Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 MLB Allstar game... and baseball's other problems

Last night's MLB allstar game was lame just like all baseball games before October outside of Yankees-Red Sox games (or when Tim Lincecum pitches). When the President showing up is the most interesting part of the whole night, you know your sport has a problem. (And Fox only showed 1 replay but President Obama's first pitch did NOT reach the plate. Pujol's greatest achievement this weekend was to keep that thing from bouncing. [And why does our President throws like a teenage girl?])

I love sports. I can't watch baseball. A few thoughts...

Bad Management

  1. The players union is too strong – it seems like nothing ever gets accomplished. Performance enhancing tests were off the table from negotiations until way too late. Salary cap is still not even on the table.

  1. No Salary Cap – The Yankees payroll is above $200 million while the A’s are around $60 million. (The next highest after the Yanks are the Mets at $135 mill.) How can lower payroll teams compete year after year with that kind of inequity? Basically, the good players are always lured by richer and more successful clubs and paid exorbitant salaries which lower payroll clubs can’t match. These clubs (such as the Nationals) will never compete consistently because they can’t afford good players, which causes them to lose, which hinders their ability to earn enough revenue to attract free agents. Even if they develop a good player in the minor leagues, they lose him to a rich team after a few years. So the same teams make the playoffs most frequently. Yeah, there are always the random teams like the Marlins that win it all here and there, but that's a result of true sport shining through even when its held down by a corrupt system.

  1. PEDs - Why is there such an outcry about performance enhancing drugs? It was a "rule” that MLB was powerless to enforce so of course this would happen. Pujols is the last major big name slugger who is still clean. Hope he actually is. The owners ignored steroid usage after the player's strike in the mid 90's because they needed the power surge to bring crowds back. Now they're claiming ignorance and blackballing players for it? You know you have a problem when Jose Canseco is the only voice you can trust.

  1. Inept, Incapable and Corrupt commissioner – Bud Selig was basically a part owner of the Brewers (transferring ownership to his daughter to avoid being accused of partiality). Of course he's going to do what's best for the owners. Of course the player's union won't trust anything he wants to do. The best commissioners in sports (see: Stern) do what’s best for their sport regardless of what owners and players want. Selig is both powerless and corrupt.

  1. American’s pastime refusal to market itself to the black American athlete is slowly killing the popularity of the game in relation to the NBA and of course, the NFL. So while baseball gets a boost by the influx of the Latinos, Asians and other foreigners, MLB refuses to market to inner-city kids. Show Ryan Howard hitting a HR set to Jay-Z, how hard is that? Sheez.

  1. And why does MLB not have any apparent charity work? NFL runs United Way ads every commercial. NBA has its read to achieve initiative. MLB? Don't do steroids slogan, at least?

  1. The individual’s numbers are more important than team success. PEDs are such a big deal simply because baseball is all about its stats. And about making the Hall of Fame. And probably also because most teams have no shot of making the postseason much less winning a championship.

  1. Instant Replay. Its 2009. Viewers can see multiple replays within 4-5 seconds of the actual play. There's nearly 30 seconds until the next pitch. So why can't they review every close play? There’s no running clock. Baseball is literally the only sport that can be called correct - on every single play. And why is there a changing strike zone based on umpire’s preference from game to game? Why not consider letting a computer call balls and strikes? It would provide complete consistency without basis for argument. Baseball is so stuck in tradition.

  1. Guaranteed salaries make for lazy players. The Yankees can afford that but the A's can't, so this hurts the small payroll teams more.

Bad Structure

  1. Not enough teams in the playoffs (Must win division or 1 wild card spot). Why do you have to win the division to make the playoffs? In the AL, you know either the Yankees or Red Sox will usually win their division and the other team will take the wildcard. So that leaves 2 spots left for the rest of the entire freakin AL? stupid. There should be 8 teams playing 11 game series. You can cut down on the regular season if you have to.

  1. And teams plays too many games – it creates 162 irrelevant games. They say that every team wins 60 games and loses 60 games. Its what you do with the 40 that count. So how do I know if the game I'm watching is one of the 60s or one that counts?

  1. Why is the World Series home advantage determined by outcome of all-star game? That doesn't make any sense. How about best record gets home field? Or at least go by interleague play record. Selig says it must be decided early so plans can be made, hotels reserved, etc. So that's why the NBA can't manage to put on the NBA Finals every year...

  1. Why is interleague play still such an issue? Purists don't even want it. LOL. They think its BETTER that the Yankees or Red Sox NEVER come to their hallowed NL stadiums. hahaha. stupid. Every team should play every team at least every other year. Heck, with 162 games, you should be able to play every team every year. Why do the Diamondbacks need to play the Padres like 15 times a season anyway?

  1. Why does 1 league have the DH and the other doesn't? Its like two different sports. Baseball purists need to shut up about this. What ends up happening is that the AL has 30 more sluggers than the NL. The NL has Albert Pujols. And NL fans are subjected to having to watch pitchers HIT. Are you trying to drive away fans? And don't give me the strategy stuff. The strategy only exists as a result of a stupid rule. Pitchers shouldn't ever hit. Its a sure out. Its boring. Its when people go to the bathroom. Wake up! Why do you think the NL hasn't won an allstar game in 12 years and get dominated in interleague play?

  1. Why are baseball playoffs in October and November? This is one of the only outdoor sports that can't be played in inclement weather (which is stupid in itself) but they choose to play the most important part of the season in November. stupid.

My complaints with the game itself

  1. There’s only 10 minutes of actual action per every 3 hour game. And only 3 players are actually playing the majority of the entire game. The pitcher, the hitter, and the catcher. And baseball fans say soccer is slow. ha!

  1. The game requires relatively little tactics and strategy, which makes it boring. Baseball lovers, calm down. I’m just saying any manager can manage any club in any particular game.

  1. Inherent in the game is the fact that the best player in the game can be taken out of the game with the intentional walk. (In basketball, you can never take the ball away from Jordan so that he can’t even attempt to play).

  1. Baseball requires the least team play out of all team sports. That’s why Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent could be mortal enemies and MVP candidates at the same time.

Okay - a few things I do like about baseball.

1) HR - hardest thing to do in sports.

2) the smell of the glove.

3) crack of the bat

4) The intricacies of pitching.

5) Baseball's roots in Americana.

6) Visiting famous ballparks - Fenway is the best old school park / AT&T Park is the best new school

7) hot dogs. not dodger dogs - those are nasty.

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