In the words of the late great Caroll O'Connor in his role as Archie Bunker, "You are a meathead." Promotion/relegation is completely and totally unworkable in the MLB/MiLB model for a number of reasons. Let's look at a few. First, several MLB teams outright own their minor league affiliates. So while an independently owned team like the Bulls MIGHT be able to compete in this system, a team like the Gwinnett Braves or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Railriders which are owned by the Braves and Yankees, respectively, would, of course, be stripped of any and all talent if the big club faced a remote threat of relegation. Further, there's no guarantee that there'd be suitable local ownership in a market, so a team faces greater potential for relocation.
Second, let's realize minor league ball encompasses six distinct levels of baseball - rookie, short season A, low A, advanced A, AA, and AAA. Taking your logic to its natural extent, why should only AA and AAA clubs be part of a promotion/relegation scheme. Do you honestly think a city like Danville, VA; Bluefield, WV; Missoula, MT; or Hickory, NC could support an MLB team? If so, take a visit to those parks. Then put down your bong. The size of those parks ARE. NOT. TENABLE. IN. MLB. Just to be financially competitive, seats would have to be limited to corporate and group sales. I rather like having my Bulls miniplan being an affordable budget item. If you, however, want to be elbowed out by corporate suits, then go right ahead.
Last, there's the issue that promotion/relegation does nothing for the teams on the bubble. While MLB has gotten flack (and justly so) for a haves and have not system, look at the successes that teams like the Rangers, A's, Pirates, and Rays have managed to have in the last few years. Meanwhile, in the English Premiere Leagu, only 5 different teams have won the League Championship (Man U, Blackburn, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City) while only 8 different teams have even contended for the Championship (add Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Newcastle United to the list). In the same period of time that the the Premier League has been around MLB has had 11 different World Series winners (Toronto, Atlanta, New York Yankees, Florida, Arizona, Anaheim, Boston, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and San Francisco) and 20 different teams in the World Series (add Cleveland, San Diego, New York Mets, Houston, Detroit, Colorado, Tampa Bay, and Texas to the above list). So which is the superior system - the one that sees the same old same old year in and year out, or the one in which 2/3rds of the League have participated in its championship?
And besides, if you really want to have your little promotion/relegation fantasy, just think about it on a personal level. Every player on the Bulls is hoping for a promotion to MLB and hoping like hell they don't get relegated to a lower classed team in the farm system. When you consider the number of MLBers who have passed through the DAP and DBAP, this promotion and relegation system has been remarkably successful, much more so than one that involves the manufactured drama of a promotion/relegation series.
I'm still wondering how for the love of all that's holy did Jersey Mike's win Best Steak and Cheese over Anvil's Cheesesteaks. A 500+ store chain based out of NJ beat out an honest-to-God Philadelphian slinging some of the best cheesesteaks this side of Schuylkill and offering up birch beer, Utz, and Yuengling along with it. I'm from the wrong side of PA but choosing Jersey effing Mike's? That's like voters giving KFC an award for Best Fried Chicken or McDonald's an award for Best Burgers. What a letdown, Indy. In a region that's beginning to embrace being the locavore hub of North Carolina we're rewarding chain restaurants over our own small businesses. What a disgrace. These jokers should have been jettisoned or ruled ineligible as they're not a true Triangle business - not unless you want the Triangle to become Anytown USA. I can't wait until next year when maybe Outback wins Best Steak or Olive Garden wins Best Italian! HOORAY!
Marc Berger - Nah, Dos Perros winning everything is your proof of ballot stuffing. In a city brimming with excellent Mexican options, Dos Perros is some of the blandest crap I've ever had. Their guacamole may be good but their entrees are disappointing - they're a restaurant getting by on great service but suffering due to inauthentic and downright bland food. It's as if the chef decided to try a new fusion - English cuisine and Mexican cuisine...take Mexican cuisine and make it as bland as stereotypical English cuisine. In a pork tamale, the flavor of the masa shouldn't drown out the flavor of the pork, for instance.
