Blog Entry

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

Posted on: November 17, 2011 2:44 pm

By Matt Snyder

The Astros are going to move to the American League West, likely in time for the 2013 season. And judging from the reactions on Twitter, message boards and comments sections, the entire sport of baseball has apparently been ruined. We might as well just give up, right?

Dear Lord, people, dial it down. This is sports. They are supposed to be fun.

It never ceases to amaze me how utterly furious the masses get whenever baseball dares to makes a change. Is it the nation-wide, fan stigma attached to commissioner Bud Selig? That's possible. It's also possible it's the romantic infatuation die-hard baseball fans have with tradition. Whatever the reason, it's astounding. The NFL could radically realign and it would be universally accepted (oh wait, that already happened).

What if we treated our everyday life the way we treat baseball -- in that we aren't allowed to change anything, lest you upset the so-called tradition.

Go ahead and use your rotary phone, refuse to upgrade to high-definition TV, make sure your Internet connection is still a dial-up and definitely don't use the microwave for anything. If you like video games, you're only allowed to play Frogger or Donkey Kong on that old-school Atari. I mean, it's just madness all these changes people are making with technology, right? And that's just with technology. We could do this little exercise with any aspect of life. But in baseball, any change is tantamount to sacrilege, cry the masses.

Astros to AL West
The Astros move to the American League at at time when the franchise is facing a massive rebuilding project. They'll now be able to do so as an American League team. The Brewers, meanwhile, are firmly entrenched as an important National League team, having also developed good rivalries with the Cubs and Cardinals. It doesn't matter if the Brewers were in the American League a few decades ago, no matter how much people want to cry about Bud Selig's move of the Brewers to the NL. The past is the past. Leave it there. Look to the future. This move makes sense right now.

If you do insist on looking at the past, let's realize that the World Series used to pit the teams with the best record in each league against each other. There wasn't even an LCS. Remember how great that was, old people? Under that format, this year the World Series would have pitted the Yankees against the Phillies. Man, I can't imagine how much whining there would have been from everyone outside the northeast. For a few decades, there was only an LCS, no LDS. Then the wild card was added. All the changes have done is make postseason baseball more exciting than ever. The last month of this past season was one of the best of all-time.

I've seen people complaining about year-long interleague play with the rhetorical question, "why even have two leagues?" What an absurd complaint. You have the two leagues so you have a proper route to the World Series, just like the NFL has the AFC and NFC while the NHL and NBA have the East and West.

I've seen the lament that interleague play won't be "special" anymore. Special? Would the Marlins vs. Pirates be any less "special" than the Padres vs. A's right now? Please.

I've heard people whine about how the World Series teams will be too familiar with each other now. With trades and free agency, lots of players are familiar with each other anyway. And I don't understand how there's so much extra allure if the teams aren't familiar. It's the World freaking Series. You don't need to have an additional selling point.

Face it, having 16 teams in one league while 14 in the other was pretty ludicrous. Just as it's ludicrous to have different rules in each league (DH in AL, no DH in NL). It's one sport. Things should be uniform. Again, what is it about baseball that makes us lose all sense of perspective? I can't help but think 25 years from now we'll look back and scratch our heads at why the consensus was that it was OK to have 16 teams in the NL, 14 in the AL, but four playoff teams from each league. So, statistically, it was easier to make the playoffs from the AL West than NL Central. And that's fair, Houston fans?

It couldn't possibly be more obvious that the underlying hatred is simply change itself. As Garth Algar once said, "we fear change." All the rationale from those opposing the change is just a convenient justification because your gut is just telling you that you don't want anything to change. That's it.

But let's look at the excitement and intrigue the wild card has brought baseball. That was a big change that was met with venomous opposition at the time. Not all change is bad. Let's accept the fact that the Astros are moving and start looking to the future of baseball. Yeah, yeah, here come the mudslingers to accuse me of not being a true fan. That's fine. Forgive me for actually enjoying the sport instead of being a change-resistent dinosaur.

The whiners can feel free to watch a low-def tube TV. I'll just sit here and enjoy the sport I love on a high-def flatscreen.

So which one of us is being unreasonable?

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Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: November 18, 2011 4:20 am

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

Enough with all this sentimentality about going to games with fathers and how the memories are now marred. I used to enjoy going to Fenway in the early 2000's before it became an amusement park for yuppies and pink hats but on the other hand, the raping of the public has allowed the team loads of extra money to blow on crappy free agents, so with change comes both good and bad. If there is a Houston-Cincinnati rivalry, then it's news to me and as fatcharlie said, at least now the worst Houston can do is finishing in 5th instead of 6th.

