"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Outside Looking In

Well, this is awkward. The Yankees might already have stumbled off into the sunset, but eight teams are still alive. While the rest of the baseball world is gushing about the drama — the drama! — of October baseball, here we sit. About a month ago I ran into an acquaintance of mine who happens to be a Dodger fan. We hadn’t seen each other in a few months, so after we exchanged pleasantries he slid a knife into my kidney. “I guess you’ll have some free time in October since the Yankees won’t be playing.”

There was a hint of smile on his face, just enough to make me wonder if he was giving me shit or stating a fact. It didn’t matter. If I’m being honest, the silver lining of this cloud is that my life right now doesn’t revolve around the vagaries of Major League Baseball scheduling or Aaron Boone’s bullpen management. I know my friend suffered dearly on Saturday night as Clayton Kershaw self-immolated on the Dodger Stadium mound, and there was part of me that was grateful it wasn’t Gerit Cole and the Yankees suffering a similar fate. It turns out there is freedom in mediocrity.

But there’s also bitterness. I couldn’t be happy for Minnesota fans who got to watch their team win a playoff series for the first time in forever, so instead I wondered aloud why the Twins were celebrating as if they’d just won the World Series. Look away; I am hideous.

Because the baseball, I’m told, has been brilliant. Carlos Correa (sorry) continues to craft a postseason résumé that screams Cooperstown; Bryce Harper still rounds third like a man possessed, making all of us wish he had run through Hal Steinbrenner’s stop sign and into Yankee pinstripes all those years ago; the Arizona Diamondbacks have looked the Dodgers dead in the eye and wondered why they’re supposed to be scared.

It’s October, and it’s baseball. It just ain’t us.

Categories:  1: Featured  Hank Waddles  Playoffs

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1 Hank Waddles   ~  Oct 9, 2023 8:53 pm

In the first two games of their series, Dodger starting pitchers have gotten six batters out total. Which, you know, isn't good.

2 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 9, 2023 10:12 pm

[1] Good thing they play the games, instead of simulating them. In 2019, I remember how the Phillies didn't go for it at the deadline, because they were like, "Why would we do it, just to run into the Dodgers in the playoffs?" Even before the Nationals made them look so stupid, I thought it was very stupid. It's a short series, anything can happen! But it won't if you don't get in.

[0] In the meantime, at least the Rays are already out, and the O's are on the verge of going out. I can cheer plenty for the Twins as long as they send the Trash Can Bangers home. Once those 3 are all eliminated, the rest is gravy. Go baseball!

3 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 9, 2023 10:19 pm

Also pulling for two particular Twins named Sonny Gray and Joey Gallo. Maybe if the fans at Yankee Stadium had the good sense that the baseball gods gave Phillies fans, they'd both have played in more postseasons with the Yankees and the last 4 years (especially this one) would have been different. And we'd probably still have Jordan Montgomery, who the Yanks really could have used... Ah well.

4 RIYank   ~  Oct 11, 2023 5:55 pm

Wait, [2], there are no trash can Rangers. You're thinking of the Astros.

5 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 11, 2023 11:33 pm

Well, 2 of the 3 hundred winners are swept in the ALDS. And the Phils are up 2 to 1 with the Braves, MLB's best team this year. 100 teams making the playoffs might be more fun, but it seems rare that the bast team wins it all.

6 Hank Waddles   ~  Oct 12, 2023 1:52 pm

[5] This is my problem with the playoff system. The NBA could expand their playoffs to include every single team and they'd still end up with the top four teams in the end. Baseball obviously isn't like that. It's certainly exciting to see the Diamondbacks sweep the Dodgers, but they aren't a great team, maybe not even a good team. They had a negative run differential.

I guess it's good for these small market teams, and maybe it's even good that teams know they can't just buy their way into the World Series, but is this good for baseball? I'd be MUCH more interested in watching the Braves and Dodgers in the NLCS, two one-hundred-win teams, than I will in watching the Phillies and Diamondbacks. (And by the way, I know I'm supposed to love what's happening in Philadelphia, but I find it all a bit obnoxious. And don't get me started on Brandon Marsh.)

Oh, and I'm sure will see more playoff teams in the future, not fewer. It's a shame.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 12, 2023 10:24 pm

I agree that the system gives small market teams a better chance. Is it good for baseball? Well, there isn't as much money in it, especially looking at TV revenue. The Post Season typically doesn't reward the best 2 teams.

