Here’s something I thought would be quick and fun on a slow news day: each team’s best record versus a league opponent since 2000. I’m not including the small-sample interleague results.
Arizona: 46-32 vs. Pittsburgh (.590 winning pct.)
Atlanta: 52-31 vs. San Diego (.627)
Chicago: 107-82 vs. Pittsburgh (.566)
Cincinnati: 43-33 vs. Florida (.566)
Colorado: 52-32 vs. Wash/Mon (.619)
Florida: 128-80 vs. Wash/Mon (.615)
Houston: 43-28 vs. Colorado (.606)
Los Angeles: 57-27 vs. Pittsburgh (.679)
Milwaukee: 45-35 vs. Arizona (.563)
New York: 48-35 vs. Colorado (.578)
Philadelphia: 51-29 vs. San Diego (.638)
Pittsburgh: 43-46 vs. Colorado (.483)
St. Louis: 55-25 vs. San Diego (.688)
San Diego: 50-28 vs. Washington (.641)
San Francisco: 49-26 vs. Houston (.653)
Wash/Mon: 44-34 vs. Pittsburgh (.564)
Baltimore: 56-34 vs. Kansas City (.622)
Boston: 61-34 vs. Detroit (.642)
Chicago: 124-81 vs. Kansas City (.605)
Cleveland: 57-35 vs. Tampa Bay (.620)
Detroit: 59-46 vs. Texas (.562)
Kansas City: 105-104 vs. Detroit (.502)
Los Angeles: 68-39 vs. Kansas City (.636)
Minnesota: 131-80 vs. Kansas City (.621)
New York: 62-24 vs. Kansas City (.721)
Oakland: 68-29 vs. Baltimore (.701)
Seattle: 59-44 vs. Kansas City (.573)
Tampa Bay: 51-38 vs. Kansas City (.573)
Texas: 59-44 vs. Kansas City (.573)
Toronto: 127-84 vs. Baltimore (.602)
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a lot of clubs are beating up on the Royals and Pirates. Seven of the 13 AL clubs have their best records against Kansas City, which is pretty amazing even if somewhat expected. Only four of the 15 NL possibilities have their top marks against the Pirates, but the Pirates have the singular distinction of not being above .500 against any leaguemates. Even in interleague play, the best they can boast is 5-4 records against the Orioles and Rays.
Of course, the Royals are only above .500 against the one team (Detroit). Their next best mark is .455, coming against the Indians (95-114).
We can see here that it’s easier to compile a big winning percentage over 70-90 games, rather than 200+. That’s why most of the clubs above have a non-division rival listed as their top opponent. The best mark for any club against a division rival is the Yankees’ .670 winning percentage against the Orioles (138-68). The Red Sox have also feasted on Baltimore, coming in at .633 (131-76).
For reasons that are not entirely clear to me the governor of my state, John Kasich, was on The Dan Patrick Show today. He had some bad news, unfortunately. According to Kasich, “baseball is going to die.”
It’s based mostly on his belief that, because some clubs are rich and some clubs are not so rich, and because players make too much money, poor teams cannot compete and fans cannot find a basis for team loyalty. He cites his boyhood rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the ability for fans to root for players on the same teams year-in, year-out and claims that, if you don’t root for a high-payroll team, “your team is out before the All-Star Break.” Which is demonstrably not true, but he was on a roll so Patrick let him finish.
The real issue, Kasich says, is the lack of revenue sharing in the NFL-NBA mold. He makes a reference to “my buddy Bob Castellini,” the owner of the Cincinnati Reds, and says stuff about how the Reds can’t compete with the Cubs on payroll. His buddy Bob Castellini, by the way, is worth half a billion dollars, purchased the Reds for $270 million, they’re now worth an estimated $905 million, and they just signed a lucrative new TV deal, so thoughts and prayers to his buddy Bob Castellini and the Reds.
Kasich is right that baseball does not have straight revenue sharing like the NFL and NBA do. But he’s also comically uninformed about the differences in financial structure and revenue sources for baseball teams on the one hand and other sports on the other. He talks about how NFL teams in small towns like Green Bay can do just great while the poor sisters in Cincinnati can’t do as well in baseball, but either doesn’t realize or doesn’t acknowledge that local revenue — especially local TV revenue — pales in importance in football compared to baseball. If the Packers had to make all of their money by broadcasting games to the greater Green Bay area their situation would be a lot different. Meanwhile, if the Yankees had to put all of the revenue they receive via broadcasts in the greater New York area and give it to the poorer teams, it would something less than fair, would it not?
Wait, that’s it! I realize now why my governor did not do as well in the Republican primaries as he expected to! HE’S A COMMUNIST!
Major League Baseball has announced the on-field ceremonial stuff for tonight’s Game 3 of the World Series. There are a couple of good things here! And one bit of evidence that, at some point when he was still commissioner, Bud Selig sold his mortal soul to a pop punk band and now the league can’t do a thing about it.
The ceremonial first pitch choice is fantastic: it’s Billy Williams, the Hall of Famer and six-time All-Star who starred for the Cubs from 1959 through 1974. Glad to see Williams here. I know he’s beloved in Chicago, but he has always seemed to be one of the more overlooked Hall of Famers of the 1960s-70s. I’m guessing not being in the World Series all that time has a lot to do with that, so it’s all the more appropriate that he’s getting the spotlight tonight. Here’s hoping Fox makes a big deal out of it and replays it after the game starts.
“Take me out to the ballgame” will be sung by the guy who, I assume, holds the title of Cubs First Fan, Bill Murray. It’ll be wacky, I’m sure.
The National Anthem will be sung by Chicago native Patrick Stump. Who, many of you may know, is the lead singer for Fall Out Boy. This continues Major League Baseball’s strangely strong association with Fall Out Boy over the years. They, or some subset of them, seem to perform at every MLB jewel event. They have featured in MLB’s Opening Day musical montages. They played at the All-Star Game this summer. Twice. And, of course, they are the creative minds behind “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” (a/k/a “light ’em MUPMUPMUPMUP“) which Major League Baseball and Fox used as incessant playoff bumper music several years ago. I don’t ask for much in life, but one thing I do want is someone to love me as much as Major League Baseball loves Fall Out Boy. We all do, really.
Wayne Messmer, the former public address announcer for the Cubs and a regular performer of the National Anthem at Wrigley Field will sing “God Bless America.”
Between that and Bill Murray, I think we’ve found out the Cubs strategy for dealing with Andrew Miller: icing him if he tries to straddle the 6th and 7th innings.