scheduled games that weren't played, so in my eyes, they "forfeited" any so-called right to a "title."

Semantics. It's not about the rights of the 1994 Braves, anyway. It's about whether the results of that monstrosity of a "season" should really count in interrupting the streak of the Braves of 1991-1993, and 1995-2005. I say since the events of that season are unique, since we don't know whether the Braves would have won (and made it 1991-2005) or not (1995-2005), we should just come up with a construction like the one I used, that honors the 14 in a row (in completed seasons) that they DID win, and stand in awe of what they accomplished.

Period.
   32. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2184131)
No. I'm sorry, JRE, but I just couldn't disagree with you more. By the "established process," the division title goes to the team with the most wins at the completion of the games scheduled at the beginning of the year. About a third of those games didn't get played in 1994. The Expos had the most wins at some arbitrary point that no team planned around or for, that had no precedent whatsoever in baseball history, and which had no impact on the thing which the regular season is supposed to effect (post-season eligibility, since there was no post-season).


Precedent argues against this, Sam. In 1981, the other season that contained a substantial number of canceled games, the owners retroactively defined the best record holders at the beginning of the each 55 game half-season as qualifiers for the division series, even though no team was built for a 55 game season (nor the 110 full season played that year). Clearly, the division winners that season did not win by any "established process" as you define it above. And yet, they are clearly division champions who (coincidentally) played the same number of regular season games as the 1994 Expos.

The games happened, the season was shortened, and the Expos won.
   33. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2184134)
The "title," if there was one, was a completely empty one.

I guess that's a matter of opinion - as a White Sox fan, I'm not going to ignore 1994. Am I sad that they didn't get a chance to play out the season? Sure. But that doesn't mean I'm going to pretend the season didn't happen.

And as I said, if you want to say the Expos won something, fine. The issue for me is whether it is fair to say that what they won in 1994 can fairly be said to interrupt the Braves' streak. Since the Braves did not have the chance to fully and fairly extend (or fail to extend) their streak, I call it a no-contest.

Well, all right - I guess YMMV. To me, the issue of "fairness" doesn't enter into it. Just because the season abruptly ended doesn't mean it didn't happen.

I never just say the Braves "won 14 in a row."

That's nicer than the Braves are about it - they certainly said they won 14 in a row.
   34. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2184135)
Since the Braves did not have the chance to fully and fairly extend (or fail to extend) their streak, I call it a no-contest.

Did the Braves show up, uniformed and ready to play, at the stadiums on their schedule for the rest of the season?

They didn't, of course. And as such, they waived any right to play the games needed to catch up to the Expos in the same way that people walking out in the Orioles' game today will forfeit their rights to re-enter the stadium.
   35. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2184138)
beginning of the each 55 game half-season

read: "end of each 55 game half-season"
   36. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2184142)
But it wasn't arbitrary. The players chose the date to strike and the Braves players went along with the strike on the set day, forfeiting their opportunity to catch up to the Expos.

First of all, it WAS arbitrary from the point of view of the baseball season. The season is set at 162 games; that is supposed to be the test of excellence. Any significant departure from that (and a third of the season is, I hope we'll all agree, a significant departure) is arbitrary. No franchise had planned in the off-season for that schedule; they hadn't set their roster for a 114 game sprint, hadn't stocked their pitching staffs with older arms or worn out their pitchers knowing they didn't need to last through the dog days. For all baseball purposes, the season ended completely arbitrarily.

Second, so what if the players set the date? This is the franchise we're talking about, not the individual players. Is it fair to John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone? Did THEY forfeit their opportunity to catch the Expos, too?
   37. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#2184147)
For all baseball purposes, the season ended completely arbitrarily.

As has been pointed out, the 1981 season was pretty arbitraty as well, but nobody's challenging the legitimacy of that season.

A question - let's say that the owners and players had agreed to a settlement at the end of September that year, and agreed to play a postseason based on the standings on the day of the strike. Would that have legitimized the season? If so, why?
   38. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:07 PM (#2184150)
In 1981, the other season that contained a substantial number of canceled games, the owners retroactively defined the best record holders at the beginning of the each 55 game half-season as qualifiers for the division series, even though no team was built for a 55 game season (nor the 110 full season played that year).

