“Drugs. Drugs. Drugs. Which are good? Which are bad?”
The melody and lyrics of the vintage public service announcement still resonate, but not because of a nostalgic lesson learned. It’s ironic detachment that fuels our memory. We’re taught from an early age that some drugs are good, and some drugs are bad. However, as we get older, we learn that nothing is truly as black and white as we’re initially led to believe.
This is a lesson gone unlearned by professional sports that still prefer to exist in a sort of Neverland, remaining aloft in ideals that ultimately prove childish. The issue of drugs in sports, as in all walks of life, requires nuance, but the major professional sports leagues insist on handling it with definition that doesn’t actually exist.
No greater example of this can be found than in the recent voter approval for possession of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Despite the evidence of social progress that the vote represents, imagining that the results would change the rules for professional sports in those states is, pardon the expression, a pipe dream.
The 2012 baseball season came to a conclusion a little more than a week ago when Sergio Romo struck out Miguel Cabrera to earn the San Francisco Giants their second World Series title in three years. There were, generally speaking, three reactions to this finale: 1) From Giants fans: “Woohoo!”; 2) From Detroit Tigers fans: “Noooo!”; 3) From all other baseball fans: “Meh” (or else, “Of all the seasons I’ve ever followed, this was certainly one of them.”).
Due to its structure, which includes scheduled competitions almost every day for seven months, Major League Baseball tends to be followed by fans in a different manner than the avid followers of other sports. We typically cheer for our favorite teams, but don’t necessarily care all that much about what other clubs are doing so long as it doesn’t affect the one that we support. This is a by-product of there being such an ample supply of baseball to be followed. We have to pick and choose, or else we’d be reduced to living our lives without much in the way of variety.
This is likely best seen by comparing nationally televised games of baseball to nationally televised games of football. While baseball plays out a 162 game schedule, the National Football League’s regular season schedule consists of a mere 16 games for each team. Nationally broadcast games of football absolutely slaughter nationally broadcast games of baseball in terms of television ratings partly because there’s a more limited supply of content for fans to consume and more meaning behind each game. This caters to the neutral observer in a way that 162 game schedules simply can’t.
Despite the differences in the way that baseball is played compared to other sports, stories still emerge throughout each season that transcend the boundaries that normally govern our favorite team-based interests. Here, in my opinion, are the top ten stories to do this from the 2012 Major League Baseball season.
In the National Basketball Association, each franchise is allowed to waive one player prior to the start of any season from 2011–12 through 2015–16 without having their salary count toward the team’s salary cap or luxury tax. The team must still pay the player they waive the previously agreed upon salary if he goes unclaimed, and if another team does claim the player, the claiming team acquires him at a reduced rate with the waiving team paying the balance owed on the contract.
The transaction rule is unique to the NBA, but with the National Hockey League recently triggering a lockout while it negotiates a new collective bargaining agreement with its players’ association, The Score’s hockey blog, Backhand Shelf, imagined a scenario wherein the NHL adopted this specific NBA policy. From there, Chris Lund went through every team and estimated which contract would be the most likely to be let go.
Of course, Major League Baseball’s lack of a salary cap and the extreme structure of its luxury tax policies wouldn’t lend itself to a similar rule being enacted. However, since we’re dealing with a fantasy world here where we make the rules, let’s pretend that there exists a unique brand of amnesty that allows MLB teams to drop one contract from its payroll without any repercussions.
This is obviously something that the MLBPA would never allow to take place, but let’s go through each team and figure out what contract, if any, is most burdensome to its success.
Getting Blanked caught up with Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos at the end of last week for an extended chat about the current state of the team, changing philosophies, injury woes and his self-critical ways.
Interview was conducted before the Yunel Escobar situation came to a head. Also: the quote in the headline actually came from a line not included in the text below. I just liked the way it sounded. Apologies if it is misleading in any way.
The 2012 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline came and went yesterday. It had moments of excitement, moments of tiredness and moments of utter boredom, and then moments of rushing around the office to fulfill obligations that one really should have known better than to schedule for such a day. However, through it all, we, as baseball fans, emerged holding a more accurate picture of the rosters that will compete for this year’s World Series.
Of course, changes can still happen, and certainly more trades will occur in the coming weeks, but none in such a flurry that occurred over the last 24 hours, and none without a player first having to be put on waivers. After the 4:00 PM deadline passed, we spoke with a couple of bloggers about the adjustments their teams made and talked a little bit ourselves about some other trades in a very special Trade Deadline Edition of the Getting Blanked Podcast, available right here, right now:
And, if audio isn’t your thing, here’s a recap and capsule review of every trade that occurred on the day of the deadline, for your reading and viewing pleasure.
Baseball’s beat writers have a tough gig. It’s not easy logging hours in press boxes, chasing quotes in the club house, or coming up with unique angles on subjects that have been handled millions of times before. And to make matters worse, it’s a relatively thankless duty as well.
Any time you come up with something original, collect an actually interesting quote or write a game story that doesn’t amount to clichéd rancour, it’s immediately appropriated by someone like me, more often than not for purposes of mockery. If not, it’s dismissed outright by someone so knowledgeable on the subject that they didn’t even have to read the story in order to express an opinion about it.
I appreciate beat writers, what they do and the guff with which they put up. It’s not easy, and for the most part, they work hard to produce content and do well in bearing with the reactions that their writing receives.
However, I don’t understand certain habits among these earthbound creatures when it comes to social media. What is this seemingly innate urge that the beat writer has for using Twitter to provide play-by-play of baseball games to their followers. With live blogs, MLB Gameday, and a myriad of sports websites and applications all providing as-it-happens coverage, does anyone actually use Twitter to follow the pitch-by-pitch occurrences of a baseball game.
Seriously, is there anyone in the entire world that depends on the tweets of others to follow baseball games?
Join us at 6:45 PM ET tonight to chat about the draft and find out who we’ll be seeing in what uniforms . . . in the next two to four years.
We’ll be carrying the Twitter feeds of all the top draft analysts right here and linking to the scouting reports of drafted players as they’re made available. And we’ll also likely have a healthy dose of snark for anyone pretending to know more than they actually do.
It’s all apart of Getting Blanked’s MLB Rule IV Draft Chat, which you can find after the jump.