This is the first segment in a new series that goes through every player on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot. What I’m trying to do here is explain their role within baseball and their importance to the game as a whole that will go beyond stats, resume, or simply how good he was.
Of course, it’s hard to do that in baseball, the most linear sport of all. You hit the ball and you run, or you do not hit the ball and do not run. There’s not really a whole lot of variety. The vast majority of games can thoroughly be summarized by a series of numbers, and there aren’t many ways to accomplish any result of a given play (although I have seen some pretty impressive errors). But this can’t be the reason why so many people love baseball, and I’ve never bought the “we watch 99 games for the one out of a hundred that’s special” explanation. Sure, rare moments factor into it, but I think the many, many reasons why people watch baseball are vastly more different than waiting for something different from the tedium of baseball’s inherently unvaried to happen.
J.T. Snow didn’t quite fit into the traditional norms of exciting baseball, at least not by the standards of the general public. Playing essentially his entire career at first base (he was the designated hitter for two games), he never was much of a power hitter, and his season peak of 28 home runs in 1997 tied him for 13th among first basemen that season. The ubiquity of longballs in the late 90s really can’t be understated, which makes the MVP votes Snow received that season even more perplexing. (As a side note, Snow’s 24 homers in 1999 ranked him 15th among first basemen, behind Kevin Young, who you have already forgotten. We shall always cherish the first decade of the Wild Card Era.)
Snow had a reputation as a good defensive player for the bulk of his career, but in retrospect, it seems that he created the vast majority of his defensive value through a very high fielding percentage. Even in a historically-strong era for hitting, fielding well at first base isn’t exactly going to be a way to stand out, especially if the reason you’re considered good is because you rarely fail spectacularly.
That’s the connector of all of these players on the Hall of Fame ballot. There were other potential candidates who were probably better than some of the ones who made the ballot (Jose Vidro comes to mind), but everyone who made the ballot deviated in some way. Even if a player manages to become an MLB regular, it’s much harder for your career to exist outside a long series of success/failure results. How do you matter, to the world of baseball, outside of what the ball does after you hit it?
J.T. Snow doesn’t have a singular explanation for his relevance. Starting for a team in a seven-game World Series certainly helped, as did his most famous play, swooping up the Giants’ 3-year-old batboy before people could finish asking the question “Why does a MLB have a 3-year-old batboy?” Of course, he had won six Gold Gloves before 2002, so it wasn’t only the fact that he had to clear a toddler away from a live play at home plate in the middle of the World Series, but I have to imagine the sheer absurdity of that is going to be something that baseball will remember forever.
That’s one of the hardest parts of summarizing who- not what- a player was to the game. It’s more than just a series of moments, but someday that’s all a player will be, a collection of memories. I’m hoping to give the 36 players on the ballot a little more service than just a bunch of plays they took part in. That’ll matter, of course; that’ll always matter. I’m going to include as many relevant video clips and other related media as I can find at the end of these posts, but that won’t be representative of what that player actually meant. It can’t. I can’t. But there’s always more to a player’s legacy than what you can find in newspaper articles or blog posts or their Baseball-Reference page (although, to be fair, that last one is always a good place to start).
He was more known for not standing out in any discernible way, than anything else, and your mother probably loved him, and J.T. Snow will probably always be the only player to drag a toddler from the field during a live ball situation in the middle of the World Series.
Here are some videos:
By: Garrett Hickey
I, for one, am not one who enjoys documentaries, Knuckleball! is the exception to the rule. For most baseball nerds (who I assume comprise most of our readers) this documentary is old news, but I’m hoping this piece might turn anyone that has not seen it onto a new movie that could enlighten them about the illustrious history of the knuckleball (totally sarcastic, it is made clear throughout the movie that knuckleballers are almost universally distrusted as pitchers).
This documentary came out in 2012 and follows the 2011 season of R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield. It has the stereotypical sports documentary story line of how much both pitchers struggled and how success hasn’t changed them from their family-centric ways. This obviously is not the interesting story of the documentary, the interesting scenes are when the current knucleballers get together with past pitchers who threw the knuckleball and share stories and trade tips. These scenes give the viewer access to a meeting that has presumably been held for years with no one knowing. It gives you insight into something that is secret and private. Seeing how the fraternity of knuckleballers share tips and secrets makes them more likeable than the typical pitcher. Everyone, especially Dickey, seems like a normal guy who discovered the secret to getting major leaguers out without being particularly athletic.
