Rooting for the Laundry

Boy, I am in one hell of a moral quagmire.

My dear, darling, beloved, pin-striped Yankees have just added the best reliever in baseball to their bullpen. The Yanks now boast the only three relievers in baseball who had 100+ strikeouts in 2015 and all of them throw over 100 mph. The dominate three are Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and a guy who just happens to be under investigation for some horrific domestic violence charges.

The Yanks’ latest addition, Aroldis Chapman, has been accused of domestic violence charges that includes (but is not limited to) choking his girlfriend, pushing her against a wall and firing a gun eight times in his garage. Basically, he is accused of the stuff human garbage piles are made of. It seems as though, with this trade, the Yankees have undone all of the good work Joe Torre has done in bringing domestic violence issues to light (check out his DV outreach foundation, Safe At Home, at joetorre.org).

All of their good karma seems to have been burned up.

The price for Chapman was too good to pass up. The Yankees sent four minor prospects, only one of whom is close to major-league ready, for a man who is arguably the best reliever in baseball. When two teams backed out of trades when these allegations surfaced, Chapman’s price was driven way down. The Cincinnati Reds were desperate to get rid of him and I don’t blame them. The deal for Chapman is risky because we are not sure how many games he will miss due to suspension and he is in the last year of his contract.

As a baseball move, it was a brilliant no-brainer. As a moral move, it makes you wanna barf.

So how am I, as a woman and a huge Yankees fan, supposed to react to this signing?

In my other blog earlier this year, I wrote a scathing critique of the Dallas Cowboys and Greg Hardy. The big difference is that I have no attachment to the Cowboys. I hate them, in fact, so it was easy to skewer them. Now, I am forced to ponder how to root for my team while still being disgusted with Chapman. I am SO EXCITED for the Betances-Miller-Chapman three-headed monster that will be the bullpen, but I’m sick about what Chapman has allegedly done. I don’t want him playing for my team, but I really want him playing for my team.

Cheering for the Yankees does not mean I cheer for domestic violence. Cheering for the Yankees also does not mean I am ignoring the awful things Chapman has allegedly done. Perhaps I am simply rooting for the laundry, as Seinfeld coined so appropriately. I root for the Yankees, but I won’t root for Chapman. He will get support through osmosis until he can prove to me that he is changed. If he takes the Ray Rice route and owns up to what he has done and takes steps to better himself, perhaps I will cheer for him genuinely.

Until then, I am going to die of happiness because of the amazing bullpen the Yanks boast, but I am also going to hate myself a little.

Oh, and by the way, don’t think that PED use and domestic violence are the same thing and warrant a similar suspension. Nope. Nope nope nope. If you think that, you’re wrong. I’d rather see DV offenders suspended for 80 games and PED users suspended for far less. I’d rather have someone cheat than have them put their hands on a woman. When I have kids, I’d rather them look up to someone like A-Rod or Ryan Braun instead of Greg Hardy or Aroldis Chapman. But whatever.

 

http://www.pinstripealley.com/yankees-editorials-opinions-analysis/2015/12/30/10687970/mlb-aroldis-chapman-yankees-brian-cashman-trade-domestic-violence ………This article by Pinstripe Alley was wonderful and perfectly describes how I feel about the trade. 

 

 

 

…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

My Picks for the Post-Season!

I am of no authority to make my picks for who will win a division. No matter how many stats you look at or how many injuries you take into account, predicting the outcomes of the standings is far from an exact science. Too many factors are involved over the course of 162 games per team to make any kind of accurate prediction. But for now, I will look into my crystal ball and tell you how I think things might shape up…

National League:

NL EAST: Washington Nationals. Hands down, I think these guys are gonna take it. After the Braves went down with numerous injuries and so many players coming off bad years, I can’t see them winning the division. Washington has the offense, pitching, and leadership to take this team into the post-season.

NL CENTRAL: St. Louis Cardinals. This one is a bit trickier because the Pirates are looking good so far this spring, but I just don’t think the Pirates can win the division. The Cardinals have done everything right during winter break and acquired good pieces to fill holes left vacant. Add a bomb farm system and you have yourself a great team.

NL WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers. I hate to say it, but they are so good. If they can keep their front-line starters healthy and keep Puig from making embarrassing gaffs, this team is a lock for the post-season. Yes, there are a million huge personalities to tame, Don Mattingly’s included, but if they don’t all kill each other first, they will be just fine. Oh, and I just saw that they are now baseball’s highest spenders this year, taking away the Yankees’ 15-year run, so they REALLY better not suck.

WILD CARD(S): Pittsburg Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, or San Francisco Giants. All of these teams are good, but I doubt they are “win the division” good. Pittsburg has the momentum, the Braves always scrap their way in, the Reds have everything to prove, and the Giants have pitching for days. How these teams will preform if they do get into the post-season is not in their favor, but gosh darn it, they will try. Also, look for the Arizona Diamondbacks as a sleeper team. If the Goldschmidt/Prado/Trumbo sandwich works out, the offense could be insane.

American League:

AL EAST: Tampa Bay Rays. Talk about the hardest division in baseball! Good Lord, this is going to be a knock-out drag-down fight until the end, I can feel it! Honestly, any team could take it, but I would put money on the super awesome Joe Maddon and the Rays.

