Here are several links from the past week that will make your postseason Monday a bit more bearable:
- Not everyone agrees that the one-game playoff is less fair than a best-of-three alternative. Using the Reds–Pirates matchup as an example, Tom Tango explains why the Pirates were better off using the current format.
- In the wake of the playoff loss to the Bucs at PNC Park, the Reds cut ties with Dusty Baker. Neil Weinberg of Beyond the Boxscore highlights what may have prompted Baker’s demise.
- Peter Gammons explains why the new wild-card system is “the way it shoud be“:
For anyone who likes baseball, the Rays are one of the teams for whom one always roots, because they win unconventionally, because they have players like Evan Longoria and Price and Alex Cobb that are special. But this week tacked on to a 162 game grind that came down to having to win and win and win just to get to Arlington, Tex. and Cleveland just to get back to Fenway and the ALDS may be more than virtually any team could overcome, especially against the team that earned the right to be respected as the best team in the American League.
This is the way it should be. This is why the regular season counts, and why the new playoff system works.
For years, many of us have complained that there was little disincentive to play out the final weeks of September preparing for the post-season, because there was little difference between finishing first or being the wild card, as those 2004 banners flying above Fenway proved. Now, it means something to win out.
- Major League Baseball attendance in 2013 experienced a 1 percent decrease from the previous season. Forbes’s Maury Brown cites “exceptionally poor weather” of this past spring as a principal driver of the lower total. Among the attendance findings:
- The San Francisco Giants ended the 2013 season with 246 consecutive sell-outs, dating back to October 1, 2010, for the longest active streak in the Majors. . . .
- While the Mariners continue their losing ways, and fired manager Eric Wedge, they actually saw attendance go up in 2013 (39,626 more total fans than in 2012).
- The Miami Marlins failed to sellout even one game this season.
- The Phillies mired in rebuilding saw a 16 percent drop (6,831 less per game) in attendance from 2012 to 2013. Only the Marlins saw a larger attendance drop.
- Meanwhile, Birtelcom at High Heat Stats discovers that triples were down this season by more than 20 percent from 2012. Stolen bases were down by nearly the same amount.
- And who committed the costliest errors of 2013? The Hardball Times’ James Gentile utilizes the leverage index and win probability added stats to conclude that Alexei Ramirez (LI) and Brandon Belt (WPA) earned the dubious honors.
- Alex Rodriguez filed separate lawsuits against Major League Baseball and the Yankees’ team doctor and the hospital that treated his hip injury. Meanwhile, Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald relays unflattering details about MLB’s investigative tactics:
The man responsible for blowing the whistle on Rodriguez and other players also claims he was badgered and shadowed by MLB’s investigative team.
MLB investigators showed up at Porter Fischer’s doorstep, beginning in February. Fischer, a Biogenesis investor who had taken the clinic records and leaked them to New Times amid a financial dispute with Bosch, told the Herald: “I didn’t want to discuss anything with them, but they kept hounding me almost every day, telling me I was in danger and offering me money,”
His sister, Suzanne, concurred, telling ESPN that several “goons” with “big muscles” pounded on the door to the home they shared with their mother, shouting “We’ll give you money!”
Then things turned darker. On Feb 19, Fischer noticed he was being tailed as he was driving in Pinecrest. He sped off, with a car close behind. Police were called, and by the time they caught up with the tail, Fischer had switched cars with a friend, Pete Carbone. The men in the tail car were private investigators, a police report said. They would not say who they worked for and claimed they were after Carbone, not Fischer, because Carbone had instigated a fight with them.
In a brief subsequent interview with the Herald, one of the investigators would only say about his clients: “Be very careful. These are very, very bad people.”
- After an additional consultation with Dr. James Andrews, Matt Harvey agreed to have surgery on his injured pitching elbow and likely miss the entire 2014 season. Cliff Corcoran explains why the five-week delay between the diagnosis of the partial tear of the unlar collateral ligament and decision to go under the knife should not concern the Mets or their fans.
- David Price was nearly unhittable in the game-163 victory over the Rangers, but David Ortiz and his teammates were far more successful in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. Price later took to Twitter to rail against TBS studio commentators. Gordon Edes of ESPN has the details, incluing the 2012 Cy Young Award winner’s subsequent apology.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!