COLUMN: Malat: The Forgotten Game

Updated: 10/13/2012 5:15 PM KSTP.com By: Phil Malat

One of the many reasons why WE ALL (I do speak for all of us, correct??) love baseball as much as we do is because every year it provides us with unique thrills and memories.

For example; while almost no one can remember which teams won the pennant or which one of them won the World Series in 1941, EVERYONE (correct???) knows that Joe DiMaggio mesmerized the nation while hitting safely in 56 straight games (a record that may never be broken) and that Ted Williams hit .406, again mesmerized the nation when he chose to play in the final game of the season risking the loss of that .400 average.   That was the last time any player ended a season with a .400, or better than .400, batting average.

What we will ALL remember, in all probability, about this wonderful 2012 season is the incredible accomplishment of Miguel Cabrera winning Baseball’s Triple Crown.  The last player to match Cabrera’s extraordinary feat was Carl Yastrzemski who won it 45 years ago in 1967. 

Over the last ninety (90) years the Triple Crown has been won only 12 times.  More significantly, only ten players have achieved this amazing milestone.  Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby won it twice.  

So why do we need this 10 team playoff contrivance, which results in the world series being played until almost Thanksgiving, on frozen wastelands, with the players running around in those silly looking 1940’s kiddy-caps with the  ear muff flaps.  

Trust me I do get it.  It is exactly as Steve Martin said in the movie The Jerk; “Ah... It's a profit deal” and we all know how badly Major League Baseball, major league teams, the owners, the players and for certain, the media, NEED these additional profits.

Baseball, one of Gods greatest gifts, is a thing of enormous beauty unto itself and needs no outside interference or contrivances. 

In 1941 there were only eight teams in the American League and eight teams in the National League with no artificial turf, no designated hitter, no arbitrary strike zone, no snow threatening the World Series and we were still treated to the greatest season ever played.

Imagine that.