All in all, it's been a pretty good year for baseball.

Friday Baseball Blogging: Random Notes and Thoughts

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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There are just a bit more than two weeks remaining in the regular season. I don't have a theme this week so I put together a list of notes. Here they are:

  • My preferred playoff structure would be doing quite nicely this year. Granted, it's all speculative because the schedule would be different. If we use the win-loss records from this year, though, the Orioles and Angels would still have their divisions wrapped up and they would have a greater benefit for being the best two teams in the American League. In the National League, a lot depends on how the realignment would be set up. If the Cardinals went to the NL West, there would be a race between three teams for the top two slots. In the East, the Nationals would still be champs and have a better chance of moving on in the modified playoff structure. The main difference for the remaining teams in both leagues is that the sub-.500 teams on the fringes of the current wild card chases would be out of contention. I can live with that result.
  • With another season winding down, I think it's worth pointing out three great things about being a fan in general, and a Giants fan in particular: The MLB Network, MLB's Gameday Audio and the Giants' broadcast crew. (I am starting to worry, however, that Dave Flemming may be destined for bigger and better things as a full-time network guy. Selfishly, I hope not.)
  • MLB Network is terrific. On the other hand, after a bunch of high-profile players were hit by pitches in last night's games, they couldn't help themselves from rushing to all sorts of structural explanations instead of just treating their occurrence together as a coincidence (which is what the numbers say).
  • I made it to one new ballpark this year. My goal for next year is to get at least one more. The early teams I'm targeting are the Mets, Yankees, Orioles and Rangers. This will happen.
  • Chris Davis was suspended for amphetamines? I want him to say that he was just trying to emulate Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. It can't be true that Dale Murphy was the only player who was "clean" by today's standards between 1960 and 2000 but I'll keep saying it is until I see a reason not to believe it. That said, whatever the moral or ethical standards involved in the abstract, rules are rules and there's no excuse for getting caught in a way that hurts your team during a pennant chase. (And no, I'm not talking about my first-place Blue Sox. I know no one cares about anyone else's fantasy team. But I really could have used a few more home runs and RBIs from Davis).
  • And finally: Any year that the Giants and the Dodgers play important games against each other in September is a year to remember.

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To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net