Orioles have fourth-longest World Series drought; Nationals' hot streak; why replay works in MLB - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles have fourth-longest World Series drought; Nationals’ hot streak; why replay works in MLB

Now that the Washington Nationals have qualified for the World Series, it makes life even more difficult for fans of the Orioles.

Some Oriole fans have begun rooting for the Nationals, others don’t care, and still others are pained by their success.

In the 50-year history of the Nationals and their predecessors, the Montreal Expos, the team played in only one League Championship Series, in 1981, and never in the World Series.

The Nationals’ first World Series’ berth leaves the Seattle Mariners as the only MLB franchise never to play in the Series.

Thursday was the 36th anniversary of the Orioles’ last World Series win, when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-0, winning the Series four games to one.

How long ago was 1983? Only three other major league teams have gone longer without a World Series appearance than the Orioles.

Seattle, which debuted in 1977, the Pittsburgh Pirates, who beat the Orioles in their last World Series in 1979, and the Milwaukee Brewers, who lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982, have the three-longest droughts.

Not only have 26 of the 29 other major league teams played in a Series since the Orioles did, but 20 of them have won a World Series.

If you now want to call yourself “a long-suffering Orioles fan,” it’s certainly permissible.


Nationals’ hot streak: The Nationals head into the World Series on an incredible streak. Since September 23, they’re 16-2.

They won their final eight games of the regular season before winning the wild-card game as well as the Division Series and League Championship Series.

There will be plenty of talk about the weeklong layoff between the LCS and World Series, and if it matters. The Colorado Rockies might say it does.

In 2007, the Rockies won 13 of their final 14 regular season games and beat San Diego in a one-game playoff to qualify as the wild-card team. Then the Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs in three straight games in the Division Series and Arizona in four in the LCS.

Colorado, which had won 21 of its previous 22, waited nine days to play the Boston Red Sox. Boston came from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games in the ALCS.

The Red Sox swept the Rockies in four.

Baseball vs. football: For years, the NFL has trumpeted its parity, but despite that self-promotion, baseball has had more different champions over the last 40 years.

Beginning in 1979, and the Pirates’ World Series championship, 29 of the 30 major league teams have played in the Series. Twenty-seven of 32 NFL teams have played in the Super Bowl. Just over half, 17 of the 32 teams, have won a Super Bowl in the last 40 years.

Another area in which MLB has excelled in comparison to the NFL is video replay.

Since baseball belatedly adopted replay in 2014, technology has steadily improved, and it’s rare when an obvious error isn’t overturned.

Baseball could do a better job by expanding its scope of replay to include interference/obstruction calls and running out of the basepaths.

Eventually, baseball could adopt the Atlantic League’s robot umpire for balls and strikes. With telecasts featuring strike zone boxes, why not take the human element out of umpiring for the sake of getting it correct?

An umpire shouldn’t have an interpretation of the strike zone. The rule book strike zone should be uniform and enforced.

It doesn’t disturb me that there are mechanical line calls when watching Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. They’re trying to get the calls correct, and they do.

In baseball, the improvement in technology has made most calls obvious. If there’s not something that’s blatantly wrong, the call is quickly confirmed.

Football is a more subjective game than baseball, and while replay doesn’t seem to impede the flow of a baseball game very much, the rhythm of NFL games has been hurt as technology improves.

Postseason telecasts: I don’t watch much television during the regular season, but during the postseason I try to catch a good part of each game.

As long as I’ve been watching postseason baseball, fans have complained about network announcers, saying that they’re prejudiced against the team they follow. Twitter has worsened these arguments, which once were somewhat entertaining, but now are just tiresome.

I’ve enjoyed John Smoltz’s commentary on this year’s postseason much more than I did last year. A year ago, he seemed to be comparing “the good old days” of when he played with contemporary baseball.

This year, he has stuck to commenting on the games, and he’s expressed many excellent insights.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 17, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Mr. Dubroff … I don’t know where to start saying how much I totally disagree with you on most every point you make regarding baseball’s use of instant replay. The use of replay is just plain wrong. It dehumanizes the sport.

