Everybody thinks that was a pretty good way to kick off the 2008 baseball post-season: Chicago's 1-0 play-in game win against the Minnesota Twins last night at Comisky Park or Cell Fone Field or whatever the hell it is the call the home of the second team in the Second City these days.
Jim Thome's bomb was the games only run in the only 1-0 win the Sox got all year long but the fact is that Chicago may have won this game not on the field last night, but rather with the flip of a coin on September 19.
That was the day Major League Baseball conducted a series of coin flips to determine which teams would have home field advantage in the event tiebreakers were required to decide any Division Titles or Wild Card berths. Chicago won the toss that day, and that's why they were the home team last night.
I wouldn't have thought much about it except for a graphic I saw during the game that said Chicago was 1-8 at the Metrodump in Minneapolis this season. Conversely, the Twins were 2-7 in Chi. this season. (The win by the White Sox last night was their 6th in a row at home against the Twins).
The thing is, in any other sport, home field advantage would have been earned as a result of head-to-head competition, not awarded in a coin toss; and the Twins won the season series against the White Sox 10-8. In any other sport, therefore, the Twins, playing in that funky dome of theirs were the fans are loud and the hops are queer, would have been the home team last night.
None of this is to say that the same result would not have occurred had the game been played in Minny, Everybody just thought it was interesting, that’s all.
Besides, Baseball has a long history of not making a big deal out of home-field advantage. Until just a few years ago when they decided home-field advantage in the World Series –the sports ultimate event -- would be given to the winner of that years All-Star game, home field advantage depended not upon which team had the better record but rather on what year it was. If it was an even World Series year, the National League hosted four of the seven games, including, if necessary, game 7. In odd years, the American League hosted four games including #7 if necessary.
In another note, Everybody also thought it interesting that in the game Sunday in Chicago, Cleveland elected not to start 22-game winner and likely 2008 Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee against Chicago in what was, for the Indians, the final game of their season. It was Lee’s turn to start and he was listed as the probable Cleveland starter in the Indians Game Notes on Friday and Saturday. But, come Sunday, Lee was not out there against the White Sox. Had Lee pitched and won, Minnesota would have won the AL Central title Sunday and there would have been no need for the White Sox to play the Tigers Monday to tie the Twins for first since they would have been a game and a half out with one to play. It would also have meant, of course, that there would have been no AL Central tie-breaker on the far-see device last night.
Perhaps what this means is that the baseball fates are hard at work as they always are. They said at the end of the broadcast last night that this is the first time in 102 years both Chicago teams are in the postseason in the same year. 102 years ago, the playoffs consisted of a single round called the World Series and the White Sox won that Series, the World Series of ought-eight, only the third World Series ever played, in six over the Cubs.
Without a dog in the fight (you should have heard the whelps of my beaten curs who came last this season at 74-88) our allegiance now goes to the Cubs in honor of our friend David von Ebers. In fact, I say, “We are all Cubs, now!” I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings posting the other day, I was just kidding around, clumsily. And if he wants an all-Chicago World Series then dammit, that’s what Everybody wants too!
We’ll get back to politics shortly (Ain’t that John McCain a dick?), but we will spend some time here over the next three weeks or so holding forth on the state of our National Game as well.
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