2022 MLB Season Thread

selmaborntidefan

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Ok, I want to talk about the Roger Maris thing right now simply because, well, I'm trying to be sensitive to the justifiable anger the son feels he has along with the fact that no reporter seems to be willing to call out his proverbial rage against the history of baseball with mythical industrial farm equipment.

Let me start by saying that Maris was treated egregiously unfairly when he broke Ruth's record in 1961. No other record ever had the Commissioner of Baseball open his big mouth - with the conflict of interest that he was Babe Ruth's ghostwriter - and say, "If you don't hit the 61 in 154 games, there's an asterisk attached." Never mind that Ford Frick didn't do this the very next year when Maury Wills broke Ty Cobb's then-second record of stolen bases. Furthermore, it is NOT the NUMBER OF GAMES SCHEDULED that one can argue so much as it is THE NUMBER OF PLATE APPEARANCES a player makes. Unless you're Lou Gehrig or Cal Ripken, you're going to get some days off during the season.

So let me be crystal clear that what a lot of 1998 was about besides "saving baseball" was "giving Roger Maris the credit he deserved in 1961 by treating his kid with respect." No human being should be treated for breaking a record the way Maris was - just so we're clear. It is beyond tragic that Roger died so young (age 51 in 1985) - he would have been a year younger than his son is now had he been alive for the McGwire pursuit...and he worked for a brewery in St Louis when he was diagnosed with cancer.

First of all, let's compare the raw stats of Ruth's 1927 season and Maris's 1961 season, putting Ruth's number first and Maris's in parentheses:

Games - 151 (161)
Plate Appearances - 691 (698)
AB - 540 (590)
HR 60 (61)
RBI 155 (141)
BB 137 (94)
Ks 89 (67)
OBP .486 (.372)

So Maris has ONE MORE HOME RUN when he had ONLY SEVEN MORE PLATE APPEARANCES. Maris hit a HR every 9.67 at bats and every 11.4 plate appearances. Ruth hit a HR every 9 at bats and every 11.5 plate appearances - meaning he wouldn't have PASSED or probably even TIED Maris had they had the same number of times at the plate in their record-setting seasons.

But here's some more interesting data.

1) Maris was NOT WALKED INTENTIONALLY ONE SINGLE TIME in 1961.

Ruth was INTENTIONALLY WALKED at least 3 times, but we don't have complete data for the time - they only began counting them as such in 1955. I have zero doubt that Babe was probably walked intentionally more than he homered.

Of course, why would you walk Maris when you had Mickey Mantle batting right behind him? Maris was in the fifth or seventh slot in the batting order until he hit homers in four straight games - three from the three slot behind Mickey.

The counter-argument is easy to see: "But Babe Ruth was hitting right in front of Lou Gehrig!" But who would you rather face, Ruth or - as great as he was - Gehrig? Then again, wanna know how good Gehrig was? He drove in a STILL AL RECORD of 175 RBIs that year - despite coming to bat 60 times when Ruth had homered in front of him. That might be the most amazing stat in modern baseball history.

2) The home and away totals for Ruth and Maris - aka "The Short Porch"

Without impugning either player, it's no accident that Yankees hitting in front of Hall of Famers held the home run record all those years. Ruth and Maris were both left-handed pull hitters - and back when both played, the right field fence was only 295 feet from home plate, or a shallow fly ball in the Astrodome or Busch Stadium (where, duh, McGwire hit his).

We have the detailed data for both Ruth and Maris - and I'll admit it surprised me.

In 1927, Ruth hit 28 home runs in Yankee Stadium and 32 in away ballparks.
In 1961, Maris hit 30 at home and 31 in away ballparks.

Ruth hit 41 of his homers against righties, Maris hit 49.
Maris led the AL in RBIs in 1961, Ruth was 2nd behind Gehrig.

It would take more microanalysis than I have time for at this moment.

But take a look at all of the players that hit 50 home runs in a season prior to 1977:

FOUR TIMES
Babe Ruth - twice in the Polo Grounds (right field fence - 258 feet), twice in Yankee (295 feet)

TWICE
Mickey Mantle - a switch-hitter at Yankee Stadium
1956 - hit 39 HRs lefthanded out of 52 - and 27 at home
1961 - hit 43 HRs lefthanded out of 54 - but only 24 at home (expansion - see below)

Ralph Kiner
1947 - hit 28 of 51 HRs at home in a park open 61 years that never had a no-hitter
1949 - hit 29 of 54 HRs at same home (Forbes Field)

Wille Mays
1955 - hit 29 of his 51 AWAY from his easy HR park
1965 - hit 24 of his 52 in a pitcher's park during the most pitching-heavy era in the 20th century

ONCE
Jimmie Foxx - in Shibe Park, a hitter's park in a hitter's era (1932)
Hank Greenberg - Tiger Stadium, more of a pitcher's park but in a hitter's era (1938)
Hack Wilson - in Wrigley Field, which can go either way depending on the wind (1930)
Johnny Mize - lefty in Polo Grounds with 258 foot fence, hit 29 of 51 at home (1947)
Roger Maris
 
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selmaborntidefan

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3) The expansion factor

One thing you never hear mentioned with Maris is the reality that baseball added two franchises in Washington (as the old Senators moved to Minnesota) and California, which necessarily dilutes the amount of good pitching you face due to the expansion draft and bringing up players not really ready to play. Maris only hit five of his homers against the expansion teams.

