Is It A Slippery Future For Baseball?

Is It A Slippery Future For Baseball?

Is a change in baseball manufacturing standards leading to increased offensive play?
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It is officially that time of the year again. Fall. Carved pumpkins adorning the porches of homes, candy sales in every supermarket in America, crisp Autumn air on the morning commute, and the beloved spooky atmosphere. Fellow sports fanatics know that fall has a very much underappreciated phenomenon starting in the sweet month of October, the World Series of Major League Baseball. A staple of North American sports, Baseball is an American tradition right up there with apple pie and muscle cars.

The 2017 MLB season kicked off in April, as custom. Highlights of the year include the dominant play by the Dodgers, a historic winning streak from the Indians, and the continuous battle between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper as the poster child best player in the league. The regular season was packed full of excitement, or agony, depending on which club has your loyalty. More casual fans of the sport skip out on a vast majority of the season until the playoffs roll around in October. Diehard fans know that October baseball is the highest quality baseball anyway. This year’s postseason has been a rollercoaster spectacle, one of the greatest in recent memory.

As beloved and sacred as baseball is, it is not without its fair share of controversies over the years. The infamous Chicago “Black Sox Scandal” of 1919, to the age of performance enhancing drugs, baseball seems to find itself in more trouble than most other North American professional sports organizations. This year was no exception as reports have surfaced of baseballs manufactured by league standards have changed from their usual. Complaints from pitchers and their coaches were first voiced in the summer, their concern was that the baseballs were too slick to throw an effective slider pitch. They theorized this was an impactful factor in 2017 having the most home runs in a single season. Interestingly enough, at around the same time, MLB commissioner Robert Manfred declared his desire to see more excitement in offensive play in the game. More hits and more homers will lead to more viewers and discourage people from leaving games early that didn’t have enough excitement.

This trend of higher hit and the home run percentage has lasted well into the playoffs, culminating in game five of the world series seeing Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw allowed six runs in a 13-12 extra-inning loss. While high homerun counts might attract more casual fans to the game it leaves an interesting ultimatum for front offices in the league; instead of pouring mega contracts to one-star pitcher, or do you instead fill your bullpen with an abundance of pitchers and rotate them more often in-game to keep the throws strong and fast? It is possible that rather than slick or juiced up baseballs the increase in offensive play is a result of better hitting by players. For such a trend to happen so quickly and have such a lasting impact well into the world series is foreign to the sport.

If either the Dodgers or Astros lose the series due to a bad slider from a good pitcher, this controversy will be closely monitored in the coming season.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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5 Reasons Why The Yankees Won't Win The World Series This Year

I promise you, this isn't their year.
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Baseball fans, brace yourselves: pitchers and catchers have officially reported to camp. Spring training is JUST around the corner. It is finally time for us to come out of our long hibernations and witness our favorite teams and players take the field again.

But before that, let's talk about the elephant in the room here: the Evil Empire. Yes, folks, I'm talking about the New York Yankees. It has been nine too-short years since they last won the World Series, and many are saying that this is the year that the Yankees will return to their former glory.

But I'm here to say no!!! The Yankees will not be winning another World Series on my watch!! So here, folks, are my top five reasons why the New York Yankees will not be winning the World Series this year.

1. Starting rotations questions

I'll give it to the Yankees –– they've got a really good offense. You won't see me questioning the efficacy of the Yankees' lineup this season. The starting pitching, however, is another thing entirely.

A lot of the pitchers in the starting rotation had career years last season –– the question is, will that carry over into 2018?

Luis Severino has two years with over 20 games played in the league. His ERA for those years is as follows: 5.83 in 22 games; 2.98 in 31 games. Is it possible that last year was just a fluke? Or is it more likely that he just had a rough first full season? I think it's somewhere between the two, and Severino isn't necessarily the Cy Young ace that Yankees' fans are bragging about.

Masahiro Tanaka is literally always injured, and while he had a great October, he's never really gone a long stretch of time where he's stayed healthy and pitched well. Sonny Gray is a solid number 3, but he's not the ace-pitcher that he was in Oakland. CC Sabathia had a great season last year, but what are the odds that he repeats that this season, during which he'll turn 38 and his knee problems will likely only get worse?

The Yankees also do not have a dependable 5-hole man, because Jordan Montgomery and Luis Cessa have both proven that they can't hold down the position. Look, all I'm saying is there are a lot of questions with this rotation. It's entirely possible that they can hold it together and the offense will pull them through –– but I still think it's worth asking if this rotation is strong enough to fend off the Astros.

2. Bullpen woes

Anyone else remember how terrible Dellin Betances was at the end of last season when Joe Girardi did everything in his power NOT to use them in the playoffs? And also remember that stretch when Aroldis Chapman literally could not close out games? There was definitely a lot of wear and tear on the bullpen guys at the end of last season, which ultimately was one of the biggest things that cost the Yankees in the playoffs. This isn't the three-headed monster that it used to be (complete with Andrew Miller, who's now with Cleveland).

