Tag Archives: MLB

End the all-star games!

Here’s a thought, and I admit it’s not an original one … but the National Basketball Association needs to end the annual all-star game.

The same for the National Football League and the National Hockey League. End ’em! Don’t bother putting on these charades where the athletes play zero defense.

The NBA’s latest disaster this past weekend had one of the teams scoring 211 points. 211 points! What the hell?

This is preposterous! I get that the athletes don’t want to get hurt. I don’t blame them for that. I do believe that the NBA is doing a disservice to them and to the fans who show up to watch these guys perform. Same for the NFL, which too often has players going through the blocking and tackling motions. Oh, and the NHL, which often produces all-star games with scores like 12-10.

OK, that all said, Major League Baseball should continue its all-star contests, which because of the nature of the sport can produce actual competition featuring players working hard to win the game.

Perhaps the most famous — or infamous — MLB all-star moment came in 1970 when Cincinnati’s Pete Rose sought to score a run and crashed into Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse who was guarding the plate. Rose was running full tilt down the third base line. The crash injured Fosse so seriously that he never was able to play the game at a high level; the event essentially ended his playing career.

The rest of the major pro sports leagues, though, need not bother to stage these idiotic exhibitions. They aren’t worth watching.

How ’bout them ex-Soddies?

I just have to give a shout-out to my many friends in Amarillo and the surrounding area who have been spending many days and evenings at Hodgetown cheering for the minor league baseball team, the Sod Poodles.

You see, a lot of those former Soddies now are suiting up for the Arizona Diamondbacks of the National League; the Diamondbacks are the “parent” club of the Sod Poodles, so when a Soddie does well, he gets a chance to play in the Big Leagues. Thus, they have earned their way into the Bigs and starting Friday will be playing in the World Series … arguably the greatest sports event in the world.

I won’t join them in rooting for the D’Backs. My loyalty lies with the American League champion Texas Rangers, whose accomplishments have lit a fire under big-league baseball fans in the Metroplex, where I now reside.

I do think it’s cool, though, for Amarillo to lay claim as it will to one of the teams playing for the Commissioners Trophy. Therefore, I salute y’all and let’s hope for a World Series for the ages.

‘Home-field advantage’?

OK, kids, we now know the first two games of the 2023 Major League Baseball World Series will occur at Globe-Life Field in Arlington, giving the Texas Rangers “home-field advantage” in the best-of-seven series.

But … wait. Is that “advantage” worth having?

The Rangers and the Houston Astros played their guts out in the American League Championship Series. The “away” team won every game. The Rangers won their four games against the ‘Stros in Houston.

So, this year, allow me to declare that the “home-field advantage” that the Rangers have might not matter … unless of course they can peel away one win on their home field.

From ‘zero’ to ‘hero’

Let’s see now. At the end of the 2022 Major League Baseball season, Dallas/Fort Worth baseball fans were wondering if the Texas Rangers had lost their ability to compete at the big-league level.

The Rangers stunk. The were a laughingstock. They reminded longtime fans of some of the worst teams in American League history. Then came the offseason. They hired a new manager, Bruce Bochy, who brought in some new coaches. They went to work to rebuild the team.

Have they succeeded? Yeah. They have.

The Rangers so far — if you’ll pardon the baseball pun — are pitching a shutout in the 2023 playoffs. They went to Tampa to sweep the Rays. Then they went to Baltimore and took the first two from the Orioles and sent the Birds packing with a third victory at home.

Now the Rangers are playing the Houston Astros in the American League Championship series and have defeated the ‘Stros in the first two games. They have to win two more to advance to the World Series. Let’s see … that’s 7-0 so far in this playoff extravaganza.

Not a bad turnaround.

‘No’ on review of calls

I will admit to being a professional sports fuddy-duddy, given all the technology being introduced to manage the conduct of various games.

Allow me this brief rejoinder to one of those elements: instant replay.

I attended a big-league baseball game Friday night in Arlington, Texas, where my friend and I watched the Texas Rangers blow out the Cleveland Guardians. What’s more, they did it without a lick of help from the umpires.

The Rangers filed one challenge to a play at the plate. A runner was called “out!” … and he was out, by a mile. The review of the video proved the call was the correct one.

Which brings me to my point. We should let the umpires do their job. They have to make decisions in a split second. You know what? They get it right about, oh, 99% of the time. It never ceases to amaze me how the momentum of games is disrupted by the challenges allotted to managers of both teams.

Well, the game we witnessed in Arlington was left to the athletes. It cheers me to no end to see the Grand Old Game played the way it’s intended.


Ump let the players play!

I feel the need to offer a brief critique of the Major League Baseball game I attended Friday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

What about it? Hardly anything to criticize about it?

I want to offer one comment, though, on the rule changes enacted this year to speed up these games. They work.

MLB has put a timer on pitchers. They have to toss a pitch within a certain amount of time. They are warned by the home-plate umpire. The home-plate ump, Mark Ripperberger, offered one warning to a pitcher. The rest of the night? He let the players play the game, which is what umps should do.