Anyway... the Braves lose the series, so now the top 4 teams are already eliminated.

I'm guessing it Houston against the Philies.

8 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 15, 2023 6:55 am

[6] [7] Yes but this is the system we've had for 54 years now. Does anyone think the 1987 Twins (85 wins) were better than the Tigers (98 wins) or the Cardinals (95 wins)? Yet they beat both teams. A little closer to home, the 2000 Yankees had the worst record of the 8 playoff teams, but they also won it all. Did that make them the best?

Yet both were exciting postseasons all around (Mets and Cardinals fans mileage may vary due to the Worlds Series) and while the outcomes were not the 2 or 4 teams in the regular season with the most wins facing off, they were and are still remembered as fun.

I much prefer the quality assessment the regular season provides (side note - IIRC even 162 games doesn't tell us who the "best" teams actually are given 30 teams; I think Russell Carleton studied this once and determined we'd need like a 242 game regular season to do that!).

But I don't think that makes the playoffs bad. It just makes it a tournament - and many people like when underdogs win in tournaments (myself included except when the Yanks lose to an underdog:) ). It doesn't have to indicate or mean anything, other than who won the tournament. For me, variance is part of what makes baseball fun.

9 Hank Waddles   ~  Oct 15, 2023 11:11 am

[8] Thanks, Shaun. This makes a lot of sense. And to your point, while I remember that the 2000 Yankees had the worst record of that run, I had no memory that they were also the eighth-best playoff team that year. We remember what we want, I suppose.

The other problem is that this particular year is a fluke. I can't imagine we'll see the top four teams all flame out very often. I will now sit back down on my porch and stop yelling at the clouds.

10 rbj   ~  Oct 16, 2023 7:33 pm

Kim Ng is now available, Hal. In case you’re interested in making changes.

11 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 16, 2023 9:19 pm

[10] I thought the name sounded familiar:
"In March 1998, she was recruited by General Manager Brian Cashman to work for the New York Yankees as assistant general manager, becoming the youngest in the major leagues, at age 29, and the second woman ever to hold the position"

12 rbj   ~  Oct 16, 2023 9:45 pm

Through in Bam Bam as the new manager and maybe Judge doesn’t get screwed on low strikes. Sort of like the Gretzky rule.

13 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 17, 2023 11:21 am

[9] This is a good discussion, Hank!

On a related note, this BP article was really interesting in terms of all these upsets (hopefully the spam filter doesn't freeze the comment)


14 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 17, 2023 11:27 am

[10] I suspect he isn't - and given why she departed Miami, I suspect she's not interested in coming back as an assistant GM, so probably a reunion isn't in the works. Sadly for us because I think she did a great job with the Marlins.

While I would not get rid of Cashman, it they did, Ng would be a great replacement.

Side note - wow, what a disfunctional mess that organization is. Seems even clearer why Jeter left now as well.

15 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 20, 2023 7:08 pm

“I guess you’ll have some free time in October since the Yankees won’t be playing.”
Well.. I guess your friend's season was all of 3 games more than the Yankees!

Can I assume we are all rooting for Texas (against Houston)?

I would like to point out that in April, ESPN polled their 'experts' as to what the post season would bring. It was the Yankees who got the most votes to win the division and to play the World Series. One even went to far as to say the Yankees, with Cole, Rodon, Nestor, Severino and German, hade the best rotation, and best BP in the AL.

While this team had/has flaws, on paper, Cashman did a decent job of putting the team together. But you got to play the games. Injuries and radically underperforming players killed us.

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 20, 2023 7:11 pm

SHIT! Houston scores 3 in the top of the 9th, on an Altuve HR, to take the lead, 5 to 4. I thought the Rangers had this one.

17 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 22, 2023 12:47 am

Am I wrong, or have they played 10 games, with the Home team losing all 10.

18 rob_smith_51   ~  Oct 22, 2023 7:44 pm

The home team didn't even have a lead until game 5 in the ALCS. The Astros took the lead though in game 5, trailed then came back to win at home.

19 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 23, 2023 6:24 pm

Arizona up 5 to 1, after 6 1/2. If they win, that will be 12 games without any Home team wins. That must be pretty rare.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver