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Posts Tagged ‘mlb’

Ban Mark McGwire

Posted by AB on January 12, 2010

So, Mark McGwire has admitted to using steroids during his Major League Baseball career.  I’m glad that he has finally admitted the obvious, but let’s not pretend that he is coming clean for unselfish reasons.  In the offseason, he was hired by the St. Louis Cardinals as the hitting coach.  He must have calculated that a season full of unanswered questions might be distracting for the Cardinals organization, so he decided to come clean well before the beginning of spring training.  But he should not be allowed to work in MLB.  He should be banned, and now is the time for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to make a clear, strong statement to the world about the embarrassment brought upon the great sport of baseball.

Some believe that since there was no testing for steroids until 2005, he shouldn’t be punished by the league.  That’s nonsense.  I’m hearing people debate whether he should be in the MLB Hall of Fame.  What?  He cheated!  He took substances that are illegal in this country.  He’s lucky that the statute of limitations ran out in 2006, preventing his prosecution for a crime and jail time.  The Hall of Fame is a privilege, not a right.  Not only should he be prevented from being a part of the Hall of Fame, he should be banned from baseball.  Pete Rose has been banned for two decades, now, but he didn’t cheat the game like this–he gambled.  Pete Rose has the most hits in the history of baseball, yet he is not only banned from the Hall of Fame, but he is banned from having a job in Major league Baseball.  Mark McGwire deserves no less.  Reinstate Pete Rose and I will accept Mark McGwire’s right to work in MLB.

Posted in Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

MLB Playoffs: Catch It!

Posted by AB on October 15, 2009

After 162 regular season games and a best-of-five divisional playoff series, the league championship series begin tonight.  The National League Championship Series will begin tonight, as the defending World Series Champion, Philadelphia Phillies, plays the Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodger Stadium.  The American League Championship Series will begin on Friday, in Yankee Stadium, as the New York Yankees host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (does anyone call them that?).

These four teams are, in my opinion, the best four teams in baseball, and they have proven as much throughout the long regular season and subsequent divisional series.  If you were to ask knowledgable baseball people, most would say that the Yankees are the prohibitive favorites to win this year’s World Series.  

In the offseason, the Yankees added the top three free agents–C.C. Sebathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixiera–to a team with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, and Mariano Rivera.  They, by far, have the highest payroll of the four remaining teams, but money doesn’t buy championships.  They have the highest payroll every year, but have not won a World Series since 2000.  If the games were played on paper, the Yankees would be unstoppable.  Fortunately, for baseball fans, they are not played on paper.

The Angels last won the World Series in 2002.  They feature a well-balanced lineup, without the star power of the Yankees, but just as effective.  The Angels, however, are playing for so much more than the other teams.  The Angels have rallied around the spirit of a fallen teammate, Nick Adenhart.  A rookie starting pitcher, Adenhart was killed in a car accident, early in the season.  The Angels are the sentimental favorites, and they have all of the intangibles that the Yankees lack, which should make this an interesting and close series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the hottest team in baseball in the first half of the season, but became very inconsistent throughout the second half.  This is a team that can dominate at one stretch, and at other stretches, they are mediocre.  They have a strong lineup, one through nine, featuring Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier, and Manny Ramirez.  The starting pitching is solid, but the Dodger bullpen can dominate.  If the Dodgers get hot, it will be difficult to stop them.

An equally impressive lineup belongs to the Philadelphia Phillies.  They are the defending champions, so they are the team that has proved most.  The Phillies know within themselves what it takes to win it all, and that is an important psychological advantage.  The Phillies, like the Dodgers, have gone through hot and cold stretches throughout the season.  Their lineup includes Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jason Werth, and Raul Ibanez.  Before the trade deadline, the Phillies acquired Cy Young Award winner, Cliff Lee, to pair with last year’s World Series MVP, Cole Hamels.  The Phillies’ fortunes could land at the feet of closer, Brad Lidge.  He struggled more than ever this year, but seemed to have regained his dominance in the divisional series. 

Both series should be more than entertaining, and I am hoping for an all-L.A. World Series.  I’m pulling for the Dodgers and Angels, not because “I Love L.A.,” but because I do not like the Phillies and the Yankees.  But, overall, I am pulling for the Angels to win it all.  I like the way that they play, and I’m always a sucker for the team who plays for a higher, more sentimental cause.  In this case, it is Nick Adenhart.  Wouldn’t it be great for his teammates to honor his spirit by delivering a World Series ring to Adenhart’s family?  I think so.  Go Angels!

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

No More Home-Field!

Posted by AB on July 15, 2009

Most baseball fans can remember the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee.  That was the infamous tie game.  The embarrassment of that night sent MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig, searching for a solution to prevent the same from happening in the future.  What has ensued since has been an experiment that was well-intentioned, but has now run its course.

I must admit, the idea of awarding home field in the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star Game was one that I thought about even before Bud Selig installed the rule.  The previous rule for home-field advantage, before 2003, was an absurd, arbitrary, alternating system.  One year the American League Champion would have home-field advantage, the next year the National League Champion would host the majority of games.  It was an attempt at killing two birds with one stone:  ensure that the All-Star Game would not end in a tie, and provide a system for determining home-field advantage in the World Series.  Even though the intention was honorable, it has been proved to be a bad idea from my point of view.  It is time for it to end.

The best way to determine home-field advantage would be to simply award it to the team with the best overall record.  This system has been avoided for far too long, and it’s difficult to see why.  The argument has always been that one league is better than the other in a particular year, making it more difficult for the team in the more competetive league.  Even if there was an accurate way to judge the quality of each league, which there isn’t, those thing have a tendency of leveling.

That would still leave us with the problem of the All-Star Game.  Major League Baseball would need to come up with a new set of incentives for the winner.  Even multi-millionaires like more money.  The winner could get a larger money bonus, or the winning team could all get new cars.  I’m sure that they can come up with something to keep the competition level high.  And I know that everyone deserves to play in the All-Star Game, and the 2002 tie happened because all of the pitchers were used.  Teams, understandably, do not want their pitchers used-up in the All-Star Game.  Maybe they should allow re-entry after the ninth inning, if all players have been used.  They could also add a pitcher or two that would only pitch if all other pitchers have been used and the game is in extra innings.

These are just some not-so-well thought out ideas.  All I know is that the current system is getting old and needs revision.  There are many brilliant minds working for Major League Baseball; it is time to utilize them.

Posted in Misc., Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »