Baseball

Pastime: Can Baseball Stop Slipping From The Top Spot

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Well we’re a week away from the beginning of baseball season, and to me this signals an important transition in weather. If you can play baseball at Fenway Park then the horrible New England winter weather is most likely over; and thank god for that. But something is truly troubling to me, and that is that it feels like Baseball is being replaced, as our national pastime by football. We’re seven days away from baseball season, and all anyone can talk about is the NFL draft. And look, I don’t blame them this is one of the best draft classes of all time, but hey the boys of summer are back, and its time to hit the diamond not the gridiron. To me there are many contributing factors to why this is happening, but I wonder could the two co-exist as the national pastimes.

First of all lets look at baseball. Baseball is a pastoral game developed in the 1800’s and eventually moved into the cities of America in the early 20th century with the massive industrialization and urbanization . You could go see a game for a little money. Up until they started playing multiple night games a week Chicago Cubs fans would leave work mid-day to watch the Cubs play nine innings, and return to work.

But now things like this are impossible with the average ticket costing a literal arm and a leg, and unless you have a group-on your not getting into the stadium without shelling out a hefty amount of cash. First of all you have your ticket. Then you have transportation you have to figure in gas, tolls, parking, and possibly trains and buses. Then when you get in the stadium everything is incredibly expensive. One beer and a hot dog can run you up to $20. Ridiculous if you ask me. But it’s like this in every sport, but the thing about baseball is that they have the longest schedule out of all the Major Sports. Thus attending a baseball game multiple times a week has become a far off dream for many baseball fans.

Fortunately as a Red Sox fan we usually don’t have to see Fenway Park barely full, but other teams can barely get fans in the door. Why? Because of the expense and frequency. Think about it if you go to a game do you want to spend a king’s ransom to see the Astro’s play terribly against whatever team they’re playing against, or do you want to go see the Rockets who have one of the highest winning percentages in Basketball play against any team in the NBA? Easy choice…

As for frequency I would say that 162 games is too long of a season. The typical MLB season lasts 180 days. This leaves players only 18 off days, and about 15 off days if they’re partaking in All-Star Game festivities. This frequency to me is what is deterring fans from getting into baseball, as it is just too hard to keep up with if you have a life. Plus the scheduling is quite confusing with teams playing 19 games against four opponents in own division which adds up to a whopping 76 games. They then play 6 games against 11 opponents in other divisions within their league which adds up to 66 games. And then there are 20 inter-league games. To be able to schedule that must be quite the task, let alone being a casual fan or someone new to the game.

Now lets look at Football where there football is a 16 game schedule. This makes football an easy thing to keep tabs on, and every Sunday (or Monday and Thursday) is an event. As a fan you know your team is playing that day, and you know against which team, and you’ve been breaking down the matchup all week in your head, and probably are planning on watching multiple games, as you want to watch your players on your fantasy team play.

Now these two sports are like comparing apples and oranges, but lets look at one of the other contenders for America’s national pastime, Basketball. The NBA is interesting because it’s regular season is almost half the length of the MLB’s. During the regular season, each team plays 82 games, 41 each home and away. A team faces opponents in its own division four times a year which adds up to 16 games. Each team plays six of the teams from the other two divisions in their own conference four times which adds up to 24 games. They then face the remaining four teams three times which adds up to 12 games. Every team also plays all the teams in the other conference twice adding 30 games.

Now this cut in frequency is something that baseball should consider. 82 games might be a little low, but somewhere around the 110-120 mark would not be bad, and it would allow more rest for players, and would increase attendance at many parks. I’d also beef up the MLB playoffs, as they are quite boring we all know which pool of teams are going to be a viable choice for the playoffs by June, but by adding a longer playoff it would make the game more interesting, and would make playoff races better, as teams would be fighting even harder to make it into the playoffs.

This would make baseball go through the roof, and bango we have our national pastime back, and it can co-exist with Football….

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Thank You Derek Jeter

mrnovember2By Zach Besaw

When I was young I was raised to be a Red Sox fan. I can distinctly remember the old t-shirt that my cousin wore religiously. It had two lines that went like this “I root for the Red Sox, and whoever beats the Yankees.” There was no statement more true across Red Sox nation. There is no love lost between the Sox and the Bronx Bombers. However, through the animosity, there has always been a hint of respect between these fan bases. No player exemplifies that respect more than one Derek Jeter. He is one of the few players of the past century who has managed to gain the mutual respect of all of those who follow Major League Baseball.

Derek Jeter has 3316 hits. That is good for ninth all time, and he is a mere four hits away from passing Hall of Famer Paul Molitor. He has 256 home runs, 1261 runs batted in, and 348 stolen bases in his 19 year career. He has been an All Star 13 times, has five gold glove awards, and a World Series Most Valuable Player Award. He has both a Roberto Clemente Award as well as a Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. Oh, and he has five World Series Championships. He would be elected into the Baseball Hall Of Fame on the first ballot with all these statistics and awards, but what sets Jeter apart from the rest of the crowd is simple. He is the consummate.

The best contrast for Jeter may have been right next to him for the last nine years. This is not meant to bash on Alex Rodriguez, but rather to compare the two. Rodriguez has three MVP awards, almost 3,000 hits, and 654 home runs. But he has been exposed as a liar, and someone who is totally self absorbed. Recently Rodriguez dropped his lawsuit against Major League Baseball and is currently set to serve a 162 game ban without pay, for his performance enhancing drug use. The ruling was handed down by Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention Treatment Program. It is here that the difference between Rodriguez and Jeter lies. When Rodriguez was accused of steroid use the baseball world was surprised but not shocked. If Jeter was accused of using PEDs and found to be guilty the baseball world would be flipped on its head.

