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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Manfred: Expanded playoffs likely to remain beyond 2020

While appearing on a virtual panel organized by Hofstra University’s business school on Monday, commissioner Rob Manfred said the league’s expanded postseason format featuring 16 teams would likely return in 2021 and beyond, according to Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post.

“I think there’s a lot to commend it,” Manfred said of the format, “and it is one of those changes I hope will become a permanent part of our landscape.”

The commissioner added that “an overwhelming majority” of owners favored the expanded playoffs before the pandemic shortened this season to 60 games and necessitated the change.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 09:18 AM | 154 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: post-season

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 09:40 AM (#5976877)
Rob Manfred sucks. That is all.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: September 16, 2020 at 09:40 AM (#5976878)
Manfred is so ####### awful.
   3. giannis Posted: September 16, 2020 at 09:43 AM (#5976880)
Pull the plug on baseball, guys, there’s a better option, a sport with constant excitement and drama whose commissioner does not view their most loyal fans with undisguised contempt.
   4. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 09:47 AM (#5976882)
Christ what a horrible decision and I have to doubt half the owners are into this. Why would anyone watch regular season? half the teams are tanking anyways, so Im gonna watch the 79-80 Brewers play 80-78 Pit for the final WC slot. Oh wait the PIT are tanking these games to load up for next year. Exciting!
   5. flournoy Posted: September 16, 2020 at 09:56 AM (#5976888)
Spoiler: All of the terrible "temporary" rule changes are here to stay, permanently. The DH in the NL? Forever. Zombie runners in extra innings? Forever. Seven inning double headers? Forever. More than half the teams making the playoffs? Forever.
   6. Rally Posted: September 16, 2020 at 09:56 AM (#5976890)
Of course the owners are on board. It'll be great for profits to take away incentive to improve your team. Players should take a strong stand against this, if they want to see big dollar free agent contracts remain a thing.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 09:59 AM (#5976892)
Bud Selig may have brought all the worst qualities of being a used car salesman to his commissionership, but at least he liked baseball.

How will this affect Rob Manfred's Hall of Fame chances?
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:04 AM (#5976896)
"It looks like the Dodgers only have two regulars in the lineup for this game, as they continue to rest guys for the playoffs in two months."
   9. McCoy Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:13 AM (#5976901)
And so it begins
   10. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:14 AM (#5976903)

Of course the owners are on board. It'll be great for profits to take away incentive to improve your team


You kind of have a point there. BUt eh..really? you're gonna lose regular season revenue, no? And more importantly you're also going to lose INTEREST in general. If people stop paying attention to regular season now you've got to get them that much more pumped for the playoffs.

That's the sort of math involved here: there's a tradeoff between any decent team now has a chance at the championship VS no one's really been paying attention all summer long.

I dont think this is as simple as you're making it.
   11. McCoy Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:15 AM (#5976904)
I doubt 7 inning double headers are going to happen much beyond 2020 unless they truncate the seasonal calendar
   12. McCoy Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:16 AM (#5976905)
If you want 16 teams in the playoffs make it an 81 game season.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:20 AM (#5976906)

You kind of have a point there. BUt eh..really? you're gonna lose regular season revenue, no? And more importantly you're also going to lose INTEREST in general. If people stop paying attention to regular season now you've got to get them that much more pumped for the playoffs.


Owners are always short-sighted and will not be able to look over the pile of money in front of them. Most of the money is in TV, and the national TV deal will only go up, while the local RSNs are mostly locked in for another decade.
   14. jmurph Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:21 AM (#5976907)
Spoiler: All of the terrible "temporary" rule changes are here to stay, permanently. The DH in the NL? Forever. Zombie runners in extra innings? Forever. Seven inning double headers? Forever. More than half the teams making the playoffs? Forever.

Yes, and I think most of us said so at the time. The majority of these guys just straight up don't care about baseball.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:26 AM (#5976910)

As expected, my 2020 boycott of MLB will become permanent. Thanks Robby.
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:35 AM (#5976913)
"It looks like the Dodgers only have two regulars in the lineup for this game, as they continue to rest guys for the playoffs in two months."


in the NBA, it's called "load management."

and if you buy tickets to see a visiting star player, but he sits out while healthy - you will get no discount, and you will like it.

the NFL has added a 7th playoff team per conference this season. it does add incentive for a team to be the top seed and get a bye, at least. but adjust your Week 17 ticket purchases (if there are any) accordingly.
   17. jmurph Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:44 AM (#5976919)
As expected, my 2020 boycott of MLB will become permanent. Thanks Robby.

Clearly a lot of this is our shared favorite team dumping Betts, but combining that with the insane changes to the game, and I really can't articulate how much and how quickly I've lost interest.
   18. Rally Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:52 AM (#5976921)
Owners are always short-sighted and will not be able to look over the pile of money in front of them. Most of the money is in TV, and the national TV deal will only go up, while the local RSNs are mostly locked in for another decade.


Yeah. If owners were concerned that expanded playoffs would reduce interest in the regular season, we might see some resistance to the idea from their ranks. But no, apparently an 'overwhelming majority' supports it. Once they make expanded playoffs permanent, you'll reduce the importance of the regular season. Teams aren't going to get that interest back by competing harder for free agents.
   19. jmurph Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:54 AM (#5976922)
It also reduces the importance of the playoffs, at least to me.
   20. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:05 AM (#5976926)
To my great surprise, Bud Selig was not the worst commissioner MLB could come up with.

The randomness involved in baseball is already offensive. And this just jacks it up to 11.
   21. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:10 AM (#5976928)
combining that with the insane changes to the game, and I really can't articulate how much and how quickly I've lost interest.


