I Like The Idea Of A 50-Game MLB Season

I agree with a lot of what this opinion piece has to say. For instance, I too want baseball back in my life. I’m not a super-fan or anything, but sports are sports, and right now baseball would be significantly better than nothing. I also don’t care how they split the money; just fucking get the deal struck and let’s get on with it! All this in-fighting can’t be good for the longevity of the game and its popularity in America; but, then again, as Americans it’s our right to live our lives like goldfish, forgetting even our recent past, and be distracted by the next shiny new thing to take our minds off of the drudgery of everyday existence.

But, I have no problem with them setting up a shortened MLB season. 114 games, 82 games, 50 games; it would seem to me, the fewer the better!

Everyone likes to point to the canceled World Series in 1994 as a major turning point in baseball’s popularity in America. They also like to point out how the steroids-fuelled home run races of the late 90’s helped revive it, but overall the consensus is the same: Major League Baseball never QUITE recovered. It’s no longer America’s National Pastime and it never will be again.

I would argue: that fading in popularity would’ve happened regardless. Baseball is long and boring and stodgy and slow. Its financial system is atrocious, often forcing simple-minded teams to be stuck with poor personnel choices long beyond the point of reason, forcing those teams to tank in order to free up enough money – and build up enough draft capital – to try to rebuild into contenders once again. Saying that you want to rebuild, of course, is easier said than done, because even if you make sound, logical decisions, they could blow up in your face in any number of unforeseen ways. It breeds resentment among fans – like Mariners fans – who have to wallow in mediocrity for decades, in both the underperforming players (getting paid WAY more than what they’re worth, based on past performance) and the franchises whose jerseys we root for.

Honestly, I think the only way to increase interest in the game IS to drastically reduce the number of games played per season!

The writer of that article states, “Baseball is a game appreciated for its daily, serial journey. The endurance is part of the joy.” I think that’s a flawed argument; I think for really hardcore baseball fans, that’s true. But, for the vast majority of casual fans, it renders most of the season completely meaningless. Games cease to mean as much in April, May, and to an extent even June, because there are SO MANY, what does it matter if you drop a close contest here or there? The good teams ultimately rise to the top, while the bad teams eventually reveal their true colors over the course of a 162-game season; it takes any suspense whatsoever out of the sport until maybe the final week or two in September, when your team might be in contention for a wild card spot or divisional championship. But, by then, the remaining games are littered with teams that are already out of it, and therefore not necessarily playing their best guys in an effort to put an eye toward the future.

You know why the NFL is so great and so much more popular? There are 16 regular season games. Every WEEK is do-or-die! If you gag away too many close contests in September, you’re FUCKED when it comes playoff time! You see teams every single season leap from among the worst in the league one year to among the best the next; you could play the same season across a million different simulations and get tons of dramatically different results! Whereas, if you played the same 162-game MLB season a million different times, there would be a lot of sameness; with too many teams knowing they’re already eliminated from contention by Memorial Day.

What would a 50-game MLB season look like under normal circumstances? That’s slightly over 8 games per month. You could play them all on Fridays & Saturdays or Saturdays & Sundays. There would be lots of built-in rest days for the players, which means there would be MUCH fewer injuries (especially to pitchers). You wouldn’t have to employ more than maybe 2-3 starters (meaning that the level of talent would be seriously increased). You’d be free to stock your bullpen full of specialists. You could have more substantial benches for pinch hitters late in games. You wouldn’t need to employ as many minor leaguers. You could PROBABLY substantially lower salaries.

And, most importantly, EVERY game would be do-or-die!

Imagine it! Like football, we’d have all week to sit around and obsess over what happened the previous weekend and what’s coming up! It would give the game a chance to BREATHE! Remember all those weird, wild finishes you’ve seen throughout the years, where your team does something amazing in extra innings or something? Those are the games you want to obsess over for DAYS, but they’re always immediately forgotten 12 hours later as the daily baseball grind beats the recent past out of our minds.