Setting aside (for now) the steroids, it is far more impressive that Mark McGwire hit 38 of his 70 home runs in the pitcher's haven known as Busch Stadium. (Note: it's often forgotten that McGwire actually hit 71 home runs - the second same second base umpire who screwed the Toronto Blue Jays out of a triple play in the 1992 World Series (Bob Davidson) somehow managed to see the very same fan interference when it did NOT happen that Rich Garcia didn't see when it did in that Yankee playoff game). Probably the most amazing stat is that McGwire hit ONE HOME RUN each in Colorado (????) and one in expansion Arizona. (Three parks shut out McGwire - Turner Field, Riverfront, and Pac Bell - of course, he had to face the Braves' pitching in Turner, LOL!). In fact, McGwire went 0-for-11 and struck out 7 times at Turner Field.

McGwire DID homer against the Braves in 1998. He hit a solo shot off Kevin Millwood on May 14 (the day of the "Seinfeld" finale) and off of 44-year old Dennis Martinez on August 30 (a three-run bomb that won the game eventually).

Almost invariably, when you have expansion, you will have a season record at least challenged if not flat out broken.

1961 - Maris breaks Ruth's record
1962 - Wills steals 104 bases to break Cobb's record
1969 - Reggie Jackson had 37 HRs at the All-Star break (after 92 Oakland games) but only hit ten the rest of the season and didn't even finish second in the HR race
1977 - George Foster has 29 HRs at the break on a pace to catch Maris - and finishes with 52. (No, Foster didn't play in the AL with expansion teams - but every team lost players and pitchers to those teams, too)
1993 - not really a lot this year, though it explains why the Braves won 104 games. You could argue that both Tony Gwynn right at .400 and three guys chasing Maris in August that the dilution took a year to show.
1998 - two guys shatter Maris's record.

4) Hank Aaron

Without looking - how many of you can tell me the most homers Aaron ever hit in a season? He hit 47 when he was 37 years old in 1971. Only one other time did he hit more than 44 home runs. A player that played 20 seasons would have to hit 38 home runs every year to tie Hank - a preposterous level of consistency. Aaron had 385 home runs at home and 370 on the road, and remember that he lost home runs to a largely pitcher's park in Milwaukee (how the hell else do you think Spahn won that many games for that long?) and the downward thrust of the strike zone and mound alterations of 1963-68 while suddenly emerging with help in the form of Atlanta's easy bomb park and expansion in 1969. (However - note that Aaron lost home runs on the road when Pittsburgh, Philly, and Cincinnati all replaced their hitting parks with pitcher parks in 1970).

Why do I mention Aaron? See below.


==================

However, having said all this, Maris Jr's whine that "Judge should be recognized as the real record holder" is just plain ludicrous. Or that Maris should still have it in the books until now as the "clean" record.

First of all - as I've shown - external circumstances play a role in how many home runs are hit, they always have. I'm not going to draw any sort of moral equivalence that doesn't exist between a short outfield in Yankee Stadium and synthetic use, but let's see....you have 14 seasons where a dude hits 50 homers or more, and 5 times it just happens to be a guy who swings from the same side of the plate in the same stadium, 3 other times it just happens to be a guy who has a 258 foot fly ball home run to right field, and 2 other times it happens to occur in a stadium in use for 61 years that never had a no-hitter? Not to take anything away from anyone - and clearly Ruth and Mays and Mantle and Aaron are legends of the highest order - but in almost every case you can cite an unusual factor that MAY contribute to an accomplishment.

I don't think it's a good route to go, I don't even really with steroids, although I "get" the argument.

In each case, it serves to find a way to discredit what is an actual accomplishment. We all know the phrase "nothing is harder than hitting a baseball," and there's some truth to that (well, coming back from the dead, but baseball might be second). The player STILL has to hit the ball with sufficient bat speed to clear a fence that is usually from 6 to 15 feet tall and usually at least 310 feet away. We can evaluate without celebrating, but discrediting makes me a tad uneasy, even if Barry Bonds is what God made when He created the biggest jerk ever.