I'm in the same boat. In the last five years, the Braves have moved to a location where it's a lot more difficult for me to attend games, and we've had children which eats up my free time to watch. The game changes are mostly "meh" for me (ghost runners are a nice novelty, but I really hope they don't keep that one). The bigger issue is that none of the changes that HAVE been made get to the pace-of-play problems that have been discussed at length.

Even so, I watched almost every minute of the playoffs last year, and probably will again this year.
   22. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:13 AM (#5976929)
so, i think the answer to this (if you want a lot of teams to make the playoffs, which i don't but let's start there anyway) is to implement my longstanding preference for things like best of four/six/etc type series - where the higher seed is "spotted" a game. makes the regular season still worth something.

the kbo (south korea) has adopted a more extreme version of this. from wikipedia:
KBO Wild Card Game: fifth-place team vs. fourth-place team
Fourth-place team starts the series with a 1–0 lead and advances with one win or a tie, while the fifth-place team must win twice to advance.
KBO Semi-playoffs: KBO Wild Card Game winner vs. third-place team
Best of five series.
KBO Playoffs: KBO Semi-playoffs winner vs. second-place team
Best of five series.
KBO Korean Series: KBO Playoffs winner vs. first-place team
Best of seven series.
   23. Greg Pope Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:29 AM (#5976935)
To my great surprise, Bud Selig was not the worst commissioner MLB could come up with.

QFT.
   24. Paul d mobile Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:39 AM (#5976938)
Has a league ever reduced the number of playoff spots?
   25. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:41 AM (#5976939)
I've suggested this before, but I'm going to do it again in the hopes that it catches on. There's a real easy way to get ALL the teams in the post season. Hear me out...

No regular season.

The first round of playoffs involves all the teams. Each team in each league will play all of the other teams in its league in series of three or four games. But each league will be split into groups of five, and each team will play every other team in its group more often then teams in the other groups. (You can allow for some cross-league games in the first round of playoffs if you want.)

After 162 games of the first round of the playoffs, the best team from each group, and the second place team with the best record (or you could have a one game sub-playoff between the two non-winners with the best records) advance to the next round of the playoffs. These teams are paired and each play a best of five series. Winner advance to the third round of playoffs.

In the third round of playoffs teams are paired again, and play a best of seven series.

And then you hold a regular World Series.

How about it? Let's let EVERYONE into the playoffs!
   26. Traderdave Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:42 AM (#5976940)
I never thought we'd have a worse leader than Selig/Bush but Manfred/Trump makes we wish Selig/Bush were still in office.
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:45 AM (#5976941)

How about it? Let's let EVERYONE into the playoffs!


ACC basketball coaches endorse this idea.
   28. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:49 AM (#5976944)
I haven't watched a minute of live MLB Network programming since March (although I did enjoy their airing of the pre-Rob Manfred glory of the Rick Camp game), much less any game action since the season started. It's mostly the encroachment on the game by the bookmaking rackets for me, but the nonsensical anti-baseball rule changes definitely aren't helping. Now that we've entered an era where even universities have "official gaming partners" (because in times like these what university administrators really need to be providing to students are innovative, convenient, and fun ways for students to gamble their tuition money on the school's football and men's basketball games), I'm about ready to pull the plug on watching live sports altogether.

Thankfully I have enough Strat-O-Matic games and seasons to scratch my sports itch for the rest of my life, where it can remain 1978 eternally.

And #### Rob Manfred.
   29. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:53 AM (#5976947)
"It looks like the Dodgers only have two regulars in the lineup for this game, as they continue to rest guys for the playoffs in two months."


This was my first thought. In addition to all the other garbage (division races that mean nothing, opening rounds of playoffs that no one cares about), this will produce even MORE roster churn and will result in better players playing less. We can debate what the health/entertainment effects are of resting players. As I said in the Cal Ripken Jr. thread, I'll always love players who play every day, but I acknowledge it's probably good for these guys to get a day off once a month. But this system will make the disparity between playoff importance and regular season importance even more vast, which means stars resting 20 - 25 games per season instead of five to ten.

   30. Lassus Posted: September 16, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5976954)
I'm more interested in what things are going to look like in ten years at this point. Contraction?
   31. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 16, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5976955)
The bigger issue is that none of the changes that HAVE been made get to the pace-of-play problems that have been discussed at length.
Changes that actually make the game itself more appealing to more people?? Heavens no, the union will frown at us!

What we really want is to try to make people who don't give a crap about baseball jump on a bandwagon for three days while their .500 team is eliminated from the first round of the playoffs. That's the only way to a sustainable future.
   32. DL from MN Posted: September 16, 2020 at 12:33 PM (#5976957)
I'm fine with 8 playoff teams per league... if they expand to 40 major league teams. 8 divisions of 5 teams - 1st and 2nd place in each division make the playoffs. That would mean adding 40 more minor league teams too (4 per MLB expansion team).
   33. giannis Posted: September 16, 2020 at 12:54 PM (#5976962)
In ten years, MLB will exist in the same way the NHL and the MLS and the WNBA currently exist.
   34. NattyBoh Posted: September 16, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5976964)
Sixteen teams make the playoffs while fourteen teams get participation trophies?
   35. Lassus Posted: September 16, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5976965)
In ten years, MLB will exist in the same way the NHL and the MLS and the WNBA currently exist.

While no one can see the future, I'm pretty sure that's an oversell.
   36. McCoy Posted: September 16, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5976967)
Brockmire to the rescue!
   37. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5976968)

Sixteen teams make the playoffs while fourteen teams get participation trophies?


Maybe the other 14 can play in meaningless exhibition games, like college football.
   38. . Posted: September 16, 2020 at 01:49 PM (#5976981)
Yeah, this is probably it for me too. The fifth team in each league made a lot of sense because it re-incentivized winning the division but more than half the teams making the playoffs and the advantage in finishing first overall and something like 16th overall being one extra home game in the "sweet 16" is just laughably ridiculous.

