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Monday, June 22, 2020

Does A Short-Season MLB Champ Deserve An Asterisk?

Teams that led their divisions at the 50-, 60- and 70-game mark — by win percentage1 — were even more likely to go on to make the playoffs. Just over 72 percent of teams leading their respective divisions through 70 games went on to make the postseason, compared with 67.7 percent through 60 games and 63 percent through 50 games. The more games that are played, the better picture we get of who the best teams are; but as seen at the 50-game mark, most division winners establish themselves early.

But how many go on to win the World Series? Only two eventual title winners since 1995 did not have a winning record through 50, 60 or 70 games: the 2003 Florida Marlins and the 2019 Washington Nationals, which had losing records at all three thresholds. The average number of wins for title winners through 50 games was 29.9, or a .598 win percentage. That was 36.2 wins through 60 games (.603 win percentage) and 41.8 wins through 70 games (.597 win percentage).

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 22, 2020 at 01:35 PM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus

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   1. Adam Starblind Posted: June 22, 2020 at 02:18 PM (#5958737)
Who cares?
   2. Adam Starblind Posted: June 22, 2020 at 02:21 PM (#5958739)
To put it another way, fans of the winning team won't give it an asterisk, and I don't think fans of other teams will really care.
   3. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 22, 2020 at 02:43 PM (#5958744)
#1 is correct. #2 is also correct.
   4. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 22, 2020 at 02:48 PM (#5958746)
#3 is correct.
   5. Ron J Posted: June 22, 2020 at 02:53 PM (#5958749)
Never Mind
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 22, 2020 at 03:00 PM (#5958752)
#7 is correct
   7. Adam Starblind Posted: June 22, 2020 at 03:00 PM (#5958753)
:-)
   8. Karl from NY Posted: June 22, 2020 at 03:00 PM (#5958754)
#8 is not correct.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 22, 2020 at 03:15 PM (#5958759)
Yes, but not as large a one as the Astros get.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 22, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5958760)
The '81 Dodgers don't have an asterisk even though they only played 100 games and wouldn't have made the playoffs had they not done the stupid split-season thing, so, it feels like an asterisk season, but 20 years from now I doubt anyone looks at this year's title winner as an asterisk'd champion. Flags fly forever.
   11. Rally Posted: June 22, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5958766)
That's the team I was thinking of. Based on the rules in place to start the 1981 season, the NLCS should have been between the Reds and Cardinals, but neither team even made the playoffs. My impression is there was some bitterness among Reds fans, mostly because that was the last gasp of a once great team, they collapsed completely in 1982. Not so much for the Cardinals, since they had a sort of OK season in 82.

Dodgers had a lot of great moments on the way to winning that championship, Fernando was cool, and in the end I think most baseball fans felt they deserved what they won.
   12. Karl from NY Posted: June 22, 2020 at 03:46 PM (#5958772)
Yeah, there's really no asterisk for the championships. The teams still won their way through as many or more playoff layers. Nobody cares which NBA/NHL titles came from the various shortened seasons.
   13. JRVJ Posted: June 22, 2020 at 03:50 PM (#5958774)
The world is going through the worst pandemic it's seen in a 100 years.

IF MLB manages to have a 2020 season, it'll have to be a short one, with a ton of risk for everybody involved (for some reason, nobody seems to mention Umpires, but I'd be scared out of my mind if I were an Umpire during a 2020 MLB season, as they skew rather older than ballplayers).

Phrased differently, not only would I not countenance an asterisk, I'd think of every person involved with a 2020 season (and probably a 2021 season) as the bravest, most elite MFers ever involved with baseball.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: June 22, 2020 at 04:47 PM (#5958794)
Is that how you think of the people boarding cruise ships on August 1st? Or the recent Trump rally attendees?
   15. Zach Posted: June 22, 2020 at 04:48 PM (#5958795)
Who cares?

The limitations of 2020 baseball are all too clear to everyone involved. But everyone is dealing with the same limitations, so if the quality of play can be maintained, I say "Play Ball!"

