I hope everyone enjoyed the once in a lifetime “2/22/22” day. While I’m not typically into this sort of thing, it’s so rare that I actually screen shotted my phone at 2:22pm on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022. How couldn’t I?

At least I didn’t get married though. Tons of other people did. I’m staying near the county’s marriage license office, so a ton of wedding chapels are all around me. Yesterday, they were jammed. When I got a bottle of wine last night at Walgreen’s, they asked if I was going to a wedding. Fortunately, no. I definitely don’t need to get married.

This morning the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a new Congressional map. On my initial read, it does the following:

  • PA-2, 3, 4, 5, and 12 become safe Democratic seats, even though PA-4 definitely goes a bit more red. PA-6 and PA-17 are Dem leaning, with 17 being in play this year because of the environment and being open. PA-7 and 8 slightly Democratic, but really just competitive. My sense is that Rep. Cartwright can hold PA-8 under this map. PA-7 is going to be super competitive.
  • PA-9, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 16 are safe Republican seats, though I’d keep a faint eye on 11 or 14 with the right candidate. PA-1 is a Democratic leaning seat, but Rep. Fitzpatrick has been winning in a very similar seat for years. PA-10 is really the only seat on the GOP side that is in play because of the map.
  • The addition of Carbon County to my home PA-7 is game changing. Obviously it pulls the district a bit right in general elections, but it also does so in primaries. This district is not cut for a far-left progressive to win at all. In fact, if one wins a primary, you can bet it’s a GOP year.

That’s my first read…

As the MLB lockout continues to drag on, too many pundits are doing lazy analysis- attendance and viewership are down, it must be the product. Yes, nobody hates the “spreadsheet warriors” running these front offices more than me, who have tried to convince baseball fans that there are only “three true outcomes,” and that up is in fact down now. With that said, the shit sandwich that is shifts, launch angle, and 8 relievers a game, while annoying, would not prohibit me watching baseball, or most people who spend a lot of their money on watching baseball. Everyone is missing that the core fans have already factored that into their decisions. Casual fans are not staying away over this either. They’re staying away because way too many teams stink.

If you’re a fan of Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Texas, Oakland, Arizona, Chicago (NL), Pittsburgh, and Washington I have bad news for you- this season is already over, and camp hasn’t even opened yet. That is nearly a third of the league. Of the other 21 teams, six haven’t seen the playoffs in over five years. That’s half the league where the fanbases are really skeptical that their organizations have any intention to contend this year, and I didn’t even count Minnesota, Colorado, or Miami in either of those counts, but they probably aren’t playoff teams. In other words, 60% of the league starts out with serious doubts that their teams are worth going to see, or watch on TV, before the first pitch is thrown. This is far more fundamental than whether you’re mad that teams aren’t bunting and stealing bases. If there’s no hope, what’s the point? This year’s Super Bowl featured a team that had the top pick two years ago in Cincinnati. Jacksonville is hot trash, but has last year’s number one pick and a Super Bowl winning coach now. The Eagles went from 4-11-1 to a 9-8 playoff team this past year. Unless you’re Detroit, you can start each offseason with some hope in the NFL (And I hope for them they can at least get to the Browns level soon and have some competitive seasons). Even in the NBA, garbage teams are fun as you hope to win the draft lottery and free up cap space for a superstar. In MLB? Having a top pick means “several years away,” and so many teams are now run by spreadsheet warriors that teams swing and miss on high picks. In short, it sucks to suck in baseball, and it’s kind of pointless to get excited for a large portion of the country.

The most important things for MLB to get done in this contract are:

  • A salary floor so that teams have to try and get some real players.
  • A draft lottery so teams aren’t assured of a reward for trying to lose.
  • An international draft that mirrors the current MLB draft rules.
  • Any other disincentives to losing.

If MLB doesn’t deal with these issues, I’m not sure any “pace of play” rule changes will do anything. Your core fans don’t care how long the game is, and your casual fans will come around if the team is winning, and therefore cool to watch.

Until tomorrow…

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