@ G1

It's always productive to begin delivering an opinion with the phrase "(insert name here) is an idiot!" It really helps drive the point home.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:46 am

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

Equally exciting was the race going into the playoffs between Boston and Tampa Bay in the AL and Atlanta and St. Louis in the NL.
Now, that brings up an interesting point.

Has anyone stopped to consider that if the new rule establishing a second Wild Card had been in effect this year, there would have been NO SUSPENSE AT ALL in the last week or so of the season?  The Rays and Red Sox would both have been virtually assured Wild Card slots; Braves/Cardinals, same thing.  All they'd have been playing for during that time would have been home-field advantage in a one-game playoff, I assume.  Big, big deal.

Sure, I realize that some years it's like that while in some other years it would be three teams competing for two slots.  But that's just the point: the change cannot at all be presumed to make the the end of the season more exciting, as it's apparently intended to do; in some cases it will be less, as it would have been in 2011.  And it's certainly not going to make the post-season much more exciting.  Not with only one additional playoff game--and that game possibly resulting in a weaker team getting into the real show.  Just how does that improve the game?

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:43 am

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

@fatcharlie: One thing I've learned in the past month is that until you lose a parent, you can't describe what it is like, and that I can't describe it to anybody else that hasn't lost one. If you haven't been there yet, then remember your words here when that day comes.

I agree that rivalries are two-way. I don't expect most of the traditional NL clubs to view Houston with much of anything. For me, the issue is that those teams that I saw with my dad, I will hardly see anymore at all. Yes, I remember hearing Ken Johnson's no-hitter where Cincinnati won on the radio with Gene Elston announcing as Cincy got an unearned run in the 9th. I remember my dad and I attending the game where Don Wilson was working on his 3rd no hitter, but was pulled after 8 innings with the Astros down 2-1 to the Reds. Then I remember my dad and I disagreeing on the manager's strategy of pulling him afterwards.

No, the memory is not destroyed; but it is forever changed, a connection further removed.

Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:43 am

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

As a longtime Reds fan, I really have to wonder when this great Astros-Reds rivalry began.  It's awful flattering that you guys consider us a bitter rival, but I think I speak for many Reds fans when I say 'HUH?'  Rivalries are two-sided, Houston.  Cincinnati considers Houston no more of a rival than they do the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And give me a break, now that the Stros will belong to the AL, the memories of your dearly departed father no longer have a link to present day?  That might be the most retarded thing I've read in a long time.  Why can't you guys just be happy to be looking up in the standings at 4 teams instead of the usual 5?

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:24 am

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

I forgot to mention Souperman's excellent post as well.  Sports are obviously not life or death but they do mean something.  And baseball above other sports likes to trade upon its history and traditions and connections to the past.  If you grew up an Astros fan it will take a long, long time before a victory over the Mariners means anything like a victory over the Reds.

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:14 am

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

bronson you just don't get it and I'm not even going to bother.  Read Ark_Razor's post and maybe you'll get a clue.

CPryor06---absolutely 100% agree.

Since: Aug 19, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:29 pm

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

I'm with ya. Right on

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:19 pm

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

You are being unreasonable Snyder. Show some sac and tell us who your favorite teams are. Also, tell us how old you are and how long you've been following baseball. Otherwise, you're just some sort journalistic academic. It's one thing to talk about change. It's another when it cuts close to home. My dad died last month and he and I went to Colt 45 games at Colt Stadium. It was cherished time of my youth. With the (dis)Astros moving to the AL, a great deal of that has been destroyed b/c the memory no longer will have a present day link.

The issue for me is not whether or not we should be 15/15 or the DH (allthough I don't like it, I accept it, along with interleague play. The issue is Bud Lite's extortion of an owner to get what he wanted, the fan base be d****d.

Yea, you can talk about change, but there is a cost here. Sports are supposed to be fun- bb became a lot less for me. I've got a long memory, pal; and I'm patient. I'll be watching your posts to deal it back to you in spades blogging-wise at the right moment once I ever hear you talking about "tradition" with anything going forward.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:21 pm

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

This is what should have happened.  The D'Backs or Rockies make the move to the AL West.  To fill the void, the Astros would move into the NL West.  That way, the state of Texas would have the presence of BOTH leagues and they both are in Western divisions.  However, MLB decided to take the easy route out instead of the logical route.  Sometimes easy doesn't mean practical.

Since: Jan 15, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:18 pm

Stop complaining about changes in baseball

Hey article writer---you are an idiot!

Here are a few of my thoughts....

If we keep the DH in the AL, then we should lose Interleague play. Interleague is a gimmick. Pitchers should have to be able to hit a ball. The get paid an awful lot of money and they can't hit, what?

American League teams would lose their advantage without a DH. And NL Pitchers would rise above, since the can hit better, you know a 2- tool player.

My 2 cents...

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