Posts Tagged ‘MLB’
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We’re still weeks away from baseball’s midsummer classic, and yet I find myself thinking about it. Maybe because it’s my fantasy league’s trade deadline, maybe it’s because I really do enjoy the Home Run Derby, unlike some baseball purists.
Or maybe because the selection process is quite flawed. Right now, if you’re a big fan of the All Star Game, I hope you like the Yankees too, because they will make up over half the AL starting roster. But that is just one of my many gripes. I think that the fans who vote, on the whole, simply vote for name recognition, and obviously have a pretty narrow roster of players from around the league outside of their home town team. This coupled with the heavy, heavy east coast bias is turning a great honor into something that is more or less eyerolled at by knowledgeable baseball fans. Here’s the leading vote getters, as of June 20 & 14, respectively:
Brian McCann C Atl- Can’t argue
Albert Pujols 1st Stl- Going to change with his injury, but I’m not so sure he deserved to make it anyway- hitting .279, granted with 17 homers, Fielder is numerically crushing him.
Brandon Phillips 2B Cin- Not sure how he’s leading it, with Rickie Weeks having another monster season for the Crew.
Placido Polanco 3B Phi – Sure he’s hitting ok in a weak stat position, but I’ve got a soft spot for Chipper.
Troy Tulowitzki SS Col- Toss up with him and Reyes- Power vs. Speed. I love me some Tulo though
Ryan Braun, Lance Berkman & Matt Holliday OF- All 3 are having great years, but Kemp is notably absent. Maybe the baseball world dislikes him as much as I do.
Russell Martin C Nyy- Really? This is one of my biggest complaints. Sure, Martin is having a decent season, but Alex Avila is hitting a full 70 points higher than him, with similar or better power numbers across the board. If you’re asking who Alex Avila is, you’re part of the problem, buddy.
Adrian Gonzalez 1B Bos- Thankfully, A-Gone just passed Teixeira, which is great because Gonzalez deserves the honor more. His numbers are ridiculous.
Robinson Cano 2B Nyy- A Yankee selection I wholeheartedly agree with.
Alex Rodriguez 3B Nyy- Sure, his numbers justify it, but even if he were batting .240, he’d get in.
Derek Jeter SS Nyy- What is this, a lifetime achievement award? .260 with 2 HR. Asdrubal Cabrera or Elvis Andrus, please.
Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson & Josh Hamilton OF- I love Josh Hamilton. I do. He’s maybe my favorite ballplayer. But Jacoby Ellsbury deserves this spot. I’m thinking fans are voting in Hamilton with the hopes of seeing another Home Run Derby for the ages. So, I’ll let it slide.
So there you have it, a few head scratchers and a few undeserving Yankees, and you have an unfortunate situation in your All Star Starting lineup. I’m not sure that MLB can do anything about it, and I’m also pretty sure I don’t want Bud Selig making any more idiotic changes to the game, but I’d like to see this end happily. I think we as voters need to be more responsible, and maybe votes from New York should count as half votes, something to restore integrity to this process. I’ll watch the game regardless, but I’d like to see more players that are lesser known, but more deserving make the game, to further educate the unknowing masses on this great game and the men who play it.
Before I start I’m going to promise my friend Ray, who works for an unnamed professional basketball team, that I’m not going to get too snarky when discussing basketball, and I’ll keep the NBA bashing to a minimum.
Last night I tuned in to Game 6 of the NBA finals to see if the Celtics would be close to closing out the Lakers late in the game. Instead, I found the Lake Show giving a dark alley beatdown to the Celtics at the Staples Center. I couldn’t help but think. ‘Wow, David Stern must be loving this.’ A Game 7 between the two legendary franchises to decide the title must be a comissioner’s dream, and will add some much needed hype to the Finals in a year when they’re competing for airtime with the World Cup (I’m being serious here, folks).
The problem that I can’t get away from is how south the ratings will go after halftime when the Lakers have another 25 point third quarter lead like last night. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Celtics are really good, they showed us that in Boston, but that’s precisely the problem, it was in Boston. It’s been a tale of two cities, with the excpetion of Games 2 and 3, each home team and pretty much ruled supreme. If game 7 were in Boston, I think I might put money on the Celtics. But, it isn’t. Which comes around to my point- Why I like Home court (field, ice) advantage. Why are the Lakers at home for Game 7? Because they earned it. The were a firestorm during the regular season, unlike the Celtics, who endured a roller coaster season en route to a solid but unspectactular winning record.
