Showing posts with label MLB. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MLB. Show all posts

Friday, May 1, 2020

Pete Rose



Pete Rose was an unrepentant gambler, a serial liar who has watched the baseball world pass him by. He missed out on making millions and he will never move on from his own failure to understand that baseball is the one game where they will never forgive you for being a sleazy gambler. They'll look the other way if you're a drunk, a wife beater, a serial philanderer and a drug addict. But if you gamble, you're done.

Rose knew this when he bet on the Reds while he was their manager. He knew it in his heart. He knew that he was staring into the face of a lifetime ban and he did it anyway because he was willing to risk the aforementioned millions of future earnings in order to make a few bucks that he didn't need.

The fact that he is not in the Hall of Fame is proof that baseball sometimes gets it right. Maybe after Rose passes we can revisit this argument. But, until then, he should never be allowed near the place.

Sports Illustrated used to be pretty good at breaking this kind of news. Now they're trying to find a way to stay afloat. I hope they survive, and I hope they find a way to get back to this kind of stellar work.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Fire Rob Manfred


If there's one lesson to be learned from this debacle, it is that Major League Baseball has the wrong person in charge:
The Houston Astros have been punished, but has justice truly been served? That’s the big question hovering around Major League Baseball as commissioner Rob Manfred makes a futile attempt to move on from one of the biggest scandals in league history. Soon, Astros hitters, many of whom were part of that now-dubious 2017 World Series win, will face live pitching for the first time since the league handed down its judgment against the team’s sign-stealing scheme.
 I don't know if firing Manfred would fix baseball's inability to properly punish franchises that have cheated because I don't think anyone is really being honest here. Stealing signs and using your stadium's structural advantages has been a part of baseball forever. Yes, using buzzers is crossing one of those phantom red lines that probably exists between the ears of purists but so what?

Banging trash cans is very 19th Century if you want to get right down to it, so how do we find a way out of this horror show? A lot of players who feel like they were cheated out of hits and strikes and playoff wins are screaming for blood in the most polite ways possible.

Honestly, in the first month of this season, I would not be surprised if each and every Astros batter ends up getting plunked in the ass more than once. And maybe they should. But if you throw at everyone who cheats, you're going to have to throw at everyone every day.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

They Will Cheat Again


It's a shame to see Rob Manfred destroy the credibility of baseball and all in the name of keeping two big money franchises happy:
The stripping of victories and championships is a punishment used in college sports when teams are caught in cheating controversies, but the same will not happen in Major League Baseball. 
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred appeared on Fox Business on Wednesday and said the league will not strip the Houston Astros or Boston Red Sox of their World Series titles after sign-stealing scandals (h/t ESPN). 
He said the league will honor the "long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened." 
While they won't lose their 2017 crown, the Astros were certainly punished. 
MLB stripped them of their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, fined them the maximum $5 million and placed one-year suspensions on manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.
Cheating is as old as baseball, and so are issuing severe repercussions for said cheating. They go hand in hand. You bet on baseball, you throw a game, you get caught, you're done. You cheat and you get caught, you should--and the operating word here is should--forfeit your victory or title. And while we like to think of baseball as an exercise in using every available option to get an advantage against an opponent, we rely on a loose concept called "fairness" to regulate the game. 
Manfred should think about the franchises that were cheated. Instead, he worships at the altar of the Red Sox. The devil with him, he's supposed to be impartial.
Baseball has been tinkering with its own rules for the last few years because interest in the game is waning. However, taking a little longer to throw a pitch was one of the relative handful of options that would allow a player to cheat while still keeping the game fair. That's what is being ignored here. Teams started stealing signs almost as soon as the players began using them. What wasn't fair about the whole deal was that they were not relying on the skill of the players on the field--like a runner on second base--but on the team's employees and on cameras. That rendered everything unfair.
When a player on the field or a coach steals a sign--that's fair. Baseball has long accepted that.
When some dudes scattered throughout the stadium are using spy camera and trash cans to signal hitters, that's unfair.
You won fairly by stealing a sign, fairly? Congratulations. That's baseball.
You won in an unfair manner? Too bad, you forfeit your victory.
Really, it's not that difficult. The overall problem hasn't been solved. The punishment did not fit the crime, and franchises will find a way to utilize their facilities in order to cheat (I'm thinking of how the Minnesota Twins used to turn on the fans in the outfield when opposing teams were up to bat!) If you don't take away their ill-gotten gains, they're going to keep doing it.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Houston Astros Lost Their Chance to Avoid Meeting Donald Trump




The Houston Astros won their first World Series title, but they lost something tonight.

Instead of being able to celebrate their victory, they now have to plan for a future meeting with Donald Trump.

Instead of being proud of their city and their team, they now have to plan for the moment where Trump confuses them with the Yankees and offers to show them his slider.

Instead of being pleased with their victory, they now have to submit paperwork to prove that no one was born in Chad.

