Hooray Baseball!!

3 Oct

My team stinks. They lost 100 games for the first time since 1966.

But I don’t care. This has been the best baseball season in a long time.  It has restored the game to its rightful place as the greatest sport in the country.

And I am totally shocked to say this but baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who was here for the 1994 strike, the steroids scandal, and a tie – a Fucking Tie! – in the All Star Game…

Dopey in the middle.

…is the best commissioner out of the four major American sports. David Stern (basketball) oversaw last year’s player lockout. Gary Bettman (hockey) presided over the 1994-95 lockout that resulted in an entire season being cancelled, and is presiding over another lockout that has already cancelled this year’s preseason. Roger Goodell (football) hired fake refs because he was too damned cheap to pay the real ones.

Bud Selig introduced the wild card and interleague play. Neither of these did most baseball “purists” (including myself) like. But the wild card has been, ahem, wildly successful, and interleague has become one of the best novelties around – there is something very cool about the Red Sox playing the Cubs or the Dodgers going to Yankee Stadium.

This year they introduced a second Wild Card. Now, the two Wild Card teams in each league play a one-game playoff to determine who moves on. Another invention that was pooh-poohed by the baseball intelligentsia.

Well, today is the last day of the regular season and, as of this writing, we still do not know who the two Wild Cards in the American League will be.

The Yankees have a one game lead in the AL East over the Baltimore Orioles. One team will win the division, one team the Wild Card. If the Yankees lose tonight and the Orioles win, they will be tied and will play a one-game playoff to determine who wins the division. The loser will then have to play a second one-game playoff (with either the Rangers or the A’s) to determine who moves on. 

And speaking of the Rangers and the A’s, those two teams are tied after 161 games.  And they are playing right now. [Update: Yankees, A’s take divisions, Orioles and Rangers get the less coveted wild card spots.]

Meanwhile, in the AL Central, the White Sox were in first place most of the year, but the Tigers snuck in over the last week to win the division.

Oh, and speaking of the Tigers, their star, Miguel Cabrera is close to winning the Triple Crown (highest batting average, most RBIs and most homeruns), something that has not been done since 1967. [Update: he did.]

The Baltimore Orioles have not had a winning season or been to the playoffs since 1997. Nobody, and I mean nobody, thought they would be 93-68 this year, only one game behind Yankees.

There hasn’t been postseason baseball in Washington D.C. since 1933. 1933!! Hell, the Cubs  have gone to the playoffs nine times since then. (Outcome irrelevant.) And now the Washington Nationals have won the NL East.

Not satisfied?

There have been seven no-hitters, including three perfect games pitched this year. To put that in perspective: including those three, there have been only twenty-three perfect games pitched since 1900.

So history has been made, we have teams no one expected to be good being great. And we have actual games that matter on the last day of the regular season. And my team stinks, and I don’t care because baseball is rockin’ it.

But here’s the story that I think represents how good the game is right now. It’s a total Today Show human interest story, but damn if I’m not a sucker for those (especially when it comes to baseball, Jews, the Chicago Cubs, or all three).

There’s this guy named Adam Greenberg, a nice Jewish boy from Guilford, Connecticut. He was selected by the Cubs 273rd in the 2002 draft. He was called up in July of 2005 and on July 9 of that year he made his major league debut, pinch hitting in the ninth inning. Here’s his entire plate appearance, wait for it….

Ker. Plunk.

I say his entire plate appearance because when you get hit by a pitch you don’t record an at-bat. Technically he was 0-0.

Greenberg suffered a concussion. To stop the headaches he slept upright. He had vertigo. He was released by the Cubs in 2006. He signed with the Dodgers minor league club. Then he played in the Royals farm system. Then in the Angels farm system. Then for a team out of Bridgeport, Connecticut, which is sad on multiple levels. He never again played in the Major Leagues. He was 0-0 and would be forever.

Well, no, of course he wouldn’t, it wouldn’t be a human interest story if he stayed 0-0 for his career, now would it?

Earlier this year a Cubs fan started a petition for a team – any fucking team – to give the guy an at-bat – one fucking at-bat – so that he could go in the record books as 0-1 or 1-1. The Miami Marlins (the team that plunked him in the first place) did just that. And Adam Greenberg had his one at-bat yesterday, October 2, facing Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

And in that magical world of baseball, where anything can happen, Adam Greenberg got his second chance.

And promptly struck out on three pitches.

But you know what? Topps is putting him on a baseball card. The boy is immortal.

So eat it, baseball haters and mean people everywhere.

And Happy October!

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