MLB News & Views @ MLBRT 9/14

1) Regarding the latest “uproar” over sign stealing, specifically that the Red Sox were caught stealing the Yankees’ signs using an Apple watch… 

Even Commissioner Rob Manfred says sign stealing is a part of Baseball and is legal… “We actually do not have a rule against sign-stealing. It has been a part of the game for a very, very long time.” 

According to the commissioner, what is illegal is…  “To the extent that there was a violation of the rule here, it was a violation by one or the other that involved the use of electronic equipment. It’s the electronic equipment that creates the violation. I think the rule against electronic equipment has a number of policy reasons behind it, but one of them is we don’t want to escalate attempts to figure out what a pitcher is going to throw by introducing electronics into that mix.” 

What’s your take on this latest sign stealing episode, and if an electronic device was used, should the Red Sox be punished? And, if so, what type of punishment would be appropriate?

Red Sox Admit They Used Apple Watch To Steal Signs In Yankees Series – Hartford Courant

Joe: I agree with Manfred  that sign stealing is part of the game. IMO, if  a team  is stealing your signs; STFU and do a better job of giving your signs.

I also agree that using electronic devices is not a part of the game.

In so far that I have read more than one account that says there is proof that an Apple watch was used and that the Red Sox high command has admitted an Apple watch was used and is saying essentially, “Yeah? So what,” and Dustin Pedroia even went so far to make the his team used an Apple watch in high school to steal signs, so what’s the big deal, the Red Sox need to be assessed some type of punishment. And a big fine is not enough. I say let them lose two draft choices in the next draft.

Why? Because teams need to be sent a message that electronic devices are not allowed to be used in the sign stealing game. If you do and you get caught there will be consequences… serious consequences.

Steve: No, it’s not illegal so why should they be punished?

Manfred is right if they were using an electronic device then sure, they should be punished. However, there is no proof that they were using electronic devices, so they should not be Penalized for stealing signs.

2) There is no other way to ask this… What the hell is wrong with the Dodgers and can they recover to be a factor in the MLB post-season tournament? 

Dodgers secured at least a wild-card berth in the playoffs Tuesday night with a victory that ended its 11-game losing streak, the club’s longest since moving to the West Coast in 1958.

Joe: I have no idea but if they don’t figure it out real quick and  correct whatever needs to be corrected, then they ain’t going to go very far in this year’s MLB post season tournament.

I been watching and following this game for almost 56 years and I have never ever seen a team go so good for so long and then suddenly just turn into drek and go so bad as the Dodgers have done. Never! Guess the old cliches are true… “You can see something you never saw before in baseball every day,” and “That’s baseball.”

Steve: The city of Los Angeles is in a state of panic right now. The Dodgers seem to have tanked. I am not sure if they can recover from this before the postseason. A losing streak like this is one of the worst that I’ve ever seen from a team who has had more success than the Dodgers. To be honest, they need to get their shit together and write the ship. 

3) As of Monday morning, the Cleveland Indians are 3 games away from tying the 1935 Cubs for the longest winning streak in MLB… which his 21 games. The 1916 New York Giants hold the record for the longest winning streak/non-losing streak in MLB history at 26 games, but this streak includes a tie, which is not counted toward official statistics. 

In your opinion, will the Indians tie or break the Cubs for MLB’s longest winning streak or will they coast on by the Cubs’ record and make a real run at the 26-game streak of the Giants? Why?

Indians win 21st straight game to set AL record, tying 1935 Cubs mark.

Joe: It is now Thursday morning and the Indians’ win streak now is at 21 games.  Nuff said about tying the Cubs’ record.  The Indians are now just 5 wins from matching the 1916 New York Giants, who won 26 straight without a loss but whose record includes a tie. According to an AP account this is what happened… “The record includes a quirk: a 1-1 tie against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a game that was rained out after nine innings. The teams made up that game as part of a doubleheader the next day, and New York went on to set its 101-year-old record.”

That doubleheader sweep were wins 20 and 21. Then won another 5 games. In my opinion they really went 27 games and not 26 without losing. Kind of even more impressive.

