We’ll be pressing our noses against the glass like hungry little urchins…
Who do you think WILL win the World Series, and why?
Turambar: Cardinals. I’ve seen this movie before: Cards get hot at end of season and proceed to own the postseason. This is the way.
DBacksEurope: This is before knowing who will clinch the Wild Cards in the AL…I am betting on the San Francisco Giants. I think they have a very balanced team. Sufficient starting rotation, good bullpen and a good hitting lineup. I like their odds and they will avoid the NL Wild Card game (they are up 9-1 vs the Padres at the moment), which is a plus. It will be either Dodgers or Giants. Play-offs are weird and surprising, but I honestly believe that the NL West teams are better than the others. I am heavily leaning towards an NL team winning the World Series. I am a very proud NL fan and I always think that our league is better than theirs.
Dano: I’m thinking the Giants as well, mainly because there don’t seem to be any weak parts of their team. Their records are basically identical whether they’re playing at home or away. They’re the team that has won 107 games in the regular season, and their performance hasn’t seemed like it has fallen off in the last month. They’re good in all facets of their game, they’re clearly not gassed, and it’s theirs to lose.
ISH95: New decade, new rules. Going to be Odd Year bull$#!+ this time around. Giants veteran savvy is going to be even more helpful than it has been already to hold the Dodgers off. And as hot as the Cardinals have been, the Giants have been nearly as hot.
Makakilo: Giants. They outplayed the Dodgers to win the NL West. With recent injuries, the Dodgers may be eliminated in their Wildcard game against the Cardinals.
Jack: Rays. I think they figure out how to manage their pitching staff in the post season.
Steven: I think the Dodgers will win. That midseason trade for Turner and Scherzer covers up any injuries they may have with elite talent. How often can you say that?
James: I kind of expect a Dodgers/Rays series. If that’s the case, I think the Rays pull it out this time.
Who do you WANT to win the World Series, and why?
Turambar: Cardinals. Goldy has put in his time as a major leaguer; time for the baseball gods to pay up. I’d kill to see him win, though obviously it would have been better as a Dback.
DBacksEurope: I want the Diamondbacks to win the World Series! Oh, you mean this season? I hope the Atlanta Braves win. Ever since watching MLB for the first time in the 90s I like that team. If not the Braves, then give it to the Chicago White Sox. I don’t mind the Yankees either.
Dano: Had the Mariners or the Blue Jays won a Wild Card spot, I’d totally be rooting for one of them. Sadly, however, that was not to be. I’d be okay with the Cardinals, because like Turambar I would like to see Goldy get a WS ring, and I’d be cool with Milwaukee, because hey, Craig Counsell. Primarily, though, I’ll be rooting for Tampa. They impress every year with the way they field a contending team on a shoestring budget, and they won the AL East easily in what was probably the toughest division in baseball this year. They totally deserve it.
ISH95: I want Goldy to win. I want him to beat up on the Dodgers and Giants like he has for so many years, and I want one of the most deserving players in sports to get his ring.
Makakilo: In the 6 September round table, I predicted the Rays. Then they were in a 3-way tie for the best record in baseball; now they stand alone as the third best record in baseball. Their Elo rating is the second highest in baseball (538.com). The Dodgers have the highest Elo rating, but they might be eliminated in their 1-game wild card play-in. The Ray’s bullpen is very strong, which makes an impact in the playoffs.
Jack: I am good with either the Milwaukee Escobars/Counsels or the St. Louis Goldschmidts.
Steven: I’m leaning the Rays. At some point luck needs to flip their way and give them a good stretch of play when it matters most.
James: Either the Rays, so they can get their first and also because they are an example of a well-run organization, or the Brewers, for sentimental reasons.
Who do you NOT want to win the World Series, and why is it the Dodgers?
Turambar: Dodgers, there can be no other answer. They are a blight upon baseball and to have them fail would be wondrous.
DBacksEurope: If I have to pick a team, I’d pick the Astros. Not because of the 2017 scandal, but in general I don’t have anything with that team. But in all honesty, I don’t really care that much about who wins or not, after such a long season the team that wins deserves it and I can live with that.
Dano: I want none of the big payroll teams to win, and/or the ones whose arrogance and entitlement sicken me. So no Yankees, no Red Sox, and definitely no Dodgers. I want to see all the best teams money can buy fall flat on their faces.
ISH95: It’s the Dodgers because if they get booted in the WC this year it makes the asterisk on their ring last season even bigger.
