Times Are A Changin'

Friday, February 17, 2017


Throughout the offseason there has been more focus from the commissioner and great baseball minds in the industry to improve the pace of play. Many ideas have been kicked around since 2015. Some implemented. We had the instant replay that a manager can enact at any point during a game to have an umpire’s call overturned. We have also seen the minor leagues adopt the idea of a pitch clock where 20 seconds resets after every play.

There are some new ideas being kicked around that I don’t think would be too terrible, all the while believe some of these ideas being entertained are downright disrespectful to the game and it’s lineage and the fans who don’t just go to the ballparks for cracker jacks.

  1. There is more an more support for the pitch clock to be implemented into the majors and along with that support I am right there with it. I attended a Louisville Bats AAA game during the 2016 season (To which I seen Reds top pitching prospect Amir Garrett get rocked for ⅔ of the 1st inning before being pulled) and I witnessed the pitch clock at work and it did seem to keep the flow consistent. The pitcher never seemed too rushed. I think this is also good to keep batters locked in as well. They’re not allowed to step outside of the box now so no more walking 10 feet away to tug on your shirt and tighten your gloves anymore they they need to be. Pitching clock is a good move if you asked me.

  1. My favorite idea that I am a huge supporter of more than any of the other ideas. And that is to make relief pitchers face at least 3 batters per appearance. I love this. We are currently in an era of dominant pitching and only have a handful of premiere hitters. Of course the other side of that coin is pitchers are constantly at the mercy of hearing the 3 words no pitcher wants to hear. Tommy. John. Surgery. Now before anyone yells at me, I do understand the purpose of having a left handed specialist to come in and get that right handed clean-up hitter out. I understand matching up a pitcher against a batter who he traditionally has done well against as well. Typically with this influx of great pitching in bullpens there aren’t many lead changes in games. This causes fans to leave the park in the 7th, 8th, innings because the game is over to most people. That doesn’t help the ballparks bottom line when it comes to money I’m sure. When people aren’t in the ballpark they aren’t spending money. And let’s be honest, offense is the best part of the game! Nothing like an 8th inning 2 run bomb into the 10th row of right field to take the lead. If that doesn’t get the crowd amped up then they’re probably sleeping through the excitement around them. We currently are in the stalemate of relievers getting starting pitching salaries to work 35-60 innings a year maybe?  Poppycock I say, good day sir! Let’s see the relief pitchers earn their money and face more than one batter.
  1. Eliminate the DH. So the American has the DH and this has been a constant debate for as long as I can remember now. This is always going to be debatable and it depends on who you ask. Why is it not exciting to watch pitchers hit? Well because they are so focused on their craft that they don’t spend as much time learning about the other team’s pitcher. Why could it be exciting for a pitcher to hit? I think that it’s super exciting when a pitcher gets a hit because it’s a pleasant surprise every time. I watched Mike Leake simply rake in Cincinnati for a number of years. You have Madison Bumgarner who is simply notorious at the plate. And my absolute favorite is Michael Lorenzen. In 2016 this guy is making an extended relief appearance and ends up going to bat for himself just days after losing his father. He sends a pitch into the seats for a 3 run homerun. It was the most emotional moment for me as fan of baseball and the Reds in 2016. A pitcher did that. Granted he played Center field in college and is incredibly muscular and well conditioned, it is still impressive. So I guess what I am saying it I have no dog in this race. If you take away the DH there will be defensive lacking great hitters out of jobs, but if you keep it that keeps the AL pitchers on the mound. I simply can’t pick a side.

Lorenzen hitting a 3 run bomb and giving it up to his late father.
  1. Another idea that makes no sense to me. Limiting how many times a pitcher can throw over to first when a runner is on. What. The. F#!@? This will have statistical trickle downs effects when it comes to inflated numbers for baserunners. I mean I get it when Pablo Sandoval is on 1st base he might lead off and you chase him back. Nobody expects him to steal. But what happens when you’re a pitcher with 2 outs facing George Springer in the bottom of the 9th and the Astros are tied and who else is on 1st but Jose Altuve. Are you telling me that the guy trying to disrupt the flow of the game and spark a winning run is on and the pitcher with all the pressure can only chase him back 2 times? I need someone to give me a few reasons why this makes sense. Does it help improve pace of the game? Sure. But let’s respect the game and what it means to us all. If pitchers cannot throw over more than twice then perhaps the base-runners shouldn’t be allowed to lead off when they steal then. I say this needs to just be left alone.

Dee Gordon, taking 2nd because the pitcher already threw over twice (not really)

I believe change is inevitable as proven throughout time but at some point we have to leave well enough alone and respect the game.

I’d love to hear what other people think about this.  

