Friday, August 16, 2013

Making the Right Call

Who can forget?  It was June 2, 2010 and everyone was on their feet as they watched Armando Galarraga toe the rubber with 2 outs in the ninth inning looking to sit down his 27th batter straight.  On a 1-1 pitch put into play by Jason Donald, Galarraga hustled over to first baseball, received the throw from Miguel Cabrera and blatantly beat the runner to the bag.  Only umpire Jim Joyce saw different and called the runner safe.  Nobody could believe that something so historical will go unwritten in baseball history.
Yesterday, Bud Selig and the MLB decided to expand instant replay and give managers the option to challenge plays.  There are many mixed emotions on this topic and I don’t really understand why.  Even player Ian Desmond (@IanDesmond20) tweeted about the subject “Coaches challenge in baseball, really? Don’t ruin a great game please.”  It seems to me as a fan that almost every single game I watch I see at least one blown call.  A lot of plays are bang-bang and are tough to see, so why not give the umps some help?  With instant replay we can get the most true baseball and correct statistics.   The only problem I have with it is the way it will be set up.
If I was the commissioner, I would be a little stricter about the number of challenges.  The rule as of now looks to be that one challenge will be allowed from the first to the sixth inning, then two more from the seventh on.  The problem I have with this is that it will slow down a game entirely when sometimes the umpires will have made the correct call. Six challenges in a game could easily add half an hour on an already long game.
The way I would change this rule is that I would only allow one challenge through a nine-inning game.  However, if the team challenges and get the call right they still keep the privilege of being able to challenge.  If a game goes into extra innings then another challenge will be granted but without the chance of getting it back.  This is very similar to the current system that the NFL has and it seems to work just fine for them.   The most interesting replay affect I want to see is what happens when a ball is hit fair, but is called foul.  Awarding the amount of bases is going to be tough to call because of various speeds of runners.  If I was an umpire, anything hit near the line I would call fair and expect it to be replayed.  The idea of challenging plays is great and I love the expansion of instant replay.  It just seems that it will be too much and draw out many games. 

Look at the poor guy!  We would not want these professional umpires to go under so much distress for blowing one call.  These umpires need some slack because these are truly tough calls and in the end all we want is a game called correct.  The expansion of instant replay is needed in order to make this great game almost flawless.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Is the MLB Too Good for the Suicide Squeeze?

       After watching so many close extra inning games I cannot seem to think of one where I saw a team perform a suicide squeeze play.  I watched the Pirates play the Cardinals last night and I saw two opportunities where this risky play could have been the big payoff to victory.  This raises the question, are teams just too good for the suicide squeeze?  It really seems to be just that!  We see these guys go out there on the field and bomb home runs, but you are telling me that they cannot coordinate a one run play?  The small ball style of baseball has slowly been dying and managers rely on their guys to go out and get those big hits.  The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward and in the end of the season this one play could mean playoffs or not.  Come October teams may look back and wonder “what if we put the sign on and went for it all?”  These guys are paid big money to smack the ball over the fence and come up with big hits day in and out.  When it comes down to it though a little small ball can go a long way.  The rush and excitement when that man starts charging down the third baseline is one that makes everyone sit on the edge of their seats and hold their breathe. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A New Era of Baseball


I don't know about everyone else, but I am unbelievably ecstatic at where baseball is progressing and everyone else should be as well.  The direction that the MLB is headed is one that will be intense and the competition will only become bigger and better.  The amount of superstars that are coming through these farm systems is astounding and never seizes to amaze me.  
This year alone in the All-Star Game we had a record of players age 22 or under, these players being Mike Trout (22), Manny Machado (21), Jose Fernandez (21), and Bryce Harper (20).  Maybe I'm jumping the gun a little bit and having high expectations, but these players have burst upon the scene and are taking over.  We saw last year possibly one of the best rookie seasons of all time from Mike Trout who did not even play an entire season and still finished second in MVP voting, only to lose to the Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.  I also see that leader instinct in each of these players as well and one day they will reach Captain status for their clubs.  They all play with their heart on their sleeves and go out there and give 110% effort.  Outside of these players though there is a plethora of other stars that will soon rise and be the talk around the big leagues.  The first name that comes to mind is Geritt Cole (22).  Cole who made his debut June 11th has come up and has maintained one of the highest average fastball velocities at 95.5.  The power of his fastball is almost enough to get him through a lineup now.  Once he develops his secondary stuff even more look for one of the most dominant power pitchers to ever join the league.  
I must talk about a player who has been around for a couple years, and that is Buster Posey (26).  Posey who has played 2 full seasons in the majors and missed one because of a devastating collision at the plate, has a resume that could put him in the Hall of Fame right now.  The amount of awards is off the charts and most players cannot accumulate half of them in a 20 season long career.  In his first season alone, Buster won the Rookie of the Year honor and was one of the driving forces that led his team to a championship in 2010.  The following season was the one where he got hurt, so why not make a miraculous comeback?  As expected he did just that and put up monster numbers after the All-Star break slashing a .385 average, 14 home runs, and 60 RBI's, where he yet again led his team and himself to there second championship in 3 years.  Along with his second ring, Posey received the NL MVP award, Silver Slugger, and Comeback Player of the Year awards.  Oh, and by the way, he has been behind the dish for a perfect game by Matt Cain and a no-hitter by Tim Lincecum.  The poise and humbleness that Posey possesses makes him an incredible role model for future generations.
You see why I am so excited for the future of the MLB?  This is only half of why I am so excited because there is a wave of other players arriving.  
The wave of players that I am talking about, are the defectors from Cuba.  These players are a brand new addition to an already competitive league.  They have taken the league by storm as Yasiel Puig revived the ailing Dodgers and put up the biggest first month of MLB baseball ever.  He may not have made the All-Star team, but another Cuban Yoenis Cespedes (27) put on his own show taking over and winning the Home-Run Derby.  The 20-year-old Jose Fernandez has both youth and is from Cuba as well which makes him my favorite and I am really interested to see what he is capable of doing consistently.  It seems that everywhere and everyday these players are taking over.  When Aroldis Chapman (25) came to the league he came in throwing 105 and set a league record for the fastest pitch.  It seems that everywhere these players are leaving a footprint in baseball history and they have only played 2-3 seasons so far.  
The main inspiration in me writing this was when I saw that first baseman Jose Abreu (26) defected.  Jose Abreu was the MVP in the Cuban league where he absolutely dominated hitting .453 with 33 home runs and 93 RBI's, and here is the thing, they only played 66 games.  I am eager to see who will land this slugger, for his contract will be set around 60 million. The Cubans are an addition that will change the game and will surely make Major League Baseball that much more interesting.
There are many names I have left out of here (Strasburg, Harvey, Myers...), but there are just too many for me to name.  I hope everyone else is as excited as me because we are about to witness some of the greatest, most exciting baseball that will ever be played.  Brace yourselves for the new era of baseball because we are amongst the rising of our future all time greats!