Tag Archives: World Series

Shutting down Strasburg: the dumbest move in sports history?

Most baseball fans already know — the Nationals are in first place in the NL East, but they’re going to shut down ace Stephen Strasburg after 180 innings to protect his young arm. Strasburg had Tommy John surgery two years ago, and the Nationals aren’t taking any chances. I don’t necessarily think he should go over 180 innings (I’m no doctor), but why are the Nationals doing it this way? He’s going to hit doomsday just before the season finishes and the playoffs begin. Sorry fans, sorry players, your first place team is going to be shorthanded when it counts.

In a similar situation, the White Sox have found ways to give Chris Sale extra rest throughout the season. Why not do that or even use a six man rotation? GM Mike Rizzo has favored a regular schedule for Strasburg on the advice of various medical experts. A six man rotation would be pretty regular. I’m not the first to suggest this — I just want to highlight how dumb this decision was. The Nationals have never been to the playoffs! They might miss their shot at a World Series because of this.

In celebration of the Nationals strategy, poll your friends/office mates and share the dumbest sports decision(s) that you can think of in the comments below. “Trading Babe Ruth” is a good start but not very original.

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Adrian the Canadian fixes the MLB playoffs

“But he’s Canadian,” you say, “So what does he know about baseball?” Well, he’s from Toronto, the team most screwed by the current system, so let’s give it a shot:

A few days ago, the MLB announced that it was expanding its playoffs to include a second wild-card team. Under the new system, the two wild-cards will play a single game that determines who goes to the divisional series. Response has been, at best, mixed. The strongest criticisms, like this one from ESPN’s Joe Sheenan, have taken a traditionalist perspective. Sheenan worries about what this new system will mean for deep-seated, and still exciting, elements of baseball like the pennant race. He sees the wild-card system as debasing what has historically been one of the most exciting parts of being a baseball fan: following your team through a tense September race to win the division. By Sheenan’s estimation, the old system encouraged top teams to play their best throughout the whole season. If you happen to be one of the two best teams in the league by regular season record but can’t win your own division, tough grapes.

I sympathize with Sheenan and other traditionalists. Baseball’s regular season is long and arduous and does a pretty good job of determining the “best” team (or, at least, a better job than other pro-sports at determining the best team). Meanwhile, baseball playoffs, due to the nature of the game, are pretty close to random. As Billy Beane said, “my shit doesn’t work in the playoffs” – seven and five game series are simply too short to give us a good idea as to which team is best. In the 17 post-seasons since the advent of the wild-card, the wild card team has won five times Continue reading

The NFL vs. the MLB

Noted left wing crazy Bill Maher got a lot of sports guys fired up last year by using the NFL versus the MLB as a metaphor for the Democratic Party versus the Republican Party and “fairness” versus “unfairness.” Here’s a stereotypical response from Allen Barra in the Atlantic. It’s even being dragged up again this year.

Maher’s argument is that NFL revenue sharing looks like socialism (what a dirty word!) and makes the NFL a “fairer” league, allowing small market teams like the Packers and Steelers to win Super Bowls, while the MLB lets big market teams Continue reading

Analyzing the Fielder signing further

David Schoenfield put up a fairly useless blog post about the Tigers signing Prince Fielder yesterday. It just became even more useless, as ESPN confirmed that Cabrera will shift to third base to accommodate Fielder (Schoenfield said this would never happen). I knew about this way before ESPN, thanks to Brother Evan passing along a local news link.

The real issue with Schoenfield’s post Continue reading