I mean, obviously, this will never happen, because owners are greedy, and there’s too much money to be made over a 162-game season. You wouldn’t see enough savings from personnel to counteract the loss of tickets and consessions and local TV deals. But, just imagine the gameday excitement if there were only two games per week! The stadia would be FILLED just about every game! The in-game atmosphere would be tremendous! Contrast that against your average Tuesday in May, when the weather is shitty, the crowd is maybe a fifth of capacity, and you can hear every fucking yokel’s insult as clear as a bell for most of the 3-hour timeframe. I mean, that’s hardly different than the proposed COVID-19 fan-less experience we’re talking about now!

Maybe a 50-game season is extreme. But, I’d love to see all MLB games relegated to Friday/Saturday/Sunday; three games per week for six months. That comes out to 81-game seasons, if every season was 27 weeks long. That ain’t bad! Cut out all the bullshit, improve the product on the field, and fan interest would SOAR.

According To Vegas, The Huskies Are Apparently The Third-Likeliest Team To Win The Pac-12

That seems high, right? We’re talking about a team with a new head coach, new offensive and defensive coordinators, and a new quarterback whose first college start will be whenever he steps onto the field on September 5th (assuming football is being played that day, of course).

Of course, there’s something to be said for what continuity we do have: Chris Petersen retired and a lot of guys just moved up one level within the organization (including Jimmy Lake, our new head coach). There’s also something to be said for addition by subtraction: Bush Hamdan being fired is almost definitely a plus, regardless of WHO takes his place. And, sure, I’ll buy that there’s a solid core of guys on this team that’s held over from last year; it’s not all about who’s under center in college football, not by a long shot.

The Huskies’ odds are 7/2, according to the William Hill sportsbook. That’s behind only Oregon (11/5) and USC (5/2), two teams who figure to be pretty great once again in 2020. They were 8-1 and 7-2 respectively in conference last year; the Huskies were a disappointing 4-5.

I don’t know if there’s ANY scenario where I’d be comfortable with the Huskies being rated this highly, but I’ll tell you this much: I don’t like these odds when we’re talking about extremely limited pre-season training camp/practice time! Of the three quarterbacks who have yet to start a college football game, I’d like them to compete a LITTLE bit before we hit the ground running against Michigan in the first week of the season!

Going forward, we’re talking about just the three games’ worth of warm-up before we go on the road to face prohibitive favorite Oregon. We also have to play last year’s Pac-12 South champions in the Utah Utes, this year’s Pac-12 South favorites USC, and a VERY strong Pac-12 North sleeper in Cal … ALL on the road. I could see us losing every single one of those games if things don’t pan out! That doesn’t even factor in going on the road in the Apple Cup, to face a Cougs team that’s absolutely STARVING to beat the Huskies for the first time since 2012!

To round out the betting odds, we’ve got:

  • Utah (5/1)
  • Arizona State (10/1)
  • Washington State (15/1)
  • UCLA (18/1)
  • Cal (18/1)
  • Arizona (25/1)
  • Stanford (30/1)
  • Oregon State (75/1)
  • Colorado (150/1)

If I had to risk the Taylor Family Farm once again on these longer shots, sign me up for Cal in a heartbeat. Utah strikes me as a fool’s errand. I don’t know if I buy ASU as a true contender (though, in the Pac-12 South, you never know). I also wouldn’t sleep on WSU. Feels like a longer shot than Cal, but ALL of their toughest games are at home, plus they somehow avoided USC on their schedule.

Regardless, unless the odds go way down, I don’t think I’d be comfortable putting any money on the Huskies as it stands now.

The Seahawks Signing Antonio Brown Is Damned Tempting, But No

For starters, there isn’t any point in writing about this if he’s going to be in significant trouble from his domestic violence issues. That makes this the proverbial non-starter. Even if the Seahawks didn’t have any qualms about taking on a player with these allegations (which, they’ve shown at least a modest amount of wariness in the past), the fact of the matter is, there’s no way they’re bringing on a player who is walking into a suspension in 2020, because invariably he will be signing a 1-year deal to prove that he’s not a total liability to the team that signs him, thereby increasing his value for a longer-term contract in 2021 and beyond. So, if the domestic violence allegations are legitimate, and he is looking at some punishment by the courts and/or the NFL, then really there’s no point in writing about this, because it’s NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.

