Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Mess in Miami

Oh how quick things can turn. The Miami Marlins finally got out from under the tumultuous Loria regime, something that should bring nothing but joy to the fans in Miami, but the more things change the more they stay the same for Marlins fans. The new head of baseball in Miami is this guy named Derek Jeter (maybe you've heard of him) and he's only brought the same kind of bad news that Loria had going throughout his ownership. Jeter is planning to trim payroll down to about 90 million and start a rebuilding process like that of the Astros and Cubs. While Jeter has dug a hole by firing some of the popular faces of the franchise like Jack McKeon, Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, and Mr. Marlin himself Jeff Conine. Jeter has quickly found himself on the wrong side of fans in Miami almost as fast as he was gifted the team. Jeter was recently booed while he was in attendance at a Miami Heats game and put on the jumbo-tron.

The latest public relations fiasco that has fallen "Mr. November" involves the recently crowned MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Before Jeter took the helm of the Marlins Loria signed Stanton to a huge deal, 10 years 325 million dollar to be exact, but the problem for Jeter is that Stanton's deal is heavily backloaded with 218 million being owed during the last 7 years of the contract and Loria granted Stanton a no trade clause. The no trade clause has become the biggest thorn in Jeter's side since he can't just send Stanton to whichever team has the best offer. Stanton does have an opt out clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent in the year 2020. That's also the year that Mike Trout becomes a free agent (more on that for a later post). Jeter's rebuild has no place for the heavy anchor that is Stanton's contract and it has come to light that at some point an ultimatum was laid out to Stanton to either accept a deal or be left on a team where he's the only player of value. The question I have is what's the point of the ultimatum if either which way the Marlins are going to be a bunch of rookies learning things the hard way while their owner gets booed even when he's not at work.

Monday, December 4, 2017

I Get Ejected, You Get Ejected, Everyone Gets an Ejection

A few days ago LeBron James got his first ejection in 1082 games. A few days after that Anthony Davis caught two technical fouls and got ejected for the first time himself. The next day Kevin Durant got ejected and last night Golden Sate Warrior Shaun Livingston was ejected going forehead to forehead with a ref Livingston most likely will be fined as will Durant, Davis, and James, most likely. That's the price to pay when players go up against authority. Referees are meant to keep order. Meant to keep players in line so that another incident like the Malice in the Palace don't happen again. The question I have is whether officials are taking their responsibilities too literally or are they being too sensitive and not letting player's voice their displeasure.

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors is known for his outbursts of displeasure toward officials when he doesn't get a call against him or when he gets called for a foul that he doesn't believe is justified, but no ref has ever tossed him from a game, yet. As a fan of basketball I'm interested in watching stars of teams in games. I would pay to watch Green, James, Durant, Davis, and Livingston play. I don't want to be cheated by an overzealous referee who can't take a player's sign of frustration as an act of war and toss the player that I paid to watch. Should players have free reign to do as they please? No, but referees shouldn't have hair triggers and ejecting anyone who vehemently disagrees with their calls or lack there of.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I May Sound Old But..

In today's sports landscape there are two types of managers, the old school "use my intuition/go by the book" manager and the new school "go by the numbers" type of manager. The Houston Astros just won the World Series in an unconventional way, they relied on piggy backing starters. Which means that instead of having a traditional reliever come in and work an inning or two the Astros used another starter who can go longer than your traditional reliever. The Kansas City Royals on the other hand relied on their relief corp to help carry them to a World title in 2015. Neither team is an old school type. To really find an old school type of team to have won a title was maybe the Red Sox who relied on timely power hitting and a strong starting staff to win them a title in 2013. Baseball is an ever evolving sport and with the introduction of advanced analytics it is growing and growing fast. Ways to win championships have evolved from the time tested "pitching and defense" method that I've been hearing about since I first put on my first catcher's mask.

Gone are the days of Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, Jim Leyland, and Jack McKeon. These are legendary managers who lead their teams to the promise land using old school tactics that in today's game is getting harder and harder to quantify. These guys have been replaced by the AJ Hinch (manager of the Astros), Dave Roberts (manager of the Dodgers), Mike Matheny (manager of the Cardinals), and others who now have to run their lineups by the front office suit wearing types to make sure that the analytics of the hitters they're using line up in favor against the particular pitcher the team is facing that night. There's no way in hell that Jim Leyland would allow a pencil pusher tell him where to bat Miguel Cabrera against a tough rightie or whether it was time to pull a starting pitcher. The game has evolved to the point where pitchers aren't seeing a lineup for a third time and a leftie hitter is most likely not going to face a tough lefty even though the hitter has a hitting streak going. There are too many chefs in the kitchen nowadays with too many ingredients trying to cook up a plate that for a very long time relied on one guy throwing a ball at another guy who's trying to hit the ball to the moon.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What a Series

The current World Series may not be between the teams most people wanted (most folks would've preferred a Yankees VS Dodgers match-up) but it has turned out to be a spectacular showdown between two very good teams that have both veterans and youth impacting the games. The thing about the World Series is that it brings players to light that casual fans would never be introduced to. Like Astros third baseman Alex Bregman who has made his mark on these playoffs by homering off of Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, and Kenley Jansen all of which are either the best at what they do or at the top of the list of players at their positions and has made spectacular plays defensively at third base. Not only did he hit home runs off of these pitchers they were crucial home runs to support the run the Astros have ridden this far. Before his break out in the classic game 5 Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger was in an a horrible slump, but he is a rising star. In the regular season he hit 39 home runs and had 97 runs batted in. Between Bellinger, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner the Dodgers are set with a core of players that are ready to carry this team to multiple runs at titles.