If you enjoy baseball and enjoy movies you will more than likely enjoy this. The one downside was there weren’t any scenes about the science behind a knuckleball. It would have been a neat addition to the movie to have a pitch tracker that showed the minute motions that a knuckleball goes throw on the way to the plate. Considering this is the only complaint I have about the movie that’s pretty damn good.
I’m not going to give this a star ranking or anything, just see the movie if you like baseball.
2013 has been an uncharacteristic year for many baseball teams. The Pittsburgh Pirates have one of the best records in the MLB, the Cleveland Indians are giving a serious push to the Detroit Tigers’ run atop the AL Central standings, and the Yankees suck. But while all these storylines have gotten much attention from media and fans alike, the surprising season of the Kansas City Royals has gone somewhat under the radar. The Royals have gone 12-1 in their last 13 games to improve to 57-52 on the season, and they’re inching closer to the second wild card slot.
While their incredible streak will likely not continue for much longer, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that they can play well enough for the rest of the year to make the playoffs. Many players- most notably Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler- struggled at the plate early in the season, but have begun to be productive over the last month. While still only tenth in the American League in runs per game, the offense is beginning to come around thanks to help from Hosmer, Butler, and Alex Gordon. Because the poor hitting stretch lasted for so long, their season stats do not yet particularly impressive, but some of the team’s top players are steadily improving their numbers through stretches of productive games.
The Royals, though, are not necessarily a team that needs great hitting in order to win. Similar to the Tampa Bay Rays, their success as a team can come from other sources (including pitching, but we’ll get to that). One such example is defense, where Gordon, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain provide a strong defensive core in addition to multiple above-average defensive players at other positions. The other is bench depth, where players like David Lough, Jarrod Dyson, George Kottaras, and Miguel Tejada have been playing well on both sides of the field and play multiple positions.
So yes, the Royals are essentially the poor man’s version of the Rays, a comparison that is furthered by the great pitching of former Tampa Bay star James Shields. Ervin Santana has also been an ace for Kansas City, as both have ERAs hovering around 3.00, and have been imperative to the Royals’ success all year. Jeremy Guthrie has been consistently above-average, and Bruce Chen has enjoyed a few resurgent starts, all of which he’s dominated- and I think we’ll see more of Chen in the rotation for the rest of the season.
But while starters Wade Davis and Luis Mendoza have struggled, the bullpen has prevented many further runs from crossing the plate. All-Star closer Greg Holland, he of the 29 saves and 1.67 ERA, has been an absolute stalwart, and 2006 first-overall draft pick Luke Hochevar might finally shed his bust status if he continues to overwhelm batters as a setup man. If the starter can only get through six innings, manager Ned Yost has no problem combining these two with a seventh-inning appearance by Aaron Crow or Louis Coleman, who has yet to give up a run in 14.2 innings.
Yet, despite all this- the terrific recent play, the 12-1 record, the complete improvement of the Royals team- there isn’t much coverage of this team. While that is to be expected with a team without a true media superstar that plays in a relatively small market, the Royals are still my obvious choice for most surprising playoff contender. Playing in a now-crowded AL Central that can no longer be definitively called the worst division in baseball, the Royals will have their work cut out for them, but I’m excited to see whether they can close the gap over the next few weeks.
Over the last month, I have spent too much time reading Moneyball and The Extra 2%, both MUST reads (I can’t emphasize this enough) for baseball fans who are ready to see where baseball front office management is in the 21st century. What Billy Beane did with Oakland has been well documented thanks to Brad Pitt but what Andrew Friedman and the Tampa Bay ownership has done is perhaps more impressive.
Beane went through the wall first, taking on the naysayers and baseball elitists who said the game wouldn’t change. Friedman, a man with a Wall Street background, blew the wall away by completely changing the way an organization is run. Not only did Friedman go a step further than Beane in Sabermetric analysis, he implanted an entire organizational overhaul that included PR and Entertainment shell companies.
Now, where is this all going? The Pittsburgh Pirates, of course. We stand on August 5, 2013 and the Bucs have the best winning percentage in all of baseball. The Pirates are debunking 21 years of losing to become the “next team” to embrace advanced statistics and revitalized drafting.
I’m not 100% sure what Neal Huntington’s special technique is: how he knew that Starling Marte would become an eltie lead off hitter in just his second year, how the hell Fransico Liriano and A.J. Burnett were aces that needed retooling or even that Joel Hannerhan, Melancon and Jason Grilli would over two years become the best back end bullpen group in the league. We won’t know until someone writes another book with a dramatic title what the culture of the front office is or just how bad it was under the previous regimes that allowed hapless teams to inhabit the North Shore diamond.
