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Why I believe Major League Baseball (and pro sports in general) reminds me of Common Core

Posted By: NaturalWisdom
Date: Saturday, 12-Aug-2017 23:21:47

Overheard at a make-believe PTA meeting:

Parent: Hello, Mrs. Smith. I'm very pleased to meet you. My twins, Janie and Johnny, are enrolled in your class and I'm interested in knowing how they are doing academically.

Teacher: Why, hello there! Yes, your children are in my class. They are doing splendidly, just splendidly!

Parent: Can you be more specific? For instance, how is Johnny doing with his math lessons? We taught him how to add, subtract, multiply and divide before he entered kindergarten and that's his favorite subject.

Teacher: His math skills are in perfect alignment with our school standards. He's performing at the same level as our other students - just as your daughter, Janie, is doing.

Parent: At the same level? But, but...

Teacher: Yes, Johnny will fit in just fine when he grows up and enters the workforce. He's having a some difficulty grasping all the concepts of our Common Core curriculum, but I know that with time and patience that he'll master it. While our school district ranks near the bottom when it comes to basic education skills such as math and reading, everyone is treated equally and we don't allow anyone to be left behind...

---

Flashback to the fall of 1960: Voters will soon choose between Kennedy and Nixon in what will prove to be one the closest presidential races of the 20th century. Meanwhile, the United States still had a large manufacturing base, as the 'Rust Belt' cities had not yet been abandoned by industry.

During my lifetime, Major League Baseball (MLB), America's so-called pastime, has become a bastardized shadow of its former self. The 1960 Fall Classic (the badly misnamed World Series) would feature the two teams in the National and American League that wound up with the best records throughout the regular season: the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960_Major_League_Baseball_season

As seen in this YouTube video, the 7th and final game would be decided by a dramatic home run by Pirate second baseball Bill Mazeroski.

The Greatest Homerun Ever: Bill Mazeroski 1960 Walkoff Homerun (3)
MrBuccos | Oct 8, 2014
https://youtu.be/65Og0gUKfvc

The 1960 World Series marked the end of an era. In 1961, two expansion teams, the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators, were added to the American League, while the franchise that had been playing ball in D.C. moved to Minnesota, where they have been known since then as the Twins. With baseball's expansion, the regular season increased from 154 to 162 games.

In 1962, the Houston Colt 45s (later renamed the Astros) and the New York Mets were added to the National League, which equalized the number of teams in each league to 10. The Houston and New York ball clubs lacked the talent to compete during their first few years in the National League, finishing at the bottom of the standings at season's end. Likewise, the expansion team that assumed the name of the Washington Senators were the doormats of the American League, losing an average of 90 games a year from 1961-71, when the franchise moved to Texas where they have become known as the Rangers. Being able to play dozens of games against these expansion clubs helped to enhance the won-loss records of established ball clubs like the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Yankees.

Further changes would take place over time. More expansion teams, the advent of free agency, and lucrative network television deals would change the course of the game. To accommodate the periodic increases in the number of baseball franchises from 16 back in 1960 to 30 today, the owners would form new divisions in each league - first, separating each league into two divisions and then into three divisions that contain 5 teams per division.

The modern day version of the MLB World Series is strikingly similar to what's been deployed by the National Basketball Association for decades. The teams with the most wins in each division are rewarded with the opportunity to oppose one another in a series of playoffs. Because there are an odd number of divisions in each league, ball clubs who don't win their division vie for the opportunity to participate in a Wild Card game before the 'real' playoffs begin. Such an arrangement opens the door for a mediocre ball club that barely wins more games than it lost to qualify for the post-season playoffs. In addition, the current playoff structure typically extends the MLB season until late October and even into early November - when many fans have switched over to following their favorite football team.

This year, the Dodgers have been running away from their Western division rivals as well as the rest of the National League. Yet, a Central division team like the Cubs, Cardinals, or Brewers who have won 20 fewer games than the Dodgers could conceivably qualify for the World Series if they prevail during the playoffs.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/standings

Baseball owners and sports writers may defend the playoff arrangement on the basis that the inclusion of more ball teams keeps fan interest alive. In my critique of this argument, I contend that mediocrity is being given equal weight to excellence.





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