It's been a long time coming, of course; practically every development since the saber revolution has been deleterious and awful and then in that short span from 2012-15 or so, we had instant replay, a massive jump in anonymous middle relievers, intentional, overt, unapologetic tanking (*) backed by the nerds and geeks faction, the massive increase in shifts, and the final and complete coalescing of homogeneous oafball throughout the leagues. (I'll leave roid ball out of it, because at this point, I'd take 2003-04 over the garbage 2020 product without hesitation.) I've said it before, and this finalizes it: It's almost as if MLB is ruining their product on purpose. It's just a dreadful, dreadful product and now that the regular season has been rendered meaningless, it no longer has even that to commend it. If it's going to the desperation move of putting over half the league into a playoff crapshoot, the internal business measurements have to be positively awful -- which wouldn't really be a surprise given how terrible the fundamental sporting product has become. It's true that it really isn't a good match for the Instagram/highlights generation, but it can do way better than this.

(*) One could squint and maybe kinda come up with the rationalization that if over half the teams make the playoffs, the incentive for tanking will go down to almost zero, but unfortunately, this isn't true. Arizona and the other team that eludes me already overtly said last trade season that even the 5th spot isn't really worth changing trade deadline strategy, which meant the 8th spot clearly wouldn't be; and more importantly, tanking was never a baseball thing but a thing that the owners could use as a selling point to the nerds and geeks faction to keep their payrolls down and put more money in their pocket -- as we now see essentially confirmed with the Cubs saying they really won't be able to "afford" to keep everyone. And of course at the end of the day, even if this was true it would merely be getting teams back to doing what they should be doing without it.
   39. Lassus Posted: September 16, 2020 at 01:58 PM (#5976983)
in that short span from 2012-15 or so, we had instant replay

Expanded instant replay. It started in 2008.


a massive jump in anonymous middle relievers

Pretty sure this was earlier as well.
   40. Rally Posted: September 16, 2020 at 02:12 PM (#5976985)
“ (because in times like these what university administrators really need to be providing to students are innovative, convenient, and fun ways for students to gamble their tuition money on the school's football and men's basketball games)”

Did not know that, but wow. Let’s say a student takes out student loans and loses it all on university-approved sports betting. Typically student loans are not dischargeable, but I sort of remember an understanding that courts will not enforce collection of gambling debts. Could the student get out of paying?
   41. Astroenteritis Posted: September 16, 2020 at 03:19 PM (#5977007)
This is a horrible decision. We are seeing the continued attempt to repair what is not broken in baseball until, in fact, baseball is broken. So much of this seems to be due to appealing to folks with the attention span of a gnat, and the critical thinking skills of a bag of hammers. Well, ain't that America?
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 16, 2020 at 03:23 PM (#5977009)
Well, ain't that America?
Home of the free, baby.
   43. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: September 16, 2020 at 03:42 PM (#5977014)
40 - not my field but gonna guess no
   44. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 16, 2020 at 04:14 PM (#5977028)
Rob Manfred said the league’s expanded postseason format featuring 16 teams would likely return in 2021
Manfred better not say that on my lawn!
   45. AndrewJ Posted: September 16, 2020 at 04:17 PM (#5977031)
Rob Manfred said the league’s expanded postseason format featuring 16 teams would likely return in 2021


At this rate the larger question is: Will Manfred return in 2021?
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: September 16, 2020 at 04:19 PM (#5977032)
Did not know that, but wow. Let’s say a student takes out student loans and loses it all on university-approved sports betting. Typically student loans are not dischargeable, but I sort of remember an understanding that courts will not enforce collection of gambling debts. Could the student get out of paying?


Does the student typically get his hands on that money? Whatever usurious practices I've been involved with for my three kids has gone straight to the schools.
   47. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 16, 2020 at 05:06 PM (#5977051)
Does the student typically get his hands on that money?


Typically no, tuition money goes directly to the school. Now, it is possible to get loans for living expenses, but I don't know if those officially count as "student loans" for non-dischargability-purposes.
   48. Esoteric Posted: September 16, 2020 at 05:25 PM (#5977056)
Pull the plug on baseball, guys, there’s a better option, a sport with constant excitement and drama whose commissioner does not view their most loyal fans with undisguised contempt.
Giannis, I just want you to know that I stole this comment for Twitter and followed it up with the obvious answer: Professional Russian Slap-Fighting.
   49. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 16, 2020 at 05:32 PM (#5977057)
At this rate the larger question is: Will Manfred return in 2021?
Is there any reason whatsoever to believe that Manfred is doing anything other than exactly what the owners collectively want?
   50. . Posted: September 16, 2020 at 05:43 PM (#5977061)
The only national money for baseball on TV is postseason money; that's what's driving all of this. The value of national TV regular season games has become the functional equivalent of zero.
   51. Rally Posted: September 16, 2020 at 06:41 PM (#5977072)
‘Typically no, tuition money goes directly to the school. Now, it is possible to get loans for living expenses, but I don't know if those officially count as "student loans" for non-dischargability-purposes.‘

Yeah, i got a loan like that in grad school. When it was time to pay things back I just had a lump sum for student loans. The loan servicer would probably not have any way to know what part was spent on tuition, and what part on beer.
   52. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 16, 2020 at 07:39 PM (#5977079)
The only national money for baseball on TV is postseason money; that's what's driving all of this. The value of national TV regular season games has become the functional equivalent of zero.
That’s not correct - ESPN & Fox pay big bucks for regular season games, and Extra Innings & MLB.TV are also revenue producers.
   53. spycake Posted: September 16, 2020 at 07:59 PM (#5977082)
That’s not correct - ESPN & Fox pay big bucks for regular season games, and Extra Innings & MLB.TV are also revenue producers.