The question is… Can the Indians break the  record? I say I would not bet against them winning 26 games in a row at this point, so my answer is “Yes.” Why? From the newscasts I have seen and the articles I have read these Indians are not taking the win streak overly serious and they are simply having fun with it. If, they lose a game, it won’t be the end of the world but hell enjoy while it’s happening seems to be the attitude.

Steve: The Cleveland Indians are on a pace that I have not seen since the Oakland Athletics. However, if I recall the Oakland Athletics did not get past the first round in the postseason.

I can’t see them winning 26 straight games to match the New York Giants. But I can see them tying the Cubs at 21, if not beating that record. I also think that the Cleveland Indians are a better team than they were last year when they went to the World Series.

4) Who wins the NL Central? The Cubs, the Cardinals or the Brewers? Why?

Joe: I’m going out on a limb here…

I’m taking the Cardinals. They have 7 games left on the schedule against the Cubs and I say they win 5 of the 7 games.

Cardinals win the pennant! Cardinals win the pennant! Cardinals win the pennant!

Steve: The Chicago Cubs are going to win the National League Central division purely based because they have the most talent in the division. However, like the Dodgers they need to get their stuff together if they want to have any hope in repeating his world champions.

5) The Washington Nationals clinched the NL East over the weekend… what should be their biggest priority for the rest of the regular season schedule as they look forward to playing in the 2017 edition of MLB’s post-season tournament?

Washington Nationals win the NL East

Joe: Just continue playing the games with their every day lineup. Rest players who need the rest or are hurt, but otherwise just keep playing the games so that all the players are in a competitive mode.

I  have never liked it when ever a team… regardless of the sport… who clinches a playoff spot goes into “rest mode” and starts a wholesale “resting up” of the players. I think it takes the player’s competitive edge away and it ain’t always that simple to just turn it back on at a moments notice when the playoffs start.

Steve: This is very simple, they need to catch the Dodgers for the best record in the National League. If they can do that, they should be the favorites to win the National League over the heavy favored Dodgers… if they aren’t already there.

They also need to get their players healthy and playing at 100%, they need to get their bullpen in order, and get their rotation an order for a postseason run.

Extra Innings… 

John McGraw, Manager of the 1916 Giants

For three magical weeks in the fall of 1916 the New York Giants were unbeatable as they won 26-games in a row, achieving the longest unbeaten streak in baseball history.

In this time they actually played 29 and a half games, the half game was a 4-inning rainout. They also played the New York Yankees and a New Haven team in exhibition games… that they won. And, in that 26-game streak was a 1–1 tie with Pittsburgh, called after eight innings because of rain. Made up as a part of a doubleheader the next day.

All the major league games, including nine double-headers, were played at the Polo Grounds. The average time of game was 1 hour, 44 minutes. For the entire time, including the exhibition game, and all the double-headers,

Some of the 1916 NY Giants, Bill McKechnie, Art Fletcher, Benny Kauff, George Burns, Larry Doyle, Bill Rariden

Manager John McGraw used exactly the same lineup and batting order, except for the two catchers. The no-name pitching staff  turned in 23 complete games, including 10 shutouts, and seven one-run games. They were aided by superb fielding that played 14 errorless games (compared to the opponents’ three), that also completed 15 double plays.

The Giants scored 122 runs, on 223 hits and 22 error by their opponents… Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis, Boston who scored a total of 33 runs, had 151 hits and made 50 errors.

The streak ended on September 30th as they lost the second game of a double header 8-3 to the Boston Braves. Coincidentally, it also knocked them out of the National League pennant race as it left them 5 games back of the league leading Brooklyn Robins with 4 games to play. They finished the year at 86-66 in fourth place.

Also, interesting is that after they got off to a terrible start, winning only two of their first 15 games and finding themselves already 8-1/2 behind in the standings, the Giants won 17 straight from May 9 to 29… all on the road… putting them within a game-and-a-half of Brooklyn at the top. So, twice they reeled off amazing win streaks that season and still it just was not good enough.

Win 26-games in a row and finish fourth… Who’da thunk it?!

One year later … 1917 World Champions

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