Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tejada and Streaks

The Orioles found a way to cheat the system Thursday, inserting Miguel Tejada into the lineup for the sole purpose of keeping his consecutive games streak alive. After he recorded a plate appearance, he was immediately removed from the game.

This sort of thing has happened before; it's well-documented that the Yankees went out of their way to prolong games to keep DiMaggio's streak alive, for example. Streaks aren't the only place where this chicanery occurs, either; George Brett's 1976 batting crown is one of history's many tainted titles. Baseball historians know to take everything with a grain of salt.

All that said, how can anyone think this behavior doesn't cheapen the streak? Tejada took advantage of being on a team that cared more about a stupid statistic than attempting to win the game. If Tejada's streak reaches the level of Gehrig's or Ripken's, it will be a shame that he had to do it this way.

It's hard to call baseball a team sport, because it's less about teamwork than a collection of individual achievement. Still, in the face of all the personal glory, sometimes it's easy to forget they keep score at all.

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