Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I need to take a quick break from politics. I will get back to that ugly grind in a day or two, but for now I'll distract myself with something else. My apologies in advance if you could care less about the following!
I am a big fan of Major League Baseball. Until last night I was thoroughly enjoying the World Series between the Philadelphia Philles and Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. The veteran Phillies team has been exercising its collective muscle, but the Rays' roster is full of exciting young players and they are fun to watch. Philadelphia leads the World Series three games to one, with the winner of four games being the champion.
What's getting me teed off about this year's Series, and what has been bothering me about the World Series the last ten years or so, is that baseball games are still being played and it is nearly November. Last night in Game Five, the rain was coming down so hard in sub-40-degree weather that things were rendered absurd. The game was suspended in the sixth inning with the score tied 2-2, with nobody having a clue about when it would be resumed. Fans will get to come back to the ballpark to watch what now amounts to a three-inning game to determine whether the Phillies win the Series or it continues in Florida.
What has caused MLB's system to take baseball into bad-weather months? Part of this happened when the American and National Leagues instituted divisional play and a playoff system. Originally, all the AL and NL teams were in one large division, and the World Series participants were determined solely by who finished first place in each league. If the regular season ended in late September, the World Series was usually played in early October, about three weeks earlier than in recent years.
With the two leagues splitting themselves into East and West divisions, a round of playoffs was introduced. This added a week or ten days to the season. Now with "wild card" teams in the playoffs, it adds ANOTHER round, pushing the World Series practically into November.
There are several solutions to the problem. One might be to return to a regular season of 154 games... the regular season now takes 162. It might also work to start the season a week earlier and to play more doubleheaders. The number of travel days (or "off days") during the postseason could be reduced, too.
However, as with anything where revenue is involved, the MLB "powers that be" would fight anything that might cause a loss of revenue: doubleheaders allow fans to see two games for the price of one.
And often times when unions are involved, things might get struck down by the players themselves... things like starting the season around March 20 instead of April 1, as well as more doubleheaders and the elimination of travel days (both things certainly could contribute to more injuries and to greater fatigue).
I know there are far more important things to think about at this point in time, but those things other things (ugly political crap) are driving me nuts right about now... thus this blogpost.
Let's hope the next week brings no surprises and that things go well on November 4. And maybe with luck both the election AND the World Series will be over by then.
Baseball in November... bah!!!
As for other sports we play and watch at this time of year, congratulations to Crimson Tide fan Fred (MC) for how well the University of Alabama is doing in college football. They look like they might be headed to a national championship game (and the college football system for determining who gets to play in the championship game is another sorry story for another blogpost you may see here sometime after the election!) Fred, I'll be pulling for your guys to get there.
As for my Oregon Ducks, they are now at six wins against two losses but it's a "soft" 6-2 because they have not had wins over good teams. They are blowing out the teams they should be blowing out, beating who they should beat... but not able to hold their ground against teams of the caliber of USC. Oregon got shellacked by the Trojans, and also lost a close one to Boise State. Both USC and BSU are ranked within the Top 15 in college football, while Oregon has wormed its way back into the Top 25 by virtue of smearing Arizona State 54-20 in Tempe, AZ to get to six wins. But historically, the Ducks tend to fold down the stretch, so I'm thinking the might end the year 7-5, maybe 8-4 at best.
Fred, your Tide is assured of a quality post-season game. My Ducks will have to fight pretty hard to get into a bowl that is halfway-decent. I hope the Ducks don't face the Tide, because it would be about 50-0 Alabama! 8-)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I'VE GOT TO ADMIT IT'S GETTING BETTER, A LITTLE BETTER ALL THE TIME
FIRST THOUGHT: DOUBLE DIGITS
From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Carrie Dann
*** Swing states swinging to Obama: Most of the national polls -- including our NBC/WSJ survey -- are now showing Obama with a double-digit national lead. And here come a slew of brand-new state polls that also suggest Obama is in command of this presidential contest. The University of Wisconsin’s Big Ten Battleground polls have Obama up 10 points in Indiana (51%-41%), 13 points in Iowa (52%-39%), 22 in Michigan (58%-36%), 19 in Minnesota (57%-38%), 12 in Ohio (53%-41%), 11 in Pennsylvania (52%-41%), 13 in Wisconsin (53%-40%), and nearly 30 in Obama’s home state of Illinois (61%-32%). Meanwhile, there are new Quinnipiac surveys that show Obama up five points in Florida (49%-44%), 14 in Ohio (52%-38%), and 13 in Pennsylvania (53%-40%). And finally, new CNN/Time surveys find Obama ahead by five points among likely voters in Nevada (51%-46%), four points in North Carolina (51%-47%), four in Ohio (50%-46%), and 10 points in Virginia (54%-44%). The lone state survey that shows McCain ahead: CNN/Time’s West Virginia poll, where McCain’s nine ahead (53%-44%).
I find this very encouraging after seeing yesterday's msn.com headline about the race tightening. If the McCain campaign starts in with nasty ads like more Reverend Wright stuff, I think it might take a few points off of Obama's poll leads but not enough to get some of those indicators into the margin of error. It increasingly appears that McCain will have to "run the table" of toss-up states in order to win the election. MC Fred was saying in the comment section of an earlier blogpost that he would be surprised if Obama didn't get at least 300 electoral votes. I will still only believe an Obama win when I see it. There are still 12 days to go until the election. However, as the days slip by, I think things look better and better for the Democrats.