Hello, dear reader. My name is Rich. I like baseball more than just fine. In fact, it is far and away my favorite sport.
So you may be wondering how the Deputy Editor of a sports website who adores a sport so much he’s been to every ballpark could just … ghost it for an entire season.
The answer, in a world beset by a global pandemic, a tyrannical monster child in charge of our government, Black lives infuriatingly not mattering, our West Coast occasionally incinerating itself thanks to us, and quite possibly the impending demise of health, reproductive, civil and just plain old basic human rights via a second stolen Supreme Court seat, is that I can assure you just how easy it was to ignore the league-wide, Metsian sideshow that was the 2020 MLB season. I’ve chosen to immerse myself in finally watching “Lost” for the first time, because a menacing black smoke monster is definitely not as scary as the current horrors of the real world.
Oh, sure I know about the big stuff because we done covered it. So yes, I know that Tatis kid is pretty okay at baseballing. I remember when he hit a grand slam and everyone lost their goddamn minds. Games were postponed due to toxic air stemming from California wildfires that also made the Bay area look like the surface of Mars. Manny Machado, a third baseman, made a spectacular catch in … right field. And someone named Kyle Higashioka hit three home runs in a game for the Yankees. It’s the Yankee Way. Luke Voit of the Yankees had the first leadoff, walkoff sacrifice fly in history. There was also a drone flying over Target Field and the Phillies’ bullpen didn’t record a single out all season (OK that’s a slight exaggeration).
But like … who’s in first? I have no idea. I’m a Yankees fan. Are they any good? I *think* so from passing stories I’ve seen — but injuries ring a bell?
So if you’re like me, or just want to laugh at me, come along now as I fill in my mental blanks of 9½-weeks of upside-down baseball.
Let’s start with the standings, shall we? [opens new tab, Googles “MLB standings”]
Lol, the Red Sox really are a train wreck! That’s a good first thing to warm my heart. Yeesh, the Pirates are like last-year’s-Tigers bad, and the Rangers, this year’s Tigers and the … wait … World Champion Nats (?!) are also quite rank. Wow, what the hell happened to the Nats? [opens new tab, Googles, “Why do the Nats suck this year?” A plethora of options to choose from! Clicks on ]
Oh, well not having Strasburg sucks! Oh, Starlin Castro is out. Oh, Ryan Zimmerman opted out. This one is self-explanatory. Moving on … who’s good?
The Dodgers! That’s no surprise. Mookie Betts is a favorite current player and I’m delighted he’s no longer on my most-hated team. Then there’s the Rays and we have the answer to that one — they broke baseball by using an entire lineup of left-handed hitters, the first time a major league team has done that in more than a century. So good for them.
Then everyone else appears to be … kinda average. I do enjoy the dogfight going on in the AL Central.
I see the Cardinals have almost made up all those games they lost, but I also see they haven’t had a day off since Sept. 10 and have played a few doubleheaders in that stretch, too. [opens new tab, Googles “Are the Cardinals players going to die from having played so many games in a row?” Results: inconclusive]
So who’s in the playoffs, and how many damn teams are this year? 14 out of 16 spots clinched. Man, a best-of-three first round. The Dodgers must be pissssssssed! They finally seem to have put it all together and they get to play truth-or-dare with an 8-seed. Dangerous. Fans of teams like the Reds and Marlins who haven’t seen an October in ages must be delighted. That oddly seems appropriate in a made-up season.
Let’s see which players are really hitting the home runs over the wall? Aside from Tatis.
This guy leads the league in homers? Lol. Nelson Cruz has to be half cyborg at this point. Two guys batting over .350 is pretty cool. Hasn’t been done since Josh Hamilton 10 years ago, at the end of that streak in the aughts when everyone hit everything all the time.
Honestly, Adalberto Mondesi stealing 24 bases might be the most impressive stat I’ve seen so far, since the art of the theft has been pretty much dormant in baseball for a while.
Finally, I guess it’s time to just pop by the MLB home page and see what’s hopping right now. HOLY WOW that Ronald Acuna 495-foot shot! That … is a great place to leave this experiment.
In conclusion, yes, I will watch the playoffs. If for no other reason than they are in bubbles (which I endorse — and the slipshod manner in which the season was approached and began turned me off to the whole shebang) and frankly I miss the hell out baseball and want to see what it’s like when everything is actually on the line and there isn’t a single fan in the stands to rah or boo.
I also just love chaos. And the one thing this season has proven, even if you didn’t pay much attention, is that these playoffs should be just that. Sure, I’ll root for the Yankees, but honestly, I’ll mainly root for fun. It would be a welcome change of pace at this point.
Now then, where the hell is my old-school Padres hat?