Author Archives: nweitzer7
Never underestimate the importance of motivation in professional sports. We often assume that players with multi-million dollar, guaranteed contracts will do everything in their power to earn that money by producing on the field, but that is not always the case. Despite coming into last season with the best of intentions, the Red Sox were almost immediately deflated by the overall arrogance, ignorance, and smug demeanor of their manager, and their performance suffered as a result.
However, this year the Sox can do wrong. After John Lackey threw his customary fit when he was pulled from last night’s 8-4 victory over the Yankees on Friday night, and Craig Breslow blew the lead by allowing a two-run double off the bat of Robinson Cano, the home team found a way to win. Fenway Park exploded in cheers not 20 minutes later when Jarrod Saltalamacchia launched a grand slam over the bullpen in right field, and the Red Sox ended up closing out their 90th win of the season.
As the MLB season reaches a crescendo, one unsavory story- complete with one very unsavory character- has stolen the headlines. Despite all the exciting and enticing storylines to be found across the league this August, fans and sportswriters alike have been forced to discuss the ridiculous Tao of A-Rod. Yet instead of discussing why a profoundly guilty PED-user is still playing while his cohorts (including those players he allegedly informed upon) are suspended for a minimum of 50 games, Baseball Revival would like to point out all the reasons we should ignore Alex Rodriguez, and focus on the game itself.
Human beings make mistakes, and officials will make incorrect calls. It’s a problem in every major sport, of course different leagues deal with it in different ways. Major League Baseball has been particularly (and predictably) resistant to the idea of introducing replay to the game, and so far there is little indication that the league office will introduce a more comprehensive “visual aid” for it’s umpires in the immediate future. Yet every night, calls are being missed, and games are altered as a result. Daniel Nava being “thrown out” at home plate was the climax of the Red Sox and Rays battle for first place in the A.L. East on Monday night. It was a climatic moment, a close play, and an obviously incorrect ruling that left thousands of fans in shocked disbelief. (video below)
This January, for the first time in 53 years, no living players were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not because there weren’t any high-profile candidates, or due to a lack of production by those candidates over lengthy careers. Actually, no one on the ballot received the required 75% of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America because of the uncertain cloud created by the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs over the last couple decades. Now, stars like Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez have been strongly linked to another PED scandal, and fans of the game are left to wonder if anyone will ever be inducted into the Hall, or whether the transgressions of a few bad apples have continued to spoil the batch.
The first “half” of the season is over. After 90+ games, a less-than-thrilling all-star break, and some serious surprises, the stage is set for a dramatic conclusion to the MLB season. Rather than making a bunch of predictions, it seems more prudent to just list the story lines that we will all be watching for over the last two and a half months of baseball.
When discussing whether Yasiel Puig deserves to be an all-star in 2013, we could explicate the meaning of the word as defined by Webster’s dictionary. We could compare his outstanding debut month to that of other phenomenal ball players, and we could cite historical precedent by listing players who have only played in X amount of games before the all-star break. Yet if you’ve watched the 22-year-old Cuban defector play, if you’ve seen his nightly highlight reel on ESPN, or even glanced at the box score when he participates and witnessed the impact he’s had on what was a scuttling Dodgers squad, do you need to hear any more?
We live in an age where many professional athletes are groomed for success. The most talented and gifted among us are given every advantage, every opportunity, and all the information necessary to fine-tune their mechanics and become the best ball player that they can be. Perhaps that is why a string of great prospects have been able to befuddle and dominate major league hitters at points this season. Here’s a closer look at some of the young guns who have made impressive debuts in the MLB:
Anyone can list the best teams in one of the major professional sports and provide a brief explanation why each squad is rising or falling, but nobody thinks to rank the divisions that each of these teams play within. In the MLB, where teams play within their division over 50% of the time, it seems relevant to discuss the strength of each division before you make any conclusions about each specif team. Here are Baseball Revival’s Divisional Power Rankings:
When a ballplayer transcends the game in their first few games, there’s usually a tendency to become overwhelmed by their potential. Young phenoms who play in major media markets, are almost always met with unrealistic expectations, but in certain rare cases, they’re able to meet and even exceed those expectations. When you talk about Yasiel Puig, the Cuban defector who has revived a horrific Dodgers team with his incredible performances in just five big league games, it’s easy to compare his talent-level with that of super prospects Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. The question is, will he continue this torrid pace, or is he drawing some Troutlandish comparisons?
We’ve seen this all before. Baseball’s best division has produced such a hyper-competitive atmosphere that the Red Sox and Yankess, formerly the royal bullies of the entire American League, are now just another couple of teams. It comes a little surprise since the Orioles, who are starting to replicate some of their late-game heroics from 2012, and the Rays (who are technically the hottest team in baseball as they ride a six-game winning streak) are only one game behind the Sox and Yanks in the loss column. Therefore when the Red Sox visited Yankee Stadium for their second series against the Bronx Bombers on Friday, it makes sense that both teams would treat this as just a game, albeit an important game, but just a game.
The first couple months of the MLB season are notoriously misleading. Statistical anomalies, unbelievable starts, and unprecedented slumps (cough, Josh Hamilton) mark the months of April and May, but with Memorial Day right around the corner, it’s time for players to start regressing towards the mean. Small sample sizes tell you very little in a game as intricate as baseball, so after two months, we should be able to make some actual conclusions about the stock of certain players. Here are seven guys who are on their way up.
Unwarranted ejections, vitriolic exchanges, intentionally botched calls, and a poor understanding of the rulebook. Is this what we’ve come to expect from Major League Umpires? Over the past couple of weeks, Big Blue has thrust itself into the spotlight through the actions of a few umps, who have decided that they are bigger than the game.
Around this time of year, top-rated prospects begin to surface at the Major League level, and some of them make an immediate impact. These young stars weren’t always slated for greatness (aside from stud five-tool guys like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper), but one way or another, they found they’re way to the show and could be here to stay. These are their stories.
Tony Cingrani (SP, Cincinnati Reds)
Anthony Cingrani is actually not from North New Jersey. He’s from a small Illinois town called New Lenox off the coast of Lake Michigan. The young left-handed pitcher enrolled at South Suburban Junior College in Illinois, before transferring to Rice University his Junior year. Read the rest of this entry
We’re almost a month into the MLB season, and all results should be taken with a grain of salt considering the sample size. April statistics often end up as outliers, especially during a year where games are being canceled due to snow, or being played in sub-freezing temperatures. The introduction of inter-league play during the first month of the season is another factor that creates some uncertainty, yet despite all these disclaimers, here are how things would play out if the season ended this week: