Reunions

There has been a lot of attention being paid to 30th anniversary of the 1986 New York Mets, especially with their reunion this weekend. In addition to being one of the best teams in baseball history, they are one of the most interesting. While I look forward to seeing the team on the field together once again, it will be on a somber note since Gary Carter, who succumbed to brain cancer four years ago, won’t be there to join them. Carter is the team’s lone Hall of Famer and is the only member of the 1986 Mets that is no longer with us.

This got me to thinking about how rare it is to have every member of a team survive multiple decades after they last took the field. So if you can get past the morbidity of this article, let’s take a look at which teams could have a reunion with all of their players still around to take the field.

Year Team # of Players WS Win
1978 San Diego Padres
38
84-78
1978 Seattle Mariners
34
56-104
1979 San Diego Padres
35
68-93
1980 Milwaukee Brewers
33
86-76
1980 Texas Rangers
41
76-85
1982 Milwaukee Brewers
33
95-67
1982 Texas Rangers
40
64-98
1983 Boston Red Sox
31
78-84
1983 Milwaukee Brewers
36
87-75
1983 Toronto Blue Jays
33
89-73

1978 San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners
The earliest teams with all of its players currently living are the 1978 Padres and Mariners. The Mariners were pretty dreadful, losing 104 games in their 2nd season of existence. The Padres (84-78, 11 GB), on the other hand, were just starting to acquire big names, thanks to the advent of free agency and Ray Kroc’s deep pockets. A reunion of the 1973 Padres would include Hall of Famers Dave Winfield, Rollie Fingers and Gaylord Perry. Not to mention Gene Tenace, Randy Jones and Oscar Gamble, to name a few. But while the 1978 Padres had a number of big names, teams usually hold reunions for pennant or World Series winners.

Earliest Pennant winners with all currently living players

Year Team # of Players WS Win
1982 Milwaukee Brewers
33
N
1992 Atlanta Braves
41
N
1992 Toronto Blue Jays
40
Y
1993 Toronto Blue Jays
38
Y
1995 Cleveland Indians
41
N
1996 Atlanta Braves
42
N
1997 Cleveland Indians
46
N
1997 Florida Marlins
43
Y
1999 Atlanta Braves
44
N

Brewers manager Harvey Kuenn passed away in 1988, but every one of his “Wallbangers” has survived from the 1982 team. 2017 will be the 35th anniversary of their American League Pennant and it will be great to have every member be able to attend a possible reunion.

MLB.tv Game Changer (formerly Dashboard)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been watching a game on MLB.tv and all of the sudden, my twitter feed blows up when something big happens, like Giancarlo Stanton hitting another 450+ ft homerun. But I missed it because I didn’t know that he was at bat. So I decided to make something that will allow me to customize my baseball viewing experience. Something that will allow me to see as much of the baseball that I want to see. I got the idea from using Dan Brooks’ (of brooksbaseball.net) MLB.tv RedZone, which switches between the games with the highest leverage index. This allowed me to see the potential of using MLB’s gameday data.

Enter the MLB.tv Dashboard, which allows you to customize what you want to watch the most, and automatically switches between games based on your priorities. Here are some of the things you can customize:

  • Batters: Want to see Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, or even Bartolo Colon at the plate? Add it to your list, and the application will switch to their game when they come to the plate.
  • Pitchers: Don’t want to miss Jake Arrieta or Clayton Kershaw pitch? This will switch to their game while they are on the mound and go to another game on your list while their team is batting.
  • Baserunners: It doesn’t get much more exciting than when Billy Hamilton is on the bases. If the runner of your choosing is on 1st or 2nd base with the next base open, the application will make sure you see it.
  • Fantasy Teams: The three settings above allows you add all of the players on your fantasy team to track their progress.
  • Teams: Let’s say you’re a huge Braves fan and that’s mostly what you want to see. But you also want to see each of Manny Machado’s at bats. Put Machado at #1 and Atlanta at #2 and you’ll get to watch your Braves games, but the application switches to Orioles games when Machado comes to the plate. It will switch back when his at bat is over.
  • Leverage Index: If you don’t want to miss a tense moment in any game, set the LI to something like “>= 3.0” and it will switch to any game that meets that criteria.
  • No-hitters: Don’t want to miss a potential no-hitter, but don’t think it’s important until after the 7th inning? You can set that as a priority.
  • Vin Scully: There’s only a few more months left that we get to appreciate the greatest announcer in baseball history. This setting will switch to Dodger games when they are at home, or on the road in San Diego, Anaheim and San Francisco.
  • Position Players Pitching: Who doesn’t love to see a left fielder pitch in a blowout or in the 18th inning? This setting will switch to a game if a non-pitcher is on the mound.
  • Extra Innings: Self-explanatory. This setting will switch to games that are in extra innings.
  • Replay Challenge/Review: Let’s say you are a masochist and you want to see all replay challenges. This will switch to those situations.

Now suppose none of your priority items are met, or your teams are on commercial break. In that event, the application will switch to the game with the current highest leverage index. It will keep switching between these games until any of your priority criteria are met.

In addition to the above priority items, you can also avoid watching any teams of your choosing. If you’re blacked out from seeing a certain team, you can add them to your ignore list and the application will avoid changing to their games since you won’t be able to watch them.

We all know MLB.tv has a delay from the actual live game to when you see it on your screen. You can adjust the delay timer setting if the games are switching too early or late. However, I recommend not changing this setting too much since it can severely alter the experience.

Finally, you can set whether or not you want the application to wait for the current at bat to finish before switching to a higher priority game, or if you want to it change immediately. The default setting is to wait. Changing the setting to switch immediately will allow you to not miss higher priority situations, but beware that you could see a lot of changing at inopportune times.

If you choose to use this, I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.