Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Biogenis Effect...

It’s the word that has dominated baseball for the last decade or two: steroids.  And now, it looks like baseball is truly starting to do something about it.  Ryan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the 2013 season.  And baseball is promising more suspensions are to come.  Besides Braun, names being mentioned are Jesus Montero, Gio Gonzales, Melky Cabrera, and most notably, Alex Rodriguez.

Most players will be able to come back from this.  They can serve their suspension and be the poster child for making a mistake and taking accountability for it.  Even Ryan Braun, who successfully appealed his 2012 positive test, can come back from this.  People want to like him.  People want to see in him the good that is baseball.  He is 29 years old with a lot of career left.  If he continues to play at the level everyone knows he can, most people will forget about this, and it will be a minor paragraph in the book of Ryan Braun.

The person who will not be able to come back from this is Alex Rodriguez.  He is the most hated man in baseball.  Is he a good baseball player?  Yes.  Is he a good person in the public eye?  Debatable.  Outside of Yankee fans (and not even all of them), people want to see Alex Rodriguez fail.  He has done nothing to help his image.  Yes, he admitted to using steroids when he was a member of the Texas Rangers.  However, since then has he done anything to fix how the world perceives him?  No.  And does he care?  Seems not to.  It has gotten so bad that even Brian Cashman, General Manager of the Yankees, said to the media that he wishes Alex would just shut the f**k up.  You know it’s bad when your front office is turning on you. 

So here is what I suggest for the high and mighty A-Rod:  Shut up.  Take a cue from your captain, and one of the most respected men in baseball, Derek Jeter.  Have some class.  Think about what you say and do, and how it will be portrayed.  Yes, there will always be people out there who want to tear you down, but don’t give them any more ammunition.  Do not flirt with girls in the stands after you’ve been benched in a playoff game.  Do not go against Yankee team rules.  Shut up and play the game you are being paid an ungodly amount of money to play.  Your reputation has already been heavily tarnished, why do more damage.  If you can finish out your contract, play well, and stay out of trouble, maybe some people will gain back the respect they lost for you through all of this.  Own up to your mistakes, truly apologize for them, and then use your actions (not your words) to show the world that you mean it.  If you don’t, I’m scared to see how much more the mighty can fall…

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why The Steroid Era Ruined Baseball

I started watching and really getting into baseball when steroids were pretty prominent and growing in popularity among players.  Launching the ball out of the park was nothing new when I started paying attention.  But it's not true, not all chicks dig the long ball.  There is nothing I like more in a game of baseball than a pitcher's duel.  Or give me a great defensive play and you'll have me more amped up then a home run.

During the steroid era, I feel like games became more of a home run derby than an actual baseball game.  Guys started hitting more and more home runs and that's what people focused on.  Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in a season.  Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa hit over sixty in the same season.  That's unheard of.  And unnatural.  And I believed it ruined baseball.

People are now so focused on the power numbers that they have forgotten what made baseball great.  We've forgotten what made baseball baseball.  What happened to the importance of base stealing?  What happened to the importance of bunting a runner over to the next base?  Yes, home runs can win games, but so can these two plays.  I think the most exciting play in baseball is a baserunner stealing home.  How often do you see that?  Yes, people will talk about it for a day or so, but not as much as home runs people hit.

Yes, my favorite player (Ken Griffey Jr) hit a lot of home runs.  But he was so much more of a player than a home run hitter.  Look at the infamous game in the 1995 season (or as Mariners fans refer to it, "The Double.")  He did not hit a home run to win the game.  He was on first base when Edgar Martinez hit a double.  He circled the bases and scored the winning run.  His power did not win that game, his speed did.  Yes, he hit over 600 home runs, but it was over a long career.  He played the game hard, and he played the game clean.

I will never say Barry Bonds was not a great baseball player.  But he did not play the game clean.  And because of that, his reputation will always be tarnished.  In my opinion, he does not deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame.  Look at Mark McGuire.  He was a great hitter, but he has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I don't think he ever will be.

