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November 2011

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COMMENTS

Stats To Be Thankful For

Written by , Posted in Stat of the Week

by John Dewan

I’d like to wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

In keeping with the theme of thankfulness, here are some numbers in the baseball world to which this sentiment applies.

21 – That is the number of consecutive years of labor peace that baseball is guaranteed with MLB and the MLBPA having agreed on a new five-year collective bargaining agreement.  As contentious as baseball’s labor history has been, the general state of harmony that has existed since the last players’ strike ended in early 1995 represents the longest such stretch since the MLBPA was formed in 1953.  In that time the NHL has lost a full season, the NBA lost part of the 1998-1999 season and has already canceled games for this season, and the NFL went through an extended lockout this year before coming to an agreement just before the season started.  Life is good for baseball fans right now.

2,728 – That is the number of career wins for future Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa.  Tony goes out on top, having led the St. Louis Cardinals to an astonishing World Series victory after prevailing in an equally thrilling National League Wild Card race on the last day of the regular season.  That gives him three World Series titles to go along with six pennants.

160,000,000 – That is the total dollar value of Matt Kemp’s new contract extension to stay with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It is great to see that one of the league’s premier franchises is beginning to move past the prolonged financial troubles and legal battles that have been hanging over the club.  Kemp and 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw are two of the bright young stars of the game, and this signing shows that the Dodgers may yet have a bright future ahead of them.

24 – That is the number of different teams, out of 30 total MLB franchises, that have reached the playoffs in the last 10 years dating back to 2002.  Furthermore, there have been eight different World Series champions in those 10 years.  While there may be some degree of luck involved in getting through the playoffs and winning the World Series, it is an impressive accomplishment to sustain success over the 162-game regular season to make the playoffs.  That level of parity is a reason that every fan should feel hopeful that their team could very easily become the next great contender.  Even Cubs fans have reason to hope!

Infinity – That’s the number of thank yous I’d like to give my staff for all their help in bringing you Stat of the Week.  My name is on this feature, but they do more than their share of the heavy lifting.  Thank you to Rob Burckhard, Charles Fiore, Ben Jedlovec, Amanda Modelski and Joe Rosales.  You guys do great work!

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com

  • Buddy

    I’m really glad John mentioned the parity in MLB. Most of the sports media and talking heads like to sell us the notion that the Red Sox and Yankees buy the pennant every year. That’s obviously not the case, as John pointed out with actual facts.

  • flyslinger2

    I have to this day never understood the motive for trying to achieve parity, in professional sports or any other competitive activity. You either “dumb down” the achiever or you falsely prop up the under achiever. Maybe another adult beverage or two and a fine Cuban cigar, yes I have some and don’t ask, will give me enough time to ponder it. But I doubt it.

  • Buddy

    Even if it doesn’t work, you should absolutely have another adult beverage and cigar.

  • Chuck

    I don’t think parity (every team being equal) is a good goal to have in sports. Then every team would be close to .500 and winning would mostly come down to luck. That is not for me.
    I prefer competitive balance. To me that means that every team has a chance to be successful. Every team has the ability to build a good team in differing manners like buying a team (the Yankee way), developing talent (Rays) or a combination.

  • Buddy

    I really think that’s what John meant, Chuck.

  • BLPCB

    I agree with Chuck. But part of it is while the teams are competitors on the field, in the office, they are partners. It’s all about the dough, and these CBA deals are all about how to maximize revenues for everyone.

  • BLPCB

    And without looking it up, I am going to see if I can name the 6 teams that have not made the playoffs in the time mentioned:
    Royals
    Pirates
    Blue Jays
    Orioles
    Expos/Nationals
    Mariners

  • Doc Raker

    Without competitive balance sports are boring. Blowouts are dull and mundane as are pennant races that are over in June.