I'd be surprised if MLB.TV generated significant revenue. With the way they give away free and discounted subscriptions, I'd guess it's more of a promotional tool.

And is Fox paying big bucks for regular season games, or are they paying big bucks for a package that includes regular season games along with the postseason? Turner (TBS) is also paying for a package that includes postseason and regular season.

Last I heard, ESPN had yet to renew their deal with MLB, which apparently expires in 2021? I guess this might be a way for MLB to give them more postseason games, without taking away from Fox and Turner.
   54. Zach Posted: September 16, 2020 at 08:51 PM (#5977097)
Regardless, if you borrow money for some other purpose and lose it gambling, that's not a gambling debt. A gambling debt would be signing a marker at the card table -- it's money you owe to the person you were gambling with.

"I'm sorry, Judge. I would pay that mortgage -- honestly I would. But the truth is, I bet the money on the Super Bowl instead of buying the house, so it's now non collectable gambling debt. Don't blame me, blame Jet Chip Wasp."
   55. Cooper Teenoh Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:16 PM (#5977117)
I'm still trying to work out my thoughts on this, but it seems like we should see 2019 as the end of the Modern Era of baseball. The game lasted for a century in a form which was appreciably different from what came before; even the "Dead Ball" sections of the Modern Era were more like the rest of that Era than they were like the actual Dead Ball Era. With the changes that have been enacted (likely for keeps) to both game play and the relationship between the regular season and the postseason, I think the game is now cleanly in a new era. Many of those defining changes have been rooted in parts of the past, but the collection of them as a whole makes something different.
I think now is the time to begin to think of winning the regular season and winning the postseason tournament as two completely different things, each of which is a goal unto itself, like the various European football leagues. Give the Giles Trophy and the Harridge Trophy to the winners of the NL and AL regular seasons - although maybe pick better people to honor than those two relative nobodies - and give the Commissioner's Trophy to the winner of the Bullshit Postseason. The fact that the trophy is already named for the Commissioner seems fitting.
   56. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:29 PM (#5977122)
What we really want is to try to make people who don't give a crap about baseball jump on a bandwagon for three days while their .500 team is eliminated from the first round of the playoffs.

It's up against either college of pro football. Good luck with that, MLB.
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: September 16, 2020 at 11:55 PM (#5977127)
Pull the plug on baseball, guys, there’s a better option, a sport with constant excitement and drama whose commissioner does not view their most loyal fans with undisguised contempt.


what is this sport? I know it can't be real football, because the NFL sucks ass.... it can't be soccer, because grass growing is much more interesting, and anything that has teams that lose their standing simply because of a bad year, is just stupid on the face of it... XFL is somewhat fun, but who knows if they might have another season... NHL... I'll give you that... fun sport... NBA... god ####### no... a league that basically allows it's stars to flaunt the rules during the game... just doesn't work for me.... Tennis..... seriously??? golf? not a sport... Nascar? not a sport.... so what is this sport you are talking about?
   58. caspian88 Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:06 AM (#5977130)
Obviously it's curling.

Baseball has become so painful to watch that I haven't watched a game in over a year, despite ample opportunity to do so.

Meanwhile I've watched more than half of the NHL playoff games and almost every Sharks game during the regular season. That's actually proving fun because it's not stupendously slow.
   59. giannis Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:31 AM (#5977132)
48. Esoteric Posted: September 16, 2020 at 05:25 PM (#5977056)
Pull the plug on baseball, guys, there’s a better option, a sport with constant excitement and drama whose commissioner does not view their most loyal fans with undisguised contempt.

Giannis, I just want you to know that I stole this comment for Twitter and followed it up with the obvious answer: Professional Russian Slap-Fighting.

I demand recompense. Also: now I know who you are! I may very well have heard you on The 5th Column! (Not the music one because I hate all music, it's for the birds.)
   60. Esoteric Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:41 AM (#5977134)
I demand recompense. Also: now I know who you are! I may very well have heard you on The 5th Column! (Not the music one because I hate all music, it's for the birds.)
Yup, I've guested on their show and every member of them has guested on mine (some of them twice!).
   61. TomH Posted: September 17, 2020 at 08:23 AM (#5977139)
I would give on extra inning runner-on-2nd and NL DH and minimum of 3 batters per pitcher if we could only get FEWER teams in the postseason. FOUR slots per league. The one wild card has to play the team with the best record at best's home park.
MORE teams in post season is 10 times worse than every other mediocre idea combined. I thought banning the shift was the worst, but this is sooo dumb.
MLB fan since 1967.
Considering if I am still a fan in 2021.
   62. Scott Lange Posted: September 17, 2020 at 08:46 AM (#5977143)
Every few days when the Cubs' World Series win comes to mind, I give thanks that it happened just in the nick of time. Every change they have made in the last couple years seems calculated to spit in the face of everything I like about baseball. Killing the minor leagues. Cornball rule changes like zombie runners in extra innings and the universal DH. Expecting me to keep up with daily four hour games for six months, with the stakes for (say) a 105-57 team being "home field advantage in one extra game against an opponent who went 77-87." It's a wasteland. I haven't watched a minute of live action or spent a penny in the last two years, and it looks like I may never again.
   63. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 17, 2020 at 08:49 AM (#5977146)
what is this sport? I know it can't be real football, because the NFL sucks ass.... it can't be soccer, because grass growing is much more interesting, and anything that has teams that lose their standing simply because of a bad year, is just stupid on the face of it... XFL is somewhat fun, but who knows if they might have another season... NHL... I'll give you that... fun sport... NBA... god ####### no... a league that basically allows it's stars to flaunt the rules during the game... just doesn't work for me.... Tennis..... seriously??? golf? not a sport... Nascar? not a sport.... so what is this sport you are talking about?