Instead of being able to plan for a terrific off-season where they can relax with their families, they now have to undergo the traumatic process of answering millions of questions about whether they will actually go to the White House and what they will say to Trump.

Instead of the team's foreign-born players being able to feel good about winning a World Championship, they now have to contend with the fact that Trump is America's best-known white supremacist president and that he may get confused and deport them and their families.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to sleep easy tonight. For the Houston Astros, the Trump dreams have just begun.















Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ozzie Guillen Didn't Make It


Ozzie Guillen is, for the moment, out of a job. I have no idea if anyone is going to give him another shot at managing a team in the Majors in the not-too-distant future.

Here you have a guy who can win ballgames. He has a proven track record, one that is better than .500 and that might make him attractive enough to hire once again. Is it really fair to judge him for his knuckleheaded ways and his big mouth? Isn't that the distraction that keeps people from realizing that he can relate to ballplayers and get them to play hard? Or is it unfair to point out that the Marlins spread around a lot of money and didn't get much in return?

How is that Ozzie's fault?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A-Rod Simply Doesn't Care Anymore


If the New York Yankees are going to maintain any kind of professional relationship with Alex Rodriguez, now would be a good time to indicate what that relationship is going to be. If the Yankees are going to keep him, then they have to put him in the lineup and thus manage his ego. If they're going to get rid of him, they had better do it soon.

Forget all of this nonsense about whether A-Rod's head is in the game and if he should be out trying to pick up women during a game he's not playing in. That's something players do.

What, is he supposed to sit on the bench with his "game face" on? Is he supposed to twitch throughout the rest of the game on camera, visibly angry about not being able to fly out or strike out yet again? This is about whether or not you're going to keep paying a guy tens of millions of dollars when he's simply not productive in a post-season setting.

My guess is that either he will go or we'll see fresh blood in the clubhouse. A-Rod doesn't care anymore--that's just plainly evident. He never fit in and he was never a New York guy. He knows that, and it just doesn't bother him.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Davey Johnson Blew It


I'm afraid that Davey Johnson blew this game.

Sure, the players actually lost the game. But Johnson left the game in the hands of players who shouldn't have been playing.

When he failed to lift Gio Gonzalez, I turned off the game. Gonzalez was coming apart, couldn't throw strikes, and looked like he was going to throw a pitch into the stands. But Johnson left him in and that set the tone for the game.

This is one of the worst losses in baseball history, and it falls squarely on Johnson's decision to stick with guys who were floundering.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Playoff Baseball


I haven't been able to watch playoff baseball in several years. But what I'm noticing is that the hitting of things like home runs is way, way down and the players are a lot smaller than they were five or six years ago.

That's not a brilliant observation, but I would add that we are in the era of the pitcher, and pitching is back, big time.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baseball Has a Triple Crown Winner

This is a wonderful milestone, but aren't you wondering if Cabrera ever cheated?

The end result of having so much cheating in baseball is that when someone actually does something now, instead of wonder there is skepticism. But I think that what is worth noting here is that Cabrera's life appeared to be spiraling out of control last year and, hopefully, that's not the case anymore.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Sad Demise of the Houston Astros Franchise


The Houston Astros have jumped the shark on this one. What used to be a relatively proud baseball franchise has sunk to a new low. Only a team mired in suckage would contemplate giving a 50 year-old man who hasn't pitched in five years a place to chuck a few mercy pitches. Baseball is a game where sentimentality goes to the showers and then home to a plate of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? Baseball isn't about letting some old guy have a few throws for old time's sake.

Roger Clemens should definitely be allowed to pitch again. He won his case, he beat the rap, and he personifies the baseball credo--if you can get away with it, keep doing it. This is how Bud Selig runs the league. How 'bout we do Mindy McCready night and Roger can throw a few pitches while they play her old songs and then they can hand out bobbleheads that say "not a douchebag" on them?

When you have to say that what you're doing isn't a publicity stunt several times in one interview, you're making it a publicity stunt.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Now We Can Call For a Lifetime Ban For Melky Cabrera


I suppose that if we had left it at a fifty game ban, everything would have ended there. This is what they call a WTF moment:
San Francisco Giants star outfielder Melky Cabrera mounted a campaign to avoid his 50-game suspension that included a fake website featuring a fictitious product in an effort that was quickly uncovered by MLB investigators, the New York Daily News has reported. 
Citing an anonymous source close to the case and an associate who told the newspaper he was "accepting responsibility for what everyone else already knows" concerning the fake site, the Daily News reported famed investigator Jeff Novitzky and agents from MLB's investigative arm have begun looking more closely at Cabrera and the scheme purportedly hatched in July as they seek the source of the synthetic testosterone found in his urine.

"There was a product they said caused this positive," the source told the Daily News. "Baseball figured out the ruse pretty quickly."
You have got to be kidding me.

Cabrera should be banned. For life. Starting yesterday. And that should be the end of that nonsense.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Baseball is Still Struggling to Find a Way to Deal With Steroids

How has it come to this?