What we do know is this: this group of Bucs is destined to break 21 years of losing. Unless Andrew McCutchen sells his soul, the Pirates are going to return to the playoffs to face the ghost of Sid Bream. These are all things that bring me to the verge of tears as the calendar moves towards October. These are emotions, anomalies and stories all covered by every media outlet to date.
I’m looking at the future. Are the Pirates the next MLB success story in the vein of the Rays and A’s? Let’s start with the obvious: at the core talent on the field.
McCutchen is locked up long term. Marte, Jeff Locke and Gerrit Cole look to only improve. Pedro Alvarez is a 35-40 HR masher heading into arbitration year one. Russell Martin, Grilli and Melancon are set for 2014. Gregory Polanco and Jameson Tallion will be with the MLB team next year and be impact players. That’s not a bad group to build around. Factor in the consistent success Huntington has had building a bullpen and the only real question marks are the back end of the rotation and the right side of the infield.
In both of the above-mentioned books, both ownership groups are keenly aware of both “Return on Investment” (ROI) and asset evaluations. Both teams had young pitching, shutdown yet cheap bullpens and a core group of young position players. The holes were acutely filled with players who did not break the bank yet delivered like they should. The Pirates have gotten that this year from Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett. Both were valued next to nothing by conventional baseball. The Pirates’ ROI for these two players alone should be classified as highway robbery. Both will be free agents in 2014. Both will command interest from other teams, especially Liriano who won’t win the NL Cy Young but will have comparable numbers. Beane and Friedman have made their livelihood by accurately projecting a player’s performance and not paying for anything but. Liriano will be paid handsomely to play for a big market team. Burnett may get an offer. While the Pirates won’t want to lose either, paying $10 million/year for either is more than likely a mistake. Huntington will have to continue his search through the rejects of the league for the next great breakthrough.
That brings up the right side of the infield. Garrett Jones and Neil Walker are both puzzling cases. Jones is all but done unless he signs for low. He’s struggling this year and is now an average left handed bat off the bench on a contender. Walker is more a question mark. A fan favorite and local Pittsburgher, an extension is almost mandated. However, his overall offensive numbers have been dropping and the last two seasons have seen injuries take games away. I have no idea what Huntington should do here. The key will be this: if Walker doesn’t project to be worth $7million a year in on the field value, don’t pay him that. The Rays dolled out two years $15 million for a Pat Burell they cut before year two. That deal prevented the small market Rays from making a deadline push for Cliff Lee. The reason ROI is so important for Huntington is that it increases the margin of error. Right now, there isn’t a margin much large than the width of a glove lace.
But that moves me into why I think the Pirates can become a very intriguing case. That margin of error is so low for Beane, Friedman and Huntington because of low revenues. Beane and Friedman have outdated stadiums that can’t draw a crowd in depressed economies. Pittsburgh has a gorgeous ballpark in a city that has thrived with an influx of young adults finding success in technology and other white-collar professions. Attendance records will be set this season and next season. An influx of $25 million will come from MLBAM revenues. While the TV deals that make Boston and New York financial juggernauts don’t exist in Pittsburgh, the Steelers and Penguins draw some of the highest ratings in their sports. (All speculation from here) But what if the Pirates do what the Yankees did with the Nets and find a way to merge resources into a successful new network for a sports crazed town.
My point is this: Oakland and Tampa Bay adapted because they had to. Their franchises have shown a legion of other small market GMs in baseball that big boys are behind the curve and can afford to be so. Pittsburgh is adapting as well but unlike the other two franchises, the Pirates have an environment conducive to growth. I don’t think this is lost on Huntington or Frank Coonely, the CEO of the Pittsburgh franchise. Pittsburgh will never, I repeat never, but on the same level as New York, LA or Boston. However, all of the pieces are in place for the Pirates to establish long-term competitive financial stability in a small market, something Oakland and Tampa Bay have yet to do.
By Garrett Hickey
Imagine for a moment that you are a GM for a team; you have a player that has once in a decade pitching talent. His career stats over 4 years are as such; 22 years old, 5 year / 25.25 million dollar contract, 2.39 ERA, 63 saves, 282 strike outs, 1.042 WHIP. He’s a two time All-Star and was considered for both the Cy Young and the NL MVP. Why would you want to trade this player? You wouldn’t, fans would be calling for your job. You’d be crazy to do it. The player I was describing is Aroldis Chapman and the trade described is exactly the move Walt Jocketty, GM of the Cincinnati Reds, should make.
