The Flurry

Way back in March, before the season’s first pitch, we mused that with so many great players, rivalries, and contenders, ought-four might just be baseball’s greatest year to date. Has it been? We’ve seen some memorable moments (The Unit’s perfecto, Derek into the stands, Millar’s walk-off) and some major milestones (The Unit’s 4000th, Junior’s 500th, Maddux going for 300); some phenomenal, if not quite record breaking, performances (Barry, Rolen, Guerrero, Manny) and some major turnarounds (Texas, San Diego, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee). But what we had suggested would make this season most compelling was the parity in the league, and the wide open races for the playoffs. And while the Yanks and Cards may be a bit farther out front than we had anticipated (in fact, we had anticipated the Cards would be in third), there are still 18 teams out there that have a shot, or at least believe they have a shot, at making postseason play. Twenty years ago today, on August 1, 1984, only 6 teams had any such playoff chance. And this explains the flurry of deals made and also not made over the last 48 hours. With so many clubs in the hunt, there’s naturally going to be much jockeying for position and improvement. So, is this the best season ever? We have a long way to go before we can answer that. But we can say this: So far, so good.

3 comments… add one
  • Barring some sort of historic post-season, it’s pretty fair to say that, while compelling, this has been far from the “greatest season ever”. Injuries to Nomar, Nixon, the Yankees’ staff, underachieving Cubs, Phillies, Giants. Yeah, there are a lot of teams in it, but that doesn’t make greatness. There’s a long way to go, but my money would be off the table at this point. More to come on this later…

    SF August 1, 2004, 11:03 am
  • And let’s be accurate here – the playoff and division setup in 1984 was wholly different – you are comparing apples to oranges when invoking the larger playoff contender field. It’s not really a fair comparison, in my opinion.

    SF August 1, 2004, 11:09 am
  • That’s a Sox fan for you—the glass is always half empty. Every season has its disappointments. And, let’s be honest, the whole “best season ever” conceit is basically ridiculous. How could any season be “better” than 27, 49, 61, or 98? Those were great years (at least for the Bombers), and all we can really ever hope for is that this season will be equally great, which it may well be. Who knows, perhaps Nomar will knock a game-winning homer over the Monster in the ninth inning of Game Seven, propelling the Cubbies to their first….
    As for comparing apples to oranges: that’s the whole point. The simple fact is that there are far more teams with a chance to win the Series, and thus far more fans who have good reason to show up at their local ballpark and hope and wish and pray. Is that different than 20 years ago? Definitely. And it’s a lot better.

    YF August 1, 2004, 11:41 am

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