Tagged: National League

The dumbest thing I heard about the DH is . . .

I was listening to a sports radio talk show a week or two ago and I will not mention the radio personality out of disrespect, but he made me laugh and not because he was funny. He said if the National League approved the DH it would create jobs and therefore be a good thing. The funny thing is that I heard the same argument when the DH was first coming into existence.

Huh? Can anyone count?

Neither of the two other talking heads on the talk show challenged his math, so let me explain for those who don’t know. Each American League team, the league with the DH, has a 25-man roster. The National League, without the DH, has 25-man rosters. With or without the DH each team in each league have 25-man rosters. There are no jobs created. If anything, you lose a  pitcher and add a hitter, but that is not a given.

The argument about the National League adopting the DH surfaces every year about this time because football is over, college basketball has yet to get to March Madness, and the NBA is followed by Star People in another galaxy. And since baseball talk is warming up on radio shows, the DH comes up as topics are hard to find.

Another argument that has no merit about the DH is that it does not change strategy. I have heard this argument and I fail to see the logic, primarily because it is inane. It obviously does change how a manager manages a game. An American league manager only has to watch his pitcher and decide when to switch to a reliever. In the National league, there is much more strategy involved as all who follow both leagues know.

And for the record the National League outdrew the American League in 2015 by over 4 million fans. So much for the DH.

A modest proposal for those who want DH in both leagues

I confess at the outset I grew up, or rather grew older, during the years preceding the DH which was invented by Satan. Naturally being old school I prefer National League play, though I am cursed to live in an American League city. Another trick of Beelzebub.

I understand the younger folk prefer the DH because they want more offense and most pitchers can’t hit. However, baseball at its best is a thinking mans game, one for the literate, the intelligentsia.  I read an article years ago in the New York Review of Books about famous writers who were baseball fans. The list was extensive, ranging from Mark Twain to John Updike. Of course they grew up during real baseball. But from Twain to Updike, baseball, with it’s myths and legends, so close to myth in fiction-another long article for another time-baseball has been like a siren luring writers of every generation to the diamond.

It won’t do me any good to bring up the argument that the National League has more strategy, more options, more to think about. If you want offense watch Arena football, the only sport to rival soccer as boring. One has no scoring, or rather it has nil scoring, the other has scoring on every play. Both are dull for the dull witted.

The best thing for you future geezers is to wait until the last of us baby boomers has passed from the scene, then change and ruin the game the way you want. Of course those of us who love real baseball will come and haunt you no end. And there are thousands of us.

However, if it can’t be done and the DH is adopted by the National League, then the best thing to do, is to eliminate the pitcher all together. If  all you want is offense, then set up a 21st century pitching machine that can throw all types of pitching. It can even toss a rosin bag and walk around the mound when the electronic umpire’s calls do not go the robotic pitcher’s way. If the DH is in both leagues what is the need of a pitcher anyway? He has become pointless.

You young folk are just weird.

Mariner manager thinks he is in National League

Why did Seattle Mariner Lloyd McClendon show no faith in pitcher Hector Noesi. He was quick to rid himself of Noesi after his one inning of work over two games, yet McClendon gave Abraham Almonte 27 games to prove he belonged in the leadoff spot, but after 106 at bats, 40 strikeouts and a .198 batting average, did he the right thing and send him back to the minors. That was fair. But why oh why does he keep Brad Miller, whom I like, in the lineup when he is batting far worse than Almonte.

If you are not in the Great Northwest and don’t follow the Mariners you are unaware of all the talk about why Brad Miller is still with Seattle. I have already blogged about Miller’s shortcomings. Like everyone else I expected Miller would be send down before the current road trip. He was 2 for his last 37 at bats; he is bating an unbelievable .154. His fielding has been average at best and in his last game made a big base running blunder. In short he is not helping the team.

The Mariners with a .154 hitting shortstop batting 9th is like a National League team with eight batters and a pitcher. That is a handicap in the American League.

Many, including myself, have written that either Chris Taylor or Nick Franklin be brought up from Tacoma. But Taylor injured his pinky. Also he is not on the forty man roster and the Mariners were unsure if they wanted to drop release anyone to make room for Taylor.

Now Nick Franklin has been brought up, but that is due to Corey Hart going on the DL. Franklin is in the lineup tonight as the DH and Miller is still at shortstop.