Jeter is on my short list of players that, if they were ever found guilty of using PEDs, would make me lose my faith in baseball. Other players on that list include the recently retired Chipper Jones, Joe Mauer, and Dustin Pedroia. It is sad, really, that those few people are the only ones that would shock me if they were found guilty of steroid use. The steroid era of baseball will forever live in infamy, but Jeter has always been the clean face baseball has needed.

On February 13th, 2014 Jeter announced that this will be his last season playing Major League Baseball. It will be his 20th season playing for the Yankees. Last season injuries limited him to only 17 games. This season he is supposedly healthy and he comes into spring training as the Yankee’s everyday shortstop. The Yankees themselves have reloaded. They no longer have Rodriguez and his bum hip at third. They let Curtis Granderson leave in favor of signing Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. They brought in a former All Star in Brian Roberts at second base. And they signed arguably the best all around offensive catcher in the game not named Buster Posey in Brian McCann. As the cherry on top they signed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka out of Japan for seven years and 155 million dollars. It is safe to say that the Yankees have reloaded.

Jeter announcing his retirement before the season is not unprecedented. The past two seasons have seen All Star Game stalwarts Chipper Jones and Mariano Rivera do the same. By revealing that they plan to retire before the season it has allowed the baseball world to pay their respects to these transcendent players. My one hope for Jeter this season is that he is not the Yankee’s weakest link and that the season is not riddled with injuries. It is apparent that Jeter is not the same as he once was, but one more season of inside-out singles and clutch performances is all the baseball world can ask for. That would be a truly great ending for the one and only, Derek Jeter.

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10 Reasons The Red Sox Should Give David Ortiz A Contract through Whenever He Decides To Retire

Last week, David Ortiz  told a Boston radio station that while he’d like to finish his career with the Red Sox but, that it would be “time to move on” if he didn’t receive another long-term deal. Ortiz later that it’s only a year extension. Well I completely agree with, Ortiz and these are the reasons why I think we should resign him.

1. He’s a hard worker and stays in shape, and even though he’s struggled in the past, he’s looking good now!

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2.Ortiz  hit .309/.395/.564 with 30 homers and 103 RBIs. He hit five home runs in the postseason, including two off the Rays’ David Price. The huge a comeback  grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS. And another homer in the the World Series  off the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha in Game 2. In all, he hit .353/.500/.706 in 68 postseason plate appearances and .688/.760/1.188 in the World Series. Amazing, especially considering he came off an injury, and started the season late.

3. He’s cut down on his strike outs by 14% over the last 3 seasons, and is incredibly clutch (again game 2 of the ALCS)

4. Big Papi is a he is a run-producing machine.  He also brings a power bat, and most importantley, does it for pennies on the dollar.

5. Ortiz was one of  hree players in baseball last season to bat over .300, hit 30 or more home runs, and drive in 100 or more runs. The other two were AL MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and NL MVP canidate Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

6. He’s a seasoned veteran who has been on three World Series teams, and is an excellent role model and influence for the younger players on the 25 man roster.

7. In a time where the DH is sort of not a defined role, Ortiz defines it. Ortiz is the all-time hits leader for designated hitters and still adding to that number.

8. It would shut Dan Shaughnessy up…. For the time being….

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9. He wants to retire in  a Red Sox uniform.

10. The “This is our Fucking City Speech”

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Curt Schilling Diagnosed With Cancer

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(WEEI)- Curt Schilling has been diagnosed with cancer, the former Red Sox pitcher announced in a statement released by ESPN.“I’ve always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges,” Schilling said in the statement. “We’ve been presented with another challenge, as I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer.” Schilling pitched for the Red Sox from 2004 to 2007, helping the team win twoWorld Series. He was at his best in the playoffs, as he went 6-1 with a 3.28 ERA during those two World Series runs. In December, ESPN announced that Schilling would be joining its Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team this season. The network has not said if Schilling’s diagnosis changes that. Schilling’s wife, Shonda, battled skin cancer back in 2001 and wound up founding the Shade Foundation of America the next year to promote sun safety awareness. The Schillings have also helped raise awareness of ALS (Lou Gehrig‘s Disease). “Shonda and I want to send a sincere thank you and our appreciation to those who have called and sent prayers, and we ask that if you are so inclined, to keep the Schilling family in your prayers,” Schilling said.“My father left me with a saying that I’ve carried my entire life and tried to pass on to our kids: ‘Tough times don’t last, tough people do.’ Over the years in Boston, the kids at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have shown us what that means. With my incredibly talented medical team I’m ready to try and win another big game. I’ve been so very blessed and I feel grateful for what God has allowed my family to have and experience, and I’ll embrace this fight just like the rest of them, with resolute faith and head on.”

Over the last few months we’ve heard a lot about Curt Schilling, but this. This is different. This is very upsetting news. I’ve admired Schilling over the year first with the Phillies, then The Diamond Backs, and then of course the Red Sox. Schilling has always been a stand up guy, and is an athlete who in this era one should look up to both on the field and off the field. Schilling ultimately will go down in my book as one of the greatest pitchers of all time. I got to meet Schilling in the 6th or 7th grade and that’s when I knew that he was one of the best people to ever come into the game of baseball. He took time out of his day to sign balls for my friend and I, and to me that was amazing. So all I have to say is good luck Curt and we hope that you beat this just like you beat the Yankees in the 2001 world series and again in the 2004 ALCS.

We’re all sending thoughts and prayers your way, and I hope you get well soon!

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