But in that year, the division title had operative, real-life significance: teams made the play-offs. There were play-offs. When the strike ended, teams had the chance to come back and resume their seasons, and finish what they'd started. All very important differences.

Most importantly: if there were a parallel to the Braves' situation -- a team that had a streak of division titles from 1978-80, interrupted by the ugly 1981 strike, and then resumed in 1982 -- I think a similar (but not as strong) case could be made for that team claiming a streak like the Braves. The fact that the real-life division champs in 1981 were so much more palpable compared to the Expos would make the claim far harder to maintain, of course. And the fact that this team (unlike the 1994 Braves) would have had the chance to come back post-strike and at least make a stand in defense of its streak (not a full-season stand, but a stand nevertheless) would weaken its claim, too.
   39. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2184156)
I gues ultimately it's a matter of opinion, and what you see as important.

To me, the fact that the owners and players made no attempt to make up the lost games of the 1994 season was a de facto legitimization of the standings on the day of the strike.

In any case, I don't see how it takes away anything from the Braves. A 15-year stretch as one of the better teams in the National League, playing in a smaller market with a not-immense payroll, is a commendable feat in this day and age. I'm just happy that the White Sox have seven straight non-losing seasons.
   40. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2184169)

But in that year, the division title had operative, real-life significance: teams made the play-offs. There were play-offs. When the strike ended, teams had the chance to come back and resume their seasons, and finish what they'd started. All very important differences.


You assume that the division title, absent the playoffs and the crowning of an eventual champion, has no "real-life significance". That's just your personal judgement that you're imposing upon the situation, but evidence indicates that most people disagree with you. If all that mattered was making the playoffs, why the hubub about the Yankees/Red Sox "tie" from last season? Why does hockey award the Presidents Cup? Why brag about the "14 Consecutive Division Championships" in the first place, if all that has significance is making the playoffs? If games that have no bearing on the ultimate championship have no significance, why do we even bother playing September games between two eliminated teams?occured

You argue that the 2nd half champion in 1981 provided a chance for teams to "come back" and "make a stand", thereby making that season more legitimate. But 1981 actually did a worse job than 1994 in picking the "qualified" division champions in the NL, since the teams in both NL divisions with the best record in the full 103 game season did not make the playoffs under the arbitrary system imposed mid-season, after the first half had already been played. And I'm curious how the opportunity to "make a stand" renders a season more legitimate, other than the fact that it strikes you personally as fair!
   41. Reggievision Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:34 PM (#2184173)
Congrats to the Yankees for a fine 2006 season, and an additional dollop of appreciation for those lovable "Yankee Youngsters" Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, and Chien-Ming Wang for stepping up and playing at a high level when injuries and ineffectiveness left high-priced players like Sheffield, Matsui, Pavano, and Johnson of limited utility to the team.
   42. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:43 PM (#2184179)
Did anyone see the Kim Jones bukake party on YES? She got sprayed in the face with champagne by Randy, Sheffield, and a few other Yankees one after another. It was kinda disturbing.
   43. TDF, situational idiot Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:44 PM (#2184182)
In 1981, the other season that contained a substantial number of canceled games, the owners retroactively defined the best record holders at the beginning of the each 55 game half-season as qualifiers for the division series, even though no team was built for a 55 game season (nor the 110 full season played that year).

But in that year, the division title had operative, real-life significance: teams made the play-offs. There were play-offs. When the strike ended, teams had the chance to come back and resume their seasons, and finish what they'd started. All very important differences.


So you agree that the '81 Reds (best record in baseball, didn't make the playoffs) were hosed?
   44. dlf Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2184183)
That's just your personal judgement that you're imposing upon the situation, but evidence indicates that most people disagree with you.


What evidence? The vast majority of articles dealing with the end of the Braves run have referenced 14 consecutive titles. I can't recall reading any that referenced an 11 year run.

The leagues themselves did not recognize division champions. I think - note both words - that it is semantics to argue that we should award a league title that the league itself does not. Do people disagree? Sure. But most? Nope.
   45. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#2184202)
Oh, Dan. Do you really believe that? I could just as easily say that the Expos made no effort to play the scheduled games that weren't played, so in my eyes, they "forfeited" any so-called right to a "title."