We can point out counter-arguments to every excuse:

Ruth hit against more LEGAL doctored baseballs than all the other guys combined.
Yeah, Kiner hit 50-plus twice in three years in a hitter's park - why didn't a bunch of other Pirates?
Same with Foxx and Mize - it if was so easy, why didn't a bunch of guys do it - and why didn't they do it more than once?
Mays might have had a short fence to clear - but how many did he actually hit that wouldn't have gone out elsewhere?
McGwire and Bonds DID use steroids - but so did a huge portion of the pitchers they faced, too (remember - more pitchers than hitters have been caught since we began testing)

Look, I hate that Bonds and (before him) a juiced Big Mac broke the record, okay? But we don't know what substances Maris was either using or faced, and we have NO IDEA whether Judge is clean right now or not, either.

Judge deserves credit and (for now) respect for an American League record should he break it, but Maris Jr needs to stop acting like Amos Alonzo Stagg's kid when he realized Coach Bryant was going to surpass his record, too. (Speaking of which - it turns out Bryant never actually had the record at all, but whatever).
 

CrimsonTheory

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Let's be honest with ourselves, it does not matter who wins the NL East because afterall the Cubs went 21-10 against the division and thus they are the true NL Champ. Amirite?

Joking aside, how in the world did the Cubs go 21-10 against the NL East? :unsure:
 

selmaborntidefan

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Let's be honest with ourselves, it does not matter who wins the NL East because afterall the Cubs went 21-10 against the division and thus they are the true NL Champ. Amirite?

Joking aside, how in the world did the Cubs go 21-10 against the NL East? :unsure:
Ah yes, the Ole Miss "we beat Alabama and Auburn, therefore, we are the state of Alabama champions!" argument.......
 

CrimsonNagus

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I just don't care about this "AL" record that is not an MLB record anymore because it has been surpassed 6 times already. What's next, a west coast player challenges Maris' record and it becomes the "west coast single season HR record is about to be broken."
 

selmaborntidefan

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I just don't care about this "AL" record that is not an MLB record anymore because it has been surpassed 6 times already. What's next, a west coast player challenges Maris' record and it becomes the "west coast single season HR record is about to be broken."
“No, because to hell with the West Coast.
Boston/Yankee fan musing

My issue isn’t even “hey, this is happening” save for the reality if Judge was a Royal, Twin, or Ranger, they wouldn’t be cutting into CFB games.

They DID cut in with news breaks when George Brett was flirting with .400 in late summer 1980, but they didn’t show his at bats. They either updated it as breaking news on the scroll (novel for the time) of came back from commercial and told it real quick. They did NOT cut in to show his at bats.

They did cut into network TV for Aaron’s 715th and Rose’s passing Cobb, but those are obvious why. They also began updating Paul Molitor’s hitting streak when he reached 36 games but only espn showed the at bats right after they happened (they didn’t have baseball then).

And yes, if a pitcher somehow was about to break Young’s 511 wins record, they’d show the final out.
 

tusks_n_raider

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The playoffs are set. All that's left to decide today is how many 100 win and 100 loss teams there will be at the end.
Here's the Brackets for anyone curious...

w58daige1xr91.png

Pre-World Series Matchup I have:


AL Side I've got

NY vs Cle - Yankees win 3-2

Hou vs Sea - Astros win 3-1

Hou vs NY - Astros win 4-0

NL side I've got

Dodgers vs Mets - Dodgers win 3-1

Braves vs Cards - Braves win 3-2

Braves vs Dodgers - Braves win 4-3

World Series Rematch:

Braves vs Houston - Braves win 4-2... Again

 
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81usaf92

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Here's the Brackets for anyone curious...

View attachment 29098

Pre-World Series Matchup I have:


AL Side I've got

NY vs Cle - Yankees win 4-3

Hou vs Sea - Astros win 4-2

Hou vs NY - Astros win 4-0

NL side I've got

Dodgers vs Mets - Dodgers win 4-1

Braves vs Cards - Braves win 4-2

Dodgers vs Braves - Braves win 4-3

World Series Rematch:

Braves vs Houston - Braves win 4-2... Again

AL

Cle 2-1 vs TB
Tor 2-0 vs SEA

DS

Cle 3-2 vs NYY
Hou 3-2 vs Tor

CS
Hou 4-2 Cle

NL

Stl 2-0 vs Phi
NYM 2-1 vs SD

DS

NYM 3-2 vs LA
Atl 3-1 vs Stl

CS

ATL 4-3 NYM

WS

ATL 4-3 Houston
 

TexasBama

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Here's the Brackets for anyone curious...

View attachment 29098

Pre-World Series Matchup I have:


AL Side I've got

NY vs Cle - Yankees win 4-3

Hou vs Sea - Astros win 4-2

Hou vs NY - Astros win 4-0

NL side I've got

Dodgers vs Mets - Dodgers win 4-1

Braves vs Cards - Braves win 4-2

Dodgers vs Braves - Braves win 4-3

World Series Rematch:

Braves vs Houston - Braves win 4-2... Again

The Aggies admire your optimism :)
 

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