Unearthed this gem of a quote from Bobby Cox, former manager of the “Great in the Regular Season But Flame Out in the Playoffs Against Inferior Opposition” Atlanta Braves. Certainly has relevance today in light of the playoffs being expanded once again:
“You shouldn’t get nothing for second or third. Baseball has set it up the way they want, of course, and I have nothing to do with it. I’m not knocking baseball at all, but in my opinion I’d like to see the two . . . best teams in baseball in the World Series. It’s hard to swallow sometimes when you play all year and you win a lot of games and you lose to somebody who did not play as good as you consistently all year.
Preach Bobby. I don’t care what the haters say: winning the division all those times was really cool, and it’s alright if you disappointed in the playoffs.
Oh, wait. This just in: that wasn’t Bobby Cox in 1999. It was Phillies manager Charlie Manuel yesterday. Never mind then.
In the Major League Baseball system, the people are entertained by two separate yet equally important groups. The players who play the game and the umpires who call the balls, strikes and outs. These are their stories.
Wait, that’s not true. They’re not equally important and we certainly don’t want to hear the umpires’ stories. If the stories are about the umpires it usually that means they’ve screwed up.
Not always, though! In 2013, you may recall, I wrote a story about an umpire who made a much talked about call in a World Series game that (a) happened to be right, even if it was much-debated; and (b) his story is one I’ve always found compelling, even if he’s most famous for a call he got wrong.
Jim Joyce, though, an umpire who was widely admired and respected despite his famous blunders, is one of the few exceptions to the rule about what it means to know an umpires’ name. Most of the time we’re all lucky — umpires included — if the introductions are the first and last time we hear of them.
Here they are for the 2018 World Series, with Game 1 assignments noted:
Home: Tim Timmons
1B: Kerwin Danley
2B: Ted Barrett — Crew Chief
3B: Chad Fairchild
LF: Jeff Nelson
Replay, Games 1-2: Fieldin Culbreth
Replay, Game 3-End: Tim Timmons