The Reds have possession of a player who is considered one of the best closers in the league. Mr. 105 himself, the Cuban Missile, but for all that he’s a player that has not had much effect on the outcome of Reds games. Dusty Baker (and possibly management) don’t want to move Chapman to the starting lineup. Dusty won’t pitch Chapman for more than 3 outs in the 9th with a lead. These factors keep Chapman from being truly useful to the Reds.
Anyone who has read Moneyball can tell you that bullpen pitchers are a dime a dozen. If a player is a good pitcher they can close a game, if they have the stuff to get outs than they will. It’s just how it is. The Reds have pitchers that can close games and have shown that ability before. Sam LeCure, Jonathon Broxton, Logan Ondrusek are all more than capable of closing a game. So why not move Chapman to a starting role where he can have more effect on Reds day in and day out, the answer is because Dusty and management are scared that he will injure himself. That leads us to what I’ve been talking about trade Chapman. Get a player that can be used every day to influence the outcome of the game. How about an outfielder? Ryan Ludwick is old, Shin-Soo Choo isn’t staying next year and Billy Hamilton might not be ready. Jocketty needs to make the move for the guy that everyone knows is on the market, but no one is sure that they can afford, Giancarlo Stanton.
It seems perfect doesn’t it? Chapman goes to the Cuban heartland of America and Giancarlo Stanton goes to a team that is a legitimate contender. Obviously the trade would be way more complicated. The Reds would probably have to give up some other pieces, but if I’m the Reds I’m fine with that. The potential for an incredibly potent offense in a loaded NL Central is too tempting. Uncle Walt needs to make some moves. The Pirates are back in a big way and the Cards aren’t going anywhere. The Reds can’t afford to sit pat with the team they have and hope that they can sneak into the first or second wild card the next few years. The top NL teams are getting better and the Reds need to keep pace.
Writers Note: As I finish this article the Reds are in the top of the 9th against the Dodgers. They have managed 3 hits against Chris Capuano (and others). Should we bow before Chris Capuano’s all mighty pitching prowess or should the Reds be considering that maybe they need to look at another bat for the line-up?
by Andrew Pregler
The hammer has fallen in a way some expected. Ryan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the 2013 MLB season by the Office of the Commissioner after admitting usage of illegal PED drugs. The suspension will leave the Milwaukee Brewers without their best bat and Braun will leave over $3 million on the table as part of the suspension.
Essentially, Selig has been planning on dropping a hammer on his personal crusade against the PED era. The Biogensis story that dropped early in the season started this movement by the MLB to go through a comprehensive investigation of players linked to the clinic. Ryan Braun has been an obvious villain since his previous PED run in was defeated by a technicality in handling. When Braun was named in the report, it was a death sentence waiting to happen.
A few thoughts (Expect Tucker and I to have radically different views on this in later posts)
1) What does the MLB have on Braun that made him choose this way out? Yeah, the Brewers aren’t going anywhere and he was going to be dragged through this, but passing up $3 million and essentially killing all future sponsorships and publicity isn’t something you’re just going to do because you’re a good guy. He did this because 65 games is a lot better than what MLB had in store and felt it could prove with the evidence collected. That’s a scary thought.
2) What does this mean for Alex Rodriguez? Everyone knows the Yankees would love him to be suspended without pay and essentially end his career. A-Rod is going to fight like hell to make sure he earns the back end of one of the worst team contracts in MLB history. A-Rod is the next and potentially last big fish to fry for Selig and there’s no way he’ll plead down. The hammer will be felt hardest on him which makes his current rehab stint all that more interesting.
3) This is not the story you want running baseball. I’m sorry, I know cleaning up baseball is Selig’s prerogative, but no one will pay attention to the Matt Garza trade to Texas, no one will pay attention to the Pirates impending collapse or the Cardinals’ pursuit of record dominance or Manny Machado’s awesomeness for the next few weeks/when A-Rod is suspended.
We’ll have all kinds of writing on this all week.
by Andrew Pregler
I went to Cincinnati with our newest contributor Garrett to watch the Pirates lose 2 of 3 versus the Reds. Ok, no big deal. Normal visiting fan stuff happened (more on this later) but I want to focus on what happened on the field.
All three games were decided by two runs or less. All three involved comebacks and momentum changes. All three games featured pretty poor strike zones from the umpires. Again, nothing crazy here except that it’s a divisional series with 60ish games to go in the year. Kind of a big deal.
