Almost all of our conventional baseball thought is based on the idea of the long con. The baseball season is long so, over the six month and 162 game season, things have a way of working themselves out. Managers must always be wary of the long game, finding rest opportunities for their players and, in their own way, abiding by their own interpretation of the “lose one today to win two down the road” philosophy.
A short series is completely different. Strategy changes, the long game is no longer a concern. There is no tomorrow, as it were. Managers must play to win every night, as they can’t afford to lose four games out of seven.
When the Cardinals fell behind 3-0 after five batters, many fans and observers wondered aloud about the Cardinals packing it for the night. Adam Wainwright “didn’t have it” on Wednesday night so why not get him out early with an eye to using him again in the series?
It isn’t the worst idea but it hardly seems realistic. Luckily, Twitter’s finest professional baseball playing analyst saw an opportunity to set the record straight.
Just about every pundit or World Series preview agreed on the big issues. The Cardinals’ starting rotation was better than the Red Sox starting rotation, given the way Michael Wacha has thrown the ball and taking Clay Buchholz‘s injury concerns into consideration.
Most also conceded the Red Sox defense was better than the Cardinals defense. The Red Sox shift and switch players and devote man-hours and assets and go out of their way to grab extra outs where ever they can while the Cardinals….well they sure score a lot of runs, don’t they?
In a tale-of-the-tape list post, it makes sense to break these factors off into different sections. The need for content is significant, and dispensing binding letter grades or check marks is Serious Business.
When the lights come up and the bunting hangs just so around the venerable grounds of Fenway Park, these two component work in concert to become run prevention – and one side cannot exist without the other. As Adam Wainwright, the postseason warrior and ace of the Cardinals staff who witnessed the power of poor defense up close and personal. The Cardinals defense gave away bases, outs, and runs in undoing an otherwise decent outing by Wainwright as the Red Sox bested the Cardinals 8-1 to take a 1-0 series lead.
They only play one World Series a season so, suffice to say, it is an event. The World Series is not like the Super Bowl or even Champions League, where neutral observers tune out of duty and the lure of a spectacle. The World Series still brings baseball back onto the radar of of fans who otherwise might not live and die with the six month grind from April through September.
If such a fan happens to flip on their TV to catch Game One of the World Series, they’re guaranteed to see a few things.
A team they hate for reasons either non-specific (a general distaste for the perennial successful) or highly specific (wrongdoing at the hands of said perennially successful team)
The best/most enviable/most complete clubs in Major League Baseball.
The outcome of the series is very much in doubt, as two evenly matched teams face off in the Fall Classic. What is very much not in doubt is the status of these two teams in the greater baseball sense – they are simply the best in the game.
The great postseasons of the recent past each have one memorable line of dialogue. In 1986: Vin Scully’s shrieked “Behind the bag!” as the ball rolled through Buckner’s legs. In 1991: “And we’ll see you…tomorrow night,” so famously uttered by Jack Buck as Kirby Puckett walked off a World Series game, then poignantly mimicked by Buck fils two decades later as David Freese did the same. Then came 2003, which is for my money the greatest postseason of my lifetime. The postseason of Boone and Bartman and Beckett—the postseason of the most iconic line of all.
Ed. Note: Though it may seem as though the actual baseball season ended half a lifetime ago, it didn’t! The World Series ended scant days ago. As the cold and snow sets deep into our bones, let Craig Robinson’s ever-important “information-based graphic art” take your mind back to the days when baseball was still played an life retained meaning.
I’d like to pretend that Major League Baseball doesn’t like it when the San Francisco Giants play in the World Series, but I’m pretty sure that Major League Baseball doesn’t care as much about television ratings for the World Series as a great many others might. Less than a month after new television deals with ESPN, FOX and TBS were announced, the 2012 World Series pulled in the worst television ratings since such things were measured.
Because it wouldn’t be a World Series victory without the fine folks from Next Media Animation giving us their interpretation of the events that transpired. And accordingly, those events are sensationally awesome.