Like Barry Bonds, Baseball Widow hasn't retired; she's just not playing.
Enjoy the archives. . .

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Olympic Edition
Baseball Widow loves the Olympics. They are the perfect collection of spectator sports: the events move quickly (especially thanks to TV editing), the average viewer can understand the action, and you always know who to root for. (Although Baseball Widow hasn't been rooting for Team USA in Basketball; she thinks they have attitude problems.)

That said, Baseball Widow thinks that some events just don't fit at the Summer Olympics. . .

Individual athletic events make sense, so do those team events that compile individual results to create a team medal. Likewise, relays, which are simply consecutive individual performances, should have homes at the Summer Olympics. It is the events that Baseball Widow characterizes as team sports that just don't seem to belong. Perhaps more specific than team sports, Baseball Widow should say team games. Soccer, Basketball, Softball, and Baseball seem particularly ill-suited for the venue.

The Olympics seek to glorify the grace and beauty of the showcased athletic events. Baseball is a sport whose style and power are best examined over the course of a season, incorporating the ability to rotate roster spots, the strategy of team trades, and the excitement of pennant races. You just can't condense the sport into a two-week tournament. The attempt to do so results in a mockery of the Olympic spirit of competition; what kind of international Olympic event limits itself to representation from only eight countries?

Quite simply, you can't judge a baseball team until you've seen long-term performance. If you haven't seen every starting pitcher play, then you really haven't seen what the team is.

The problem in trying to condense baseball into tourney-friendly bite-sized pieces isn't limited to the Olympics. The postseason suffers from time-crunch as well. Five game series are fundamentally different from seven game series, and they result in advancement for some teams who otherwise wouldn't have a prayer in a long series. Okay, Baseball Widow realizes that spectators demand a postseason. . . you just gotta have an identifiable champ, right? I'm not trying to say that we should score teams like we score fantasy baseball and declare a winner after the regular season, but I do feel that every postseason series should benefit from the same ground rules--and shorter series result in playing by different rules.

So that's what Baseball Widow thinks, and she's promises it's not (entirely) motivated by her fear of Randy Johnson.

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