It’s been almost three weeks since the season started and there are quite a few storylines to discuss. I figured I would break this into two parts and give a few first impressions starting with the National League. I also will (finally) dole out division predictions so without further delay let’s get to it. (more…)
What a second-half it is shaping up to be.
I saw the other day a statistic that said for the first time in Major League Baseball’s history four divisions are separated by no more than a game and a half. Four! So where does that put things for those contenders who are, not only fighting to avoid the Wild Card play-in game, but fighting for the opportunity to be in that playoff conversation? (more…)
In the National League Central the way of life still sees the St. Louis Cardinals as the cream of the crop.
In 2013, however, the Pirates made it known they would like to join the conversation. With a rotation that might be the best in the business and professional hitters up and down their lineup the Cardinals look ready to make another World Series run. The Pirates, who finally broke through after 20-consecutive losing seasons, have a good thing going in Pittsburgh with a good mix of youth and veteran leadership. (more…)
In 1999 the Atlanta Braves had a budding superstar in Chipper Jones. That season he hit 45 home runs with 110 RBI’s, and a .319 batting average on his way to the National League most valuable player award and a National League pennant. (more…)
The National Central Division is one in transition. The Reds have a great team, but the rotation might let them down enough to not reach full potential. (more…)
In the National League, I don’t think the phrase “Senior Circuit” is as applicable as it once was.
Sure, there are no designated hitters, stadiums are generally larger and more accommodating to pitchers, the double-switch is as common as a Wrigley Field seventh inning stretch sung to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” and yes the league does have Jamie Moyer.
Jokes aside, even with the exodus of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder to the American League, the talent is as young and hungry as ever. (more…)
Now, more than ever, it is important to have more than one skill set as a major league baseball player. No longer can you mash 40-plus home runs and be deficient in every other area. You can steal the world in bases, but if you can’t find a way on base consistently (On-Base percentage), draw walks, and hit for average there will be someone who knows about it. And they will be ready to exploit this. (more…)
Only Ryan Braun saw it coming.
Coming off a season in which he won the National League MVP and led the Milwaukee Brewers to their first division title he was supposed to be one of the faces of baseball’s grand new era. An era where performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) was a thing of the past, and baseball was returning to the way it was when it was all about the athleticism and true five-tool talent. He knew what was coming the day it was announced he was the the MVP of his league.
And ,sadly, it appears we were wrong about the change.
No, I will not give Ryan Braun the benefit of the doubt. If I am wrong for that then so be it. My opinion has always been the baseball is America’s past time and that will never change. Neither will my view on those who come close to tainting or distorting it. Frankly, it is the reason a player like Ron Santo, who finally was granted entry into the hall of fame post-humously, got overlooked for so long. Because bigger, stronger, and more juiced up players decided they needed to “keep up with the times.” These types of players are the reason a Dale Murphy will get passed over because in the grand scheme of it his accomplishment pale in comparison to the inflated numbers of the “steroid era.” I’m 27 and yes I do care about the integrity of the game. I am not one to that this is just a “sign of the times” because It isn’t.
Cheating is wrong and whether you get caught or not it has a profound consequence on someone. Be it the Don Mattingly’s of the world who had a stellar career but not quite the ability to stay healthy when not aided by something to recover quicker. Or a career minor leaguer who watched someone who was inferior than he was the year before come to camp with a little something extra. It isn’t a fair game when the rules get altered. Period. In Braun’s case, if these tests prove true it will have a resounding impact on multiple levels.
First, Milwaukee has him locked in at $20 million dollars plus starting in 2016-2020. What kind of player will he be if the substance he was using had an affect on his body or ability? How does Milwaukee deal with having their face of the franchise being labeled as a cheater? Second, going back to the Brewers organization which deal looks better now that this has come to light? What if they go the route of focusing more resources on Fielder instead of Braun? The entire dynamic shifts when you look at who would come with less baggage and at least we know (to this point) Fielder isn’t mixed up with any of the PEDs implications. Third, we look at the recent MVP standings and see a guy like Matt Kemp. As I’ve stated before on this very blog I believed Kemp should be the rightful owner of the MVP award and if these accusations and tests turn out to be true this will validate my opinion more than Kemp’s numbers.
I don’t do well with the steroid era for multiple reasons, but the primary is the negative press it gives to the game of baseball. Just when things are going well, a new system for testing in place, and a collective bargaining agreement is signed without any of the drama of the other major sports this comes out.
I will not be giving Ryan Braun any benefit of the doubt. Lets jut hope for his sake he has a credible defense.