Two Years Later, The Strasburg Decision Holds Stronger Than Ever

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One thing that the Major League Baseball advertising department would like you to believe would be that you can’t predict baseball. And while that’s been a slogan for many a campaign, it’s a mainly false statement. Baseball, for the most part, is a very predictable game. The best hitters only make something happen one third of the time. And there are only so many possible outcomes for every situation. Groundout, flyout, strikeout or hit. But the times where you see something amazing, crazy or just odd, are the times where the phrase comes to your mind. Maybe it’s an unassisted triple play. Maybe it’s when the pitcher hits a home run, or when catcher legs out a bases-clearing triple. However, the one thing you can never consistently predict is how successful a player will be next year, next month, week or even game. So when Stephen Strasburg was controversially shut down as an effect of his previous Tommy John Surgery in 2012, right before the Nationals were poised to make a deep run into October, and right after he had a career year, the baseball world was unhappy. People questioned if he’d ever have a year this good again. People wondered if it was the right decision for him mentally and physically. Everybody from government officials to columnists to football players weighed in. The verdict typically seemed to be to let him pitch. Mike Rizzo stuck to his plan. Two years later, on the brink of another postseason, how does that decision look now? Continue reading

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A Silent Killer on the D.L.

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No Nationals fan even blinks an eye when it’s mentioned a player has gone to the D.L. this year. After seeing names like Harper, Zimmerman, Gonzalez and Span fall out for fifteen days or more, it’s just not a surprise. However, this latest trip to the D.L. by a player, despite his lack of star-power, may be more important than Harper or Zimmerman. Continue reading

Super Cold XLVIII – Why in the world are we playing the Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium?

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It’s been the elephant in the room for months now. When people say that “The {Insert mediocre/bad team} are going to go all the way this year”, there’s been one lingering question… how will they do at Metlife Stadium in the frigid cold? Will they mess up because they’re a warm weather or dome team, be great because they live in Sumas, Washington, the northernmost point in the US, or be okay because they’re from some city that doesn’t have some huge weather difference. 

But it leads me to this question… why would they have it in New Jersey in the first place? There are a bunch of reasons not to have it there – the weather, the location, the fan experience, the soulless stadium, it’s NEW JERSEY – shouldn’t that be enough? The argument for this stadium may seem smart. “It’s the same as Indianapolis.” “It’s the NFL’s response to 9/11 to do something for New York” “It’ll be like the winter classic”. The first argument for Indianapolis is fine. However, there have been great chances for the NFL to do stuff like this. The NFL could’ve made a donation to some 9/11 fund of some sort. I’m not trying to be insensitive –  although it’ll be great for the city monetarily, it just won’t be a great experience for the fans (although seeing Wilson or Manning go short-sleeved would be really funny.)

Many have made the argument for it being like the Winter Classic. However, let’s compare them side by side. The Winter Classic is a minor event with little to no effect on the regular season or playoffs, and only happens once a year. The Super Bowl is america’s biggest sporting event, biggest monetary gain for the NFL, cold weather is not a rare occurrence, and the most important game of the year. There’s a difference there.

I love New York, and it’s one of the world’s greatest, if not the greatest city in the world. But putting the game in a dome or a warm weather city would make this easier for everybody.

 

Feeling blue is the new black

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I was so happy when the Dodgers were losing. Not because they were losing, but because once again, a team proved that buying does not mean winning. I left town for summer, confident that the Dodgers season would be a bust. Then some kid named Yasiel Puig came up.

I knew he would be a factor, but didn’t think he would ignite a miraculous flame. The Dodgers were then in last place, and looking like another sub-par team, for another year. Then, something clicked. After the all-star break, the team’s OBP, Batting Average and slugging all rose more than 20 points, minimum. But another thing clicked – they were a team, and they had an atmosphere. So it leaves me in quite the conundrum. Should I root for the dodgers, or should I keep them in the folder in my head that the Yankees are in?

One one hand, much of their talent was acquired through possibly one of the most unfair trades in MLB history. Not one player the Dodgers sent for blockbuster names including Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez is in the Red Sox lineup today – (although they’re doing just fine without them as it seems). They were basically bought for their remaining years, giving up what a General Manager would define as pretty much nothing. 2 out of 5 members of their pitching staff were signed to huge contracts over the winter, (Hello, Zach Greinke, Hello, Ryu-Hyun-Jin)  but the ones who weren’t signed to megadeals have also performed very well. (Hello, Clayton Kershaw). Note: Clayton Kershaw is expected to sign a large contract extension w/ Dodgers or contract with another team this winter, as he is a free agent as of 2014. 

On the other hand, while those players are there, their superstar, Matt Kemp, has been missing the entire season with injuries, plus without much other known talent, they were leaving 4 other spots for farm talent or rag-tag players. It’s a crime to root against those types of players. Yasiel Puig is farm, as well as Clayton Kershaw.

So it leaves me with this – are they the Yankees with their spending, or can we look at them like the Cardinals? The conclusion I’ve come to is to believe they aren’t like the Yankees, but they aren’t the Cardinals either. Even Yasiel Puig signed for 7 years and 42 million. They’ve spent a lot, there’s no doubt. But they’ve performed enough with other talent, that maybe they aren’t a crime to root against after all.