At some point, we'll probably end up treating 2020 like one of the war years. All stats will be considered valid, with the understanding that they're not directly comparable to normal years.
   16. RJ in TO Posted: June 22, 2020 at 05:04 PM (#5958799)
Is that how you think of the people boarding cruise ships on August 1st?
I know you know there's a COVID-19 thread.

Or the recent Trump rally attendees?
I have no idea what good you think will come of bringing this up.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 22, 2020 at 05:08 PM (#5958801)
Context always matters, and many aspects of 2020 will be different than other years, including MLB. Just as we remember the spit-season strike year, we’ll remember the 2020 short-season, 4-tier playoffs, if it comes off. Whoever wins will deserve it, and no asterisk is needed.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: June 22, 2020 at 05:30 PM (#5958810)
I think we'll remember any quirky individual results much more than docking the winner. When I recall the strike season of 81, my first thought is the four-person tie atop the HR leaderboard.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: June 22, 2020 at 05:30 PM (#5958811)
The Dodgers are 60-19 over in sim land, I don't know why we'd even bother having a season. :-)
   20. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: June 22, 2020 at 06:35 PM (#5958828)
I hate the idea of official record books giving an asterisk or anything else like that. The season took place, the events happened, they count. Those are the records. If someone wants to feel a certain way about an event they are welcome to feel how they feel.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: June 22, 2020 at 06:47 PM (#5958831)
I hate the idea of official record books giving an asterisk or anything else like that.


I'm the opposite. I've never been bothered by asterisks, which just strike me as a way of providing additional information or context.

I always thought it would be perfectly reasonable for MLB to continue to note the 154 and 162 game records. I never saw the harm.

   22. CFBF's Overflowing Pathos Posted: June 22, 2020 at 07:07 PM (#5958835)
This seems like one of those "problems" that will take care of itself without any kind of official asterisk or record book notation.

Everyone will know the winner of the 2020 World Series will be the champions of a 50-game (or 60-game or whatever) season. People will informally regard it as being different than a traditional, 162-game champion in some way that varies from person to person, which is normal. There will be plenty of arguments as to just what it means that the 2020 Tigers managed to claw out a fluky 33-27 record, sneak into the playoffs and roll off the unlikeliest postseason run in baseball history, and that's normal too. It'll become part of the game's history - a weird part, to be sure, but there are plenty of weird things in baseball history that we still argue about today.
   23. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 22, 2020 at 07:22 PM (#5958838)
I always thought it would be perfectly reasonable for MLB to continue to note the 154 and 162 game records. I never saw the harm.


Bonds holds both.
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 22, 2020 at 07:36 PM (#5958842)
Everyone will know the winner of the 2020 World Series will be the champions of a 50-game (or 60-game or whatever) season.


The proposed expanded playoff field could be another contributing factor, with regard to asterisks.
   25. dejarouehg Posted: June 22, 2020 at 08:12 PM (#5958848)
I'm stunned that this group is so accepting of the season's outcome. I think the season is a farce, especially now with the players rejection it looks like the season will be even shorter. I hope my teams (sorry, I root for the Mets and Cubs,) don't win. Not legitimate to me. Given my choice, I'd root for Cleveland, SD or Seattle, in that order. While it would be phony to me, maybe it will bring those teams some joy.

I still think the entire season should be bagged.

As for the comment about characterizing the participants
as the bravest, most elite MFers ever involved with baseball
maybe, maybe not. I do know they don't hold a candle to the people working in my supermarket or hospital, or my Amazon delivery person.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: June 22, 2020 at 08:20 PM (#5958851)
Bonds holds both.


My comment wasn't limited to the home run record. I think it's reasonable to list all single-season records, breaking down for 154- and 162-length seasons.