No, you couldn't. The Expos, like the Braves, forfeited every remaining game, but all the teams forfeited about the same number of games, so the Expos' relative standing to the Braves was preserved.

The season is set at 162 games; that is supposed to be the test of excellence.

THe season is not set at 162 games. It's set at 162 scheduled games over a maximum of 183 days. Nobody showed up for the last 50 or so games of the season, so the season was completed with only the gams that were played.

The playoffs are essentially irrelevant here - the CBA clearly states that the playoffs are not a requirement for a completed "championship season."
   46. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:07 PM (#2184203)
I think a rainout is a reasonable analogy. If the game is rained out after 3 innings, none of the stats count. A HR hit in the first inning is wiped away and no longer exists. But a game called in the 6th does count. The losing team didn't get a chance to come back in the last few innings, but those are the breaks.

In 1994, the teams played 2/3 of their games, and the writers gave out individual awards based on their seasons. The season wasn't cancelled or wiped out, and those games still count for the purposes of the record books. As such, I can't see how the standings at the conclusion of the season aren't legitimate. The expos had the best record in the division when play ended. Therefore, they won the division.
   47. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#2184206)
THe season is not set at 162 games. It's set at 162 scheduled games over a maximum of 183 days.

Right. The Yankees only played 161 games in 2002. Does their division title not count?
   48. Daryn Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2184249)
I find Sam's position untenable, particularly coming from a law professor.

There should be some things that are clear:

1. a division title is something that can be earned regardless of whether there are playoffs. This is the key point. Everything falls into place once this is acknowledged.
2. a season can be completed in fewer than the regularly scheduled games.
3. the league has a history of recognizing division titlists in shortened seasons (most recently 1995)
4. yeaarrghhh's post 46 analogy is, in the alternative, the answer to Sam's concern about how short a season has to be to disregard its results.
5. the fact that the Braves didn't have a chance to catch up is irrelevant generally and specifically given Sam's implied admission that he would recognize the validity of a 156 game season (that could conceivably end with one team leading by only a game or two).


It would seem to me that any objective legal scholar/judge who had to determine in a court of law whether the Expos won the 1994 divisional title would find in their favour.

The only fact that supports the consecutive title argument is an important one -- the league seemingly did not award a division titlist. They made a mistake, one that many recognize to be a mistake and therefore in turn dispute the 14 consecutive title claim.
   49. Rob Base Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:42 PM (#2184261)
Right. The Yankees only played 161 games in 2002. Does their division title not count?

Nope. Nor does the Mets 65-95 5th place finish. Yay blackout!
   50. Rob Base Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:44 PM (#2184264)
Right. The Yankees only played 161 games in 2002. Does their division title not count?

Nope. Nor does the Mets 65-95 5th place finish in 2003 . Yay blackout!

Fixed.
   51. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2184265)
The only fact that supports the consecutive title argument is an important one -- the league seemingly did not award a division titlist. They made a mistake, one that many recognize to be a mistake and therefore in turn dispute the 14 consecutive title claim.

This is the big stumbling block, definitely. But my question is - does MLB actually officially denote a division title above and beyond the act of the division winner playing in the playoffs?
   52. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:51 PM (#2184274)
This is the big stumbling block, definitely. But my question is - does MLB actually officially denote a division title above and beyond the act of the division winner playing in the playoffs?

Are the pennants that teams fly or attach to the upper deck ("1988 Division Champion") sanctioned by the leagues in any way, or is that something teams just do on their own?
   53. Daryn Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:56 PM (#2184281)
This is the big stumbling block, definitely. But my question is - does MLB actually officially denote a division title above and beyond the act of the division winner playing in the playoffs?

I was going to add this but my post was getting too long. To my knowledge, they don't. There is no trophy (unlike the NHL) and I don't think there is any official pronouncement other than MLB referencing Division champions in public statements about the playoffs. To that extent, I think it is correct to say that MLB has not gone out of its way to anoint the 1994 expos with any title.
   54. spycake Posted: September 21, 2006 at 08:08 PM (#2184298)
Are the pennants that teams fly or attach to the upper deck ("1988 Division Champion") sanctioned by the leagues in any way, or is that something teams just do on their own?

