2015 World Series and Playoff Observations
Before I go into winners and losers of the 2015 World Series and playoffs, I will mention the first in my loser category. The post season defense was poor, if not embarrassing. So many routine plays botched by players who could make many of those plays in their sleep. I guess I will chalk it up to what golf analyst Johnny Miller always says, “Pressure does some strange things to people.”
Winner – Steroid Users and maybe even Pete Rose
What a brilliant move by major league baseball, even if they were not implicit in the move. They got some great feedback from the move. The Fox network put the biggest villain of long ago together with the evilest scoundrel of the recent past to see how the fans reacted to them. Tada, no problem, people seemed to love them. Hall of Fame get ready and expand; they are coming.
I used the word cheaters in the title to get attention. It is not my way to talk about people in that way. Let me say alleged rule-breakers instead. Either way, the biggest winners of the 2015 World Series are the steroids users and Pete Rose. The use of the rule breakers Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose for baseball analysis before, after and even during games was a big test. They passed it. There was no uproar about Fox Network’s employment of Pete or A-Rod. In fact, the response was positive from all accounts I’ve seen.
I am sure Major League baseball noticed how the public’s view was too. They now realize the public accepted him as if nothing ever happened. If baseball can take A –Rod back so soon after being public enemy number one just one year before, the door is open for all the users. The alleged steroid users from Barry Bonds to Roger Clemens on down should send A-Rod a Christmas card. How can they not be forgiven after all these years when everyone fawns over A-Rod’s comments after a much shorter span.
As perplexing as it may seem, money talks and having all the rule breakers back in the fold means money down the line for baseball. Cooperstown will be happy and the next number of years can guarantee considerable attention for MLB. The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and publicity surrounding those guys will be prolific. Likewise, I believe this acceptance makes it easier for the commissioner to allow the reinstatement of Pete Rose back to baseball. Pete Rose has passed the “being accepted” test by the American baseball community. The momentum is building for that decision, and it seems inevitable. Baseball will be one big happy family again soon.
You might think I am writing this out of opposition to the reception of these players. I have been caring less and less each year whether they get in the Hall of Fame or not. My tone has changed over the years and feel they should get in because we cannot know who used and who did not. If we are going to decide arbitrarily, this guy did, and this one did not, we may as well let the best of the suspects in the Hall. The assumed users were the best of the many fraudulent players. The difference was that suspicion, if not proof, caught up to some. The alleged guilty may as well represent the era instead of relying on the “he was a good guy so he must not have used theory.”
I am facetious by using my name above, but in a way I am not. You see, I was a soft, single’s hitter who just tried to make contact and nothing more. Never once in my career did I swing for the fences or strike out trying. Hitting the ball out of the park was not part of my game. I could only attempt to survive by putting the ball in play out of the air, and running like crazy. That is why I call myself a dinosaur. Looking at baseball now, you cannot name many players that cannot bomb the ball, even the leadoff men. Without the ability to hit home runs, I am not sure players like me would ever get a shot at professional baseball now. Their chances at the major leagues are minimal even when they get to pro ball. Maybe the weight training regiments of today would have made me more explosive, and I would have adjusted, something I will never know.
Many players of the past and I are winners this year because the Kansas City Royals chose contact over the long ball. Contact won out, not swinging for the fences, and pride in not striking out, as it used to be in baseball. Not so anymore as it is all about the long ball, with strikeouts an acceptable result. I guess the new metrics say that home runs win games. The long ball supposedly outweighs putting balls in play. The Royals may have put a dent in that theory with their grinding approach. I loved it when hitting Kansas City Royals hitting coach Dale Sveum answered “Don’t strike out,” when asked about his hitting philosophy. Thanks to the Kansas City Royals, contact became vital again. Also, the stolen base was a big part of their game too, as it was mine.
Looking back to last year, the San Francisco Giants did the same contact thing, I think. Sacrificing long balls for contact may be the secret to winning it all? It reminds me of one of my favorite champs the 2003 Angels who refused to strikeout, too. Maybe change will come but, GM’s and agents love the long ball so maybe not?
Winner – Baseball Fans
Thank God Fox did not have that K-zone graphic up for the World Series. That thing ruined some of the playoffs for me. Let’s face it the umps are either terrible or the K –zone thingy is off and maybe both. But, if I never see another game with that thing up all the time on the screen I will be happy.
Winner – The Young Talent Coming
The young talent coming into the game is incredible. I could go on and on with naming them all throughout baseball playoffs but I will not. One player really stood out even though he played so little. How good does someone have to be to make his major league debut in the World Series and at age 20? I am not sure I could have been able to walk to home plate at that age under those conditions. Not to mention having to face a guy throwing a million miles an hour. I can’t wait to see Raul Mondesi, along with the other great young kids play in the coming years.
Of course, there are a few other things that I did not like.
Losers of MLB Playoffs and 2015 World Series
I get it; it’s all about the dollar and TV. This argument is not new, but I hate the fact that the times of the games prohibit kids from watching for long. That youth will not watch the World Series is not productive for baseball in years to come.
Many times analysts espoused the value of throwing ridiculously fast. Yes, that is a distinct advantage, but pitching is much more than speed alone at the major league level. One graphic showed Johnny Cueto next to Jacob deGrom. The announcers said how much more efficient and effective deGrom’s mechanics are in comparison to Cueto’s. Meanwhile, Johnny Cueto was throwing a complete game, two-hitter and deGrom left the game early due to getting hit and pitch count issues. The announcers and other experts seem to say deGrom’s extended release are much better and produce the velocity to excel. Maybe so, but which of those pitchers have remained healthy most of their career? If Jacob has the consistency and success Cueto has had the last number of years I think he will be quite happy. Pitching is so much more than throwing one hundred miles per hour and staying healthy is easier for those who do not.
Loser – The defensive shift
The new defensive alignments now common in MLB baseball appeared to cause more confusion for the defense than anything else. Out of position players getting in each other’s way, players not covering bases and unsure how to field balls from unfamiliar spots were evidence that the shifts are a work in progress. Teams have not had enough practice on the shifts, I suppose. It was tough watching the best players in the world not knowing where to be and how to play from different spots on the diamond.
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