As many of you know, I am a Michigan football fan (despite having attended OSU for law school, and having lived my whole life in Ohio – the UM fandom is a family thing). It’s been a rough decade, and this past week feels like the capstone. Indeed, UM hasn’t been in the national sports news for years, and suddenly you can’t miss them … for all the wrong reasons. Worse, the University’s, Athletic Department’s, and Coaching Staff’s response to this PR nightmare scenario has been a textbook study in how not to respond to a crisis. Some of you like to rip the Cubs for their perceived PR gaffes, but, to my knowledge, they haven’t yet issued a press release at 12:53 AM – one that contradicts what the employees have already said publicly, and admits to some errors (but mostly tries to pass the buck) – in order to try and avoid the news cycle. What an embarrassing week. I feel bad for the players.
- With the A’s, I think the question was a little easier: no, I would probably not want to see the Cubs have the precise year the A’s did, even though it included a nominal playoff appearance (they gave up so much to get there, didn’t go anywhere, and the future now looks murky). With the Pirates, though, I’m not sure I wouldn’t take it. In other words, if you knew in advance that the 2015 Cubs could have a year like the 2014 Pirates – competitive most of the year, winning a Wild Card spot, losing that game, but with the future still looking bright – wouldn’t you take it? Would you lock down that kind of season now (and then have your memory wiped so that you could experience it fresh), or would you rather roll the dice in the hopes that the Cubs could do even better in 2015? I think these kinds of questions are fun.
- BN’er Mike passes on an interesting link: a look at the replay stats from this season. The Cubs did a whole lot of challenging, even if their success rate wasn’t great. I say … good. Better to challenge more often (even if you’re wrong) than to let the challenge go unused. To my memory, there was only one time this season where an early incorrect challenge cost the Cubs an opportunity to challenge later. Also in there: Rick Renteria was ejected as much as any manager in baseball this year.
- The October 11th NLCS game will be broadcast on Fox, but it’ll also be broadcast on FoxSports1 with a different, statistically-friendly bent. This is potentially the start of something awesome.
- Wow. We should do some fundraising, shouldn’t we? For this, I mean:
— Daytona Tortugas (@daytonatortugas) October 1, 2014
- For no reason in particular – probably the lack of excitement during the game – I started wondering while watching last night’s NL Wild Card Game how the 2001 Mariners won 116 games, in terms of their individual player WAR totals. It had to be nuts, right? So I checked on FanGraphs, and, yeah, it was nuts. The Mariners had ten(!) positional players with at least 2.2 WAR. They had five(!) positional guys worth at least 4.6 wins. Their entire rotation was worth at least 2.0 WAR. They had almost no sub-replacement performances from anyone, even marginal bench guys. It was just an unbelievably dominant year.
- From the game last night, the best “can you help me find my seat” ever:
- If you missed this week’s BNTV, you can watch it here. I say don’t expect anything from 2015, but not because I’m not excited: