There were some AWFUL years. I've been to games where there were no more than four thousand people in the ball park. On one season opener, the Atlanta Hawks were in the play-offs, and between innings they put that game up on the outfield wookidat-a-tron, and the crowd booed when they switched it off when the game resumed.
I remember looking at their performance once during the 70's and or 80's, and some sports writer was making a point that the team had lost more one run games than any other team in baseball. To be that close, and still lose; it was tough being a fan. And the one time the DID make it to the playoffs during those two decades, they found out in the clubhouse, watching SF Giants slugger Joe Morgan hit a three run homer to knock the Dodgers out of the race, and give the championship to the Braves. By one game.
Oh, yeah, at some point after that, and before they had their hats handed to them in the play-offs, Dale Murphy, the clean-living National League MVP, and center fielder, spoke to every player on the plane, reminding them of a game in which their performance had lead to a Braves victory. And he closed each memory by saying, 'and that's the game that gave us the championship.' What a class act; unfortunately, the talent ran pretty shallow most of those years. Exceptions, to my way of thinking, include Gene Garber, Bruce Benedict, Glenn Hubbard, and Phil Niekro. There were others, but I ain't a sportswriter, and besides: I already made the key point:
The Braves led baseball in the number of games lost by one run.Now, you wouldn't think a teenage boy would spend THAT much time thinking about baseball, and certainly, by the time I was in my twenties and thirties, all my magical thinking SHOULD have been gone.
But, I just couldn't forget all those games lost by one run, and wish we could have saved some of those where we whaled the stew out of the opposing team. As a LATE example of that. the Braves were the first team to really take the measure of the Baby Bull, Fernando Valenzuela, knocking him out of the box early in the game. If we could somehow BANK those runs....
If we could bank those runs, it would make baseball much more enjoyable, and also increase the budget of 'less-than' teams, which could go to...I dunno...subsidizing the cost of hot dogs?
Here's how it works: The way it is now, teams that are going really well draw a lot of fans, which means increased revenue from ticket sales, advertising, and endorsements. Teams that DON'T do well get fewer bucks, and can't afford to pay for big ticket stars, which means losing more games.
So, we set up a Run Bank. Let's say the Braves beat the Dodgers by 10 runs. At a cost of 1,000,000 per run, they can BANK up to NINE of those runs to be used later. For each one of those runs, half of the money goes to the other team (the Dodgers in this case), 40 % goes into the Worlds Series Fund, 10% goes to the league for admin costs. So, at the end of the year, the Braves see, okay, we won 86 games, lost 74, and banked 200 runs. Out of those 74 games we lost, 43 of them were by one run. So, we add two runs to each of those games, which moves them into the win column. That gives us 117 wins, the most in baseball, so we are in the National League playoffs (forget the division champs; nobody cares, all right?)
BUT, the other guys have banked runs as well, so our 117 wins gets knocked down to 70. No problem, we only used 86 of our 200 banked runs; we have 114 more to go. That's enough to give us the win in 57 cases; we use them all, and we are back up to 127 wins, and in the playoffs, again.
And it only cost us $200,000,000.
The numbers may vary, but it's still a bargain.
The premium will be on high scoring contests, and teams with no hit/no pitch lineups will be as highly sought after as teams with a huge attendance draw; one has a big gate, the other has the potential for adding a lot of runs to the Run Bank.
Don't you think this would be GREAT?
If so, you must LOVE the Hugo voting rules.
(Had ya going there, didn't I?)