You have a player who tests positive for a banned substance. That player is up for a batting title--and we're debating whether or not he should "win it?"

How do you get to win something if you've cheated?

You do that in the current framework of Major League Baseball, where there is simply no accountability for the one thing that matters: statistics.

Everything that exists in baseball is really about statistics. Players who test positive for banned substances have not won anything; they have cheated the game in order to improve their statistics.

If baseball was a properly functioning entity right now, the mere act of cheating in this manner would invalidate statistics. But that would mean throwing out numbers for players who are caught in a grey area--did they cheat before the ban went into place? What if a player is exonerated? And so on and so forth.

Baseball cannot get to the post-Bud Selig era fast enough. That is, baseball cannot get to a new era where there is actually a functioning commissioner of baseball who acts in the best interests of the sport and not the owners.

Monday, August 13, 2012

How Is This a Viable Plan to Win?


There is a lot left unsaid in this short piece.

Namely, the post-steroids era in baseball is going to be defined by how many teams "shrink" the size of their ballparks in order to regain some offense.

Why not just come out and say it? Home runs are down, dramatically, because the consequences of getting juiced up are too severe for anyone to risk. When was the last time you saw an artificially blown up home run king waddling down the third base line for the umpteenth time this year?

Oh, wait. David Ortiz is trying to play, but he's not doing so well, is he?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Twins Need Some Big Changes


I'll admit that I am a bit behind on following the Minnesota Twins, but, damn. Twenty-one hits given up in one game?

Isn't it about time to fire Ron Gardenhire? Isn't it about time for some new blood?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Are They Howling in Beantown?


This may look like a good trade on paper, but does it damage the team chemistry in Boston?

I'm not going to get into whether this makes sense from a baseball perspective as far as bringing in players that can help Boston win; I think it opens up the question of whether or not you trade a popular player who has contributed and what you can expect from fans when you do exactly that.

In baseball, nostalgia and sentimentality end when a player stops being productive. No matter who you are, you're gone if you can't produce. I'm not aware of the inability of Kevin Youkilis to produce for Boston. Are they happy to see him go? Or are they howling for blood?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Roger Clemens Got Away With It Again

I guess a congratulations is due to Roger Clemens for, somehow, being found not guilty.

This is not the same as being found innocent, and it is certainly not the same as being found not a douchebag. But, here's the thing--in America, when a jury says your are not guilty, then you're not guilty. I always thought that this case would hinge on the fact that the only person who had a worse character defect than Clemens was his accuser, Brian McNamee. But, the kicker was supposed to be Andy Pettite. If they failed to believe Petitte, then there really was no case. It would have been better to avoid a trial and let the stench of it all hang over Clemens, which is what hangs over Mark McGwire right now.

Roger Clemens is still a liar, a cheater, and a douchebag. Ask Mindy McCready. And he has no business going into the Hall of Fame, either. His money bought him a not guilty verdict. And, for that, I suppose we should be questioning the justice system, but we will not.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Antonio Bastardo Has the Best Last Name in Baseball


I will confess that I simply do not care if this lunkhead hurt himself. Having the last name of "Bastardo" is a lot to live up to, and he's trying, bless his heart.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bryce Harper Has the Best Line of the Year So Far

Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are having a great season so far. Lines like this can help keep a club moving along. And, as if it mattered, yes. Harper is a Mormon. I think that may have explained why he thought the question was a bit clownish.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Stupid as Hell


Bruce Chen is not offended, but fans of baseball should be somewhat offended:
(CBS News) Royals pitcher Bruce Chen was being interviewed during the Kansas City-Pittsburgh game on Saturday when teammate Humberto Quintero decided it would be a good time to sneak up behind Chen and make the gesture in the photo above.

Of course insensitive jokes are common in the clubhouse and Quintero certainly doesn't seem to have any malicious intent. But to see this kind of racially charged gesture on national TV caused a stir - and it wasn't long before Quintero began taking heat for his "friendly racism."

Chen, a native of Panama of Chinese descent, apparently wasn't fazed by Quintero's "joke" and quickly took to Twitter to say he took no offense.
It preserves clubhouse relationships for Chen to say that he was not offended, but the problem is, it is still an offensive thing to do to anyone, much less a ballplayer. If you take off the uniforms, and make this about Bruce Chen being interviewed, then this is still fairly offensive.

A face full of shaving cream? No problem. This? Let's just say this hurts the image of baseball, tarnished and crappy though it may be.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Roger Clemens Cheated


Spend another $120 million for all I care; Roger Clemens cheated.

So far, the Roger Clemens trial has merely established the fact that Roger Clemens is a douchebag. That, in and of itself, is a public service. You cannot put a price tag on revealing the character of a man who cheated in order to attain public acclaim and fame.

Don't fault the trial for trying to get at the truth. Fault the fact that Clemens paid a lot of money to stay out of legal jeopardy.