If the Yankees don't find someone to shore up that 5-hole in the starting rotation, new manager Aaron Boone could be leaning on the bullpen hard again this year. While that may be okay in the short term, it's definitely not a way to win your 28th title.

3. 2nd and 3rd Base

After trading Starlin Castro to the Marlins and letting Chase Headley and Todd Fraizer go this offseason, the Yankees are banking on two rookies to hold down the left-side bags for them. Some type of weird, rookie-hybrid concoction of Ronald Torreyes, Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, and Miguel Andùjar are expected to see time at 2nd and 3rd base this season, and Torreyes is the only one of the bunch who has seen extended time in the big leagues.

Will they all have big rookie seasons, like Aaron Judge did last season? Or will they all strikeout out big? No one really knows, and that's a big wager to bet on not just one, but two, of your infield positions.

4. The Houston Astros

The Astros were the team that knocked the Yankees out in Game 7 of the ALCS last season en route to their World Series victory. The Astros and the Yankees are the two favorites in the American League, and I'm gonna make the case that the Astros are the better team of the two here. They've got a proven group of guys who have all seen October baseball now, including a lineup full of young players (Correa, Altuve, Springer, etc.) who can go toe-to-toe with the Yankees lineup of Sanchez, Judge, and Stanton. Go Astros!

5. I really just don't want them to

Perhaps the best reason on this list! The Yankees will not win the World Series this year because I do not want them to. It's as simple as that folks!

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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MLB Players Who Tested Positive For PEDs Do Not Deserve The Honor Of Being In The Hall Of Fame

Legendary player or not, if you cheated, you do not deserve to be a hall of famer.
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For years now, there has been an ongoing debate about whether or not players who tested positive for steroids and other PEDs or Performance Enhancing Drugs should be allowed to be inducted into the Major League Baseball hall of fame. I full heartedly believe that these players do not deserve the same honors as players who have spent their whole careers clean of these drugs, and put the work in in the weight room, instead of getting juiced.

I do agree that players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are legends who were some of the best in the game, but I still believe they do not deserve the same honors as Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, and newly inducted players such as Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, and Vladimir Guerrero. Because why should we hold players who cheated to the same honor as players who spent their whole careers clean? Even the Hall of Fame chairman wants to keep him out.

Growing up as kids, we were always taught that cheating is frowned upon and that there would be consequences if we got caught cheating.

Say you and a classmate are preparing for a big exam tomorrow in your class, you study all week for it and even pull an all-nighter for the exam while your classmate stole the study guide and cheats on the exam. You both get perfect scores on the exam even though your classmate who cheated got caught, how would you feel? Pretty pissed right? You worked so for that exam while you classmate got caught cheating and still gets the same honor as you.

The same goes for MLB players, if a player like Barry Bonds who is a legend who tested positive for steroids get inducted in the hall of fame, then he would be taking the place of someone who spent their whole career clean. To me, I think that is unfair because steroid and PED users do not deserve the same honor as players who are clean regardless of how good they were. For more information click here .

Recently, I have seen articles defending players who tested positive for steroids and why they should be allowed into the hall of fame. I do agree with one point that was made, where Barry Bonds was one of the best players in the MLB in 1997 before the “steroid era” began and before all the allegations were made against him.

Although this is a solid point, I must respectfully disagree because this is still no excuse that should be used to make his case for the hall of fame. He still took steroids, he still cheated and he should not be rewarded by being inducted into the hall of fame.

But that doesn’t just go for Bonds, or Sosa or McGwire, it goes for any player who tested positive for the use of steroids. It should not matter when they took steroids, they still cheated and there should be consequences for players who cheat, regardless of what fetes they have achieved.

People have also tried to argue with me that Barry Bonds is the current home run record holder at 762, so he should automatically be in the hall of fame despite the fact he used steroids. Every time I hear this I always say, So? He still cheated. Because it is the truth, holding a scoring title is still no excuse for taking steroids, it shouldn’t be something to help us look past the fact that he cheated.

When we look at the hall of fame players, we look at players who have had decorated careers because they worked for it in the weight room, in the batting cages, and on the field. These players have been clean and worked for these achievements, they’re Hall of Famers for a reason. Not because they cheated their way through their careers. For more information click here.

My point is, it should not matter how decorated your career was, no matter how many records you have or even if you are considered to be the one of the greatest players of all time, if you cheated at all during your career, you do not deserve the honor of being inducted into the hall of fame and be forever immortalized among players who had clean careers and worked their asses off day to get to where they are today.

When it comes to sports, there are not cutting corners, hard work is the only way to success and I am a firm believer in this. Cheating is so often frowned upon in our society, so why don’t we frown upon it when it comes to baseball?

Cover Image Credit: @blbonds25

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