   27. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: June 22, 2020 at 08:24 PM (#5958852)
I have no problem with listing separate records based on season length. That’s entirely reasonable. To me an asterisk seems a way of diminishing an achievement which I think is the purview of historians not of record books. Perhaps that’s just semantics.
   28. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: June 22, 2020 at 08:26 PM (#5958855)
Just to expand on the above. For me the record books (BBRef, etc...) are simply that, a recording of what occurred. It’s up to the reader to compare Bob Gibson’s 1.12 and Pedro Martinez’ 1.74.
   29. Jay Z Posted: June 22, 2020 at 09:33 PM (#5958876)
I'm stunned that this group is so accepting of the season's outcome. I think the season is a farce, especially now with the players rejection it looks like the season will be even shorter. I hope my teams (sorry, I root for the Mets and Cubs,) don't win. Not legitimate to me. Given my choice, I'd root for Cleveland, SD or Seattle, in that order. While it would be phony to me, maybe it will bring those teams some joy.


And maybe some guy just wants to watch a ball game and not worry about some ####### nerd recordbook.

Nerds really do ruin everything.
   30. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 22, 2020 at 10:15 PM (#5958881)
I agree with everyone who says the World Series winner should be listed with all the others, no asterisk. Now if somebody hits .425 or puts up a .96 ERA, that's another issue.
   31. Astroenteritis Posted: June 22, 2020 at 10:23 PM (#5958882)
If my team won the World Series in a 50-60 game season I would celebrate about 33% of normal. And yes, I still celebrate 2017 at 100%, asterisk or no.
   32. Booey Posted: June 22, 2020 at 11:51 PM (#5958894)
I'm in the no asterisks on a champion under any circumstances camp, and I also don't see the point of acknowledging separate records due to season length, either. While there may not be any harm of doing so (other than confusion), I don't really see any benefit either.

Rate stats in a significantly shortened season though, yeah, that needs to be looked at a little (or a lot) differently. Or what #30 said.
   33. Rally Posted: June 23, 2020 at 09:03 AM (#5958931)
as to just what it means that the 2020 Tigers managed to claw out a fluky 33-27 record, sneak into the playoffs and roll off the unlikeliest postseason run in baseball history


How would this work?

1. With no minor league to put him in, and the draft happening well before the season starts, Spencer Torkelson starts at third base on opening day and turns out to be the rare player, like Winfield and Olerud*, who need no minor league seasoning. Hits .300 with 20 homers to win rookie of the year.
2. Miguel Cabrera has a dead cat bounce season
3. Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Alex Faedo, #1 picks from 2016-18, all make the jump from AA (where they pitched well last season) to good big league starters.
4. A whole lot of luck

*Olerud was picked in the 3rd round of 1989. Blue Jays seemed to know he was ready to play in the big leagues right away, and they were certainly correct on that. Yet 78 players were picked ahead of him, including 3 by the Jays. They took Eddie Zosky, Mike Moore (not the one you might think of, an OF who never played MLB), and Brent Bowers ahead of Olerud.

Looking it up, there were reasons. Teams were scared off by his medical history (near fatal aneurysm) and he did sign one of the biggest contracts out of the draft.
   34. Bug Selig Posted: June 23, 2020 at 11:21 AM (#5958945)
5. Brandon Inge returns... as a closer.
   35. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 23, 2020 at 04:16 PM (#5959023)
From your lips (well, keyboards) to God's ears, gentlemen.
   36. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 23, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5959082)
I'm stunned that this group is so accepting of the season's outcome.


Eh, if they're going to play with a universal DH and ghost runners, they can light the whole league on fire for all I care.
   37. Booey Posted: June 23, 2020 at 08:55 PM (#5959114)
#36 - I think at this point a lot of fans just want baseball and they'll take it in any form they can get. The options aren't normal rules vs gimmicky new rules, it's gimmicky new rules vs no games period. It's a lesser of two evils thing.
   38. SoSH U at work Posted: June 23, 2020 at 08:58 PM (#5959117)
I think at this point a lot of fans just want baseball and they'll take it in any form they can get.