The Yankees and Nationals have young studs of their own, but what has unfolded between the Astros and Dodgers in this series has been nothing short of amazing. No doubt this series is headed to a game 7. No doubt will it be a good game because there are talented players all over the field, but also because baseball needs it to be a good game. With baseball being as young as it is and the loud complaints about how the sport is slow and boring this World Series is showing how much fun baseball can be. These two teams and all the young talent on these teams are going to be around for a long time. Altuve, Correa, Springer, Bellinger, Seager, Turner, and Taylor these are just a few names that are going to be on SportCenter or on back pages of the newspaper for the next 10 or so years and believe me there are going to be more names popping up and soon.

Monday, October 16, 2017

NBA Tip Off Around the Corner

Here we go again. On the 17th of October the drama that is the NBA season tips off with the Cleveland Cavaliers go up against the Boston Celtics in a match up between LeBron James and recent Cleveland defector Kyrie Irving. Kyrie Irving got his wish and is now the main option on his own potential title contender in Boston, teaming up with recent free agent signee Gordon Hayward, and whatever parts are left over from the trade that sent Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland. The East once again looks like the weaker conference with about 3 maybe 4 teams that can be taken into serious consideration and the Celtics and Cavaliers seem to be the front running squads destined to come out to face the Warriors in the Finals.

The West has had a whirlwind of activity this off season. From Chris Paul being shipped to the Rockets to Paul George and Carmelo Anthony being sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Western Conference has made many moves in the attempt to overcome the powerhouse that is the Golden State Warriors. Moving powerful names like Paul, George, and Anthony to new squads trying to offset the modern day empire that is Curry, Durant, Thompson, and Green, but the Warriors found a way to keep their empire together. Signing Curry to the huge deal he earned and keeping Durant in the fold with a short, but reasonable deal, that keeps their champion core together. I don't see a team as balanced as Golden State out there. If injuries don't sideline any of their core the Warriors should once again ride off into the sunset with another title.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Jeter the Owner?

The Miami Marlins are going to be free from the ineptitude of their owner Jeffrey Loria. Derek Jeter is heading an ownership group that is going to pay 1.2 billion dollars to take over the Marlins. A need that should have the people in Miami celebrating. My question is what kind of owner is Jeter going to be? He's never been the head of an organization, he's been the face of a franchise, but not the head of a franchise and there is a difference. Jeter won 5 titles while playing 20+ years in the majors, all with the Yankees, but would that translate to success as an owner? There is so much to worry about as an owner compared to being just a player. The player worries about the present day and the current season while the owner has to worry about not only the current season, but also next season. The depth of the organization, the organization's stance with the community, and the financials of the organization all of this and more has to be in the owner's purview.

Just because Jeter was there to watch how George Steinbrenner ran the Yankees for so many years doesn't mean that he's going to be a good owner. Remember Steinbrenner was suspended for a while as owner because he fell out of favor with the league. Also, Steinbrenner was, and to this day his estate, is filthy rich so he was able to bully his way in free agency by throwing money around. Who knows who the money for this organization is going to be and how much are they willing to invest in the Marlins to make them as successful as Jeter is used to being in the realm of baseball. For now the city of Miami (once the sale of the team is approved by the league) gets to celebrate that they're going to be out from under the Loria regime which in its own is a win.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

When Will the NFL Start to Worry?

It started a few years ago at the height of the NFC West's shining time. The San Francisco 49ers were a threat with a tough as nails defense and an offense that while it was lagging behind the dominance of the defense covered for the majority of the deficiencies on the offensive side of the ball. The Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals have been able to avoid the pitfall that the 9ers fell into when they lost vital players at all three levels of their defense including 3 linebackers who were the backbone of the defense. They all stepped away from the game behind the veil of the concussion and the overall damage they were taking from playing football. The players are to blame for looking out for their future, but the NFL has to take notice that a lot of players are taking the early exit. Players are retiring in their late 20's/early 30's.

As the concern over CTE and brain damage has come to the forefront of the league players are taking notice. More and more players are taking their money and moving on to other endeavors where they can be financially secure while also keeping their brains intact. The problem is the NFL is kinda stuck. How is the NFL supposed to accommodate players or ex-players in regards to this damage? How far back is the NFL supposed to go to treat players? How much would all this cost? Because no matter how much money the NFL makes there still has to be a limit as to how much they can spend on players who no longer benefit the league. Players did sign up for this, but how much of it is the league responsible for? And will this be the downfall of the America's past time?