Baseball Notes for June 17, 2013: MLB and Its Hypocritical Stance on Brawls

MacWilliams

Although a major brawl last week between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks resulted in eight suspensions and a dozen fines, the incident is yet another reminder of what a joke on-field fights and the subsequent reaction of Major League Baseball have become.

Tempers flared after Dodgers’ rookie sensation Yasiel Puig was hit in the face by a pitch, followed by a back-and-forth retaliatory actions by both sides.

Managers Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson were banned for one game each, while Dodgers’ hitting coach Mark McGwire earned two games because of behavior which resembled an enraged rhinoceros. The punishments are more of a show than punitive in nature. It seems that MLB’s reaction to such incidents is really an unsaid acceptance that brawls are good for business because of the attention they draw. If baseball truly wanted to crack down on on-field fighting, they could do so very easily. Their insistence in staying with the status quo indicates a sanctioning of loosely-controlled violence that spices up games. No matter how egregious brawls are, suspensions and fines are generally light and often reduced upon appeal (although it is rare that an explanation is given in such cases). Continue reading

MLB’s Most Overrated and Underrated Players

Wainwright

Discussing the most over and underrated players in baseball is an annual exercise that creates a lot of spirited debate and reaction. There’s no scientific formula to determine or verify who falls where; just opinion, eye-tests and carefully manipulated stats to prove points. That being said, the best reason to do it is because it’s fun.

Here are some players I believe are among the most over and underrated in the game today. Continue reading

Baseball History Notes for June 10, 2013

Braun

The big news of the week in baseball was an ESPN Outside the Lines report that Major League Baseball is seeking to suspend 20 or more current players for their involvement with the now defunct Biogenesis of America clinic. Tony Bosch, the company’s founder, agreed to provide MLB with documents to help their cases. Players including Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera are all reported to be those in the crosshairs, with more details of the whole mess still to come.

The report indicated that suspensions could be as long as 100 games if MLB gets its way. However, want and reality could be two completely different things. The MLB Player’s Union immediately issued a statement declaring their intent to vigorously defend the players in the investigation, and will use their considerable power to minimize any punitive damage. It’s a situation that is highly unlikely to be determined quickly, but will probably play out in courtrooms and boardrooms for an indeterminable amount of time.

Regardless of the length of possible suspensions, the damage has already been done to the reputations of the players involved in the scandal. No matter how much you believe or don’t believe steroids and PEDs are cheating, the amount of lying and general scumbaggery (I made this word up specifically for this situation) on the part of these players has completely impugned their character. No matter how far they can hit a ball or fast they can throw a pitch, their greatest attribute as players and human beings has been irrevocably shattered. Continue reading

O’Koyea Dickson is Powering His Way to the Los Angeles Dodgers

Dickson

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been in the news as much as any baseball franchise over the past year-plus. Following a highly-publicized team sale and offseason spending spree, they have stumbled out of the gate and looked lost so far during the 2013 season sitting in last place in the National League West. While things look bleak at the big league level, there are reasons to be optimistic when considering their minor league system. Rising slugger O’Koyea Dickson is one of those bright spots, as he is starting to emerge as one of the team’s best prospects.

The 23-year-old Dickson is a powerfully built 5’11” right-handed hitter, who has played primarily at first base during his professional career.  He grew up in the Bay Area and got his start in the game from the First Base Foundation, which serves minority youth in that region. Continue reading

Baseball Notes for June 3, 2013

Brett

One of baseball’s all-time heroes officially returned to the game this week. The slumping Kansas City Royals hired Hall of Famer George Brett, the greatest player in franchise history, to be the team’s new hitting coach.

The Royals, who spent big to bring in veterans like James Shields and Ervin Santana during the offseason, entered the year with playoff aspirations. However, after an 8-20 May, they are back in last place in the AL Central. Brett is being brought in to not only try and provide a spark, but to also buy the team some time. Royals’ fans admire nobody more than Brett. He may be able to create some good will while the team tries to get back on track and salvage their season.

***Speaking of Brett, he was mentioned for his kindness in a recent story about “Door George,” an aging Cleveland-area strip club bathroom attendant. Continue reading

Jen Royle is at Home with the Boston Red Sox

Royle

There is little doubt that people living in the Boston area love their baseball. Accordingly, the local media is constantly seeking to provide comprehensive and entertaining coverage of the Red Sox. This has led to the region boasting some of the best broadcasting and sports writing talent anywhere. One of the best is Jen Royle, who is a dual threat and recently returned to Beantown, which also happens to be her hometown.

Royle is an Emmy-winning journalist who worked for the YES Network in New York and covered the Orioles and Ravens in Baltimore, in addition to work for ESPN and SB Nation among others.

Now that she is back in Boston (with her best friend Truman), she is broadcasting for WEEI and running her own sports site (http://www.sportsreelboston.com/). It’s a compendium of Boston baseball; providing a range of material, including news, game recaps, blogs, videos and fantasy games. Continue reading

Baseball Notes for May 27, 2013

Hack

The 2012 season saw Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera win the Triple-Crown with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. Although it’s hard to fathom, he may be headed to an even better season this year, which could see him make history.

Cabrera is currently hitting .385 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI. He ranks first in the American League in batting and RBI, and is second in home runs. If he were to repeat the Triple Crown, he would not only be the first player to ever win consecutive Triple-Crowns, he would also join legendary Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams as the only players to accomplish the feat more than once.

Another mark Cabrera is eyeing is the all-time RBI record. To date, he is on pace to finish the season with 192, which would break the major league record of 191 set by Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Hack Wilson in 1930. While RBI has seen its reputation tarnished in the advancing sabermetric world, the possibility of Cabrera unseating Wilson to set a new standard would still be a big deal. Continue reading