Thursday, August 3, 2017

MLB Week 17 - Adam Ruins Me

By Dan Howard
Staff Writer

I’m slowly becoming a fan of Adam Conover’s show “Adam Ruins Everything”. The show is based on the host, Mr. Conover, factually debunking several false ideas concerning certain themes.

One of my favorite episodes was the one about Christmas. I, myself, have conducted several studies about the commercialization of the most sacred holiday of them all, the birth of our Lord Jesus. There are many myths about a certain Santa Claus, of which I’ll not discuss in this baseball forum. Let’s just say “Google it.”

On his “Adam Ruins Football” episode, Mr. Conover stated that rarely the best football teams make the Super Bowl, and the percentages are even smaller in baseball. You know, he’s right.

From 1903 to 1968, the team with the best record in the National League and American League met in the World Series. Sometimes the team with the better record did not win the Series, as in the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 1954 Cleveland Indians, but neither team had to navigate two separate tiers of playoffs to get to the World Series.

Useless Trivia; the 1909 Chicago Cubs went 104 – 49 (.680) and finished second, 6.5 games behind league champion Pittsburgh Pirates (110 – 42 .724). In that season three teams lost at least 98 games, the Brooklyn Superbas (later Dodgers) 55 – 98, St. Louis Cardinals 54 – 98, and the Boston Doves (later Braves) 45 – 108.

Then, in 1969, baseball split into a four division format. This added an extra level of playoffs, a best-three-of-five series between each league’s division champions. Usually the league’s better team made the Series, although there were a few exceptions, like the 99 win Cincinnati Reds of 1973 losing to the 83 win New York Mets in game 5 of the League Championship Series. The Mets pitching got hot at the right time and took manager Yogi Berra to within one win of the World Championship, falling in game 7 of that year’s World Series.

The 1974 Reds won 98 games, and lost the West Division by four games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1980 the Baltimore Orioles won 100 games and lost the A.L. East to the New York Yankees by three full games. During the last real, and arguably the best pennant race ever, the 1993 National League West was won on the last day of the season by the 104 win Atlanta Braves getting by the 103 win San Francisco Giants.

More Useless Trivia; the 1993 San Francisco Giants were managed by Dusty Baker. Yeah, that one.

I wonder how the Reds would have fared the past four seasons if Baker stayed as manager.

The “Knock-Your-Socks-Off” moment; since baseball adopted the Wild Card in 1994, twenty-three teams have finished the regular season with at least 100 wins. Of those teams only three, you read that right, teams went on to win the World Series, the 1998 and 2009 New York Yankees, and last year’s Chicago Cubs. During the same time frame, Wild Card teams have won six World Series.

Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers fans, you have been forewarned.

This year the Reds are 8 – 1 versus Pittsburgh, 36 – 62 against everyone else.

I like the acquisition of Scott Van Slyke. His dad, Andy, is probably still scratching his head over Reds right fielder Paul O’Neill gunning him down at third base in game 2 of the 1990 National League Championship Series.

That was when Reds baseball was fun. Cincinnati baseball will be fun again when the sign “Under New Management” appears in the Reds clubhouse.

Have a blessed week.

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