Notes from around the Human Experience…
TAKE ME OUT TO THE ONE GAME WILD CARD PLAYOFF: The baseball playoffs began Tuesday with the New York Yankees defeating the Minnesota Twins in a one-game playoff to determine who opens at Cleveland Thursday. Tonight the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Colorado Rockies in the other wild card game with the winner getting sacrificed to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Let’s Cut To The Chase, Shall We?: Baseball is shooting itself in the foot with the current playoff schedule. The playoffs no longer captivate us like they used to because there are too many days off, games end too late and the World Series sometimes ends in November. All three of these elements present golden opportunities for fans to lose interest.
To help solve this problem we are pleased to offer The Daily Dose format.
Leading Off: First, do away with the wild card game. Yes, it does its job of keeping more teams in the pennant race for longer periods of time. It does this brilliantly, actually, with the first teams – the Giants and Phillies, of course – not eliminated until September 8 and the entire American League still had a theoretical shot at postseason glory as late as September 12.
But, honestly, the whole one-game wild-card playoff – and the average teams that chase berths in it – has an air of high school baseball regionals. We would prefer baseball expand to 32 teams with eight division champions making the playoffs, but until then we favor going back to one wild-card team.
On Deck: Second, let’s change the schedule. There are too many days off in the postseason, including the six division champions having either three or four days off before starting their series. This is a great way for the casual fan to lose interest because all the excitement and urgency that comes from playing every day is lost.
If The Wild Card Game Is Inevitable…: So let’s play both wild card games on Monday, the day after the regular season ends. Teams that are inconvenienced by this should have played better and won their division. No whining. We can all take a breather on Tuesday before the four division series start on Wednesday. Make it a 2-3 format instead of the current 2-2-1 format with no days off and the team with the best record can choose whether they want to play the first two games at home or on the road.
In The Hole: Next, let’s start the following series’ two days after the end of the preceding series.
For example, under The Daily Dose format, if both American League Division Series are sweeps that end on Friday October 6 the American League Championship Series (ALCS) would begin on Sunday, October 8 instead of making everybody wait until Tuesday the 10th.
Warning!: There is a drawback to this, though! Under this format it is entirely possible one LCS would end on Wednesday, October 11 and the other would end on Wednesday, October 18, giving the first team nine days off before the World Series starts on Friday, October 20. Oh well. This has actually happened in 2007, when the Colorado had eight days off before starting the World Series. Nothing’s perfect.
Oh Yeah: And, please, start no game later than 7pm Eastern time, unless they involve two western teams. Having games end after midnight on the east coast is also killing fan interest. An exception can be made for games involving two west coast teams.
FunFact: Under this format, If every series was a sweep the World Series would end on October 18 and if every series went the distance it would end on October 29.
The Bottom Line: Interest in baseball is waning. This is not a bulletin. Football long ago replaced the grand old game as our national pastime and your run-of-the-mill Sunday NFL game draws more viewers than a World Series game. However, this plan would give baseball’s postseason a shot in the arm. If the playoffs had the same everyday schedule as the regular season, and games ended early enough so kids on the east coast could watch the last few innings, the playoffs would have the same hold on this country as college basketball does in March.
“IN YE BEGYNNYNGE…”: The first English translation of the entire Bible is published on this date in 1535. Though translated by both William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale, today History refers to it as the Coverdale Bible. Previously, there had been English translation both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In fact, the New Testament portion was based on an earlier translation by Tyndale, while the pair translated the Old Testament from German translations by Martin Luther.
Though you might think the job of Bible Translator rather innocuous, both men drew the ire of the authorities. Coverdale spent no small part of his 90-plus years in exile, while Tyndale would be executed in 1536 for daring to oppose Henry VIII’s annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
Holy Living F*ck: Man reaches outer space for the first time when the Soviet Union launches the first artificial satellite on this date in 1957.
Rather small at 23 inches in diameter, Sputnik-1 would transmit a series of beeps that mesmerized the world – and scared the crap out of Americans – for three weeks and would remain in orbit until the following January when it burned up re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
The effect on America was profound. Though President Eisenhower tried to reassure everyone this was merely a scientific achievement and didn’t mean the goddamned Commies had taken over the world, Sputnik-1 did provide the impetus that got America off its keister. While the Soviets did put the first man in orbit and were the first to put a spacecraft on the moon, America ultimately won the space race by putting men on the moon in 1969.
Quotebook: If you insist on governing the people with rules, regulations, decrees and punishments, they will simply evade you and go about their business….If you were to govern by moral force and personal example, they will come to you of their own accord. – Gore Vidal, Creation
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Bobby Sands died on the 66th day of his hunger strike.
Today’s Stumper: How many orbits around the Earth did Sputnik-1 make? – Answer next time!