The Continental League

Leave a comment

What if there was a competing major league, set up by an undisputed
genius, located in major cities, broadcast on pay cable and set up so
that everyone shared revenue and TV money so as not to give one team a
Yankees-like financial advantage? Neat idea? Well, they already had that idea and it didn’t work out as planned:

Monday is the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Continental
League, and it is understandable if the moment does not trigger a flood
of happy associations or, for that matter, any memories at all.

The Continental was to be Major League Baseball’s third league: an
eight-team circuit that would, in the view of its architect, spread the
game across the land, ensuring its position as America’s pre-eminent
spectator sport. That the vision for the league came from Branch
Rickey, the sport’s éminence grise, gave it instant and national
legitimacy, so much so that on the day it was officially announced,
July 27, 1959, reporters flooded the Biltmore Hotel to chronicle the
event.

Fascinating article that presages a book on the Continental League by
its author, Michael Shapiro. Definitely check it out if you have a
moment or two.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

Getty Images
2 Comments

Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.