Perhaps  when either Logan Morrison or Hart, both free agent signings in the offseason and both on the DL, return, Miller will be sent to Tacoma. Jesus Montero is doing well at Tacoma. Any reason he is not up as the DH, with Franklin at short?

But don’t be surprised if Franklin returns before Miller. Franklin was up earlier, went 2-16 and was sent back. Hardly a fair sampling. It has been rumored, though gossiped is the better word, that Franklin has a big ego, perhaps either chafing McClendon or Mariner GM, Trader Jack.

It could be both Franklin and Montero are in some kind of doghouse. But the bigger question is why Brad Miller gets chance after chance. Ackley and Smoak had been send down for lack of production in the past, but Brad gets a free pass. Even batting .154.

 

Guess who made the schedules for major league baseball

Since 2005 a computer creates the schedules for each major league team, but from 1982-2005 a husband and wife team made them out. Their fascinating story is in this short film of 12 and half minutes. I think the Stephensons did a better job. http://m.espn.go.com/general/video?vid=9897968&src=desktop

Why World Series records have lost stature

Once upon a time boys and girls there were no wild cards, no division series, no ALCS or NLCS. There was only the World Series. You see children, there were only eight teams in each league and the winner of each league went directly to the World Series. Hard to believe, but it is true, you can Google it. The American League expanded to ten teams in 1961, the National League the following year, but post season remained the same.

English: New York Yankees centerfielder and Ha...

English: New York Yankees centerfielder and Hall of Famer . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just as baseball fans knew back then that Ty Cobb was the hit leader with 4,192, the home run leader was Babe Ruth with 714, and Cy Young the wins leader with 511, fans also knew that Yogi Berra was the World Series career hit leader with 71, Mickey Mantle was the World Series career leader in home runs with 18, and Whitey Ford the leader in wins with 10.

Of course records are broken. Pete Rose is now the hit leader, Aaron or Bonds-asterisk pending-is the home run champ, but have World Series records been broken?

Watching the current post season play over the years it is clear that 1969 will soon be the year that ushered in the modern era of baseball. Anything before that will be like the 1800’s, just a faint blip on the baseball radar. It was 1969 that saw another expansion and the beginning of divisional play, something that irritated baseball purists by the way. What fogies they are, right.

The point is that now play by play announcers, columnists, and other baseball pundits refer to post season records. I don’t know who has the record for post season home runs, but I do know that you are bound to hear when the name comes up, that the announcer then says,” Mickey Mantle, of course, had 10 World Series home runs,” adding in a voice almost apologetic that there was no divisional play or league championship series back then.

Through 1968 World Series records were littered with New York Yankees because they were in the Series far more than any other team. And not much has changed, the Yankee names are still there, along with all the record holders pre 1969. Reggie Jackson broke through with his 10 World Series homers with the A’s and Yankees, tying him for fifth with Lou Gehrig. Even in the modern post season era, you can’t keep the Yankees out of the record book. Mariano Rivera has a few records, including 11 World Series saves.

Now post season records are littered with post 1969 names, while the World Series record holders sit on a shelf in a corner of the baseball library collecting dust.

For those who want to explore-did you know Joe DiMaggio hit into the  most double plays in the World Series with seven-here is link to hitting records. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/rb_ws1.shtml. And here is one for pitching records. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/rb_ws4.shtml

 

Seattle Mariners looking ahead; 2014 schedule released

With the Mariners getting swept at home by the lowly Houston Astros, getting outscored 25-7 in the process, and having lost 10 of their last 12 home games, what better time to look ahead to 2014. There will be time later to gnaw on the Mariner carcass.

Once upon a time, not that long ago, baseball teams released their schedule for the following season in the cold of Winter. No longer. Unlike the NFL which annually turns their schedule release into must see TV for NFL addicts; the schedule being digested, analyzed, and debated by NFL analysts like it really mattered, Major League Baseball sneaks their schedules out when no one is looking. 

But I am here to provide commentary and make the schedule a must read.

The Mariners open the season April 1st (No jokes please) at the Disneyland Angels, They play two there, then on to Oakland for three before coming home with three games each against those teams. Of interest is that 21 of the first 24 Mariner games will be against divisional foes. Expect the same in September when 23 of their last 27 games are against the Angels, Rangers, Astros, and A’s.