Why I’m talking about this is because I’ve heard it before, talks about moving everything to a neutral site in the Finals, especially in Baseball, and sometimes in Basketball and Hockey. Which I find a little ridiculous. Would it be fun to host a Superbowl-like two weeks of Games to determine your MLB, NBA and NHL champions? Sure. Would it be a huge corporate event like the Superbowl? Maybe. But unlike the Superbowl, played in the dead of winter for us up north types, it’s just not necesary. I’d rather home field advantage be decided by the fruits of that team’s labor throughout the season, like the NBA and NHL wisely do. Do NOT get me started on baseball’s idea, as we’ll be here for hours during an expletive-laced tirade about Bud Selig.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see a crazy dramatic game 7, with a last second Kobe jumper sealing the deal, or a buzzer beating Ray Allen trey turning the dagger, but I just don’t see it. At home, the Lakers are just too deadly, and now the apex predator in the NBA, Kobe Bryant, smells blood in the water in his home pool. I anticipate a Jordanesque performance, and plenty of lower jaw photo ops.
But on the other hand, KG yelling whatever Adidas’ slogan this year at the top of his lungs would be pretty entertaining, too.
Call it a push.
It would have been the 21st perfect game in more than 100 years of Major League Baseball. Even more amazing is the fact that there have already been 2 perfect games pitched this year; Roy Halladay of the Phillies and Dallas Braden of the A’s. The Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Gallaraga didn’t get the perfect game because of a botched call by umpire Jim Joyce. Joyce admitted after the game that it was a bad call stating “I just cost the kid a perfect game” as stated in the boston globe. Almost everyone has heard this story so I don’t want to get into details.
Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, has the power to overturn the call and make it a perfect game. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan thinks Selig should overturn the call, but she is a Senator from Michigan, not surprising she wants her home town teams pitcher to get the perfect game. That would be great to have Selig overturn the call and give the perfect game to Gallaraga because he does deserve it. The problem is what would that do for everyone else that has gotten screwed in the past? or will have a bad call go against them in the future? Most experts agree that Selig shouldnt change the call, but there should be a stronger system to rate umpires performances and additions to the replay system.
I value expert Keith Law’s baseball knowledge. Here is what Law of ESPN said:
“Do we really want any authority outside of the game to be able to go back, after the fact, and alter or tweak the results to suit popular sentiment? Why not just make it like American Idol and have each game result up for a vote?” Also stated “There’s no rule whatsoever allowing the Commissioner or anyone else to overturn an incorrect judgment call on the 27th out of the game. If you want to make such a rule – I don’t, but if you do – then you can’t apply it ex post facto to last night’s blunder. That’s an even bigger error than just reversing a call in a completed game.”
Here is Law’s stance on instant replay:
“I hate seeing that used as a cover/solution for the lack of accountability in umpiring. There’s no reward for doing it well, no disincentive for guys who do it poorly. This outrage glosses over the fact that calls are blown every night. Unless you intend to use replay 20+ times a game, fix the umpiring first, please.”
I agree with Law in saying that we should look at the umpiring accountability problem, not replay. We cannot change what has happened in or will happen in future major league baseball games. The Detroit Tigers still won the game and gallaraga helped them with the one hit, shutout. If people want to argue about blown umpiring calls, they should be the ones that are meaningful which would change the outcome of a game or a playoffs series.
I was given a warning shot from our friends at the Worldwide Leader, with the announcement that Stephen Strasburg will make his first major league start June 8 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. I call it a warning shot because the news broke today, and undoubtedly was featured on every major sports discussion for the day, but even the coverage today is no match for the absolute melee that will ensue next Tuesday leading up the most highly anticipated Nationals game in their history thus far. I am a sports junkie, especially baseball, but I’m fully prepared to be wore out on the Strasamania discussions all day Tuesday, and the live-and-die-on-every-pitch-then-dissect-it-later approach the various news outlets will take. Don’t get me wrong, I love the attention that baseball will get, rather than more talk about the NBA finals, but reaching DEFCON-5 over the next Mark Prior might be a little excessive.
All in all it was a brilliant ploy(if I can use the term ploy for a prospect being called up) by the Nat’s front office, announce his first start a week ahead of time, at home, against a team your fans have confidence in you to beat, and watch the tickets sell faster than you can print them. Being a marketing guy, I’m envious of the situation the Nationals are in, with the limitless opportunities to promote each next Strasburg home start. Strasburg Saturday! Double-Ticket-Price-Because-Its-Strasburg Tuesday! Strasdogs at the concessions! The opportunities are endless.
To make things even more over the top hype-filled, the Nationals will be drafting Bryce Harper #1 overall on Monday at the MLB Draft. If you haven’t heard about him, you’ve been under a rock, but he’s the 17 year old phenom that appeared on the SI cover at age 16, and then dropped out of high school to play community college baseball so he could be drafted one year earlier. And we thought high school kids going straight into the NBA was out of control. When it’s all said and done, you gotta love being Nationals GM Mike Rizzo on Monday and Tuesday next week, because you won’t be able to roundhouse kick the smile off his face. Hopefully for the Nationals’ franchise, these players become the wunderkid’s everyone’s hoping for, and they resurrect the once proud Expos franchise to levels of unmatched hype never even thought of before.