Resolved: The 2014 Baseball Season Began on October 31st


Baseball fans generally understand what is meant in referring to the “2013 season,” for example, or the “2014 season.” When do these seasons actually begin, though?

Below are points both for and against the resolution that the 2014 season began yesterday, October 31st. The points have been arranged in the style of the Team Policy Debate in which the author once participated with a Russian kid named Simon in ninth grade.

First Affirmative Constructive
The 2014 season did begin on October 31st, i.e. the day after the conclusion of the 2013 World Series. The point of any season, ultimately, is to identify a champion. When said champion has been decided, that season can be considered complete. When the season is considered complete, the following one (i.e. season) necessarily begins the next day. The 2013 World Series concluded on the evening of October 30th, with the Boston Red Sox being identified as the champion. Therefore, the 2014 season began the following day, October 31st.

First Negative Constructive
The baseball season is not so easily adapted to the traditional concept of a “calendar,” such as it exists for civil or religious purposes. There are a number of dates on behalf of which one could make a compelling argument in terms of its appropriateness for being denoted a “New Year’s”-type day. Perhaps the 2014 season began for the Astros and their fans on September 3rd, when they were eliminated mathematically from the playoffs. Perhaps it began much earlier than that, when it became clear that the club wouldn’t be competing at all this season. Perhaps it is possible that multiple seasons are occurring simultaneously — that the 2014 season for the Astros and the 2013 season were concurrent at points. Perhaps the season begins only in March when the club begins spring training. Perhaps it only begins with the first pitch of the actual 2014 baseball season.

Second Affirmative Constructive
Why humans privilege certain days as “holidays” is outside the scope of this discussion. That they do it — and derive pleasure from so doing — is obvious, however. Nor is this pleasure confined merely to religious or civil calendars. The College of Pataphysics, for example — a society formed more or less in memory of French playwright Alfred Jarry — constructed its own calendar, with months called Haha and Merdre in reference to Jarry’s work. It’s only reasonable that baseball fans would derive pleasure from a similar exercise.

Second Negative Constructive
Beyond the consideration that team allegiance might have on a fan’s perception of when, precisely, one season ends and the other begins, there’s also the point to consider that no particular date on this hypothetical baseballing calendar lends itself to demarcating a true “beginning” to the next season. Rather, the new season arrives gradually, in stages. A five-day period following the World Series, for example, is allotted for the extension or not of qualifying offers to possible free agents. Free agency itself begins at the end of this five-day window. Teams are then able to extend offers to, and sign, free agents from other teams. However, even as this is occurring, events entirely related to the 2013 season are still developing, such as the awarding of Cy Young and MVP and Rookie of the Year honors. Therefore, there is no precise beginning or end to any given season. Rather, it resembles the fading in and out of songs, such as when they’re played by a DJ at your aunt’s wedding that one time to her second husband, Ted.

First Negative Rebuttal
The Affirmative has suggested that the 2014 season began on October 31st, the day following the Red Sox’ fourth win in Game Six of the World Series. By this logic, had the Cardinals won an additional game, the 2013 season wouldn’t have ended until October 31st, thus delaying the so-called 2014 season by a day, to November 1st. Had the Red Sox swept, then that would present a different case, where the 2013 season ended earlier than October 30th. There’s no precedent for this kind of “contingent” New Year’s Day on any major civil or religious calendar. A “contingent” holiday such as Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, for example. That is Thanksgiving, though. New Year’s Day, meanwhile, is fixed. It’s entirely reasonable, therefore, to suggest that this is an immutable quality of a calendar-qua-calendar.

First Affirmative Rebuttal
The perfect is frequently the enemy of the good. Merely because a hypothetical Baseball Calendar does not share every element of a civil calendar such as the Gregorian does not render the idea of it totally moot — nor does it render moot or impossible the idea of a New Year’s Day, so to speak, on that same Baseball Calendar. Precedent (the “perfect,” in this case) is not a necessity for this particular exercise. The Gregorian serves only as a model as to how a calendar might be constructed. If New Year’s Day on the Baseball Calendar is contingent upon the ending of the previous season’s calendar, then so be it. The consequences are minimal.

Second Negative Rebuttal
The Negative is having some difficulty hearing the Affirmative, on account of how the Affirmative appears to be speaking with the Negative’s genitals all in its mouth. The Negative is therefore unable to rebut anything, as the Affirmative’s arguments sound only like those plaintive squeals such as one is able to make with genitals in his mouth.

Second Affirmative Rebuttal
In this one instance, I’m entirely in agreement with the Negative: there are indeed genitals in mouths around here; however, the genitals belong to the Affirmative, and the mouth, in this case, to the Negative’s mother (or mothers, as the case may be, in a team-style debate). The Affirmative would be happy to remove said genitals, however, if the Negative merely acknowledges the Affirmative’s victory in this debate.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

6 Responses to “Resolved: The 2014 Baseball Season Began on October 31st”

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  1. Babu Bhatt says:


    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Yoked to a Failing Public School says:

    Funniest thing I have read yet on Fangraphs. It must go over a lot of heads though because they stopped teaching anything resembling Classical rhetoric and debate in public schools 100 years ago.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Ben2074x says:

    Mortal Kombat style: Flawless Victory!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Steve says:

    The First Negative Constructive is flawed, in that you use the phrase “Perhaps it only begins with the first pitch of the actual 2014 baseball season.”

    Such that you are acknowledging there is an actual, and accepted start date. Which of course, there is.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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