September 24, 2023


Unlimited Technology

MLB lockout is over. Your Rockies are back. Hallelujah! But why did Game 163 have to die?

The Rockies would’ve made it, anyway. If you’re curious.

When you apply, say, the first two NFL tiebreakers — head-to-head records and best winning percentage in division games — to the 2007 National League standings, Clint Hurdle’s hot-as-Hades, scrappy bunch would’ve clinched the Wild Card that fall, regardless.

Colorado posted an 11-8 record against San Diego. The Rox were 42-30 in division games compared to the Padres’ 40-32. There ya go.

Done and dusted.

But where’s the fun in that?

No Matt Holliday at home plate. No Brian Giles throw. No Tim McClelland call. No controversy.

No Rox 9, Padres 8.

No Greatest Moment In Coors Field History.

Just … stats.

Hey, Thursday’s news wasn’t all bad. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association got off their collective duffs to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement, ending a 99-day, owner-imposed lockout.

Opening Day is now April 8 in LoDo against the Dodgers. The world’s largest outdoor sports bar is officially open for business again. A 162-game slate is getting squeeeeeezed into the original calendar, one way or another.

All of which is great. But for the 2022 season to get born, Game 163 had to die.

Why? Too many tilts. Not enough time.

Also, TV.

Always TV.

Broadcast networks, the tails that wag your favorite league’s dog, wanted fixed dates for their new, expanded playoff round. That meant putting a fixed date on the end of the regular season, and fixing it at 162 games.

It was a small sacrifice, granted, for five years — we hope — of labor peace. But in losing Game 163 tie-breakers, Major League Baseball lost another little piece of what made the sport special.

Universal DH, same deal. Did it make sense to have one league let its pitchers hit while the other handed those at-bats over to Nelson Cruz? Heck, no.

But know this, too: National League DHs are only going to make games at Coors Field longer. And those tenuous, eighth-inning leads will be even more fleeting.

Of the let’s-get-this-over-with tweaks brought on by the pandemic, you wish they’d have kept those seven-inning doubleheaders. Especially this season, given so many games to make up.

The beat writers will flog me with their laptops, but I won’t miss extra frames opening up with a man on second base, which always felt like NFL games starting overtime with a kickoff from a team’s 10-yard-line.

We can moan about advertising patches on uniforms and stickers on the helmet, but the horse was let out of that particular barn ages ago. Just keep it small and keep it tasteful.

Speaking of tasteful, Commissioner Rob Manfred, what took you so stinking long?

“I think we made an agreement,” he contended Thursday, “when it was possible to make an agreement.”


“If we slid into the season without a lockout,” Manfred continued, “I don’t think we’d have the agreement we have (Thursday).”

Horse hockey.

“I do want to start by apologizing to our fans,” Manfred said.

Fine. Accepted.

With a caveat.

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