Articles matching tag: MLB
- Column: Computerized Umps On The HorizonAugust 31, 2017
Controversies in baseball are virtually endless. The Designated Hitter, Instant Replay, Inter-league Play, Wild Cards, Pace of Play - and on and on it goes. Here’s another topic that is starting to heat up: Robot Umps. According to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred the technology to accurately call balls and strikes will be available sooner rather than later. He’s right, but the availability of the technology isn’t the question; after 150 years of players, fans and the media (mostly) complaining about umpires, should MLB eliminate one of the human elements from the sport?
- Column: MLB All-Star Game Now An ExhibitionJuly 20, 2017
The MLB All-Star Game is now the equal of its counterparts in the NFL, NBA and NHL – an exhibition, not a game. Last week baseball’s best players gathered in Miami for the sport’s annual Mid-Summer Classic. Once the game began, it was obvious the participants were more focused on having fun than the score. For the previous 14 seasons, the game meant something: The winning league earned home-field advantage in the World Series. Almost everyone – fans, players, television and MLB – seemed to embrace the new format. Bud Selig may have been an exception.
- Column: MLB Ump Sues League For Racial DiscriminationJuly 13, 2017
On the eve of baseball’s celebration of our nation’s birth, MLB umpire Angel Hernandez filed a lawsuit against the league and Commissioner Rob Manfred alleging racial discrimination against minority umpires. Hernandez’ suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, comes on the heels of two discrimination charges he filed against MLB with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June. Why Hernandez chose to go public with his complaints at this time is unknown. What we do know for certain is Hernandez should consider himself extremely fortunate to still have a job as one of MLB’s 92 umpires. The Cuban-born Hernandez, 55, began his MLB career as a part-time umpire in1993 and was promoted to a full time position in 1995. Throughout the past 25 years, he has consistently been rated among the five worst umpires in the league.
- Column: Is The Cuban Influx In MLB Over?June 8, 2017
When Luis Robert, a 19-year old outfielder, signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox last week he was touted in some circles as the last of a dying breed: A Cuban ballplayer signing for mega-bucks. That may or may not be true, but even if it is, don’t count on Robert being the last Cuban player signed by an MLB team. MLB teams are perpetually in search of talent, the less expensive the better. Furthermore, the competition among clubs to sign the best players is fierce. No team wants to be looking up at 29 other teams in the standings or hearing from the media and their fans how the rest of the league is “smarter” than they are in evaluating talent. It’s because of that competition that over the past seven years teams have collectively guaranteed almost $800 million on mostly unproven Cuban players.
- Column: Does MLB Have A Safety Issue?June 1, 2017
Major League Baseball may have a safety issue but contrary to what you’re probably thinking, this one isn’t due to the action on the field. Much has been made over the recent spat of fan injuries resulting from foul balls and pieces of shattered bats flying into the stands. The most recent instance to garner headlines occurred on May 24 at Yankee Stadium during a game between the Yankees and Kansas City Royals. The Yankees’ Chris Carter broke his bat and the barrel flew into the stands, injuring a young boy sitting a few rows behind the third base dugout.
- Column: Baseball Justice Dumb and DumberMay 25, 2017
Pardon me if we’ve been here before, but baseball beanball wars are dumb and, for emphasis, dumber. As we’ve said before, pitching inside is a recognized and effective tactic that’s both legal and accepted. Hitters who crowd the plate or lean over it as they swing should expect to be pitched inside. But what took place in back-to-back series between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles earlier this season is unacceptable. In the eighth inning of a 2-0 win by Baltimore on April 21, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado slid aggressively into second base and spiked the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia. If Machado intended to injure Pedroia, you could have fooled everyone in the ballpark, save some of Pedroia’s teammates as it turns out. When Machado saw what he had done, he seemed genuinely concerned about Pedroia’s condition and immediately attempted to help him.
- Column: MLB Franchise Values Continue To RiseMay 11, 2017
“The report of my death was an exaggeration.” Mark Twain, 1897 For years, polls and pundits have suggested that baseball’s popularity – and economic vitality - is dwindling, especially when compared to football. Based on the most recent estimated MLB franchise values published by Forbes, nothing could be further from the truth. Thirty years ago 23% of sports fans named baseball as their favorite sport, compared to 24% who chose football. According to the most recent Harris Poll published last year, football trumps baseball by 18 percentage points, 33 percent to 15 percent. However, the poll results only tell one story and the numbers are hardly a reflection of the financial state of MLB.
- Column: Shohei Ohtani - Japan's Babe RuthApril 13, 2017
The Major League Baseball season got underway last week and stars such as Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw will spend the next six months burnishing their reputations as the best in the game. But perhaps the best player on the planet will not be wearing an MLB uniform this year. Twenty-two year old Shohei Ohtani plays in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), acknowledged as the worlds’ top league outside MLB. After one more season in Japan, Ohtani is expected to cross the Pacific, bringing his dual talents with him. That’s right. Ohtani, 6’4” and 215 pounds, pitches and hits well enough to be considered the Japanese equivalent of Babe Ruth. Whether his accomplishments in Japan will translate to this country remains to be seen. However, scouts, who are known to be fickle and critical by nature, gush over his talent.
- Column: Cuban Smuggling Case A Stain On MLBMarch 23, 2017
While most baseball fans have been focusing on the excitement of spring training in Florida and Arizona, or the emotion of the World Baseball Classic being played around the globe, a seamy side of the sport was being detailed in a Miami courtroom. For six weeks, Cuban players and other government witnesses testified about a smuggling network that starts in Cuba, goes through Haiti, Mexico and other countries, and ultimately delivers MLB some of its top talent. Last week a federal jury convicted agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada of human trafficking. Hernandez is facing 3-15 years in prison while Estrada faces between 5-35 years at their sentencing on July 11.
- Column: MLB Serves Up... SoftballFebruary 16, 2017
As owner of the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics from 1960-80, Charles O. Finley had more creative ideas than all his fellow owners combined. He outfitted his teams in colorful uniforms and tried to convince his fellow owners to adopt orange baseballs and bases. Finley was roundly criticized by fans, media and players for confusing baseball with softball. Decades later, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is impersonating Finley. In an effort to speed up the game and save pitchers’ arms, MLB plans to test a rule change this season in the Minors that would place a runner on second base at the start of each extra inning. Different rules for extra innings are not without precedent. A similar rule has been used in international baseball for nearly a decade and will be implemented in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Putting a runner on second for extra innings has also been used in softball.