This is the truth. Look, I have major issues with this decision and many other things MLB does but baseball, warts and all, is awesome. "giannis" has always been clear that he doesn't like baseball so I'm not sure why his opinion is interesting. Based on the screen name I assume he's referring to the NBA and my god he and I clearly watch two different sports. The NBA is god awful boring, I watched the two overtimes of the Celtics and Raptors the other day and good lord that was like watching paint dry. Dribble dribble dribble shoot a 3 from five feet behind the line. Wheeeeee. And the replay reviews were even worse than what we see in MLB.

I love hockey and (sorry cfb) soccer but baseball is just a better game. The NHL product right now is really good and soccer can be excellent but ultimately baseball is still a better sport than all the rest.
   64. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: September 17, 2020 at 10:52 AM (#5977162)
"I'd be surprised if MLB.TV generated significant revenue. With the way they give away free and discounted subscriptions, I'd guess it's more of a promotional tool." I've noticed more (not that much, but some) advertising on MLB.TV, which I assume is revenue. The league also does get significant revenue from subscriptions. It will be interesting to see at the end of the year how much their viewership/subscription base has grown. In comparison to all the other sports, the MLB app/MLB.TV was way ahead, one of the reasons why Manfred got the job, since from what I understand MLB.TV was in part his baby.

To me, baseball is still a great sport, and I still watch the games, but it really does need to address pace-of-play and other aspects which make games 4 hours long when the same game 50 years ago was played in 2.

If you have 30(+/-?) teams and a 162 game season, then it is in the interest of baseball to make as many of those games meaningful as possible. If I take some of the arguments against an expanded postseason to their logical conclusion, we should just get rid of the leagues and the divisions and the World Series completely, and just award a trophy to the team (out of 30) that wins the regular season, because that's the only true test, everything else (World Series included) has too large of a luck component.

So that might be the "moral" solution, but it wouldn't be the "entertaining" solution. Baseball had a huge problem in the 1950's and 60's because there were no divisions, so there were many games between teams which each had no hope for the playoffs, resulting in low interest and attendance in the hinterlands such as Kansas City.

It may be, by making more games "meaningful", in that one or both of the teams involved has a chance at the postseason, the expanded postseason will increase fan interest and enjoyment, and therefore also reduce the incentive for tanking. Baseball is not purely a moral exercise, it is an entertainment, and we have to remember that.

"give the Giles Trophy and the Harridge Trophy to the winners of the NL and AL regular seasons" - I think that's actually a good idea.

As a side note, I always thought that, in Hall of Fame/Hall of Merit arguments, the fact that no credit is generally given for good performance in the postseason (or bad performance in the postseason) is incorrect. Performing against a higher grade of competition in games of higher importance is valuable, whether or not it is "all luck", and folks should get credit for that. Bucky Dent did hit that home run, after all.
   65. Howie Menckel Posted: September 17, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5977165)
and it went almost 300 feet, too!

p.s. that was a regular season game - so not a great example on that front, either.
   66. DJS Thinks Apples and Oranges are Similar Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:11 AM (#5977169)
It may be, by making more games "meaningful", in that one or both of the teams involved has a chance at the postseason, the expanded postseason will increase fan interest and enjoyment, and therefore also reduce the incentive for tanking. Baseball is not purely a moral exercise, it is an entertainment, and we have to remember that.

How are there more meaningful games in a 16-team playoff? You're not adding meaningful games, you're just *shifting* the quality window for which teams have meaningful games. Teams like the Mariners, Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers have more meaningful games, but the NL West Dodgers/Padres and the AL Central Indians/Twins/White Sox jamboree don't actually matter. And even worse, with more playoff spots, each individual playoff spot means even less, so you have worse teams also fighting for a worse prize.
   67. friendofafriend Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:22 AM (#5977173)
Terrible news about the expanded playoffs, but if they're set on it, could they do byes and double byes for the higher seeded teams, to make the season meaningful? So the first round would be 5-8 and 6-7, the second round would be those winners vs. the 3 and 4, then those two winners vs. the 1 and 2 in the Division Series, and those winners in the LCS. The first round could be single game (or best of 3), and the second round would certainly be no more than best of 3. But after that, it could be as it is now: 5,7,7. And so there'd be something for the good teams to play for in the second half of the season. Am I crazy?
   68. Rally Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:33 AM (#5977176)
The NBA is god awful boring, I watched the two overtimes of the Celtics and Raptors the other day and good lord that was like watching paint dry. Dribble dribble dribble shoot a 3 from five feet behind the line. Wheeeeee. And the replay reviews were even worse than what we see in MLB.


The 3 point shot was an exciting addition to the game at one point. An extra, an alternative strategy if you were down late in the game. It was good as long as it was seldom used. The 3 was introduced in Larry Bird's rookie year, and he made 58 of them (.406 shooting). Then the next 4 years he made a total of 71, on .257 shooting. And won the MVP award the last year of that stretch. His career high in makes was 98.

Bird was a legend as a shooter, if the NBA had kept that kind of frequency for it's best shooters, and less for the rest, the 3 would be a positive addition to enjoyment of the sport. But if Bird were playing today, I'm sure his coach would demand he take 10 attempts minimum every game. The game can't evolve away from the shot, because it is more efficient. A team that tries to play early 80's offense won't win today.

So I think they need to consider whether to just erase the 3 point line entirely and make offenses go back to trying to get the closest shot they can.
   69. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5977181)
As a side note, I always thought that, in Hall of Fame/Hall of Merit arguments, the fact that no credit is generally given for good performance in the postseason (or bad performance in the postseason) is incorrect. Performing against a higher grade of competition in games of higher importance is valuable, whether or not it is "all luck", and folks should get credit for that. Bucky Dent did hit that home run, after all.