Then, this happened:
— AJ Burnett (@wudeydo34) July 22, 2013
And let me piece this all together. The Reds and Pirates have been tense since last year. The Pirates were in the mix until they played Cincy, lost a few and collapsed for the second straight year. In that series, this happened.
Thus, the seeds were planted. The Pirates adopted the Reds as the primary rival and took a huge series in April capped off with a five run, eighth inning comeback that planted the Bucs ahead of the Reds in the standings to this point still. The Pirates hold a slight edge in the series, leading 6-4 thus far. In these ten games, 22 batters have been hit. The Pirates’ faithful hate Brandon Phillips. Reds fans hate A.J. Burnett.
Listen, I get Yankees-Red Sox will get all of the publicity from now until the world ends. However, those two teams are rivals through history. This year, neither team has had a moment (unless you count the 30 minutes between pitches they probably use to write ESPN headlines and scripts about the game) that breathes life into this rivalry. It’s only a matter of time before the Reds and Pirates reach a beanball war that ends with ejections.
Back to the visiting fan thing. I understand Pittsburgh fans (Yinzers in particular) have a reputation many expect. I didn’t this past weekend other than a faint “Let’s Go Bucs” cheer in game one. The Reds fans didn’t lay into me, but there were comments made. Meh. Game two is where things got interesting. Yinzers had invaded Great American and started a pretty audible “Let’s Go Bucs” chant in the eighth and ninth innings. This was not taken kindly.
But what is this more than normal visiting fan shenanigans? These two teams won’t meet next until they play the six of the last nine games against each other. By then, both should be grappling for playoff spots, normal football fans will be in the baseball stadiums and these two teams will not hold any fastballs back. I’ll say this: it’s going to be fun. It’s going to have more personality than Red Sox-Yanks. It’s going to have offense from very popular players (Philips, McCutchen, Votto) with two very “loud” closers (Chapman and Jason Grilli) leading to plenty of ESPN worthy highlights.
Sit back and enjoy this show. Sure, Bristol is going to tell you the only rivalry in baseball is Boston-New York. I’m just saying that if I were a Sox fan, I’d much rather watch a 3 hour Reds-Pirates game than a 5 hour Sox-Yanks one.
By Garrett Hickey
What’s up everyone, I’ll be your guest contributor today. My name is Garrett Hickey (everyone can get their chuckles about my last name out in my first post.) I’m just going quickly introduce myself and then get out-of-the-way for the other guys to write serious baseball stuff. Or semi-serious. Or whatever goes on here, I’ve only been reading for like 3 weeks.
I’m a graduate of the prestigious University of Dayton (Go Flyers). I’m definitely not as knowledgable about baseball as the rest of the writers on this blog, but I promise I’ll do my bestest. The only reason I’m writing today is because Pregler works with me and thinks I’m decently funny, which I’m assuredly not.
Here are some fun facts/likes/dislikes:
1. I like blazers with brass buttons
2. I dislike tomatoes on sammichs (makes them all soggy)
3. I’m a Reds fan, deal with it (This is the fun fact portion of the list)
That’s it for me. I hope this wasn’t boring. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
By Andrew Pregler
Tim Kurkjian said the MLB Trade Deadline should not be a huge deal this year because the best player dealt will probably be a number three starter and teams aren’t going to give up three or four big time prospects for a veteran for a variety of reasons. That all being said, with the deadline about 12 days away, there’s still a ton of hype over potential moves and probable moves. However, some teams have a fundamentally different approach at the deadline and this year is no different. There are a small amount of definite sellers that have the rest of the mediocre or playoff bound teams eating out of their hands. Who of these teams is trapped by the deadline this year?
This team is poised to win a World Series NOW. As in based off the lack of depth in the system, the large amount of money invested and continued success of the last few years, the Tigers should come out of this era with a ring. They have the best rotation in baseball, they have the best overall hitter in baseball with a strong lineup around him of guys who don’t have too many years of their prime left and they have a manager who won’t stick around if they start losing. By and large, this is their year. However, their bullpen is trying to end all of these hopes every day. No lead feels safe and aside from Benoit, no Tigers’ arm has been consistent. Should Leyland probably trust Rondon? Yeah. Should Leyland probably throw Smyley back there just because? Yeah, that too. But Jim Leyland is a crusty old baseball man and wants a Mariano Rivera type closer. Dave Dombrowski pretty much has to oblige. The problem is: every team knows this. They smell the desperation of Detroit and know they can squeeze either Castellanos or Avisail Garcia and another high upside prospect for their best bullpen arm. Who runs off with the prize? I’m not sure but we know it will happen and if Detroit wins it all, it had better make up for the fact that their system would definitively be the worst in Major League Baseball after the move.
