Saturday, 10 December 2011

Life imitates "Major League"

Due to the continuing bad weather in Cleveland, Major League Baseball this week took the unusual step of moving the Indians' home games against the Los Angeles Angels to the Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Field, which was interesting, since, in the 1989 movie Major League, Milwaukee's then-home field (County Stadium) for some reason played the role of Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. I thought I would be the only one to make that connection, but to the surprise of this commentator the Milwaukee people really played up the Major League angle, playing "Wild Thing" over the PA system when a Cleveland reliever was brought in in the 9th, asking for Dorn to be used as a pitch hitter, and so on (details in the articles here and here). Bill Veeck (one-time owner of the Indians, and, before that, the then-minor league Brewers) would have definitely approved of the showmanship and wackiness on display.

All the cancellations in Cleveland reminded me that I had never tried to figure out, back when I was something of an amateur baseball historian and noticed such things, why the Indians played so few games in the 1945 season (bear with me here, or not): Cleveland finished that year with a record of 73-72, when the season was supposed to run 154 games. Nine cancellations seems like a lot. Actually, they had two ties, so they played 147 games total, but that was still the fewest in the league; the totals, counting ties, were: Boston -- 157; Washington (the Senators) -- 156; Detroit -- 155; St. Louis (the Browns) -- 154; Philadelphia (the A's) -- 153; New York -- 152; Chicago -- 150; Cleveland -- 147.

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