Steroids are dirty, and they take away from the beauty of the game.  They have no place in baseball, and I think their impact has forever dirtied the game.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where's the Peace?

It was the elbow heard 'round the world.  It was a move you would expect to see in hockey, or maybe in soccer.  But not in basketball.  During the Los Angeles Lakers/Oklahoma City Thunder game last night, Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) delivered an elbow to the head of James Harden that would make a boxer jealous.  He claims it was an accident, that it was an unfortunate incident, that he didn't know Harden was there.  I call bullshit.  This is coming from someone who served almost a full season suspension for a brawl during a game that involved not only players from the other team, but fans as well.  In the video replays, it was clear that MWP bumped into Harden before he raised his arm to "bump his chest in celebration."  He runs into Harden and while they are still touching, he raises his arm and delivers an elbow to the back of Harden's head.  Luckily, Harden was able to get up and walk off the court on his own, but who knows what could have happened.  Metta World Peace is an incredibly strong guy, and I don't think he realizes the damage he could have caused.  All of his effort was thrown into that elbow.  James Harden will be lucky to miss only a couple games with a concussion.  No one will know the full extent of his injuries for a while.  One can only hope for a mild concussion.  Maybe a headache that lingers.  That would be the best possible outcome for how strong of a hit it was.  And World Peace is hoping for a one or two game suspension?  Tell me Metta, where was the "peace" in that move?  I truly hope you do not play again this season.  What you did was disgusting and despicable.  You do not deserve to play this game that you claim you love, not if you are going to pull bush league moves like that.  You are pathetic.  As a Blazers fan, I have never been a fan of Oklahoma City, but if there is a Lakers/Thunder match up in the playoffs, I hope that the Thunder destroy you, simply for that move alone.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sports Fans vs. Team Fans

Living in a "baseball town" like St. Louis, I have been thinking a lot about the difference between a true baseball fan and simply a team's fan.  The truth is, I would not call St. Louis a baseball town.  Yes, it has a great team and a great baseball history.  But the truth is, people here only care about the Cardinals (and only when they're winning) instead of the game of baseball.  When I moved here, people expected me to stop being a Mariners fan and automatically become a die hard Cardinals fan.  Yes, I will go to games and root for the Cardinals (as long as they aren't playing a team I like better), but I have been a Mariners fan for 17 years...I won't just "give them up."  The difference between a baseball fan and a team fan is the team fan will only go to a game if their favorite team is playing.  A baseball fan will go to a game no matter what team is playing.   A team fan will wear team gear and cheer for their team when the team is doing well.  A baseball fan will wear their team's gear and cheer for their team, no matter how the team is doing.  A team fan will say "I knew we had it" when their team does well.  A baseball fan knows when their team isn't the best, but still has faith.  I am proud to be a Mariners fan.  I will cheer for them every day of the year.  Yes, they may not be the best right now, but when they do eventually do well, I will be proud to say I have been a fan all along.  Team fans, where are you when your team is not playing well?  Now I'm not lumping all Cardinals fans into this.  There are some who are true baseball fans.  But I have noticed there is a difference between small market fans and big market fans.  That is why people who wear a Seattle hat, or a Toronto hat, or even a Tampa Bay hat will always get a little more respect from me than someone wearing a Cardinals, Red Sox, or Yankees hat.  Why?  Because you know that small market fan is truly a fan.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It Is Just A Game