I'm fairly certain that in those discussions, the post season is mentioned plenty. It's just that for very few players, it's not going to make an overall difference to their argument. But there are a handful. Lou Brock is still not getting in the hom even with his post season performances, but it's part of the reason why some people around here have said that the hof/hom both got it right. Ortiz on the other hand, probably needs the post season moments to get out of the murk that is PED allegations, and his borderline war numbers. Now could we add more to the value of post season excellence? sure, if you imagine that each series/post season is a full season and assign war as if they played at that level for 100-150 or so games, you might be able to come up with a number to add to war to help flesh the argument out, but even with that jump in numbers, it's not really going to change anyone's status. There just aren't that many players who are borderline who have great post seasons to push them up the ladder.


Also, you do know that technically, Bucky Dent's homerun was in the regular season right? :) And even with a World Series MVP that same year, I don't see anyone putting Dent into the hof any more than David Eckstein. Larsen doesn't rate either. Etc.
   70. bunyon Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5977184)
Massive expansion: 40 teams in 10 mostly regional leagues. April through September regular season, most wins is the league champ. Make that be a big deal.

Then play a postseason tournament with the league runners up playing a best of three with the champ of the Mexican, Japanese, Korean, Taiwan leagues (I'd be fine adding Caribbean leagues, etc. Put 'em all in). The winner of those series advances to play the league champs in an 8 team tournament, best of 7s, played entirely at the high seed's stadium.


My basic problem with "expanded playoffs" is it dilutes without adding. If we're going to make crazy changes, go big.
   71. Howie Menckel Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:48 AM (#5977188)
on a more positive note, legendary baseball writer Roger Angell turns 100 on Saturday.
   72. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:48 AM (#5977189)
The 3 point shot was an exciting addition to the game at one point. An extra, an alternative strategy if you were down late in the game. It was good as long as it was seldom used. The 3 was introduced in Larry Bird's rookie year, and he made 58 of them (.406 shooting). Then the next 4 years he made a total of 71, on .257 shooting. And won the MVP award the last year of that stretch. His career high in makes was 98.

Bird was a legend as a shooter, if the NBA had kept that kind of frequency for it's best shooters, and less for the rest, the 3 would be a positive addition to enjoyment of the sport. But if Bird were playing today, I'm sure his coach would demand he take 10 attempts minimum every game. The game can't evolve away from the shot, because it is more efficient. A team that tries to play early 80's offense won't win today.

So I think they need to consider whether to just erase the 3 point line entirely and make offenses go back to trying to get the closest shot they can.


Bird himself said many times in the past that he felt the three point shot should be dunks or layups, reward teams for getting closer to the basket. I agree with this. There is something so unsatisfying about watching a team try to get a worse shot at the hoop. For me it's just not interesting or enjoyable.
   73. SoSH U at work Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5977192)
Then play a postseason tournament with the league runners up playing a best of three with the champ of the Mexican, Japanese, Korean, Taiwan leagues (I'd be fine adding Caribbean leagues, etc. Put 'em all in). The winner of those series advances to play the league champs in an 8 team tournament, best of 7s, played entirely at the high seed's stadium.


I've been advocating, with zero support, for an in-season single-elimination cup, which would start at Class A, advance two teams to a Double A tournament, two from there to a Triple A tournament and finally the two winners there to a 32-team tournament (grabbing up all 30 MLB teams) that would be played on Mondays in July-August.
   74. Rally Posted: September 17, 2020 at 11:56 AM (#5977193)
Bird himself said many times in the past that he felt the three point shot should be dunks or layups, reward teams for getting closer to the basket.


Sounds like something Shaq would say. I think that would just unbalance the game in the opposite direction. Do we really want a game where Andre Drummond is the ultimate offensive player? Just give them all 2 points, balance will assert itself.
   75. SoSH U at work Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:01 PM (#5977195)
Bird himself said many times in the past that he felt the three point shot should be dunks or layups, reward teams for getting closer to the basket.


The late John Thompson was the first I recall suggesting that, or perhaps he just noted it was silly to reward the least-desirable shots.

   76. . Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:50 PM (#5977209)
If you read Rosenthal's column in the Athletic today, it's clear that Manfred really, truly believes mainstream America is going to be spending early October filling out MLB playoff brackets en masse like they do for March Madness. They're not, and it wouldn't help the idea even if they were. It's just beyond preposterous that he wants to turn a Twins-Yankees "playoff" series into a replication of a Northern Iowa-Kansas single-elim game. He's utterly lost his mind.
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:51 PM (#5977210)
I love hockey and (sorry cfb) soccer but baseball is just a better game.


I love the soccer I played as a kid, professional is just so much about perfection and precision, (it's why I always watched indoor soccer and followed it for years) it takes the enjoyment out of it for me (same with basketball.... I think basketball would be much more enjoyable to watch, if they played to a score of 120 with either quarters being 30/60/90.---keep the shot clock though)

But everyone has what they like or dislike, and even what they like and dislike about a particular sport/entertainment could be different.

I haven't watched much baseball this year, simply because I'm not going to pay $30+ a month for a service in which the only channel I'm going to use routinely is Fox Sports Midwest. ($25 was even too high when I had sling, but I lived with it, because I didn't bother to have as many streaming services as I do now)

   78. karlmagnus Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:53 PM (#5977211)
Personally, I have always slightly preferred cricket, but they're messing that up too, inventing shorter and shorter formats. Real Men like 5-day Test matches. Great subtlety!
   79. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5977212)
Bird himself said many times in the past that he felt the three point shot should be dunks or layups, reward teams for getting closer to the basket. I agree with this.
I lost interest in basketball a *very* long time ago.

But I'd be interested in seeing this on one condition: raise the hoop a foot.
   80. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:56 PM (#5977213)
Bird himself said many times in the past that he felt the three point shot should be dunks or layups, reward teams for getting closer to the basket.


