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.

Overreaction Tuesday…err…week.

How would you feel if I told you the Yankees were 1-4, the Rockies were 4-0, the Braves were 5-0, and the Pirates were 1-4? It would probably surprise you and if you are a fan of those teams, you are probably freaking out a little bit. Or a lot. I’m freaking out a lot. As a Yankees fan, I am totally losing my marbles over the team’s horrible start, even though I have no need to. “It is not the time to panic,” Bae-Rod reminds me. Okay, if Alex Rodriguez tells me not to panic, I’m still probably going to panic anyway, even though I have no need to.

Welcome to Overreaction Week, the week where everyone assumes their team should just give up on the season or that their team will win the World Series. It’s a stressful week for the former because no one wants to see their team spinning out of control at any point during the season. But really, how am I supposed to react when my team’s best player is A-Rod?? Take a deep breath and remember that there are still 157 games left on the season. Cool, I feel a little better, but not really.

Sometimes, it takes a little bit for teams to start clicking and for nature to take order once again. I mean, c’mon, at the rate this is going A-Rod will be the AL MVP and the Rockies will be duking it out with the Braves for a World Series spot against the Royals. Does ANY of that seem plausible? Except for the Royals, not at all. Natural order will take place once again, but we have to give it a few weeks, even a few months for teams to get their stuff together. In the mean time, fans can freak out all they want but it won’t change anything.

So, to all the broadcasters out there: STOP SAYING TEAMS ARE IN THE CRAPPER FIVE GAMES IN. I’m looking at you Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds, and Tom Verducci. You guys called the Yanks/Sox game earlier today and it was a 3-hour Yankees bash-fest. Stop it. It’s been five games. Calm down. Yes, my pinstriped boys are not great right now, but for crying out loud! Don’t say they suck until a little further in the season. If it’s the end of June and they still suck eggs, then we’ll talk.

And to all the fans: CHILL-AX. We have a nice, long season ahead of us, so let’s not freak out yet. Baseball is a funny sport and we should let it take its course before we lose our minds.

As Bae-Rod says, “It is not the time to panic”.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

Finally someone said it!! The Red Sox spent big time this offseason and got widespread praise, but if the Yankees spend big, they get chided by everyone. This is a serious double standard, and I don’t care who you root for.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/madden-big-spending-red-sox-hailed-geniuses-article-1.2132964?utm_content=bufferabfa1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=MFeinsand+Twitter

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I am choosing to talk about my home-slice Alex Rodriguez instead of writing an essay that really needs to get done, which show everyone how high college is on my list of priorities. Yes, senior-itis has really taken a grip on my soul…Ok. Back to A-Rod!

Earlier today, Alex Rodriguez sent a hand-written note (he has fantastic cursive, grammar, and spelling, BTW) to ESPN:New York and MLB expressing how sorry he was for everything. Yes folks, he apologized for what he did and admitted that he made everything a lot harder than it had to be. So, we get this note instead of a press conference, which might be the best choice A-Rod could have made. I like that it was hand-written because it is a little more personal than an e-mail, memo, or telegram (because that’s still a thing, right?!). He got to say what he needed to say without reporters peppering him with questions he doesn’t want to answer. And yes, there are still plenty of questions he needs to answer.

In my mind, a press conference would not have made a difference. He would get painted to look like an ass no matter what happened. Legally, there are things he cannot answer right now (as in, he still might have to testify at trials, so he must keep quiet). Prosecutors were listening to him hard when he testified for immunity last January, so it makes sense that A-Rod MUST control the environment when talking about the Biogenesis scandal. After all, he probably would rather not go to jail for perjury. By sending out a note, he is really expressing that he only wants to focus on the game. A press conference would not allow him that opportunity. Not to mention people would be hyper-focused on his body language and phrasing.

This apology doesn’t mean the circus will be over. There will still be swarms of reporters all year long and distractions galore. Heck, we don’t know if he can still play! But, he only wants to be judged by what he does on the field, so my guess is he will only answer baseball-related questions. The Yankees are still super pissed off at him, as are the fans. I’m one of probably ten people who will take the apology at face value and will be excited to see him back on the field. He is, after all, one of the best players of my generation. His teammates seem to harbor no ill-will towards him, and A-Rod might actually get to be a mentor to the younger Yanks this year. My philosophy is this: if the players are ok with him, I am ok with him.

A-Rod is still a turd burger, but at least he is taking a step in the right direction. Like he said, the Commissioner is putting this behind him, the MLBPA is putting it behind them, and we should, too (at least for now). Because guess what? Pitchers and catchers start reporting TOMORROW, which means baseball season is officially upon us!!!!!!!!!!

And isn’t baseball what we all want to focus on, anyway?

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2015/02/17/alex-rodriguez-apology-arod-yankees-biogenesis/23557965/
http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/12337962/alex-rodriguez-new-york-yankees-issues-formal-apology-statement

$6 million reasons…

After initially denying a meeting with their former third baseman/likely 2015 DH Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees are now trying to alienate him further by attempting to deny him any bonuses he might reach in the remainder of his contract. You see, A-Rod is slated to make a $6 million bonus if he can hit enough home runs to match Willie Mays’ current total, and A-Rod is only 6 homers behind Willie. So, in all likelihood, A-Rod will definitely hit more than six home runs in the 2015 if he makes the team. Now, the Yankees are saying they should not have to pay A-Rod these bonuses because he agreed to the contract under false pretenses (i.e. his PED usage, admitted or not).