I am reading more and more about violence towards people who are rooting for the opposing team.  Just today, I read an article about a Saints fan at an Applebee's in Georgia shooting at a couple people because they were cheering for the 49ers.  I have some news for you.  It's just a game.  Not everyone is going to root for your team.  If they did, it would be a very boring world.  Now don't get me wrong, I will be the first one to stand up for and cheer or defend my team.  That is fine.  And every once in a while, a little verbal argument may ensue.  But violence is never okay.  Hearing about people getting shot, stabbed, or beaten because someone doesn't like that they are a fan of another team, that pisses me off.  People who do those kinds of things are not sports fans.  Sports fans have respect for fans of other teams.  They may not agree with them, but they respect the fact that they root for that team.  Your "team" that you think you are defending when you are attacking other people would be ashamed of you.  They do not want you as a fan.  You disgust them.  How do you feel about that?  I'm a Mariners, Blazers, University of Oregon, 49ers and Seahawks fan...do I deserve to be shot for that?  Should I be beaten into a coma?  Because when I go to games, I am vocal about cheering for my team.  When I go to away games, I wear my team's gear.  I hope I am never afraid to go to a game and root my team on because I am afraid of being attacked.  I will say it again, it is just a game.  This violence is out of hand and it absolutely has to stop.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's a sad day in Blazers Nation

As I sit here writing this, I am heartbroken.  I have spent the last day reading every article and every quote possible, and crying.  Because it is now official.  Brandon Roy, at the age of 27, has retired.  The fact that he has no cartilage in his knees, and that if he kept playing he would eventually be unable to walk, has taken him from the game that he loves.  And with the fact of how hurt and upset I am about this announcement, I can't even imagine how BRoy is feeling.  Yes, everyone is saying he will still get his money, but that's not what it is about for Roy.  I can guarantee that he is devastated that he can no longer play the game that he loves.

No one can deny what Brandon Roy has done for the Blazers on the court.  He was our superstar.  And even when he was hurt, he played better than most.  There is no doubt that we are going to miss his play.  But I think what Blazers fans (and I know I) will miss the most is his heart.  He gave 200% in everything he did, on and off the court.  He wasn't just a basketball player, he was the face of our franchise, and he took pride in that.  For so long, Portland didn't care about basketball, as our players were in and out of jail.  But Brandon changed that for us.  He saved basketball in Portland.  He knew that being our superstar meant he had added responsibility, and he wanted to do well by us.  He took the weight of Portland on his shoulders and didn't disappoint us.  He took the "Jail Blazers" and transformed them into not only a team that was respected, but a team that was feared.  And you know you're respected when you have some of the biggest names in the game saying basketball is losing one of it's greats.

Personally, I hope to never see any future Blazer in the number 7 jersey.  He may have only played a few short years, but what he has done for Portland and the Blazers franchise is immeasurable.  He was our golden boy, and he will be truly, deeply missed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Should There Be Instant Replay?

In almost every sport, there is instant replay.  The referees can review the play and ensure they made the right decision.  Baseball, however, has decided to remain true to it's roots and have very limited instant replay.  You can use instant replay to determine if a ball was a home run or not, but is that enough?  Or is it too much?
Many people say that instant replay would affect the flow of the game, that baseball is already long enough, why do we want to do something else to slow it down?  But there have also been many cases that lean towards instant replay.  The infamous Steve Bartman incident.  The near perfect game for Armando Galarraga, where Jim Joyce admits he blew that call.  And now, in the 2011 World Series, calling Matt Holliday safe in game 3, which could have very easily affected the outcome of the game.
So what is too much instant replay, and what is being too hard headed to change with the changing times?  In regular season games, I say don't mess with instant replay too much.  Keep it to determine whether a ball is a home run or not.  Maybe expand it to determine if a ball is fair or foul.  But we don't need it for every little play.  However in the post season, and most importantly the World Series, Major League Baseball might want to do a little more to ensure the right calls are made.  It has been brought up during this series, that it may be beneficial for another umpire to sit in the press box and review the plays that are made.  That would not "slow down the game" too much, as people are worried about.  I don't see an umpire with a specific job of watching the review slowing down the game any more than a manager arguing a call, the umpire on the field reversing that call, and the other manager arguing the reversal.  Yes, that provides entertainment, but wouldn't we rather have the right calls made in the most important games of the season?
In my opinion, expanded replay in the regular season is a waste of time.  But in the World Series, it needs to be explored.  As a baseball fan, I would rather the team who truly won the series, to win the series.