In the offseason, MLB changed its rulebook. Most of the stories about the rule changes dealt with the abolition of the fake to third, throw to first pickoff move. Also, MLB is allowing interpreters on the mound now.
But there were also changes made to the rules on suspended games, Rule 4.12. In the past, if a visiting team had come from behind to take the lead or tie a game and the home team didn’t get a chance to bat, the game would be suspended.
This year, which was news to me until it came up during Thurdsay night’s Royals-Cardinals game, allowed for a game to be called in that situation and have the score revert back to the last completed inning if it were the last scheduled game between the two teams.
Last night, the Royals trailed the Cardinals 2-1 in the 9th, but rallied for 3 runs. Then it started raining. And raining. And raining. And raining. After 4 hours and 32 minutes, the game restarted and the Royals closed out a 4-2 win.
However, I thought the game should be suspended. People on Twitter thought the game should be suspended. Links to the rule were published on Twitter. I went and looked them up. I couldn’t find this rule change.
As it turned out, MLB.com still had the 2012 rule book on its website (I have a cached copy, so the link (http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2012/Official_Baseball_Rules.pdf) won’t work. However, this morning, the link takes you to the updated version.
A couple weeks ago, I got a friendly reminder from MLB.com that my Gameday audio subscription was going to be automatically renewed. That happened last year also.
Then I started reading all the rave reviews about the MLB At Bat app online as if it were the Second Coming of Babe Ruth, Jesus, and Buddha all put together.
So I downloaded it on to my phone through Google Play. But to get all the functionality, I needed to pay $19.99. So I did. Got a receipt by email.
Then, nothing worked. I was told by the app that purchase was not recognized. (Looked like a purchase to me!) I then went and called MLB.com Customer Service. It’s where questions go to die.
Calling tech support for anything that requires me to spell out my name on the phone is always tricky because my name is hard to understand over the phone since it contain five letters that sound the same when spoken out. I’m not sure why some people think I would spell my name Timnermanm.
I was told that I didn’t have a valid Gameday audio subscription. And that made sense since my credit card on file was three years old and had me living in a city where I hadn’t resided since February of 2011. (This didn’t cause trouble in 2011 or 2012 though. MLB.com has magical powers for getting money out of invalid credit cards.)
So, I went and got a Gameday audio subscription. But it still wouldn’t work on my phone.
Today, I was told that I shouldn’t have a bought a Gameday subscription on a computer. I could only buy it online. So they cancelled the other subscription. And now the app on the phone works.
Until MLB.com tells me I don’t exist any more.
It’s been a rough week. First, my coworkers have been making fun of my haircut and then MLB.com tells me I don’t exist.
The St. Louis Cardinals won their NL Division Series over the Washington Nationals with a come from behind 9-7 win in Game 5.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright lasted just 2 1/3 IP. But Wainwright’s outing was far from the shortest for a starter on the winning team in a winner-take-all game postseason game.
In 1924, Washington started Curly Ogden and he came out after 1/3 IP, but that was by the design of Nats manager Bucky Harris, who wanted to gain a platoon edge over Giants first baseman Bill Terry. Washington won the game 4-3 in 12 innings.
The next year, Pirates starter Vic Aldridge lasted 1/3 of an inning in Game 7 against Washington. He came out because he was getting he had given up two hits and three walks. The Pirates rallied to win 9-7.
Wainwright did match Don Larsen’s 2 1/3 IP start for the Yankees in their Game 7 win over Milwaukee in 1958.
From 1969 through 1984, when all the League Championship Series were best of five series, home field advantage alternated divisions. When the Division Series started in 1995, at first home field was awarded on a rotating basis. Those series were all 2-3. In 1999, Division Series changed to a 2-2-1 format, with teams with the better record getting home field in Game 5. For this year only, MLB has changed the Division Series back to a 2-3 format because of scheduling concerns.
In the 1981 split season, the first half winner got home field advantage in a 2-3 format.
This year, Oakland, the AL West champ, finished six games better than the AL Central champ, Detroit. The Tigers won the first two games of their Division Series at Comerica Park.
So, how have teams that were six or more games better than their opponent fared when starting on the road of a five-game series in a 2-3 format.
- 1969 - The Mets finished seven games better than the Braves, but started the first NLCS in Atlanta. The Mets swept the series in three games.
- 1970 - The Reds finished 13 games better than the Pirates and started the series in Pittsburgh. They swept the series. The Orioles were 10 games better than the Twins and started the ALCS in Bloomington and swept the Twins.
- 1971 - The Pirates were seven games better than the Giants. They started the NLCS in San Francisco. The Giants won the first game and then lost the next three.
- 1972 - Didn’t happen
- 1973 - Didn’t happen
- 1974 - The Dodgers were 14 games better than the Pirates but started the NLCS in Pittsburgh. The Dodgers won both games in Pittsburgh, lost Game 3 in L.A. and then won in four games.
- 1975 - Didn’t happen
- 1976 - The Yankees were seven games better than the Royals and started the series in Kansas City. The teams split the games in Kansas City and the Yankees prevailed in five games.
- 1977 - Didn’t happen
- 1978 - The Yankees were eight games better than the Royals and started in Kansas City. After splitting the two games in Kansas City, the Yankees won the final two in New York.
- 1979 - The Pirates were eight games better than the Reds and started in Cincinnati. The Pirates swept the series.
- 1980 - The Yankees were six games better than the Royals and started in Kansas City. The Royals swept the series, making them the first underdog of that magnitude to parlay the 2-3 format into a win.
- 1981 - The Royals won the 2nd half of the AL West, but finished 11 games behind Oakland. The Division Series started in Kansas City, but the A’s swept the series.
- 1982 - Didn’t happen
- 1983 - Didn’t happen
- 1984 - The Tigers were 20 games better than the Royals and started the ALCS in Kansas City. The Tigers swept the series.
- 1995 - Atlanta was 13 games better than Colorado and started their Division Series in Denver. The Braves won both games in Denver, dropped Game 3 in Atlanta, but won Game 4. The Reds were seven games better than the Dodgers and started in Los Angeles and swept that series.
- 1996 - The Braves were six games better than the Dodgers and started their series in Los Angeles. The Braves swept the series.
- 1997 - The Braves were 17 games better than the Astros and started their series in Houston. The Braves swept the series. The Orioles were eight games better than the Mariners and started their series in Seattle. The Orioles won both games in Seattle, lost one in Baltimore, and won Game 4.
So prior to this year, there were 16 instances of a team with an inferior record by at least six games starting a five game series with two home games. Only once did one of those underdogs win the series, the 1980 Royals.
However, the masses have spoken this year and the 2-3 format, which is likely popular only with members of the media, will be scrapped. Because if the Tigers do win their series against Oakland, there will be a lot of angry people.
Washington, which finished 10 games better than St. Louis, pulled out a 3-2 win over the Cardinals Sunday at Busch Stadium to keep Twitter from collapsing under the weight of righteous indignation.
As W.I. Thomas said, “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”
Houston will be eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday with a loss to the Giants AND a win by either the Dodgers OR Cardinals.
Make those Boolean operators work for you!