If I could see one game in baseball history . . .

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It may very well be this game, which Mike McClary of the Daily Fungo reminds us of:

On this date in
1957, Steve Dalkowski, pitching for Kingsport, fans 24, walks 18, hits
4, and throws 6 wild pitches in a row. He loses, 9-8.

I mean, there’s film of most of the big famous post-war games, and while the history of the pre-war games involving Ruth and Gehrig and all those cats would make them awesome to see as well, they’re really just another stripe of big important game, and we kind of know how those go.

The Dalkowski game, however, is sui generis. We’ll certainly never see anything like it again and being there would be something.  As would seeing Dalkowski himself, who, as many of you probably know, was the model for Nuke LaLoosh in “Bull Durham” (the writer and director, Ron Shelton, was a minor league teammate of Dalkowski’s). At least a partial model: Dalkowski was a raging alcoholic when he pitched.

Anyway, as I sit here today, Dalkowski plunking four dudes, striking out 24 and walking 18 while uncorking six wild pitches is what I’d want to see.  How about you?

Red Sox owner: “spending money helps”

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The other day Rob Manfred said, as he and other owners have said often in the past, that there is no correlation between payroll and winning. He said that defensively, in response to criticism of the slow free agent market of the past two offseasons.

As we have noted in the past, Manfred is not being honest about that. While, yes, in any given year there can be wild variation between payroll and win total — the Giants stunk last year, the A’s won 97 games — common sense dictates otherwise. What’s more, a recent study has shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between winning and payroll over time. Yes, you can fluke into a big season with a low payroll — Deadspin compared it to a cold snap occurring during a time of climate change — but if you want that “sustained success” teams claim they want, the best way to ensure it is to spend more money over time.

If you know anything about baseball labor history, though, you know well that the Commissioner and the owners will continue to mischaracterize the dynamics of the business as it suits them. Mostly because — present lefty sportswriters notwithstanding — very few people push back on their narratives. Fans tend to parrot ownership’s line on this stuff and, more often than not, baseball media acts as stenographer for ownership as opposed to critic. That gives owners a far greater ability to shape the narrative about all of this than most institutions.

Which makes this all the more awkward. From David Schoenfield of ESPN:

In apparent contradiction to his own commissioner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said Monday that, while there is not a perfect correlation between a bigger payroll and winning, “spending more money helps.”

Which is right. The correlation is not perfect — teams can spend a lot of money on a bad team if given the chance and a low payroll team like the Rays can bullpen their way to 90 wins — but you’re way more likely to win year-in, year-out if you’re spending than if you go cheap all the time and hope for a miracle season.

Which is not to say that Henry is some labor activist owner. He and his fellow front office officials have a long history of backing the league office on just about everything that matters and will no doubt do so with labor matters in the runup to the next CBA negotiation. The owners tend not to have a solidarity problem.

But Henry does seem to draw the line at peddling baloney, which is a shockingly necessary thing when the league and the union’s relationship turns acrimonious.