In the NFL there have been contradictory arguments similar to this, one group of people think that field goals should be worth more for the longer shots, while others argue that they should be worth more as you get closer. I like the latter argument more; FG over 50 yards is worth 1 point, over 30 2 points, 3 points for less than that (I could see 35 as being the break point also---from memory, it's 17 yards past the line of scrimmage for a field goal, so to get the full 3 points, you would have to be inside the 20.)


In basketball, I don't think I would agree to the argument that Bird proposed, basketball is a team sport, but scoring is more often about the skills of the individual, and you make up your team based upon individuals being able to do things like put the ball in the basket. It's not like football, where the basic strategy is to stop and reposition yourself and hope to improve your position on each play.
   81. . Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:57 PM (#5977214)
I've been advocating, with zero support, for an in-season single-elimination cup, which would start at Class A, advance two teams to a Double A tournament, two from there to a Triple A tournament and finally the two winners there to a 32-team tournament (grabbing up all 30 MLB teams) that would be played on Mondays in July-August.


America doesn't do cups, and it really doesn't do sustained success anymore. The NHL awards the President's Trophy to the team with the most regular season points and no one gives two shits about it. The Rangers won it in 2015 and every one of their fans would trade it without hesitation for not whiffing at home in Game 7 of the conference finals. It's not the slightest consolation for the whiff.

That's part of the reality Manfred faces -- baseball isn't set up for a game or two or three to really "mean" anything that means anything beyond luck or for three-week "Cinderella stories," yet Americans love their one and two and three "fraught-with-meaning" (*) games and their Cinderella stories and their hot runs. In fairness to him, baseball doesn't really work in the sports environment to which America has evolved.

(*) Even college bowl games, several of which used to routinely sell out just because of what they were, are losing cache and customers because of the fact that they're seen to no longer have the requisite "meaning."
   82. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:00 PM (#5977216)
Personally, I have always slightly preferred cricket, but they're messing that up too, inventing shorter and shorter formats. Real Men like 5-day Test matches. Great subtlety!


One day, I'm going to actually learn how to appreciate cricket, with sports like rugby, I know the basics well enough to enjoy just watching a random match, same with Australian rules football, cricket is more cerebral and to fully appreciate it, I feel you need to know more about the rules of the game than just the basic concepts.
   83. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:06 PM (#5977218)
Does the student typically get his hands on that money? Whatever usurious practices I've been involved with for my three kids has gone straight to the schools.


I've seen both, I guess it depends on the school. I went to a for profit institution and they set up the student loan, and basically the check was sent to their office, I had to go in there and endorse it for them to cash. My sister went to a state university (in the late 80's, early 90's) and she got the money directly and then pay out of that. I don't know if that is still the way it's done, but it she always made a big deal out of getting that check when it happened, it would feed her family, and maybe she would get around to giving some of that to the school.

   84. bads85 Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:06 PM (#5977219)
I've been advocating, with zero support, for an in-season single-elimination cup, which would start at Class A, advance two teams to a Double A tournament, two from there to a Triple A tournament and finally the two winners there to a 32-team tournament (grabbing up all 30 MLB teams) that would be played on Mondays in July-August.


Something like that was proposed by MLB to MiLB in their current negotiations.
   85. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:09 PM (#5977221)
One day, I'm going to actually learn how to appreciate cricket, with sports like rugby, I know the basics well enough to enjoy just watching a random match, same with Australian rules football, cricket is more cerebral and to fully appreciate it, I feel you need to know more about the rules of the game than just the basic concepts.


Cricket is a sport I wish I understood because it looks fascinating. Just before I turned 8 my father had a job opportunity in Scotland so we made the family trip to explore it. My mother was trying to figure out how she would amuse her already baseball-mad son so we found a cricket match on TV and just could not figure it out. I still just have no clue what is happening if I watch it. I've had people explain it at a basic level to me and I just don't get it.

I want to. I enjoy watching it even in the absence of knowing what the hell is going on. It's intriguing and the skill level, particularly of the fielders, is really impressive.
   86. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:12 PM (#5977222)
America doesn't do cups, and it really doesn't do sustained success anymore. The NHL awards the President's Trophy to the team with the most regular season points and no one gives two shits about it. The Rangers won it in 2015 and every one of their fans would trade it without hesitation for not whiffing at home in Game 7 of the conference finals. It's not the slightest consolation for the whiff.

That's part of the reality Manfred faces -- baseball isn't set up for a game or two or three to really "mean" anything that means anything beyond luck or for three-week "Cinderella stories," yet Americans love their one and two and three "fraught-with-meaning" (*) games and their Cinderella stories and their hot runs. In fairness to him, baseball doesn't really work in the sports environment to which America has evolved.


I have to agree with this. One of the areas where I enjoy my sports differently from a lot of my friends is my enjoyment of the day to day successes. I don't need "meaning" to enjoy something that is happening. You play a game, you try to win, that's the meaning. It seems like a very unhappy existence if your sports fandom comes down to "did we win the World Series/Stanley Cup/etc..."
   87. Greg Pope Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:13 PM (#5977223)
Just give them all 2 points, balance will assert itself.

They really should consider this. To oversimplify, there are 3 different scoring skills in basketball: shooting jump shots (Curry), driving (Jordan), and post-up (Shaq). When those are in balance, the game is interesting. Right now, the jump shots are ruling the game, which is incredibly boring.
   88. Greg Pope Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:19 PM (#5977227)
Cricket is a sport I wish I understood because it looks fascinating.

Where can I watch cricket without paying for a specialty channel? I have DirecTV but I don't think ESPN or ESPN2 has cricket.
   89. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:26 PM (#5977230)
Just give them all 2 points, balance will assert itself.