    When was the last time you have been entertained by some irate manager screaming and kicking dirt on home plate? Am I the only man in America that misses a good tantrum now and then? Instead, we get to watch a robotic manager wait a minute for some clubhouse minion to watch a replay in order to determine whether or not a play is worth challenging? THEN .. we get to wait another 3 minutes to what seems like eternity for “New York” to watch who knows how many replays of what we fans have long ago determined to be the correct call. Want to make a slow and boring game even MORE slow and boring? Well … MLB has already figured that out. If you’re going to have a red flag type challenge, why not make the manager throw the flag in 5 seconds?

    You know, 100 years from now (god willing Quidditch hasn’t supplanted Baseball as the national past time), the history books will remember the lore and the likes of the Don Denkingers, Jeffrey Maier/Rich Garcias and Tim Welkes of the sport. What chapter do you think we’ll find the Sig Mejdals and Peter Brands and whoever this “New York” guy is?

    Baseball is about romance and history warts and all. It’s about the human element. I can tell you that baseball is NOT about some bleepin’ robot using lasers to call balls and strikes.


    • Rich Dubroff

      October 17, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Thank you for your most entertaining response, Ken.

      Games should be decided by the players, not by the umpires. In the first years of replay, there were some overly long reviews. Now, because of technology, reviews are generally much quicker.

      The history books shouldn’t remember Don Denkinger for the 1985 World Series or Richie Garcia and Jeffrey Maier in 1996. Baseball implemented boundary calls in 2007, seven years before replay was belatedly adopted to prevent calls like Garcia made.

      Should we remember Jim Joyce because he blew a call on Armando Gallaraga’s near-perfect game? No, and that wouldn’t happen today.

      We should remember Bill Buckner’s error, not an umpire’s judgement call, especially when we have the tools to get those calls correct.

      Many years ago, I was entertained by Earl Weaver, but I bet he would have been happy to see calls corrected in place of arguing about them.

      There is still a laundry list of calls that aren’t subject to replay that managers can argue about if they wish. David Bell, who managed the Cincinnati Reds was ejected from eight games this season. Brandon Hyde was ejected from two. Aaron Boone’s “savages in the box” argument wasn’t bad, either.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        October 17, 2019 at 11:49 am

        Rich, I couldn’t agree with you more! The players plays on the field should be the ones that dictate the game and not some umpire who has some distorted view on the strike zone. I would rather they make the right call (Jeffrey Maier are you kidding me!) and get the strike zone calls correct (remember Roberto Alomar called strike in the other batters box and the blowup after that!). I would like the games to be completed within 3 hours so getting calls correct would and are done quickly enough than some manager coming out and arguing for 20 minutes. How fast is the game moving along then??? Then also getting fined and/or suspended and losing money and possibly his team missing the playoffs because of a few calls going against them and maybe getting fired for missing the playoffs! To speed up the game, get the calls correct and everyone is happy. Let the best team on the field win the game and not some umpire who gets calls wrong.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 17, 2019 at 12:56 pm

        I’m happy that I was entertaining today Rich. Stick around, I’m here all week!

        So Rich, why doe we even bother to stick 4 men dressed in blue on the field anymore? Who needs them?

        Doesn’t it tick you off even more when the umps take 5 minutes to review a play and thy STILL get the call wrong? It happens all the time. Blown replays. Are we really sure that a review would have changed that Jeffrey Maier call? I’m not. I don’t think that there was a ‘definitive’ view that without question, proved the umpire wrong. Talk about a riot breaking out in Bal’more ….

        Ya know, we’ve had the better part of 2 centuries of baseball being America’s Past time. And now some wire-heads think they can improve the game with technology overnight. I think we need to leave the game alone. Baseball doesn’t need technology to improve it. (well I admit 1080p is sweet) But you know what I’m saying .. I really believe that keeping the Boys in Blue in charge is the prudent course. They play 162 for a reason … calls even themselves just like line drive outs and blooper that drop in.

        • Bancells Moustache

          October 17, 2019 at 1:35 pm

          Forget it Boog. Within a few years, Baseball will join the NFL and NBA in bed buck naked with now legalized sports gambling (right now they’re just spooning). With the amount of money being thrown around, there is no way on planet Earth it gets left in the hands of the umpire. In today’s culture, where it seems there is no higher distinction than to stomp your feet and shout “IT’S NOT FAIR!” like an 8 year old, MLB will do whatever it can to avoid a PR nightmare like a Denkinger call.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            October 17, 2019 at 2:07 pm

            But that Denkinger call will live forever in history and baseball along with it. Bad or good /good or bad… the humanity of the game will march on through eternity because of it, while nobody will ever remember Will Robinson’s pet calling strike 3 to end the 2029 World Series.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            October 17, 2019 at 2:10 pm

            PS BanMo ..I know I’ve said this many times before .. but I love your stuff. You make me laugh almost every week of the year.