If you enjoy National League teams, the only one appearing for a weekend will be the Washington Nationals, August 29-31. The Mets come in on a Monday, July 21, for three and the Atlanta Braves play on Tuesday and Wednesday beginning August 5. And yes the Mariners ‘natural rival’ the San Diego Padres are on the schedule, but I don’t know when. This series generates as much excitement as a Kansas City-Miami game played in Guam at midnight during monsoon season.

Angel

Angel (Photo credit: Stephie189)

                                                   The early bird catches the foul ball

What I like about the schedule is that the Mariners only have two three city road trips and only one will be troublesome. In August they go to Detroit, Philadelphia, and Boston, but they have a day off after the first six games. The only bad trip (besides a 1960’s flashback) is in September. After an afternoon game with Oakland on Sunday the 14th, the Mariners go to Los Angeles to play four with the Angels, then to Houston for three, then up to Toronto for four games before returning home to play the last three games of the season with the Angels. Thus they finish the season with 17 straight games, 11 of which are on the road, and four of those in a foreign country.

The good news is that the trip comes at the very end of the season, by which time the Mariners will be playing for another 75 win season. And everyone will be watching the 2013 Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks.

Baseball’s All-Star Game, the one nobody wins and nobodys happy

There are two camps that argue about the selection process of the all-star game. It is the great debate taking place every July and no one is ever happy.

One camp derides the game because fans are too dumb, dishonest, or knowledgeable to select deserving players. That of course is a subjective opinion. It is said by those who see themselves as smart, honest, and knowledgeable, believing they know who should be on the team. But then don’t we all? I know I do and I am, of course, always right.

But I am not of that camp. I understand that players who are having outstanding seasons deserve to go and I believe that baseball fans should be honest in their selections. I did not vote for any Mariner players, nor should anyone. Bear in mind fans do not select pitchers, otherwise I would have voted for King Felix.

I do not see that the all-star game should be decided solely on merit. It is a game for the fans. Does that make it a personality contest? Yes, but so what? Yasiel Puig won’t make the National League team because he made his debut June 3rd and does not have enough playing time-so the one camp says-to MERIT being on the roster. But this Cuban defector has carried the Dodgers on his back and excited the baseball world by hitting .436 in 26 games with 7 home runs and 16 batted in, stole 4 of 5 bases, and played the outfield with reckless abandon. He is must see TV. The way he plays the game, the way he excites the crowd, I have no problem in wanting to see him play in the all-star game.

In truth this debate is not new. The selection process has gone back and forth, the fans part of the process, then ignored, brought back, chastised (correctly in 1957), and here we are again today. I doubt the fans will be shut out of the process again, not in the social media world.

English: Milwaukee Braves outfielder and Hall ...

English: Milwaukee Braves outfielder and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron in a 1960 issue of Baseball Digest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arch Ward, sports editor of the Chicago Tribune, was the driving force for the first all-star game played in 1933. The owners were reluctant, but Arch was a persuasive fellow. He came up with the idea to bring more attention to Chicago’s Century of Progresso Exhibition. And for the first two years the fans, along with the manager got to select the rosters. It was a game for the fans after all and if it is a game for the fans, should they not have a say in who they want to watch?

And so it was for two years, then the manager of both teams selected the rosters. I doubt most of the fans cared. It remained that way until 1947 when the fans got involved again in the selection process, this time selecting the starting lineups. Fans being fans, it is surprising that not until 1957 did this backfire. In that year the Cincinnati fans stuffed the ballot box, selecting seven Reds. Commissioner Ford Frick made his power known by removing Reds outfielders Wally Post and Gus Bell and adding Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. That is a no brainer.

Once again the fans were relegated to the sidelines and managers, coaches, players, and a spirit in the sky selected the teams. In 1970 the fans once again selected the starting lineups. There have been tweaks and probably more to come. Today you can vote 25 times online, and if a registered subscriber to MLB.com you can vote 35 times. Now you can truly stuff the ballot box.

The game has gone from an exhibition to a three day marketing of baseball with a home run (yawn) derby, a celebrity (one’s barely celebrated) softball (yawn) game, and a Future’s Game made up of top prospects. Oh and the game itself. But nobody is happy, never will be. The game is not a real game, not when most players get two at bats. I do not subscribe to the notion that everyone, if possible, should get into the game. I would rather see a game of twenty or so players on each side play, then see a box score littered with over 30 names a side. But I do want to see Yasiel Puig.