Makakilo: They are a big market team building a dynasty, making nearly every other team an underdog; I cheer for the underdogs! For additional reasons, see this SB Nation article, Giants Fans Aren’t Alone in Hating the Dodgers.
Jack: Dodgers need to faceplant. That is priority number 1. I don’t consider 2020 a legit title. So for me, they are still stuck in 1988 purgatory.
Steven: Yep, gotta be the Dodgers. It’s putting a huge spotlight on the issues baseball is having when a single team can pay more money.
The D-backs currently have the #2 [thanks, Josh VanMeter!] draft pick next year. How do you feel about that?
Turambar: Meh, they’ve earned it. Sadly they pick almost always means nothing compared to basketball or football; ultimately it’s just another chance to fill our farm system. Whether that person sticks or not is another matter entirely.
DBacksEurope: either pick #1 or pick #2 is a great pick. At #1 we might pick the next Chipper Jones, Joe Mauer, Stephen Strasburg, Carlos Correa or Bryce Harper. At #2 you could get Reggie Jackson, Justin Verlander or Alex Bregman. Those are great players too. With such a great opportunity also comes big pressure and great responsibility. The pressure is on for Mike Hazen and his scouting and drafting team. What will be the strategy? The Pirates opted to spread out their picks in the 2021 MLB draft and were praised for their strategy and the picks they got. But in the end only time will tell if you were smart or dumb. So, yeah, I am excited about such a high draft pick that can be franchise altering, but I am realistic enough to say that we can easily blow it with the pick because of bad luck or a bad assessment.
Dano: At least there’s some compensation for such an egregiously bad season as ours has been in 2021. I would have felt quite good if we’d managed the #1 overall pick, but of course the 2021 Diamondbacks found yet another way to lose something of value in an unlikely (though, for me, entirely expected) way this afternoon. It was the most 2021 Diamondbacks way they could have possibly wrapped things up, so of course that’s what they did. In any case, though, #2 is pretty good, and as DBE and Turambar both point out, it could wind up being a bust. I think I trust Hazen’s draft judgment, though. So here’s hoping.
ISH95: Ask me again in five years when we actually have a clear picture of what this draft has in store.
Makakilo: I have mixed feelings.
One feeling is a self-centered and greedy feeling of just missing the number 1 draft pick. Attached to that feeling is the sour grapes feeling that it would not have been worth the price paid. Other associated feeling were:
- Thrilled with the competitive spirit shown by the team when they came from behind to win the last game of the season. My empathy was great with the joy expressed by Torey Lovullo and Josh VanMeter. Josh VanMeter said, “It feels like we just won 100 games.”
- The pain of this season’s losses.
- The confusion of the long weeks of looking to answer the question of why?
- The optimistic expression of hope that came from writing for the AZ Snake Pit.
- Comforted by Torey Lovullo’s statement, “We are going to continue to get better here. That’s my promise.”
Jack: I’ve never rooted for the team to lose. Ever. But I found myself rooting for the team to fail in their comeback attempt today. It was a strange feeling. The players and coaches want to win. They were never going to “tank” on purpose. But it sure did seem like the ultimate poop sandwich to finish off this season to lose that #1 pick and the pool dollars that come with it.
Steven: I want to give Mike Hazen every opportunity to succeed going forward. Having the first pick allows you to either pick the player you like the most, or get more bullets in the chamber to put talent on the field. Most of the players on the field today have no business being on the D-backs roster next year unless they want the same results as this year.
James: I am more upset about losing the extra bonus pool money and the higher picks in later rounds than I am about losing the first overall pick. There is not a generational talent sitting atop the draft board that everyone is waiting to pounce on. There will be a premium, impact talent available at #2. It is simply up to the front office to correctly identify that talent, which is the same job as they would have had at #1. I do think the loss of that extra pool money probably results in some slightly less impressive later round talent, but that won’t matter nearly as much if they get their first pick right.
Do you expect many changes to the team’s coaching staff?
DBacksEurope: No, I do not. Now that Torey is around for yet another year I expect the D-Backs to make few changes, probably only the necessary ones because one or other coach chooses to leave or whatever. I don’t trust our pitching coaches though. Like I said in another round table, ever since that remark from Herges about Ray’s success I have my doubts about the pitching coaches. Other than that every pitcher who has come up lately seems to suck.
Dano: I would love to see Matt Herges receive a one-way ticket to Greenland, along with whomever is responsible for strength and conditioning practices with the Major League roster. Per DBE’s point, jettisoning all our pitching coaches might very well be a great thing to do, given how just about all of our pitchers seem to suck recently. But will it happen? I kinda doubt it.