        • Rich Dubroff

          October 17, 2019 at 3:37 pm

          Ken, it’s pretty rare these days that reviews take even three minutes, much less five. If there’s no clear evidence, the call isn’t overturned. Jeffrey Maier’s call occurred in 1996, light years ago when it comes to technology. Watch how crude the television picture looked of that play. Boundary calls are rarely overturned, but I think that one would have been.

          The umpires are still in charge. Let’s just help them get stuff right when we can.


    October 17, 2019 at 8:45 am

    I have a very hard time listening to these announcers on the post season baseball games. I dont know who decided that Joe Buck is a good baseball announcer bur they obviously dont listen to him. At least once per game, he mixes up the teams. He needs to stick with football. Having A-Rod on the pregame and postgame shows is annoying. I do get a kick out of the way A-Rod and David Ortiz pretend they like each other. They dont. Ron Darling is excellent but Frenchy has a long way to go. Thank goodness for the mute button.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 17, 2019 at 10:01 am

      Danno and B.C., I don’t understand fans’ dislike of Joe Buck. It’s not just you two, but I see criticism of him by many fans in many places. I think he does a fine job.

    • ClayDal

      October 17, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      I think the reason there is dislike for Joe Buck is the perception that he didn’t pay his dues at Fox to become their #1 guy. Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Jim Nantz, among others, started near the bottom of their networks and worked their way up to be the top guy. Buck seemed to rise up too quickly. Of course replacing Pat Summerall was an unenviable task. He’s still better than Gus Johnson

  3. B.C. Bird

    October 17, 2019 at 9:22 am

    I agree, get rid of Joe Buck. Joe Girardi and AJ are a breath of fresh air and have baseball knowledge that is both interesting and entertaining. I think it would have been great having Joe offer insights on the Yanks/Astros series.


    October 17, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Interesting article covering a variety of topics, first personally I enjoy hearing A-Rod on the air, Joe G is excellent and has always been; can’t hold a grudge because he scorned the Orioles.
    While not a Nats fan, I love good sound baseball and the difference between the Rockies and Nats….Starting Pitching they have four starters who will all be rested. Bullpen is scary….we were back in the day built through pitching and defense should be a great Series

  5. ClayDal

    October 17, 2019 at 9:38 am

    In reference to why fans complain about network announcers bias’s, one of the reasons is all the games are televised now on local regional sports channels. For 162 games, you hear one set of announcers who focus on your team. Then in the playoffs, it’s people you haven’t listened to all year. In the NFL, all the games are on the networks so there’s no cultural shock when the playoffs come. Also ESPN and Fox seem to show the same teams ( Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, Mets) the majority of the time, so fans in the other markets aren’t accustomed to seeing their team nationally. Wonder if Yankee fans complain about the network coverage as much as say Royals fans did when they were in the playoffs. Yankee fans are more used to seeing their team on the networks. Even when the Royals won the World Series, the next year it was still Yankees-Red Sox every week. From 2012-16, the Orioles got some national games. Against the Yankees and Red Sox

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 17, 2019 at 9:59 am

      John, the Orioles will get at least one ESPN game next season, the Little League Classic against the Red Sox in Williamsport, Pa.

    • CalsPals

      October 17, 2019 at 10:10 am

      I’m sure they will be doing some scouting while they’re in Williamsport…lol…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      October 17, 2019 at 10:33 am

      Notice they are playing the Red Sox. I promise the next time the Orioles are in the playoffs I won’t complain about the network announcers. Back in 1979, when the Orioles played the Pirates in the World Series, Howard Cosell kept calling Doug DeCinces “Doogie” Which apparently according to Brooks Robinson and Chuck Thompson, nobody ever called him that before

  6. Orial

    October 17, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I always thought this was funny about myself but I liked Howard Cossell when no one else did,I liked Phil Rizzuto when no one else did,and I like Tony Romo when no one else seems to. Yeah you guessed it–I’m the oddball,I don’t mind Joe Buck.

