Craig Calcaterra

Library of Congress

We could have a lot of days without baseball before the World Series


Just randomly looking at the schedule and realizing that if the Indians win today they’ll have six full days off before they play again, in Game 1 of the World Series. And, it should be noted, will have secured that World Series spot before NLCS Game 3 even got underway, because of how the schedule worked out.

Meanwhile, if either the Cubs or Dodgers run the table in the next three games we’ll all have four full days without any baseball at all. All of this is because the World Series is pegged to a set start date — next Tuesday, October 25 — and not for “X days after the teams are decided.”

There are pros and cons to this sort of scheduling. It allows for better planning, obviously. No large sporting event is just about the teams playing in it anymore. There are sponsors and broadcasting partners and various and sundry promotional concerns, and it’s simply easier for Major League Baseball and all of its various stakeholders to plan around a date certain than to gear up five minutes after the final out in the deciding NLCS game, which could be Thursday afternoon.

There’s also the fact that Major League Baseball does not like beginning the World Series on the weekend, where it will be overshadowed by football. And heck, the NLCS could go until Sunday as it is, making the Tuesday start of the World Series sensible for both baseball and planning purposes. Still, if the Indians do what seems inevitable and either the Cubs or Dodgers get hot, we could have a lot of time on our hands before the Fall Classic gets going.

Most people believe that the long layoff hurts a team before the World Series, but that’s not necessarily born out in the numbers. As AJ Cassavell of noted last year, there have been sixteen teams who have been forced to sit for five days or more after winning the LCS. Eight of those clubs went on to win the World Series, eight went on to lose (Cassavell noted 15/8/7, but the Mets added one to the loss column after he wrote his article). When the club which has sat for a while loses, rust is cited. When they win, rest is cited. It seems like a textbook exercise in post-hoc reasoning.

I think if I’m the Indians, I’d want the rest. They have Corey Kluber going on short rest today as it is, Trevor Bauer could use some time for his finger to heal and, at some point, Andrew Miller could use a day off. They’ll still remember how to play baseball after a week off, methinks. The NLCS winner will likely enjoy some rest as well, especially if it’s the Dodgers, who have been riding a couple of their horses particularly hard thus far.

So, if the league likes it and the sponsors like it and the TV people like it and the clubs like it, the only ones who lose with a long layoff are the fans. We’ll have to resort to reading books or visiting with our families or something. It’s a downright tragedy when you think about it.

Curt Schilling says he’ll run for Senate in 2018. As long as his wife says it’s OK.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27:  Former ESPN Analyst Curt Schilling talks about his ESPN dismissal and politics during SiriusXM's Breitbart News Patriot Forum hosted Stephen K. Bannon and co-host Alex Marlow at the SiriusXM Studio on April 27, 2016 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Getty Images

Curt Schilling has been toying with the idea of launching a political career lately. I’d say “planning” or “investigating” a political career if he had done more than post dumb political memes on his social media platforms and rant incoherently on talk radio and cable TV, but at the moment we’ll have to just call it “toying.”

That may be about to change, however!

All sensible people would check with their spouse before mounting such a run, of course, and I will thus give Schilling good family man points for noting that if Shonda doesn’t want him to run, he won’t. For now we’ll set aside the notion that the folks who are likely to make up Schilling’s core constituency likely view such caveats as the behavior of a weak and henpecked Beta Male or whatever.

I do hope Shonda consents, however. I certainly don’t want Curt Schilling in command of anything other than a fastball and slider, so I would root for the people of Massachusetts to send him to electoral defeat, but boy howdy, would I love to cover that campaign.

Hiroki Kuroda is retiring

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during a game at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Kyodo News reports that former Yankees and Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda will retire at the end of the season.

Kuroda left MLB after the 2014 season and has been pitching for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp for the past two years. The 41-year-old had a 3.09 ERA and 98/30 K/BB ratio over 151.2 innings this season and he will end his career pitching against the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Japan Series, which begins this weekend.

Kuroda’s statement announcing his retirement shows that, despite obviously still having the chops to compete in NPB, going out on top is a big factor:

“Winning the league championship and advancing to the Japan Series is one big reason for this,” said Kuroda. “Because I’m going out after the ultimate season, I have no regrets.”

Kuroda was 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA (115 ERA+) and 986 strikeouts against 292 walks in 1,319 innings across seven major league seasons. In NPB, Kuroda is 124-105 with a 3.55 ERA and 1,451 strikeouts and 504 walks in 2,021.2 innings across 13 seasons, all with Hiroshima.