Last weekend, when writing about José Godoy becoming the 20,000th player in Major League Baseball history, I brought up the story of Bob Watson being the man who scored MLB’s one-millionth run, and all the hoopla around that in 1975.
There were countdown clocks in stadiums, a promotion with Tootsie Roll and Seiko watches, and a whole setup in New York’s Rockefeller Center to drum up anticipation. Because of all that, Astros teammates knew that Watson had a chance to score the millionth run when Milt May hit a three-run homer, and urged him to sprint home, which he did, earning his odd but celebrated place in history.
MLB has known that run number two million was coming, not just as a matter of simple counting, as recently as 2015. That’s when Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News wrote a piece looking back at Watson’s million milestone. In that piece he noted, “MLB estimates it is approaching the 1.9 million mark and could reach 2 million in 2020.”
Obviously, nobody saw COVID-19 coming along to erase most of the 2020 season, but had it been a regular year, the 2,000,000th run would have come last year. Instead, it happened Sunday, when Josh Donaldson scored on a ground-rule double by Nelson Cruz.
Granted, there’s some nuance to this milestone, because once Negro Leagues stats are included as part of MLB records, the run number 2,000,000 will have already been scored years ago. Same for Godoy definitely not being the 20,000th major-leaguer.
But in a sport where half the league is utterly uncompetitive, would it be so bad to have some promotion leading up to these odd little achievements that are so much the lifeblood of the sport? People get excited for the silliest things in baseball.
Do something with that energy. How could they understand this in 1975 but not 2021?
The NBA playoffs sure did let everyone else have the spotlight on Saturday, as all four games were decided by double-digits, led by the 76ers’ 132-103 rout of the Wizards to take a 3-0 series lead. The Heat clocked out by bowing meekly to the Bucks, the Trail Blazers knotted their series with the Nuggets at 2-2, and the Jazz regained home-court advantage by taking care of the Grizzlies in Game 3.
The last time there were four NBA playoff games with double-digit margins on the same day was April 21, 2013, when the scores were:
Pacers 107, Hawks 90
Heat 110, Bucks 87
Thunder 120, Rockets 91
Spurs 91, Lakers 79
One thing to note about this is that the following day, the Knicks won their playoff game by 16 points, en route to a six-game victory in their first-round series. Just saying for no reason at all.