    • ClayDal

      October 17, 2019 at 10:46 am

      Cosell was an original. He would go where previous announcers wouldn’t. Now you have people like Bob Costas and Stephen A Smith doing similar commentary. Can’t really comment on Rizzuto-he was good on the Money Store Commercials. Like Romo, he’s better than Aikman. As for Joe Buck , of the My Three Sons at Fox ( Buck, Albert, Brenneman) he is my least favorite. Kenny Albert should be their top announcer

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 17, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      I liked Howard Cosell and Phil Rizzuto, and I like Tony Romo, who everyone seems to like.

  7. Bancells Moustache

    October 17, 2019 at 10:45 am

    I’ve never been a fan of Joe Buck, though I don’t get the vitriol thrown at him either. He’s not THAT bad. I’ve never liked FOX presentation. The FOX music starts “Dundundunt dundunDAH”, we hear Joe Buck’s voice, and all I can think is the Cowboys are playing the Packers.

    I try to be hopeful regarding the lack of Championships in Birdland, but every year I get closer to my fear. You remember when the Red Sox won in ’04 and they were interviewing all of these 90 year olds at the game talking about how long they’ve been waiting? I have a terrible feeling that’s gonna be me one day, drooling and incoherently blathering about how I’d actually seen Cal Ripken in the flesh and still haven’t died, my middle aged grandson wiping my chin and translating for the camera crew.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 17, 2019 at 3:28 pm

      I promise to write about you then, Bancells. Remind me, please.

  8. willmiranda

    October 17, 2019 at 10:58 am

    A couple thoughts. One, parity is a synonym for mediocrity: it’s nothing to brag about. Networks don’t go around looking for two .500 teams for national broadcasts. And the NFL has no problem with the Patriots. On the other end, the O’s got the most publicity when setting losing records, and covering Davis’s hitless streak was national news. The parity mantra is to keep the fans of mediocre teams interested and hopeful and paying. The variety of teams who win championships is due to a playoff system that allows for better teams to be knocked out because of freak plays or a short hot streak by opposing teams or players. As for replay, football is a timed sport, even though the clock isn’t always running. Rhythm is a reference to time, so the duration of a replay is felt in comparison to the duration of other events in the game. Baseball is not a timed sport, so there is no point of reference to establish a rhythm. The game is repeatedly interrupted for indeterminate periods of time. Thus, actually putting a clock on a pitcher is a major controversy, except for the refrain, “We’re trying to speed things up,” to which one responds, “Compared to what?” As for replay, having machines may take the game away from the umps but it also takes it away from the players. I don’t always think the replay “got things right” and doubt that I’m the only one. A two-dimensional representation is not always incontrovertible And my cyberparanoia tells me that , by accident or purpose, pixels can misrepresent and software go awry.

  9. mlbbirdfan

    October 17, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Rich, Nice article. But, you are flat out wrong about the way that Mechanical strike zone works. The pictures on television are very misleading because they are slightly distorted. My understanding based on conversations with an UMPIRE friend is: the television strike zone box is completely inaccurate and cannot be relied upon. I urge you to interview a MLB UMPIRE and publish the results of your conversation.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 17, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      I have heard that umpires have complained about the distortion of the box, and I’d love to interview an MLB umpire about it, but I’m skeptical that MLB would allow that. After controversial calls, we can interview the crew chief–not necessarily the person who makes the calls, mlbbird fan, about the call and nothing else.

      For the most part, major professional sports don’t want their officials to be interviewed on anything but generalities.

    • Camden Brooks

      October 18, 2019 at 5:32 am

      Actually Rich should talk to folks (players, coaches, umps if possible) in the Atlantic League to get their impressions on the effects of the robo calls on pitches this past season.

  10. J Guy

    October 18, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Please don’t mention the Nationals on this site

  11. Raymo

    October 19, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    The strike zone box on TBS & FS1 (and is practically nonexistent on MASN) is two dimensional, but the strike zone is three-dimensional. Can anyone tell me where that box is in relation to the rest of the plate? Is it at the front, the rear, the center? It seems to show where the catcher caught the ball rather than where it crossed a particular part of the plate.

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