…and in Other News, the Sky is Blue

Today on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, it was revealed that they had obtained notebooks alleging that Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader and recipient of a lifetime ban, was betting on baseball games while he was still a player in 1986. Yeah, Rose bet on baseball, grass is green, and I should work out more. All of the above are facts that no one is disputing. Rose has long denied that he never bet on games while he was playing, only managing, but these notebooks are saying otherwise. Is anyone surprised?

I’m not surprised. I’m over it.

Really. Call me ignorant or flippant, whatever you want, but I really don’t care. Is that bad? Is it bad that I don’t view betting on baseball as a terribly egregious offense? Rule 21, which reads “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible”, is why Rose is banned from baseball. Yeah, Rose really shouldn’t have done this, but he didn’t fix the World Series, like the Chicago White Sox did in 1919. And, as far as we know, he never bet on his team to lose, therefore showing that he would never try to throw away a game for the sake of winning money.

I think one thing that has formed my thinking about this is that I grew up the steroid era of Major League Baseball. I watched in awe as sluggers like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire hit baseballs with little regard. I saw the competitive advantages players have gotten through PEDs. To me, those are far more damaging offenses than betting on baseball. I know what you’re thinking, “But Hannah! You love Alex Rodriguez! How can you say this?”. True, I love that man, but I don’t love that he cheated. I stand up for Bae-Rod because I was disgusted with how MLB treated him and the tactics they had used. But, my feelings about PEDs are a whole other blogpost waiting to happen…

Look, gambling has not been a problem for baseball BECAUSE of Pete Rose’s lifetime ban. We really haven’t seen any betting from anyone since MLB brought the hammer down on Rose. Really, Rose has done MLB a great service. But, now that we are no longer seeing gambling happening, does anyone really care about what Pete Rose did 30 years ago? This news OTL broke today didn’t really phase me. Watching Monday Night Baseball on ESPN, former player/current broadcaster Mark Mulder shared similar sentiments that I feel: he’s over the whole gambling thing and views PEDs as a much bigger problem. Coming from a former player, that says a lot. Besides, people like Pete Rose. They respect how he played the game and they recognize how big of an ambassador he has been for the game. It’s been a joy watching him as an analyst on Fox and it’s been great to see him continue to contribute to and promote the sport he is banned from.

With the 2015 All-Star Game being held in Cincinnati, I was really hoping that MLB was going to be able to let Pete Rose participate in some capacity. As a player who meant so much to his team, to Cincinnati, heck, to the whole sport, it’s a shame that he probably will have to watch the game and festivities from his couch. As a fan of baseball, that sucks. I’m over everyone talking about Rose through the lens of his punishment. Can we please talk about the great player that he was and the great ambassador he is currently?

Let’s move past 1986 and let’s start tackling the problems affecting baseball today. Like PEDs. Or the lack of Yankee mustaches. Or still having SEVEN Royals starting the All-Star game.

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/13114874/notebook-obtained-lines-shows-pete-rose-bet-baseball-player-1986

RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

I think this article best represents everything I feel about Alex Rodriguez hitting his 3.000th hit (hint: I may or may not have cried tears of joy watching it happen).

http://www.pinstripealley.com/yankees-editorials-opinions-analysis/2015/6/19/8817091/alex-rodriguez-3000-hits-home-run-yankees-justin-verlander

A Royal Issue with the 2015 AL All-Star Voting

If the MLB All-Star game were to be played today, it would be the NL vs. the Kansas City Royals plus Mike Trout. Yup. I’m not kidding at all, isn’t that crazy?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Royals and how spunky they are. They are a super fun team to watch (and a super fun team to sweep! Sorry…the Yankee fan in me had to inject that in there!) and I like how they play the game (you know, when they aren’t starting brawls). Really, I’m not doggin’ the Royals at all. After all, I was rooting so hard for them in the post-season last year that I thought my hair would turn blue.

However, I have a problem with them basically all starting in the All-Star game. Some of them do deserve to start to game, but not all of them. C’mon. Really? I get that the All-Star is basically one big popularity contest, but this is also the game decides home field advantage in the World Series! With such an important factor in the World Series being decided, wouldn’t you want your best team on the field? Wouldn’t you want to showcase the best players in baseball by putting them in the starting line-up? Let’s go position-by-position and see who is playing on the AL team and who SHOULD be playing:

Catcher: 

Starting: Salvador Perez

Should be starting: Salvador Perez. This is one position where I think all the voters have it right. He is probably the best catcher in the American League, and he has been great offensively, too. Good job, voters!

First Base:

Starting: Eric Hosmer

Should be starting: Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder. At this tally, Cabrera is about 470,000 votes behind Hosmer, so he is within striking distance. BUT COME ON! Hosmer is a great player and super talented, but you want him over Miggy? Puh-lease.