That's my view. But rather than taking any form of MLB, I'm just going for some other league/level of play.
   39. Booey Posted: June 24, 2020 at 12:41 AM (#5959165)
Since they're already apparently using this season as a guinea pig to test out new ideas, wouldn't it also be the perfect time to debut the pitch clock and other time saving measures? Just say it's for safety reasons since the longer the players are interacting with each other, the higher chance they have of contracting the 'Rona. Health is our only concern!
   40. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 24, 2020 at 12:58 AM (#5959167)
Since they're already apparently using this season as a guinea pig to test out new ideas, wouldn't it also be the perfect time to debut the pitch clock and other time saving measures?
In another thread someone similarly argued that MLB should introduce the robo-home plate umpire as a safety measure, but 2020 is already weird enough without any further innovations, IMHO.
   41. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 24, 2020 at 01:52 AM (#5959172)
The options aren't normal rules vs gimmicky new rules, it's gimmicky new rules vs no games period.


Yes, and in this scenario, I’d legitimately prefer no baseball to what we’re getting. Others may disagree, and if they do, good luck to them, but there’s no way I’d ever pay any money for this ####.
   42. JJ1986 Posted: June 24, 2020 at 07:35 AM (#5959184)
If he were otherwise perfect, Manfred's weird obsession with the runners-on-second-extra-innings rule would render him unfit to be commissioner.
   43. PreservedFish Posted: June 24, 2020 at 08:18 AM (#5959187)
Since they're already apparently using this season as a guinea pig to test out new ideas, wouldn't it also be the perfect time to debut the pitch clock and other time saving measures


They obviously do not care about these things.
   44. pikepredator Posted: June 24, 2020 at 01:33 PM (#5959261)
My ideal form of baseball is one with pitchers and catchers and fielders and hitters, so I'm good with this. Runner on second will be weird. But the strike zone was once weird and new and I'm sure upsetting to some traditionalists.

   45. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: June 24, 2020 at 05:01 PM (#5959315)
Flags from 50 game seasons fly for 1/3rd of forever, which, conveniently, is also forever.

But I can't believe that Major League Baseball is going to use ghost runners. There isn't even a problem that that's trying to solve.
   46. puck Posted: June 24, 2020 at 05:12 PM (#5959318)
Does one division stand to be particularly weak or have two bottom feeders like the 2019 AL Central? The weird schedule could create some fluky results. Maybe that's how the Tigers got to 33-27.
   47. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: June 24, 2020 at 05:56 PM (#5959324)
I'm not incredibly happy with some of the tweaks they did (or didn't) make, but I am incredibly happy that my sons and I get to watch Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon hit baseballs really hard. And we get to root for them to make the playoffs and win the World Series. I reserve the right to change my mind, but I simply can't imagine that this form of MLB will somehow be worse than no baseball at all. I'm excited for it to begin.
   48. Bhaakon Posted: June 24, 2020 at 06:06 PM (#5959327)
Asterisks for context don't bother me at all. The record books are dry records of things that happened, and a significantly truncated season is on track to be a thing that happened worthy of recording. If a gruelingly long season is historically a defining aspect of MLB and its process of selecting a champion, then passing over a diminished season without comment is just as much a decision to offer commentary on records as making explicit not of it. In that case, I'd tend towards the option that provides more information rather than less.

If MLB traditionally played 162 games just to determine seeding in a single-elimination tourney to choose its champ, then there wouldn't be much reason to note a difference.
   49. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 24, 2020 at 07:17 PM (#5959341)
My comment wasn't limited to the home run record. I think it's reasonable to list all single-season records, breaking down for 154- and 162-length seasons.

It's not just reasonable, it's simply common sense from the POV of having a level playing field.

--------------------

I have no problem with listing separate records based on season length. That’s entirely reasonable.

That's what Ford Frick said when Maris was chasing Ruth's record, and for his troubles he got an "asterisk" put in his mouth by sportswriters.
   50. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: June 24, 2020 at 07:20 PM (#5959343)
60 is a rather enormous step down from any other modern shortened season. (The Dodgers' 1981 season was 110 games, not 100.)

Because of that I do think this one will be viewed differently. There shouldn't be a literal asterisk -- whoever wins won under the only season and playoff structure that was available, and as noted under trying circumstances -- but I think purely as a marker of team "greatness" it will definitely be viewed as something less than a "normal" season champ.

As a Red Sox fan, let me put it this way: if the title drought was still ongoing, and they finally won it in a 60-game season, I *absolutely* would celebrate...but it absolutely would feel a bit diminished.

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