Unlike the Tigers, the Phillies have no idea where they stand. This is a team stuck in a mediocre National League in a division with underachieving teams. By now, Philadelphia’s inability to put away easy games should signify that this time is just barely above average. Just barely above average teams with skyrocketing payrolls for aging players usually try to dump the worst contracts as a retooling instead of rebuilding. (IE Red Sox last year/this year.) However, not every average team is also working on a potential billion dollar television contract to ensure they join the ranks of Dodgers and Yankees. Billion dollar contracts aren’t given out to rebuilding teams, they’re given out to teams with star power. So here’s the issue the Phillies have: there is no way they will win. However, they can’t sell their pieces off without severely hurting their future financials. The best case scenario is that the above team (Detroit) overpays for a closer and throws Castellanos and Lennerton in for Papelbon. Otherwise, Philadelphia is stuck.
New York Yankees
The Yankees are the hybrid of the two teams above. Like Detroit, they have absolutely no depth in their farm system that looks ready to carry on a winning tradition in the majors. Like the Phillies, they have tons of huge contracts that no one wants to take off their hands. Like Detroit, the Yankees are still pretty much in the thick of their divisional race. Like the Phillies, they are probably on the outside looking in, thanks to that whole hyper competitive AL East. The Yankees are aggressively shopping Phil Hughes around but no one really wants him for the asking price. Moral: the Yankees have to get young. They aren’t going to anytime soon. If they want to start the process now, they will probably have to sell low which is a white flag and slice of humble pie all rolled into a sucker punch. This is the beginning of the end and it’s not going to be pretty.
by Andrew Pregler
Last night should have been called the Mariano Rivera exhibition game played at Citi Field. Seriously, after it was apparent that the National League couldn’t hit and the American League could just enough, was there any doubt that Marino was going to get the MVP award? Sports on Earth ran a “Who will win the MVP” twitter contest starting in the third inning and I was one of 2,000 who picked Mo. He wouldn’t pitch until the eighth.
I’m glad Mo got his Lifetime Achievement Award (thanks Garrett Hickey for that one) and was glad to see Leyland and Bochy seemingly do a fine job at balancing the All-Star game show with a game that actually counts for something semi-important.
So moving away from that…Here’s what you really need to know about All-Star Game weekend:
Biogenesis isn’t Going Away:
Unfortunately for all of baseball, the rumors of plea deals, 500 game to lifetime bans and suspensions being carried out in 2014 have essentially taken over Thursday’s off day and all national discussion until something happens or the trade deadline provides an unexpected superstar move. I’ll post more on my personal views later, but essentially MLB is trying to get their ducks in a line and for the first time have a surefire report that gives all indicted players no wiggle room. Such a report would cement Selig as the commissioner who cleaned up his own PED mess and ensure that the MLB is known for having the most difficult drug testing system in all of sports. These are all things Selig wants regardless of what everyone else wants.
Chris Davis and the “Clean” Homerun Record
Because this is America, Chris Davis is not using steroids. Statistically speaking, this should have been expected from Davis. He hit for a lot of power last year and always had power in the minors. His issue was seeing pitches and a good approach at the plate. He developed that in the offseason and look what happens: A guy with natural power and good plate discipline is one of the elite hitters in the game. Imagine that! Anyways, people are saying that Davis reaching 61 would set the “clean” homerun record. I don’t think this is as big of a deal as people are making it out to be since many are the same fans/writers who cheered on McGwire and Sosa before so whatever makes you sleep at night, go for it. I think this storyline is tied into how the Biogenesis thing plays out. Moral: steroids aren’t done yet.
Young, Young Young Talent
The All-Star Game could have been a collegiate game with how many under 22 year olds there were on the roster. Mike Trout, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Jose Fernandez to be precise. Expand that to just “young” players with expected ceilings still 5 years out and you’ve got Matt Harvey, Aroldis Chapman, Matt Moore, Craig Kimbrell, Chris Sale and Matt Carpenter. The rest of the “young” guys aren’t old but the fact that they don’t even make this cut with guys just shows that the new age of baseball stars are upon us. Maybe it was fitting Mariano Rivera, arguably one of the faces of late 90′s-2000′s baseball, had a finishing moment at the game. Watching all of these guys dominate the rest of the way out should be amazing.