For the sake of argument, then, let’s take that out of the equation for a moment. Let’s pretend a non-zero percentage of the population aren’t garbage monsters who beat up women.

In a vacuum, it’s thrilling to imagine Antonio Brown on the Seahawks. I’m talking, specifically, the player on the field. The wide receiver who – I would’ve argued – was the best receiver in the entire NFL from approximately 2013 through probably 2018. From a talent standpoint, from a production standpoint, the guy was a beast. Fast, great hands, can get open anywhere on the field, can catch balls in traffic. He’ll get you tons of receptions, yards, AND touchdowns; he does everything you could ever want! On THIS team? With Tyler Lockett as a consummate deep threat, and D.K. Metcalf, who is coming into his own as a big body heading into his second season? Even on an offense that doesn’t throw the ball a ton (like ours), that’s going to present so many nightmare matchups for opposing defenses. And, not for nothing, but in those instances where we need to throw (either late in games, or on third downs), I like our chances a lot more with Antonio Brown going the same way.

But, we don’t get Antonio Brown in a vacuum. If we sign him, we’d also be signing up for Antonio Brown The Wide Receiver Diva. The guy who NEVER has enough balls thrown his way to his liking. The guy who’s a cancer in the locker room. I never minded when he publicly quarrelled with Ben Roethlisberger because Big Ben always seemed like kind of a dick (to put it modestly) (and not just because he blocked me on Twitter) (though I still find that hilarious, because I’ve never even thought about following him, let alone interacted with him in any way) (maybe he reads my blog) (I mean, there’s no way he reads my blog, but it would be hilarious if he saw it once and said, “Fuck this guy, he’s blocked!”) (haters gonna hate). But, it seemed like a bridge too far when Brown went after noted good guy JuJu Smith-Schuster and some of the other receivers on his own team. The Seahawks DO NOT need that noise!

Frankly, Tyler Lockett deserves better. And, the last thing I want to see is D.K. Metcalf fall into those Diva pitfalls as he matures into one of the game’s elite pass catchers.

But, don’t align me with all of these Chemistry First fans out there. I don’t NOT want Antonio Brown because he’s outspoken. He’s just the wrong kind of outspoken.

There’s a difference between what the Seahawks had with guys like Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin, and Michael Bennett, among other guys to a lesser extent. Their outspokenness was sprung from our dominant, winning culture. We brought in Sherm and Doug as rookies, and we helped turn Bennett’s career around after being a journeyman for much of it; those guys thrived in our competitive existence and used that fire to perpetuate their own dominance.

It’s never the same when you bring in headaches from other organizations. I don’t know how they run things in Pittsburgh, but from afar it seemed like things got pretty toxic pretty quickly (I’m sure fans from around the country thought the same thing in Seattle). The difference between Antonio Brown and those Seahawks players is that his is a Me First attitude, whereas our guys were about winning exclusively. Regardless of the reason, that much negativity over a long period of time is never good, and the Seahawks made the smart decision to clean house before it got any worse. But, at least those types of guys can go to other teams where their schtick isn’t as stale. Richard Sherman can go to the 49ers and help lead them to a Super Bowl appearance, but let’s see where things are in a couple more years. Antonio Brown, on the other hand, is always gonna be about Antonio Brown wherever he goes. Talented or not, as we saw by his disaster of a 2019 season, that can wear pretty fucking thin pretty fucking fast.

I’m trying to think of a scenario where the risk might be worth it. Like, what if the Seahawks somehow got Antonio Brown to sign for the veteran’s minimum? From what I’ve heard of heroin, it sounds like the most amazing feeling the first time you inject it into your veins. Like, who WOULDN’T want to feel the best they’ve ever felt, even if it’s just for a short while? And, if we’re careful, what are the odds that we become one of those junkies who sees their lives in ruin? This is the sort of logic behind wanting to bring in Antonio Brown. It might be wonderful at first, but there are bound to be diminishing returns every time you return to that well. Until finally you’re living on the streets fighting with wild dogs for scraps of expired horse meat (presumably, that’s the NFL equivalent of losing to the Bears in the Wild Card round of the playoffs)