Monday, September 17, 2012

Meaningful Baseball in September — Finally

The Orioles are on right now (on as in streaming thanks to's $10 end-of-season offer), and I can hardly watch . . . not because they're lousy, as they were from 1998 (their last winning season came in 1997) until last year . . . but because they're right in the middle of the pennant race and one game behind the the Yankees. During the past decade and a half (!) I've forgotten how fun pennant races are . . . how wonderful a part of the nightly rhythms of summer baseball should be. Just as excessive inequality is bad for society, and bad for the economy as well, so too is excessive inequality in baseball (read: the AL East) harmful. Why should little Johnny in Kansas City or Baltimore be deprived of a pennant race because he happens to live in a small market? (And please don't tell me about the supposed free market working . . . baseball is anything but a free market. And please don't tell me about MoneyBall . . . after a while small market teams revert to the mean.) Hence I support radical realignment: let's turn baseball into the system used by English soccer (and my sister's youth swim teams, for that matter): teams move up and down from the premier league according to their record and aren't in fixed divisions.

It's actually an embarrassment of riches right now if you're a DC-area baseball fan. Although I don't feel the Washington Nationals in my bones like the Orioles, I'm excited about their dominance this year. And a couple weeks ago I went with mom to Nationals Park for the first time. As luck would have it, Nationals phenom (and now shut-down) Stephen Strasburg was on the hill, striking out 9 in 6 innings. He was on first base too after he got a hit.

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