Yeah, this would be my preference too. My point (and I think what Larry was saying) is if you must reward something you should reward getting to the basket rather than standing 30 feet away.


Where can I watch cricket without paying for a specialty channel? I have DirecTV but I don't think ESPN or ESPN2 has cricket.


The only place I see it is on ESPN+ which I realize has a cost but I get it for soccer and hockey.
   90. Rally Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:26 PM (#5977231)
The Rangers won it in 2015 and every one of their fans would trade it without hesitation for not whiffing at home in Game 7 of the conference finals. It's not the slightest consolation for the whiff.


I can understand that. Angels having the best record in 2014 is no consolation for getting swept by the Royals.
   91. Rally Posted: September 17, 2020 at 01:35 PM (#5977234)
My point (and I think what Larry was saying) is if you must reward something you should reward getting to the basket rather than standing 30 feet away.


The shot itself is the reward, you'll make 70% of the ones near the basket and 30% of the ones 30 feet away. 3 point rule just distorts the natural incentive.

Let's bring back dinosaurs like Randy Wittman. He was a player who could not exist in the modern NBA. No range, he made 17 3 pointers in his career, no more than 5 in any season. No inside game either. He just waited around 15 feet from the basket and was open when defenses doubled on Dominique. He was good at his limited job, shot 50% for his career.

I always like that Hawks team because the roles were so clearly defined. C Tree Rollins was the defense. Doc Rivers was there to pass, Wittman to take the opportunistic open shots, Kevin Willis was there to rebound, and Dominique's job was to score.
   92. flournoy Posted: September 17, 2020 at 02:10 PM (#5977244)
Where can I watch cricket without paying for a specialty channel?


Any college campus with a significant Indian student population.
   93. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 17, 2020 at 02:32 PM (#5977255)
Even college bowl games, several of which used to routinely sell out just because of what they were, are losing cache and customers because of the fact that they're seen to no longer have the requisite "meaning."

When so many of the bowl games now only exist to provide 3 hours of cheap live programming in December for ESPN and feature 6-5 Middle Nowhere State University vs 6-6 Northern State University - Southwest who each finished 4th in their bottom-tier conference, even fans and alumni of the schools are right to conclude there's no "meaning" for the game to exist.
   94. VCar Posted: September 17, 2020 at 02:39 PM (#5977259)
could they do byes and double byes for the higher seeded teams, to make the season meaningful? So the first round would be 5-8 and 6-7, the second round would be those winners vs. the 3 and 4, then those two winners vs. the 1 and 2 in the Division Series, and those winners in the LCS. The first round could be single game (or best of 3), and the second round would certainly be no more than best of 3. But after that, it could be as it is now: 5,7,7. And so there'd be something for the good teams to play for in the second half of the season.


I thought about this too, since it has worked out well for college b-ball conference tourneys the past few seasons. only issue I see is that the #1 and 2 seeds are waiting around for 2 rounds and will have too many days off to stay in game shape.
   95. bunyon Posted: September 17, 2020 at 02:51 PM (#5977264)
I thought about this too, since it has worked out well for college b-ball conference tourneys the past few seasons. only issue I see is that the #1 and 2 seeds are waiting around for 2 rounds and will have too many days off to stay in game shape.

That's only if you give the lower seeds time to play comfortably.

4 8 team divisions, A, B, C and D:

Third and fourth place teams play a one game play off; A4-D3, B4-C3, B3-C4, A3-D4. (Fourth place tie breakers used, including, if necessary, a televised coin flip - no playoff to name the fourth place team). Games played in third place team's parks. Must name a 25 man roster for first three rounds.

The four winners from the first round must beat A2, B2, C2 and D2 twice in a day to advance. Games played in second place team's parks.

The four division champs get two days off and play the teams that emerge in a best of seven with all games played in the division champ's home park, no off days. After that, two days off and play the LCS and WS as usual.

16 teams are in but with a significant advantage to the division champ and a pretty good bump for finishing 2nd. Play the first two "rounds" on a weekend. Yes, it goes up against football but it's a bunch of do or die that can be hyped up. I can go for a hike before getting ready for the real teams.
   96. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2020 at 02:53 PM (#5977265)
I thought about this too, since it has worked out well for college b-ball conference tourneys the past few seasons. only issue I see is that the #1 and 2 seeds are waiting around for 2 rounds and will have too many days off to stay in game shape.


Yep that is a real issue.... I propose if they do that, that there is a random draw among non-eligible teams, where the higher seeds team are to have a 3 game series of 5 innings each during that time frame, where the winning team gets $1mil bounty to split among the players... this will give them incentives to play this meaningless game to keep sharp, and will encourage the non-competing team to at least try a little bit....

(not being fully serious of course, but I do see that there might be a need to convince a team to play a game or two of competitive baseball during the break.... for position players, that makes sense, for pitchers, there is a potential issue I imagine, so you would need to think of a way to minimize any risks)
   97. bunyon Posted: September 17, 2020 at 03:05 PM (#5977270)
There is no way to get a "real" game that doesn't matter. No one - eliminated team or team with bye - is going to take it seriously due to risk of injury. Two days off is no big deal.

There is no way to play each round as a series and give byes. So the early rounds should be low seeded teams who play near random games with no days off. It'll suck for them but not as much as being eliminated.
   98. KronicFatigue Posted: September 17, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5977284)
Three pointers can be fixed by not flattening the curve (har har) in the corner. Keep the arc an arc, and there isn't even any room to take corner 3's. So, you're eliminating the easiest 3 pointer and also allowing the defense to put more pressure on the 3's that are left.
   99. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 17, 2020 at 04:04 PM (#5977292)
flip
   100. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 17, 2020 at 04:04 PM (#5977293)
flip?
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