AL CENTRAL: Detroit Tigers. A perennial contender, the Tigers will be great this year. There have been some question marks with injuries and front office crap, but I think they can pull it out. But this one will be close because the Indians are really good, as are the Royals.

AL WEST: Oakland Athletics. This is the one division I was most unsure about. On paper, the Angels and Rangers look the best, but Oakland has a way to quietly dominate. Add the injuries to the Rangers and the uncertainty about the Angels, Oakland still looks the best. Seattle may have sold their soul to get Robinson Cano, but their offense is still weak and I doubt they will be contenders this year.

WILD CARDS: Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, or Kansas City Royals. There is a reason there are 3 AL East teams. All of them could take over the division with no problem, so don’t be surprised if three or four of them hit the post-season. I view the Yankees as the dark horse team, a team that will be very dangerous offensively and off the mound. Boston still looks great so far and they have to motivation from winning the World Series, but back-to-backs Series wins are rare. The Royals have everything to prove here, so I expect them to work their butts off this year. I was tossing up between Baltimore and Texas, but just because of injuries, I have to go with Baltimore.

So, there you have it. I have the right to change my picks, not that I will because I don’t care. You can just read newer posts. Psh, this post will be on the elusive second page by the time I need to change my picks. Anyway, enjoy the picks I have made and let’s hope they don’t just suck baseballs by the time the season gets going…

 

 

Winning and Losing Starts Before the Season Does

With the off-season coming to a close and spring training starting this week (YAHOO!!!!!), it is that time when everyone is really analyzing the off-season moves made by all of the teams. I decided to look into who made the best moves and the worst moves. Here is a list of the teams who I think won the off-season and the teams who didn’t make much of a splash:

Winners:

New York Yankees: Dumping almost half a billion dollars during the off-season is a great place to start for a team who has money and really needed to make changes. They needed offense, so that’s what they got (okay, bought). They needed pitching, so that’s what they got. I think they made a lot of smart moves and put some much needed power in their lineup. I mean, spending that much money should be a good thing…right? Please?

Boston Red Sox: I’m including them because they covered their butts by getting AJ Pierzynski to catch for them once Saltalamacchia left. Clearly, the Sox have a pension for catchers with long last names. They just won the World Series and look poised for another post-season run. Besides, they have Mike Napoli’s beard to remind them of their success, and as a warning to never grow those nasty things ever again.

Tampa Bay Rays: They did not get rid of David Price. Forget all the good moves they made and extensions they signed. They are winners this off-season because they kept Price.

Texas Rangers: They picked up Prince Fielder (granted, he was not his best in 2013) and Shin-Soo Choo, so they are already looking better. With some post-season trips and near misses, they are poised to use that momentum to propel themselves forward. It would be fun to see them do that.

Honorable Mentions:

– Seattle Mariners: Giving Robinson Cano an arm, leg, and their soul was an interesting way to start the off-season, but hey, I guess they mean business.

– Kansas City Royals: Will they be Royal this year? Can I call them Queen Bee (get the Lorde reference? I think I tried too hard, but can you blame me??)? I sure hope so. 2013 was such a turn-a-round year for this club, it would be fun to see them really let loose.

– Los Angeles Dodgers: They didn’t really lose any key players and gave Clayton Kershaw a massive, yet deserving, extension. Now how funny would it be if they bombed like they did the first half of last year?

– Arizona Diamondbacks: Getting Mark Trumbo and Addison Reed was huge, but they had to surrender some prospects to get there. Hopefully, this will work out in their favor because I really want to see these Trumbombs everyone keeps talking about.

– Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. That’s all.

– Washington Nationals: A new manager (Matt Williams) and a new pitcher (Doug Fister) poise the Nats to give Atlanta a run for their money.

Losers:

Baltimore Orioles: In a division as hard as the AL East, you’d think Baltimore would have made some more moves. I was optimistic when they picked up Grant Balfour, mostly because I think he is awesome, but to see them drop him like a hot, Aussie potato was surprising. And they didn’t need that, either. Without any moves made, I can’t see how they can be contenders for 2014.

Toronto Blue Jays: Again, the AL East is a nasty place to be. Last off-season, Toronto made some rocking moves, but it never happened for them last year. I want to be optimistic, but I really doubt they will make magic. Really, the only cool thing about the Jays are the knuckle balls that will supposedly come out during Spring Training.

Cincinnati Reds: They lost Shoo, Dusty Baker, and will probably lose Bronson Arroyo. Bum deal, huh?

Pittsburg Pirates: I include them because they didn’t really do much this year. They lost some good players and might lose AJ Burnett, but they have a great farm system. Will it be enough to propel them into the post-season? Eh…it’s a little up in the air.

All remaining free agents: Geez, it must really suck to be a free agent and not be signed by now! I thought that once Masahiro Tanaka signed, the other pitchers would be prime real estate. As it turns out, no one wants to surrender a first-round pick for these guys and I don’t really blame them. It’s kinda of messed up that a solid pitcher is punished because a team won’t give up a draft pick, but that’s how it works.

Not-so-Honorable Mentions:

– Atlanta Braves: Yes, they are in both categories because while they gave extensions to the players who needed it, they lost good players. They better hope BJ Upton gets hot again and Dan Uggla can bounce back.

– Houston Astros: LOL.

– Miami Marlins: see Houston Astros.