The Dodgers won the World Series this week in the same season that the LA Lakers were crowned NBA Champions. It was the first World Series title in Hollywood since 1988, a year that also saw the Lakers win it all.
From everything I have seen, the championships were viewed much differently interns of player legacy. While many NBA fans were still going with the “LeBron’s not the GOAT” narrative because he still has only four rings in ten trips to the NBA Finals, MLB players had all but forgotten the disastrous postseason record of Clayton Kershaw after one good postseason and championship.
That got me thinking, why is it that championship seem to matter very little in terms of a baseball players legacy ? Why is winning a World Series seemingly not as important when viewing a baseball player’s career, as winning a Super Bowl or an NBA crown to the respective players of those sports?
Think about how we view great basketball players like Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, or Karl Malone. Hall of Fame players for sure, but nary a word is ever spoken about their careers without noting that they never won it all. The same can be said for NFL players like Barry Sanders, Dan Fouts, and Bruce Smith. Hell, Dan Marino, who put up monstrous numbers (including being the first quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in a season) in an era that didn’t see the gaudy passing numbers of today, is continually overlooked as the greatest QB ever, simply because he never won the Super Bowl.
Now think about baseball. Ted Williams is widely considered the greatest hitter of all time despite only hitting .200 with a single RBI in his only World Series appearance. Don Mattingly is one of the most beloved Yankee players ever, despite only making the postseason in his final season, and never appearing in the Fall Classic.
Now, look at Mike Trout, a player with three MVP’s and the consensus best player in the sport. He not only has never won it all, but his only postseason appearance resulted in an ALDS loss to the Royals in 2014. Trout hit .083 in that series, yet, he’s still considered better than Mookie Betts, a player with two championships, and career stats that, while not as good as Trout overall, are not that far off.
So what makes baseball so different in terms of how we view players without titles next to their names? Is it because the season is so long? Maybe it’s the fact that for years the MLB postseason was the most difficult to make because of the limited number of spots. Whatever the reason, winning it all in baseball has much less of an impact that it does in other sports.
Maybe that changes going forward if baseball keeps this season’s expanded playoff format. For now at least, the baseball world will admire Clayton Kershaw for getting the playoff monkey of his back, while basketball fans will put an asterisk by LeBron’s name after winning his fourth ring in ten tries.
Sticking with the World Series, the exciting six game win by the Dodgers over the Tampa Bay Rays was marred by two controversies, one minor, and one major.
First, analytics took a real hit here in this year’s Fall Classic. With his former Cy Young award winner cruising through 5 innings, Rays manager Kevin Cash pulled Blake Snell after just 73 pitches. It was not the first time this series that Cash had made a questionable pitching change, but this one will forever be remembered because it cost Tampa the World Series.
I consider myself an old school baseball guy, but that does not mean I think analytics are worthless. Just like Grady little years ago keeping Pedro Martinez in the game too long back in 2003, despite all the numbers showing that the Superman that was Pedro, turned back into Clark Kent almost immediately after throwing his 100th pitch, there are times when a manager should not lead with his gut. Still, when a former Cy Young winner is only in the fifth, with a decently-low pitch total, with 9 strikeouts, common sense needs to prevail here, especially with the season on the line.
Hopefully, this goes along way to bridging the gap between old school baseball ‘feel” and analytics. There is no reason why the two can’t work together.
The other, more pressing controversy that overshadowed the end of the 2020 World Series, was Justin Turner’s positive Covid-19 test.
Now it’s not clear when exactly he tested positive, but he was pulled during Game 6 after the positive result came back, and reports show that he had at least one “inconclusive” result prior to the actual positive test.
What ensued after Turner’s positive test is insanity. Turner blatantly disregarded MLB’s safety protocols to celebrate the World Series win on the field with his teammates, and then, even posed for the team photo sans mask.
I do not care that this is a World Series win, maybe a once in a lifetime experience. There is absolutely no way to justify Turner putting lives at risk…lives of players, MLB workers, reporters, and all of their families, just to celebrate winning a game with his team. Its completely irresponsible and selfish, period.
Rob Manfred needs to take a stand here, even if it’s one he eventually loses. Justin Turner needs to be suspended for the entire 2021 season. Sure, the union will file a grievance, and depending on what was collectively bargained, most likely will win. Manfred needs to just say fuck it, impose the penalty, and let the lawyers figure it out. Baseball needs to send a stern message that if you are not going to be responsible, safe, and follow the Covid-19 protocols, then you aren’t going to play, end of story.
Oh, and if you are about to bring up the fact that no Astros player was suspended for cheating, please shut the fuck up. This is not the same. the Astros cheated in a game. In the grand scheme of things, it sucks, but it’s not that big of a deal. Turner risked lives with his actions. Maybe by being on the field he passes it on to a reporter, who passes it own tho his or her family, who passes it on to an elderly or high-risk relative, eventually causing their death. If you think that compares in anyway with potentially cheating the Yankees out of their 28th title, you’re a fucking idiot.
Getting away from baseball, it looks like another rapper is feeling the heat after throwing his support, complete with awkward photo op, towards Donald Trump.
Last week the cancel police tried to do what they did to Kanye West a while back to legendary NWA member Ice Cube, after he met with a member of Trump’s crew to discuss what he planned on doing to help the African American community going forward.
While the MC offered to also meet with the Biden camp, when the news broke that got lost in the shuffle, as a meeting about Trump’s “Platinum Plan”. He was being bashed all over social media for selling out and backing Trump. They quickly moved on to 50 Cent who took one look at Biden’s tax plan and told his followers to vote Trump, although he eventually admitted that he was joking after feeling the wrath, and promised a possible second romp in the hay, from former girlfriend Chelsea Handler.
Now, Lil’ Wayne has come out as a full on endorser for Trump after his own visit with the , *sigh*, current President to discuss the “Platinum Plan”. And as the internet usually does, it went to town on Mrs. Officer rapper.
Look, despite what they say publicly, it wouldn’t surprise me if most of the big time rappers vote for Trump. Sure, many of these guys came from humble beginnings, but now they are multi-millionaires. Truth be told, a guy like Ice Cube or 50 Cent currently has a lot more in common with a guy like Donald Trump, than he has with you or me.
While I don’t like making people feel bad for who they support politically, I’ll make an exception here, as I’m all in on the internet using Wayne as a mother example of how it remains undefeated.
Quick Thoughts: Is there anything more on-brand than Kim Kardashian having her 40th birthday party on a private island while the rest of us peasants suffer through a pandemic?
Speaking of staying on brand, Kim’s husband, Kanye Kardashian followed up a very weird visit to The Joe Rogan Experience by giving his wife a creepily strange birthday gift of a hologram of her deceased dad talking to her and saying how proud he was of her, and what a genius Kanye is.
It must have been weirdo week at The Joe Rogan Experience as the Newsradio actor turned podcaster followed up having Kanye West on his show, with Satan incarnate himself, Alex Jones. Rogan caught flack for allowing Alex Jones to do Alex Jones things on the podcast, like spread anti-mask and Covid conspiracy theories. As much as I think Jones is a tool, Rogan’s podcast should be viewed as entertainment only…entertainment that you can clearly avoid if you want to. His podcast is really good, but I’m not sure when exactly he became Walter Cronkite. In other words, If you use JRE as you news outlet of choice, then you deserve to be misled by someone like Alex Jones.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading my ramblings. Till next week kids. Make sure you get out there and vote if you haven’t already. Peace.