Death in the Family

Sunday, February 12, 2017

    Well here it is...we are sitting at the doorstep of another baseball season! 2017 will be beginning in just days with the opening of spring training. Pitchers and catchers reporting first of course. But it seems the last few seasons have been marred slightly by death. This season unfortunately will not be any different.
     It seems to me that we haven't had time to get over the passing of one of my favorite young pitchers Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, may he rest in peace.
     Then I get the news of one of my local guys..one of what I call my family, my community..Yordano Ventura died in a car wreck in his homeland of the Dominican Republic. And not only that career minor leaguer and one time top prospect Andy Marte also suffers the same fate. Then before I can even fully ponder how I want to write this blog entry I saw the news the other night that Detroit Tigers owner and beloved local businessman Mike Ilitch also passed away.
     Before you start getting too depressed by me re-reporting all the bad news let me get to my point. Here in Kansas City these ballplayers are like family. I have heard that there are already plans to remember Ventura and celebrate his life. My father recently passed away as well and as sad as it was the best way to remember him for me was to celebrate his life. Remembering the good times have gone a long way for me on the road to healing.
     So when we root, root, root for the home team remember that we aren't just cheering or jeering for professional athletes. We are rooting for our families, our friends, our community. In my opinion baseball is the last professional sport where it still feels that way. We have been blessed to have a game that can represent life that way. Baseball I love you and all your fallen heroes! We will miss you Jose, Yordano, Andy and Mike. May you rest in piece and thank you for your contributions to our game.

Let's Catch Up A Bit...

Friday, February 10, 2017

The anticipation hurts

It’s a cold but mild winter in comparison to the typical today in Cincinnati as I sit here on this February morning. I realize I have not posted in a long time but have found it difficult to keep up with the website alone and really just want to enlist a few writers.

I’d like to start this overdue post by recapping some of the things we have seen since the All-Star break. We have (as baseball fans) witnessed a running joke come to an end, all the while another begins in it’s place. The Chicago Cubs go on to beat the formidable Cleveland Indians in 7 games in very dramatic fashion. I watched glued to the tv screen until midnight and after watching post-game feeds despite having to be up for work at 4 a.m. I didn’t care, too much was on the line for the sport I love. History was hanging in the balance and no matter who would have won that series it was going to be magical and iconic for either franchise in a lot of the same ways.
Cleveland has seen 3 World Series now in the last 20 years and has lost all three. There is something to be said about that. You cannot credit them as champions but in the same breath don’t they deserve some recognition for getting there? We recently have seen Cleveland call up young superstars like Francisco Lindor, Tyler Naquin. Jason Kipnis is stellar, Gomes is nice. The pitching staff looks excellent with Kluber leading the helm. Andrew Miller is an integral piece to a bullpen and was an all-star break trade acquisition that paid off better than Cleveland could have planned it. This is me giving credit where credit is due. I have never been a Cleveland fan but I’ve also never hated them either. They’re underdogs and I like to see the underdog do well but to change the tune a little they came up against a bigger underdog in October 2016.

The Chicago Cubs… The curse of the goat.... Bad luck incarnate.

Let’s talk about the front office trend of rebuilding a team by gutting it and look at this example of it paying off beautifully! And let’s look at the Houston Astros and how they picked Carlos Correa over Kris Bryant in the 201 ametuer draft (which in hindsight seems insane!).
Chicago played one of the franchise’s best seasons ever with a loaded lineup and all the right key elements. Their backs were against the wall but they went on to quiet the skeptics. Their reigning Cy Young award winning pitcher Jake Arrietta co-led a rotation with acquired ace Jon Lester with an ace-quality pitching staff. Then you have Rizzo and Bryant as the obvious superstars but then you have Russel, Baez, Zobrist, Contreras, Soler, Schwarber. The line-up is deep and the talent shined in the playoffs.
Since the world series ended we’ve seen a flurry of trades and free agent pick-ups but for the most part it’s all been dull and uneventful this offseason. Dexter Fowler leaves Chicago. Edwin Encarnacion signs with Cleveland as they attempt to stay atop the AL Central. David Ortiz retires, Boston acquires Chris Sale. New York gets Aroldis Chapman back after renting him to Chicago for top prospect Gleyber Torres. It baffles me how players like Jason Hammel and Chris Carter (Who led the league in homeruns!!!) took this long to be signed.
So we are now caught up for the most part with the exclusion I’m sure of many significant bits of information that I’m sure I missed. I sit here pained as I wait for spring training to begin and for baseball to step back into the spotlight. This offseason I’ve gone mad without it and found myself engaged with college basketball more than I normally am and I got to say it’s exciting but it’s no baseball to me. I feel like I’m faking interest in the absence of spring and summer.
I’m planning to take a day off of work to attend the Cincinnati Reds opening day festivities and just get back into the excitement of the impending season. My home team has a lot of reasons to be optimistic but also a lot of uncertainties that make it hard to argue and debate they won’t lose another 90+. It was just announced that Homer Bailey had surgery again to have bone chips removed from his elbow. This guy annoys me to no end. Throws 2 no-hitters and gets paid a whopping sum of money that probably should’ve gone to Johnny Cueto and then gets hurt for a few years while he collects checks and majorly impacts payroll. And people wanna gripe about what Joey Votto gets paid. The difference here is Votto is an everyday player who deserves his contract but is being wasted by the team around him in his prime years.

Rant over.

Let’s get back to baseball! I can smell the Spring weather! (figuratively of course)

Here is a countdown clock for Spring Training