Language barriers, brawl game jersey auctions, and other fooleries

Did Hall of Famer Schmidt have a point about language barriers, however clumsily addressed?

Did Hall of Famer Schmidt have a point about language barriers, however clumsily addressed?

We should be enjoying things this week. Things like the Astros’ staggering dominance of the American League West and maybe baseball itself, the bombing of Yankee rookie Aaron (Here Comes The) Judge, the near-classic pitching duel between Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg, the four-homer game of an obscurity named Scooter Gennett, the 600th home run of Albert Pujols.

But no. Baseball is played and governed by human beings, and human beings are only too fallible. Consider:

The Philth and the Furies

Macho RowThe early-to-mid 1970s Athletics and the 1986 Mets were seminarians in comparison. Meet, or re-meet, the 1993 Phillies, the zoo in which the animals held the keys, thanks to William C. Kashatus’s Macho Row: The 1993 Phillies and Baseball’s Unwritten Code. (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 343 p.; $27.95.)

They were the Philthy Phillies who won a pennant dramatically enough and lost a World Series even more dramatically. Carrying themselves like old schoolers while, somehow, organised and managed like a sort-of school of tomorrow, the 1993 Phillies were the Hell’s Angels without motorcycles but on actual or alleged performance-enhancing laughing gas.

You can’t (and shouldn’t) forget the ’86 Mets, no matter how hard you try

Hernandez---his 1983 arrival in trade began the build to the 1986 conquerors

Hernandez—his 1983 arrival in trade began the build to the 1986 conquerors

Their 30th anniversary seems to be more sober than an awful lot of the team was. But Allen Barra is right. Three decades ago, the New York Mets steamrolled the National League on the regular season, then wrung their way through to a World Series triumph the hard way, against a pair of tough enough teams from Houston and Boston. There was and remains nothing wrong with that. There was nothing like a pair of hair-raising postseason sets to remind people that even teams as good as those Mets have to work, good and hard, for their prizes.

Unforgettable, Though Many Try: The 1986 Mets

Their 25th anniversary seems to be more sober than an awful lot of the team was. But Allen Barra is right. Twenty-five years ago tonight launched the 1986 World Series, which the New York Mets would win in rather dramatic fashion. There was and remains nothing wrong with that. The 1986 Mets may have steamrolled the National League on the regular season, but there was nothing like a pair of hair-raising postseason sets to remind people that even teams as good as those Mets have to work, good and hard, for their prizes.