If it's the team's choice, the Devil Rays might as well hang a few banners up at Tropicana Field. Might fool some of the old folks down there, and give the franchise some history.
   55. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2184374)
So you agree that the '81 Reds (best record in baseball, didn't make the playoffs) were hosed?

Absolutely. One of the worst abominations in baseball history.

The season is not set at 162 games. It's set at 162 scheduled games over a maximum of 183 days.

I see. It's not set at 162 games . . . it's set at 162 scheduled games. That clears it up for me. Now I'm convinced.

I'm sorry, but there is no legitimacy to a season that just ends at a point that no one planned for, that has no basis in the way the game has been played or scheduled, that doesn't conform to the expectations of the competitors or the history of the game. Even the semi-closest precedent, 1981, was fundamentally different, with actual division champs recognized by MLB, and teams that got a chance (poorly conceived, and incomplete, but a chance) to return to compete after the strike. It was a completed, though mangled, season. 1994 was an abortion.

Right. The Yankees only played 161 games in 2002. Does their division title not count?

You're not serious, I assume. There is a long tradition, quite well-established and accepted, of not playing some rained out games if they don't affect the pennant races. There's no comparison at all to 1994.

I find Sam's position untenable, particularly coming from a law professor.

Hey, untenable is untenable. No grading on a curve, buddy! As for your arguments, they ultimately reduce to the proposition that the Expos have a legitimate claim to a division title in 1994. I've already said I can agree with that proposition, but that I regard that season as sui generis, and thus that we should find a way to both recognize that team's accomplishment, AND recognize the unfairness to the teams that were chasing the division leaders at the time of the strike. (Dan believes there is no unfairness, because the players forfeited the claim by not showing up for the games, but he still hasn't responded to my question about the question from the perspective of the franchise itself.) They did not get the opportunity to win a division title, and we will never know if they would have done so successfully. In the specific case of the Atlanta Braves, that (in turn) has unique application to what I think we should say about their streak of winning division titles.
   56. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: September 21, 2006 at 09:14 PM (#2184390)
i must say, good thread and very well thought out arguements for both sides
resume
   57. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 21, 2006 at 09:21 PM (#2184399)
You're not serious, I assume. There is a long tradition, quite well-established and accepted, of not playing some rained out games if they don't affect the pennant races. There's no comparison at all to 1994.

I'm quite serious. The example simply proves Dan's point that there's nothing magical about the 162 game schedule.

Hey, untenable is untenable. No grading on a curve, buddy! As for your arguments, they ultimately reduce to the proposition that the Expos have a legitimate claim to a division title in 1994. I've already said I can agree with that proposition, but that I regard that season as sui generis, and thus that we should find a way to both recognize that team's accomplishment, AND recognize the unfairness to the teams that were chasing the division leaders at the time of the strike. (Dan believes there is no unfairness, because the players forfeited the claim by not showing up for the games, but he still hasn't responded to my question about the question from the perspective of the franchise itself.) They did not get the opportunity to win a division title, and we will never know if they would have done so successfully. In the specific case of the Atlanta Braves, that (in turn) has unique application to what I think we should say about their streak of winning division titles.

1994 is sui generis only in the sense that there were no playoffs. 1981 and 1995 were also shortened by strikes. And I don't see why the fact that there were no playoffs should impact the question of whether there was a division winner.

Ultimately, I just don't see the point in treating that season differently just so the Braves can claim they won 14 instead of 11 consecutive division titles.
   58. base ball chick Posted: September 21, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#2184408)
and now it is time for one of my favorite ny jokes




This girl in New York City was so depressed that she decided to end her life by throwing herself into the East River.

She went down to the docks and was about to jump into the freezing water when a handsome young sailor in a yankees cap saw her on the edge of the pier, crying.

He took pity on her and said, "Look, you have so much to live for. I'm off to Hawaii in the morning, and if you like, I can stow you away on the ship. I'll take good care of you and bring you food every day."