ISH95: Yes. Lovullo dodged the ax, but I’d be genuinely shocked if anyone else besides maybe McKay avoiding it. Too much all around failure.
Makakilo: One big need is to increase pitchers’ performance to their full potential. The way forward is to create a new position (pitching development coach), and fill it with a coach who has a proven ability to recognize potential and develop pitchers to their full potential.
I was shocked to see the better performance of Robbie Ray and Andrew Chafin after they were traded away by the Diamondbacks. (I tip my hat to DBacksEurope for his talk about Robbie Ray’s success in the 27 September Round Table). Details follow:
- 2020 Dbacks 7.84 ERA
- Traded with cash for pitcher Travis Bergen, who was later sold back to the Jays.
- 2020 Jays 4.79 ERA
- 2021 Jays 2.84 ERA
- 2020 Dbacks 8.10 ERA
- Traded with cash for Ronny Simon (A level minors).
- 2020 Cubs 3.00 ERA
- 2021 Cubs 2.06 ERA
- 2021 Athletics 1.53 ERA
Jack: The only coach I’m 100% sure will be retained, assuming he doesn’t retire, is Dave McKay. All bets are off on any other coach.
Steven: This team needs to pillage coaching from organizations that squeeze everything they can out of young players, because that’s exactly who will be on the roster next year.
James: I do expect there to be changes to the coaching staff. I think Urueta is probably safe. Dave McKay is safe. The rest should likely begin packing their offices. While I don’t expect the team to go through and gut the entire system, they need to come pretty damn close.
How do you think baseball will have changed, 100 years from now?
DBacksEurope: I got a night’s sleep over this, because I had no clue on what to answer. And I still have no idea. Let’s say baseball will be a niche sport and it’s all about urban sports with simple rules. Baseball5 is the new sport that everybody plays and national championships will not matter anymore but only city or regional championships.
Dano: Localized time-distortion field generators will have been deployed at all major league ballparks, resolving the “pace of play” issue by allowing the players within the distortion field to play the game at a normal pace, whereas from the audience perspective, the game will take place in half an hour or forty-five minutes, tops. Also, bodily repair nanotech will be injected into every player’s body, so that even serious injuries will be repaired by the time the training robots reach the affected player.
Of course, some teams (looking at you, Astros, for instance) will maybe tweak their nanotech bots to do maybe a little bit more, and build and increase muscle mass and so on even when a player is not, strictly speaking, injured, which will lead to performance disparities, or at least the perception of performance disparities, and (undoubtedly valid, in some cases) claims of cheating will emerge. It’s gonna be the new PED thang, I guarantee. Tra la.
Or maybe not. For at least some of the above, okay, probably not. But if nothing else, for the love of all that is right and just, at least let there be robot umpires!
ISH95: Honestly, I wouldn’t count on it being around. 100 years is a long time. If it is around, it probably will be nearly the same game as today, much like it was 100 years ago, but it will be subtle changes that make it seem unrecognizable. Strategies will change, locations will change, and the pitches thrown will be drastically different. But the game will be basically the same.
If you want some specific changes we might see, I have a feeling that performance enhancers of some sort will become the norm. It’s becoming clear that pitchers are not as close to the upper bounds of human ability as we thought, so those fastballs are still going to get faster. Eventually the human eye won’t be able to keep up, so some form of cybernetic allowing hitters and fielders to track the ball will be needed. The tech behind bats, gloves, and other equipment will continue to improve, as we have seen even in the last 20 years. And stadiums will be more like TV studios, allowing the sport to be consumed by the global audience it will have to have to survive 100 years.
Makakilo: Eventually the use of artificial intelligence and greater computing power will create the need to add unpredictable factors to the game. Perhaps before the 6th inning starts, the umpires pick a random rule that applies only to the 6th and 7th innings, and the teams don’t learn which rule applies to those innings until 2 minutes before the 6th inning starts. .
Jack: 100 years from now all the teams are going to be midwest teams or teams in “flyover” states. The coastal cities will be uninhabitable.
Steven: Baseball will be a long lost memory as attention spans dwindle and esports become more mainstream.
James: As a professional sports league MLB will be washed up. I’m honestly not sure it takes more than 60 years for that to happen.But, 100 years from now, I expect that baseball, at least in its current iteration, is done for long enough that there are adults who don’t remember the days of baseball.