Second Base:

Starting: Omar Infante

Should be starting: Jose Altuve or Jason Kipnis. Okay, this one really has me scratching my head because Infante is basically the most useless second baseman in the AL. He doesn’t have a single home run and his production has gone way down this year. Altuve, my pint-sized favorite second baseman is far more deserving, as is Kipnis, who has quietly been one of the best second basemen in the AL.

Third Base:

Starting: Mike Moustakas

Should be starting: Josh Donaldson. The Blue Jays’ Donaldson is having a great year at third base and is more deserving than Moose. He’s currently hitting .315 and major league best 52 runs scored. He also has 17 homers to Moose’s 5. I’d start Moose behind him, though, so the voting at this position hasn’t been a total travesty.

Shortstop: 

Starting: Alcides Escobar

Should be starting: Jose Iglesias. Escobar may be the slicker shortstop, but Iglesias is the better all around player and far more deserving. He is batting .335 and has racked up 59 hits, and Escobar is hitting about .255.

Outfield:

Starting: Lorenzo Cain, Mike Trout, and Alex Gordon.

Should be Starting: Mike Trout, Adam Jones, and Alex Gordon or Lorenzo Cain. Trout starting the game doesn’t even warrant an explanation, but I am wondering why Adam Jones isn’t higher up in the voting than the #5 spot. His offense has been great with 72 hits, 33 RBIs, and a .305 BA. Not only that, but he seems to be a Web Gem contender nightly. I agree that one of the Royals should be in the outfield, but only one. Y’all can pick. But only pick one. I mean it, guys.

DH:

Starting: Kendrys Morales

Should be starting: Nelson Cruz. I’m sorry, the AL home run leader isn’t your DH? WTF? Cruz is batting .323, has 18 homers (while playing at the spacious Safeco Field to boot), and has a .591 slugging percentage. Morales has been pretty good this year, too, but he is batting .281 with 7 homers and SLG of .457. No matter how hard I am trying, my pinstripe-clad home-slice Alex Rodriguez will probably not be in the All-Star game. For shame, voters, for shame.

See my problem here? I am trying to understand how this is possible. I’m super stoked that the people in KC are voting and excited about baseball, but this is a little silly, don’t’cha think? Now this updated list released by MLB earlier today is just an update and not final, so there is plenty of time for people to vote in the BEST players. So far, the NL is actually looking pretty on par, so the AL voters need to get it together.

Stop being silly. Vote for the best players! Also, vote for A-Rod. This All-Star game needs some Rod action, for real.

One, two, three strikes, you’re ejected.

I don’t know about you, but I have been noticing an interesting trend occurring in baseball this year. More and more players and managers are complaining about the strike zones. And, subsequently, more and more players and managers are getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

Last night, during a game against the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter had a magnificent ejection after arguing balls are strikes. Watching the video, it’s pretty funny. Not only is he yelling, but he strips off his jersey, gloves, and pads and throws them across the field. It’s quite a spectacle considering how mild-mannered Hunter usually is. Because he is so mild-mannered, that’s what makes his ejection so interesting and makes the issue of balls and strikes more pressing. If calm players like Hunter are getting worked up, maybe the problem is bigger than we realize.

A few days ago, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, another usually cool and calm player, got ejected for the same thing. He was upset because the Yankees batters kept getting rung up on a low pitch, but the Angels were not. He was ejected after jawing with the ump and his manager Joe Girardi was also tossed (after completing what might be the smoothest jump over a dugout railing I have ever seen). It’s quite a sight to see. And, in an earlier series against the Mariners, their manager Lloyd McClendon was ejected after defending his catcher, who thought my homie A-Rod took a checked-swing a little too far. A-Rod was awarded first base instead of getting called out on strikes. McClendon got his money’s worth, though. And even the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday was ejected for arguing pitches.

One thing I have noticed is that players are becoming more aware of the strike zone and the inconsistencies that go along with it. If I had to guess, it’s probably because of all the video that is available to players now. Every single pitch can be looked at and every single call can be questioned. With replay now in effect, you can review almost any call…except balls and strikes. I agree with this because can you imagine how ridiculous it would be having to pause the game every time a player disagreed with a call?

Not only can you review video after the games, but a lot of the TV broadcasts are now showing the strike zones during the broadcast. You can see exactly where the ball hit in the strike zone. Of course, it’s the networks that create the strike zone, but it’s still a good way to gauge consistency in the umpire’s calls. It’s a situation that needs to be resolved, but that’s tricky thing to do. I have a feeling new commissioner Rob Manfred will take a look at this, since he has proven to be a man who will take action on issues quickly.

I don’t know how we can change the strike zone since we have so many different umpires, but I do think we can work on consistency throughout the game. If you’re going to call a low pitch a strike, call it that throughout the whole game. If you’re going to have a wide strike zone, keep it wide. It’s hard being an umpire behind the dish, but making small improvements like this during the game could be really beneficial.