It took a little less than three hours to finish it.

There was exactly one appeal of a call, which wasn’t even close. A Texas Rangers runner was thrown out at home plate. He was out — as the saying goes — by a “country mile.” Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy thought he would appeal the ruling. It was upheld … and the Rangers faithful, of course, booed the decision, even though it was so very correct.

This was my first big league ballgame in nearly 60 years. It was enjoyable to the max. I got to spend some time with a good friend and former colleague; we gossiped about this and that individual we knew and with whom we worked.

Not only that … the good guys won the well-played game of hardball!


MLB game on tap … woo hoo!

I’ve just received a marvelous invitation from a friend of mine … and I have to share it here.

In a couple of weeks I am going to see my first Major League Baseball game in nearly 60 years.

My friend called to tell me he purchased a couple of tickets for the Texas Rangers game in Arlington. We’ll meet before the game and head for the seats. The last MLB game I witnessed was in August 1964.

It occurred at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco Giants played host to the Cincinnati Reds. It featured three future Hall of Famers, two of whom played that game; the third one, Willie Mays of the Giants, sat it out.

But the two H of F’ers who did suit up delivered big time. Willie McCovey of the Giants hit a home run into the SF Bay cove that now bears his name. Frank Robinson of the Reds hit a couple of dingers out that day. The Reds won 7-1.

I want to thank my friend profusely for inviting me to this game.

I have heard plenty about the Rangers’ new ballpark. My son and I attended a Sir Paul McCartney concert in the “old” ballpark in the summer of 2019 and to be honest, I do not quite understand why they had to build a new ballpark, because the old park looked pretty nice to me.

Whatever … I’ll be like a kid again when the Rangers take the field.


He deserved the ovation!

Drew Maggi is the new fan favorite in Pittsburgh, where he made his major-league debut this week.

What’s the big deal? Maggi spent 12 years — count ’em, 12 years! — toiling in the minor leagues. He played in 1,115 minor league games before he got the call to go to the Bigs.

He went to the plate Wednesday night to pinch hit for Andrew McCutchen.

When he stepped into the batter’s box, the Pittsburgh Pirates crowd gave him a standing ovation. The Pirates were ahead 8-1, and eventually won the game. Maggi’s first plate appearance didn’t end heroically.

He fouled a pitch off, got called on a game-delay penalty and then struck out swinging.

Was he dismayed at his initial big-league appearance? Not at all.

Maggi said after the game: “It’s the best strikeout I ever had.”

Well said, young man. I can’t wait to see the reaction when he hits one out of the park.



Put an asterisk next to Bonds’ ‘record’

I detest cheaters; in the context I want to discuss, that would be those who take performance enhancing drugs to boost their athletic prowess.

With that said, I refer to former slugger Barry Bonds, who cheated on his way to hitting a Major League Baseball record 73 home runs in 2001. It occurred during the “steroid era” of MLB. He wasn’t alone, but Bonds’ name has come up as MLB celebrates Aaron Judge’s recent achievement in setting an American League record of 62 home runs in a single season.

MLB had the bad sense after Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season mark back in 1961 to put an asterisk next to Maris’ record, citing the fact that it took him more games to get to 61 than it took Ruth to hit 60 in 1927.

Stupid call, man. MLB eventually removed the asterisk and Maris’ record has stood on its own until Judge broke it this past weekend.

So, here’s what I suggest: Major League Baseball should put an asterisk next to Bonds’ big-league mark of 73 home runs set in 2001.

The only reason I am so hard on Bonds and his cheating is that he could have qualified for the Hall of Fame had he not taken a single PED during that period of time. The guy could a baseball with the best of ’em. Instead, he chose to inflate his numbers by juicing up with drugs.

Instead, he has tarnished his legacy as one of the game’s best hitters and has ensured that the first line in his obituary will include mention of the drugs he took to cheat his way into the record book.

Sad, man!


AL crowns new HR king

Aaron Judge came to Arlington, Texas, to play some hardball and along the way Tuesday night he set an American League record for most home runs in a single season.

The New York Yankees slugger hit his 62nd HR of the season against the Texas Rangers. He surpassed the record set by another Yankees slugger, Roger Maris, who did the deed during that wonderful 1961 home run duel he waged with his teammate, the great Mickey Mantle.

I now want to stipulate something. Even though Judge’s 62 homers fall short of Barry Bonds’ major league record of 73 in a season, or Mark McGwire’s 70, or Sammy Sosa’s two 60-plus HR seasons, I consider Judge to be the real deal. The others are cheaters, as their dingers occurred during baseball’s “steroid era.”

Just as I consider the great Hank Aaron to be the all-time home run king, I will never recognize Bonds’ accomplishments because he is so tainted by the scandal that damn near destroyed the Grand Old Game.

We need no asterisks attached to Aaron Judge’s record.

Well done, Aaron.