Welcome to another installment of Steven’s nonsensical sports ideas.™
Here is today’s nonsensical topic:
What if baseball didn’t play in leap years?
This idea stemmed from an accidental joke between me and my mom the other night. But it got me thinking: What if this was some weird superstition that was installed years ago that still went on to this day? How would this change things? Would baseball be better, or worse? What teams would be affected by this the most? How much time do I have on my hands?
Baseball is the most superstitious sport. So it actually seems likely that they would do this. (I had to check the record books to make sure they don’t already do this. Luckily, I keep a copy of the baseball record books in my bag at all times.)
If you told a random stranger on the street that baseball doesn’t play in leap years, they would probably believe you. (Also, that would be a very random thing to tell a stranger, but hey, do what makes you happy.)
The biggest question that popped into my mind was if any team would lose a bunch of championships. To find out the answer, let’s go back to the early 1900s.
(Please buckle into your personal baseball time machine, and follow my lead. We will be stopping to eat lunch at noon.)
1904 was the first leap year in the 20th century. Fun fact: There was no World Series in 1904. So no one loses that one. I think I might actually just give it to someone. I think it only seems fair to be a little generous considering I will be taking away championships. So I’m going to give it to Bill Murray. I think we can all agree he deserves it. I will be sending him a 1904 World Series Champion t-shirt in the mail. Or a championship Pocketwatch, which was one of the things used prior to rings becoming the official championship memorabilia in the 1920s.
In reality, the manager of NL champion New York Giants refused to play the AL champion Boston Americans. Citing that they were an inferior team from an inferior league.
After conducting my research, the Yankees were the team that lost the most championships, having lost seven—by far the most of any team. But that makes sense, they’ve won more than any team. It only seems fair to take them away.
(It has always been a dream of mine to take away championships from the Yankees. I always thought it would be more dramatic. I thought I would crash their celebration on the field and yell out, “not so fast, New York Yankees. I have proof you cheated!” But hey, dreams evolve.)
The Red Sox are next with three championships being stolen, including the 2004 title, which ended their 86-year streak, meaning they wouldn’t have actually broken the streak until 2007.
The team that actually suffered the most was unfortunately the Cubs. They would lose their 2016 title which was their first one since 1908. But, their 1908 title would also be taken away. Meaning, the last time the Cubs would have won the world series happened in 1907.
(Have no worries, though, Cub fans, since we’re still back in time, I treated us all to tickets to the 1907 World Series!)
Here are some other nonsensical facts from this experiment:
- Babe Ruth would lose 180 Home Runs.
- Kirk Gibson’s iconic Home Run never happened in 1988.
- The 1920 World Series was the first time the Brooklyn Robins referred to themselves as the Dodgers on their home tickets. So if that never happens, they might still be known as the Brooklyn Robins. (That would be especially crazy if they called themselves that while playing in Los Angeles. They should do that anyway.)
- The 1932 Yankees were the first team in MLB history to go an entire season without being shut out. So if the never season never happened, they could still make that claim, because they were still technically never shut out. Somehow, the Yankees still manage to win in this simulation.
This idea also brought forth a few other hypothetical questions. If Baseball just took a year off every four years, what would the players do? Would this spawn more multi-sport athletes? If all these guys have nothing to do for a year, why wouldn’t they try to play another sport? Would their careers be longer? Or would they be shorter because of the lack of actually playing?
Would we watch Baseball more because it was a scarce product? I think so. Consumers love scarce items. Would this be a great marketing move? Would thousands of young people line up outside of ballparks to see a game like they do for exclusive sneaker drops? Or would this idea completely ruin the game?
What would we do with the stadiums during the years when there was no baseball? Well this one is actually easy. Dog shows.
I think it would be fun to have a mysterious sport that disappears for a year, and then comes back refreshed. It would give the league time to reflect, make rule changes, and try to improve the game.
I will be sending this idea over to the commissioner.