Adam, as always a great recap. Another extension of your "Mayo Acosta is Marquis Fleming..." thought - my wife and I noticed that Mayo is using Ray Olmedo's old at-bat song ("Pa-Panamericano") - we kept a close eye on Charlotte's dugout last night to see what Ray's reaction would be and noticed that at Acosta's first at-bat, Olmedo stood in mock outrage holding his arms out as if to say "How could you give MY at-bat song to someone else?" The Mudcats are worse (or used to be worse...I haven't attended a Mudcats game yet this season) in that they used to just recycle the same handful of songs from year to year. Mayo Acosta is Ray Olmedo is....
On a philosophical note (and having also read Hayhurst's latest work...can't wait to read his take about his tenure with the Bulls), I do have to wonder how much what Bentley says actually rings true for most major leaguers. While their stats now "matter" in the sense that they're playing on the biggest stage, does being a bit player on that stage really matter? Or does what Milton said in "Paradise Lost" apply - better to reign in hell (AAA) than serve in heaven (MLB)?
My daily caffeine fix hasn't quite kicked in yet, so please forgive the unformed thought without good examples o underline what I'm talking about, but the question is, that luxury hotels and better pre-game spreads aside, does being the fifth starter in an MLB rotation really matter any more than being the staff ace on a AAA rotation? I consider myself a Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays fan (the latter through having seen much of the roster play for the Bulls), but for the life of me I can't name the fifth-starter in the Pirates rotation. Isn't that much the same anonymity that anyone but the most elite prospects and players suffer through? Take the '04 BoSox, for instance. They did something no other team in baseball history did (come back from being down 3 games to win the ALCS) and became the first Red Sox team in nearly 90 years to win a Series - surely they played on the biggest stage of them all. But what of their roster? I can name Damon, Schilling, Martinez, Wakefield, Ramirez, Ortiz, Varitek, but what about guys like Mark Bellhorn who found himself in AA a few years later? Does Bellhorn's time really matter? He has a World Series ring, but who remembers him along with Pokey Reese, Gabe Kapler, and Trot Nixon?
At any rate, congratulations and well wishes on the impending nuptials. I hope you return to the pages of the Indy but if no best wishes in life. At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I've always enjoyed your writing, particularly comparisons from outside the field of support. In an arena where ex-athletes are constantly offering up the same trite phrases or attempting to extend their careers vicariously through the condemnation/approbation of athletes half their age, the use of non-sport metaphors to describe sport appeals to me greatly. All the best to you and the soon-to-be Mrs, Adam!
Good recap, Adam. Which pitcher is most likely to get the call to Tampa Bay? Any word on how long Niemann will be out? Also, I don't think it'd been released as of when you published this yesterday but apparently the Greek God of Walks himself, Kevin Youkilis, will be assigned to Pawtucket tonight to rehab - any idea if he'll be around on Thursday too to add to the star power? Also any idea if Ramirez, Ortiz, and Schilling can be supplemental roster additions in the name of making this even more like the '07 ALCS?
What's wrong with Adam's writing, syd? I'd rather have Adam's amazing prose and breakdown of the game that actually teaches you something about the game and it's players than some paragraph-long tripe that tells you virtually nothing. Go read the recap on the Bulls website or on the Herald-Sun's website if real journalism doesn't appeal to you.
Hey folks, Adam here. I had to edit this comment a little because it responded to a silly passage that has since been deleted. Thanks for the thoughts, Garnet, they are much appreciated. (Yes, it was the disputed ground-rule double that I meant as the other controversial call I should have been clearer about that.)
Adam, Great thoughts as always, although this feels somewhat incomplete - perhaps a half-hearted salute more than a bow. You never touched on what the second disputed call was - was it Diaz's ground rule double off the fence in the 8th? Was it Fran Burke's postage-stamp sized strike zone? My wife and I were discussing the Bulls current slump while stuck in traffic on the Durham Freeway and discussed your article about guts - this is beyond a team without guts, it's a team without heart. On a team that's seen players like Jon Weber, Elliott Johnson, and Chris Richard wear its colors, it seems that there's a lack of heart lately - gone are the clutch hits, the feeling that no hole is too deep to climb out of, and that adversity makes you stronger. It just seems like these Bulls have given up. I concur that if these Bulls don't make it out of Columbus, they can't help but deserve it.
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