Moving closer, he slipped his arm around her shoulder and added, "I'll keep you happy, and you'll keep me happy." The girl nodded yes. After all, what did she have to lose? Perhaps a fresh start in Hawaii would give her life new meaning.

That night, the guy brought her aboard the ship and hid her in a lifeboat. From then on, every night he brought her three sandwiches and a piece of fruit, and they made passionate love until dawn.

Three weeks later, during a routine inspection, she was discovered by the Captain.

"What are you doing here?" the Captain asked.

"I have an arrangement with one of the sailors," she explained. "I get food and a trip to Hawaii, and he's screwing me."

He certainly is," the Captain said. "This is the Staten Island Ferry."
   59. Human Papelbon Virus Posted: September 21, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#2184538)
This has been rehashed plenty of times on this site, and there are always too many flaws in the arguments of those who want to crown the Expos division champs in 94. First, if MLB doesn't award a division champ, then there is no official division champ. Simple as that. With that said, the Braves officially won 14 consecutive division championships. It's not a position for anyone to argue, since MLB is the only entity that makes this decision.

Second of all, for those of you who claim that the league leader at the end of a "shortened season" is by default division champion, tell me what you would do if the strike occurred after the first day of the season? Would you hand out a division championship to each team that was 1-0? Would you make the silly assertion that the teams that went 0-1 forefited their right to a division championship by not returning for the remaining 161 games? What if only 2 teams played on the first day?
   60. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 21, 2006 at 10:59 PM (#2184546)
if MLB doesn't award a division champ, then there is no official division champ.

Then there's never been a division champ. As has been pointed out in this thread, MLB does not award division championships (just ask the Yankees last year or the Astros in 2001). They have a mechanism for awarding postseason slots and seeding, and that is it. There is no trophy or any other official MLB recognition for "Division Champion".
   61. Human Papelbon Virus Posted: September 21, 2006 at 11:58 PM (#2184611)
Then there's never been a division champ. As has been pointed out in this thread, MLB does not award division championships (just ask the Yankees last year or the Astros in 2001). They have a mechanism for awarding postseason slots and seeding, and that is it. There is no trophy or any other official MLB recognition for "Division Champion".

Do you have any proof of this (seriously, not sarcastically)? Because it seems that MLB must sanction the banners that are displayed at MLB parks, and on mlb.com (for the 2005 season) it reads: Utilizing 18 different rookies, the Braves still managed to persevere through numerous injuries and capture their 14th consecutive division title. This seems, at least implicitly, that MLB is officially recognizing the Braves streak of 14 consecutive division championships.

Whether or not you consider that to be official recognition by MLB, the fact is, they do not provide the same recognition for the Expos in 1994.

Regardless of whether you agree with this logic, what is your answer to my second question...what if a strike occurred after 1 game? If a season is unexpectedly canceled, regardless of the length, then there is a division <u>leader</u>, but not a division <u>winner</u>. There's nothing incorrect about the statement that the Braves won 14 consecutive division championships in completed seasons.
   62. spycake Posted: September 22, 2006 at 01:30 AM (#2184709)
and on mlb.com (for the 2005 season) it reads:

I know you can also access it on mlb.com, but the address you provide is atlanta.braves.mlb.com. Either way, it's primarily a promotional/marketing website. Neither MLB nor the Braves have any interest in promoting a now-defunct franchise. The Braves have never had any such interest, and MLB probably didn't have much interest in helping the Expos in the 90's and early 00's. Certainly not at the expense of a good, well-attended, marketable team like Atlanta.

There's nothing incorrect about the statement that the Braves won 14 consecutive division championships in completed seasons.

I don't think anyone is arguing that statement. It's when you drop the 'in completed seasons' qualifier that it becomes dubious.
   63. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 22, 2006 at 03:27 AM (#2184759)
This seems, at least implicitly, that MLB is officially recognizing the Braves streak of 14 consecutive division championships.


That's kind of weak - nothing on MLB.com except for official press releases is presented as being subject to the approval of MLB.

