March 15, 2012
Well, as you can see, I have settled on a name for our collective. Like all names, it could be improved upon – shortened for example. But as a couple of you expressed concerns about using its acronym (sexist and/or prudish Yankee haters that your are), I have decided to stick with the name but will refrain for now from using the acronym.
I am hopeful that, in time, all of you will become comfortable at least with the designation B.A.B.E.S., a slight change from my original suggestion of BABES. The use of periods between the initials creates some distinction between us, the Bambino and female All-Stars, which were the main objections. It also reminds me of one of my favorite T.V. series from my childhood – The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
I will never be as cool as Napoleon Solo (or as good a ballplayer as Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie), but I can still aspire to be the Best American Baseball Expert. And even if I never achieve that goal – not even for one year – I can at least be remembered as the first Commissioner of the Best American Baseball Experts Society – founded on Opening Day, 2008, by Steve J., Rocky W. and me over lunch at the Ruta Maya Coffee House in a run down building on the banks of the San Antonio River. The restaurant is now as defunct as the Seattle Pilots (it should have served Starbucks), but the Best American Baseball Experts Society lives on and has grown to over 20 members.
Anyway, we can always change the name in the future because, as I said, even great names can be improved upon. Just like great GAMES can always be improved upon, even the greatest game ever, which brings me to the biggest news of this Spring Training – the addition of a second Wild Card team. That’s right – a 3rd place finisher in the AL East could still make the play-offs and even win the World Series! “Say it ain’t so, Bud!” (So now you only have to leave one of these five teams out of the play-offs: TEX, LAA, NYY, BOS or TBR, but it’s still a challenge to select which one, right?)
I am curious to hear how all of you Society members feel about that. Actuallly, I am all for it. With a one-game play-off in each league between the two wild card teams, the post-season will actually start with the equivalent of two game 7’s! Remember the incredible events of the last day of last year’s regular season? Think of that excitement on the first day of the playoffs every year. Also, this format gives the division winners a distinct advantage in lining up their rotations for the playoffs, which should be the reward for success over the 162 game season. Due to the last minute agreement on adding the second wild card team, there will be some odd scheduling in the post-season this year, with the winningest team actually starting the play-offs with two games on the road against the wild-card winner. Nevertheles, I still like the concept. I’m sure they will tweak it again next year when they have the opportunity to make the play-off schedule at the same time as the regular season schedule. In baseball, you actually can increase the level of perfection.
As proof of that statement, take note that the addition of the second wild card team will increase a perfect score in our contest from 108 to 114. So once more, for you new members of the Society, here is the scoring system:
– 3 pts for the correct selection of each of the 3 division winners and each of the two wild card teams in each league. (Possible 30 points) (one point will be awarded for the selection of a division winner that qualifies for the wild card, and vice versa)
– 6 points for the correct selection of each League Champion (possible 12 points)
– 12 points for the correct selection of the World Series Champion
– 10 points each for the correct selection of the MVP, Cy Young and Batting Title winner in each league (possible 60 points).
Total 114 points. In our 3 year history, no one has yet reached 50 points. Lots of room for improvement even among the Best American Baseball Experts.
With 3 weeks to go in Spring Training, it is time to get serious about your picks. Attached below is a spreadsheet for you to use in making your selections. Please try to return them to me by April 4.
For those of you in San Antonio, we will have our traditional Opening Day selection luncheon at Acenar, 11:45 am, April 5, to review our picks and watch ESPN’s coverage of the Opening Day games. Almost time to Play Ball!