Here’s the problem: this is only $6 million dollars. If it were a different team, that could be significant, but these are the Yankees and $6 million is pocket change. Heck, I have zero baseball skills and they would probably sign me to a one year/$6 million deal. To me, this is nothing but a grudge the Yanks are holding. Yes, A-Rod should not have sued the team doctor and yes, he should not have made bitter enemies with most people in the organization. However, it makes no sense to discourage a dude from hitting homers.

Now, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a fan of A-Rod the athlete. A-Rod the person seems like a turd burger with extra turd cheese, but I can’t help but admire his stats and the accomplishments he has had. Yeah, they are tainted but so are the accomplishments of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and so many other great athletes I grew up watching. However, in writing this, I’m not necessarily defending him. I am merely pointing out how stupid it is that the Yanks are going to let a grudge potentially harm their chances of winning.

As big of a Yankee fan as I am, I can’t help but feel embarrassed by the whole thing. This childish display is all sour grapes if you ask me. No one is particularly excited to see A-Rod come back, but I think most Yankee fans would agree with me in saying that I would rather have A-Rod on the team producing some much needed offense so we can win instead of ostracizing him and giving him reason not to play well. If he is so vindictive that he needs $6 million as an incentive to play well, give the man his money! I’d rather see the Yanks in the post-season with A-Rod than no October baseball again in 2015. It’s foolish to think that he will be the only reason the Yanks do well, but any run support he can provide will be great. He won’t play third, unless it’s as a back-up, but I’ll be happy to have his bat in the line-up (provided, of course, that he can still hit).

The Yankees are stuck with A-Rod for another three years and given the money they owe him, it’s ignorant to think that he will not be playing in some capacity. If they believe he can help the team win, he will play. Ignore him, let him do his thing, whatever. It was stupid to give A-Rod home run bonuses considering he was long suspected of PED use before he signed the 10-year deal, and now the Yanks have to deal with the ramifications. You can’t back out now just because he pisses you off. In 2009, when he came out about his PED use with the Rangers earlier in his career, you didn’t back out then. Oh, wait, he was actually a productive player in 2009! That’s right. He helped you win the 2009 World Series, so heaven forbid you back out of his home run bonuses then. Oops.

So, Yankees, just stop this childish behavior. Focus on winning, please. Keep A-Rod motivated to hit and reap the potential rewards. And if you really don’t want to pay him $6 million as motivation, I’ll gladly take that money and work in the dugout as a motivator, and by that I mean I will slap the player’s butts for encouragement. I think I’d be good at that.

Dear Baseball Santa…

Dear Baseball Santa,

I know I am cutting it a little close here. After all, Christmas is almost over and you are surely back up at the North Pole by now. I do have a few last minute baseball requests for you to work on over this next year. I know you are probably gonna be busy all year yelling at the elves to make the toys faster, but maybe in your spare time you can work on these requests? Pretty please with Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen on top? They are pretty simple requests, so if you could help a girl out, that would be greatly appreciated!

#1) If you could, can you keep the Yankees healthy in 2015? Or, if they do get hurt, can you make sure they don’t get hurt all at once? I understand they are a bunch of old farts out there, but I need them to do well this year. America needs them to do well this year! I wanna see my pinstriped boys in October again! And if A-Rod is back on the team, can you make sure he is productive and not just a super gigantic distraction? I know he’s gonna be a distraction, but it’ll be worth it if he can produce. And while you’re at it, can you please stop Brian McCann from hitting into the shift all year?

#2) On the topic of shifts, can you tell teams to let up on those defensive shifts a little bit? I get that pitching is all the rage right now, but I think everyone would love to see dudes get some more hits! Watching a one- or two-hit game is nice and all, but watching a team unload 10+ hits in one game is even better.

#3) Can you let the Padres be awesome? I mean, they made all of these crazy off-season trades and signings, so I would like to see them do well. They don’t have to make the postseason or anything, but it would be fun to watch them do well.

#4) While we are talking about the NL West, can you make sure that the Diamondbacks will finish with an above .500 record? I don’t even care if they make it to October (it’d be awesome, but I gotta be realistic!), but the fans in Arizona need a team they can believe in (and one who will beat the Giants).

#5) Please please please let the Red Sox suck this year. It’s not exactly fair, I know, but I am a Yankees fan and an asshole, so my request should come as no shock. If you can’t make them suck, can you at least make sure the Yankees finish 2015 with a better record than them? That’s all I want.

#6) If you could, please let Giancarlo Stanton mash many more homers. He’s a special player and he seems like a nice guy, so if you could let his bat stay hot, I’d really appreciate that.

#7) PLEASE DO NOT LET THE GIANTS WIN THE WORLD SERIES AGAIN. I know it isn’t going to be an even numbered year, but just hear me out on this one: It’s time for someone else to win the World Series, Santa, you know this.

#8) I would like fewer Tommy John surgeries to happen this year. It seems to be a popular thing now, so if you could limit the number of pitchers who have to get this surgery, everyone in the baseball community would really love that! And please let Matt Harvey, Patrick Corbin, Jose Fernandez, and Ivan Nova come back stronger than ever. The game is better with those guys pitching.

#9) Please stop letting the managers dawdle during instant replay reviews. If they are going to challenge something, have them do it quickly. No slow ambles onto the field while awaiting a thumbs up or down from the bench. Have them throw a flag or something, or only come out of the dugout if they want to challenge the play. PLEASE.

#10) Stop having Yasiel Puig make stupid choices. He’s a really fun player to watch, but having him make poor play calls and base running gaffs is really bothersome. He’s a better player than that. He could be the NL MVP if he just stopped doing stupid stuff.

Okay. I think that just about covers it. Oh! Wait! One more thing:
HURRY UP AND BRING BASEBALL BACK!!

Thanks a bunch, Baseball Santa!
XOXO,
Hannah