But there's still the problem of whether or not MLB's official stance even means anything. For instance, Ty Cobb still "officially" has 4191 hits and a 1910 batting title, after all, even though that's clearly wrong.
   64. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 22, 2006 at 03:40 AM (#2184762)
.what if a strike occurred after 1 game? If a season is unexpectedly canceled, regardless of the length, then there is a division leader, but not a division winner.

If the strike occurred at 1 game, then the 1-0 teams, subject to the tiebreakers, won their division. It's obviously not a meaningful division title that they can brag about down the road, but win them they did.

There's nothing incorrect about the statement that the Braves won 14 consecutive division championships in completed seasons.

Yes, there is. 1994 was a completed season by definition. Article V clearly lays out that only postponed, suspended, or tied games need to be rescheduled. The cancelled games are treated just like any other cancelled game not needed to determine playoff qualifying/seeding.
   65. dlf Posted: September 22, 2006 at 02:34 PM (#2184933)
Yes, there is. 1994 was a completed season by definition. Article V clearly lays out that only postponed, suspended, or tied games need to be rescheduled.



Use of the CBA is a red herring. The agreement between players and management determines how players will get paid and receive other ancillary benefits, not who wins what.

The league rules are not, that I know of, published on the web. It is the agreement between teams on how to league championship season is run that is the controlling authority. If that suggests that the team leading the division at the time a season comes to an unanticipated end is the winner, so be it. Absent that, we are arguing semantics.
   66. Sam M. Posted: September 22, 2006 at 03:01 PM (#2184975)
If the strike occurred at 1 game, then the 1-0 teams, subject to the tiebreakers, won their division. It's obviously not a meaningful division title that they can brag about down the road, but win them they did.

Wow, Dan. You want the fact of the simple beginning of the season to count, and then the number of days from then to the end mentioned in the CBA (183) controls, completely. Whoever is in the lead when those days have expired, that's it, regardless of how many games have been played.

But even if the CBA controls (a proposition I don't accept anyway), the fact is it doesn't say just "the season consists of as many games as they happen to play in 183 days from Opening Day." It says it consists of "162 scheduled games over a maximum of 183 days." You are treating the mention of a specific number of games as if it is just a trivial aside. It's not; it's a central feature of the nature of the season. Any meaningful departure from that affects the legitimacy of the season itself, and it affects how we should treat the results of that season. Canceling one meaningless rained out game? No problem. Canceling a third of the season, having no post-season at all, and affecting a team's historic streak of division titles? BIG problem.
   67. Daryn Posted: September 22, 2006 at 04:08 PM (#2185041)
In the specific case of the Atlanta Braves, that (in turn) has unique application to what I think we should say about their streak of winning division titles.

I think we should say that the Braves id not win 14 consecutive titles and that they were unfairly deprived of the opportunity to win 15 consecutive titles by the strike.

When I speak of the Braves incredible run I say they won the NL East from 1991 to 1993 and 1995 to 2005 and that in 1994 the Expos won the division but the Braves were unfairly deprived of the opportunity to win that year since the season was short.

With respect to really short seasons (1 game for example) it is obvious that any division title would be next to meaningless. My arbitrary cut off is at 66 games, the number of games the Chicago White Stockings took to win the first NL Pennant. I'd accept 81 as a cutoff too.

I would hope that if there were a one game or 20 game season MLB would take an official position, something it hasn't done for the 1994 season.

What would have been interesting is if there were any ties at the end of the 1994 season. They surely would not have been broken which would have lent credence to the argument that the season meant nothing.
   68. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 22, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#2185062)
What would have been interesting is if there were any ties at the end of the 1994 season. They surely would not have been broken which would have lent credence to the argument that the season meant nothing.

It's clear that MLB doesn't consider the title of "Division Champion" to mean anything, as evidenced by the 2001 NL Central and the 2005 AL East. They didn't break those ties, either.

MLB is only concerned with playoff seeding, and they have a mechanism in place to determine that. It's clear that they've placed the emphasis on the postseason as the only place where "official" championships are determined.
   69. Daryn Posted: September 22, 2006 at 04:44 PM (#2185079)
Good point.
   70. philliephanatic Posted: September 22, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#2185200)
"...I say they won the NL East from 1991 to 1993"

At the risk of being a wise-ass, they actually won the NL West during those years.

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