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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Comparing Win Streaks: The 2017 Tribe & The 1916 Giants

All streaks must come to an end. For 22 straight games and a 142-37 scoring margin, the Indians-cum-WINdians seemingly 'forgot how to lose.' Till Friday, yesterday, whenst the ever-scrappy KC squad finished a-top 'em 4-3. This coming the night after Cleveland rebounding 'gainst those Royals with a single strike left in the game to extend the streak. When it finally ended, I had to blink a couple times to cleanse the huh? from my eyes and process it all. I had expected a win. The most surprising part of the streak, for me, was its lack of surprise.
Now that The Streak is over and too, did the Twins lose -- the Tribe's magic number is now two, and their collective focus is solely on clinching the division. I'd imagine. Mine is somewhat elsewheres. I'm not a fan of the Cleveland Indians, per se, but I did get caught up in their streak as a fan of history. As a fan of history, I have thoughts on the 1916 win streak of the New York Giants. 26 to the Tribe's 22, with none other twixt.

I hate ties in sports. I refuse to suffer soccer for vastly that reason. I am not alone. So it is easy to beg a dismissal of the Giants' streak via the 'there's no tying in baseball' route employed by many a pundit. So the Indians streak is THE streak, and whom don't wanna live through a bit a' history? Whom don't wanna narrate it?

1916 was a lousy year for John McGraw's Giants. It ended in a fourth place finish with a frustratingly decent 88 wins. And now we're getting to it, gentlepersons. The streak began with 12 victories rattled off in a row. Then a miserable 1-1 soccer score against Pittsburgh on September 18th. Then 14 more victories before dropping the second game of a doubleheader to the Boston Braves on September 30th. That's what many have heard. That's the narrative of some. Even I have perpetrated it.

September 18th: the tie. It was part of a doubleheader which was rain delayed at 1-1 after eight stanzas of play. It was too dark to play by the time the clouds parted, and the game was made up in its entirety the next day as part of a doubleheader'd parcel, which the Giants swept on the way to winning them 14 more in a row. Pretty dang impressive. And a streak for the ages.

I dabbled with offering up the semantics-based fix of: OK, Giants have the longest streak sans loss, and Indians get the longest win streak. But, no. Ultimately, it dilutes from each in the same manner a participation trophy doth.
I called Snack Tray over to the TV to watch the bottom of the 9th. Last licks. Told him he'd never see the likes of this again. You try making a seven year-old buy that one. The last streak like this was in 1916 I told him. "Nineteen?" He looked at me as if I broke into ancient Sanskrit. Then came the third out. My blinking. Great bit of history, that. Great 'nuff to not have to be the best. "Does this look like a shotgun?" asked Snack Tray, holding up a clump a' Legos.

LISTEN:
"We're Going Streaking!" Kaplowitz Radio: September 13, 2017