We’re into the second week of the baseball season; here’s 10 thoughts on what we’ve seen so far. Injuries, leave, and player thoughts.
- Tommy John’s impact on the game: No player’s name has had more of an impact on the game than Tommy John’s…since everyone knows about Tommy John Surgery. It seems as if there have been more players going down to the procedure this year than in recent memory. Matt Moore of the Rays looks to be the newest victim to the UCL reconstruction; he joins the Braves trio of Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, and Cory Gearrin, Diamondback pitchers Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez, Athletics’ starter Jarrod Parker, Padres rehabbing starter Cory Luebke, Tigers’ reliever Bruce Rondon, Royals’ setup man Luke Hochevar, and Met’s closer Bobby Parnell as pitchers having the surgery. Prospects aren’t exempt either; future Pirate ace Jameson Taillon and Twins’ infield prospect Miguel Sano just had the surgery too.
- You’re a man, you don’t need paternity leave: There has been a lot of attention given to players leaving their team to attend the birth of their children…but I don’t understand why? When my 3 children were born, I was out of work for 2 weeks to be with them and my wife; why should ball players be any different? Pat Neshek of the Cardinals missed a few days when his son was born; the team excused him even though he was fighting for a roster spot. Neshek even went as far as driving 3 hours per day to be able to stay with his family (driving from Orlando to Jupiter everyday). Then Dan Murphy missed opening day to be at the birth of his first child…and the New York media took exception to it. Boomer Esiason said Murphy needed to “get his a$$ back to work.” What a joke. Jimmy Rollins is the latest to take time away to see the birth of a child; surprisingly, the Philadelphia media has been pretty kind to him so far.
- Instant Replay: While many expected a fiasco with the introduction of instant replay, there really hasn’t been anything. Sure, a few replays here and there, but no extended delays watching plays or questions over how it worked. The biggest issue was an overturned call on an Ian Desmond inside the park homer that was overruled as a double; this was due to the ball being stuck under the wall and not a challenged ruling. I’m sure we’ll see some issues this season, but it’s surprising it hasn’t happened yet.
- The MLB Network is a thing of beauty: This will be my first full season with the MLB network as part of my satellite package, and I love it. I’ve watched more baseball this year than I have all of last season. Spring games were always on, there are recaps of the days action at any time, and their original programming (outside of Chris Rose and Kevin Millar) is informative. Plus any channel that has Bob Costas calling games is a winner.
- Costas for Commissioner: Speaking of Costas, he was on ESPN Radio opening day and it was mentioned that Bud Selig is done soon and Costas’ name was thrown in the mix. While he doesn’t want the job, he’d be a good choice. He spoke of a few changes he’d like to see, specifically around the playoffs. He wants the Wild Card round to be a 3 game series, all at the better team’s home; he said the second wild card is lucky to be there and they should have to work to make it past the better wild card. It would also allow the division winners a little longer break to set their rotations. Secondly, the winner of the Wild Card round should play all of the NLDS games on the road; again, the Wild Card is playing the best team in their league and should be at a disadvantage. Finally, the NLCS should move back to a best of 5 format; he said that the MLB playoffs suffer from being a month long affair and this could shorten the amount of time it takes to get to the World Series. He also said that it could off-set the added games to the Wild Card round.
- Josh Hamilton is not done yet: Many thought Hamilton was on his last leg after a poor 2013 and an injury shortened spring training; then he was the AL player of the week. He started the season going 12 for 27 with 2 homers and 6 RBIs; he’s getting on base more than 50% of his plate appearances. Granted, he did hurt his thumb sliding into first base; maybe I should wait to see what happens there before claiming he’s back.
- You can’t steal first: That’s become one of the most annoying sayings this year, especially when Billy Hamilton is up to bat. The outfielder is probably the fastest player I’ve ever seen (between yesterday and today, I’ve watched him get a double on a grounder to right field and a triple on a line drive to right center). This Hamilton is hitting .222 with 1 stolen base (which happened as this was written), but he can’t swipe a bag if he can’t get on base. Based of his skill set, he’ll have trouble getting hits, unless he focuses on getting infield singles.
- The Cardinals’ Hall of Fame is legit: The St. Louis Cardinals opened their Hall of Fame on Monday and it’s amazing. I had the opportunity to be there for the grand opening as a member of the press and was truly impressed. The museum has anything you could think of – memorabilia, history, videos. It’s not only the Cardinals, but also the St. Louis Browns and the St. Louis Stars. If you go to St. Louis (or currently live here), it’s worth checking out.
- Opening day should be a holiday: Sure, there’s a petition to get the first day of the season as a National Holiday; it practically is in St. Louis. The pre-game festivities are a sight to be seen…the players being brought in on cars, the living Hall of Famers on the field, players from all eras coming back, the Clydesdales. I get goosebumps every year watching it.
- Fantasy baseball can be very annoying: This is coming from someone that started playing fantasy sports in 1999; I get so annoyed with Fantasy Baseball. I love playing (specifically drafting and finding diamonds in the rough), it’s watching live scoring on faulty systems and hearing about other peoples team. No offense to my wife, but she’s continually watching her team and talking about issues she’s facing. I’ve told her it’s only the second week; there is a lot of time to play. She doesn’t care though…all players should be at midseason form in her mind. I shouldn’t knock her though. She’s won the only league she’s played in.
I’ll be back next week with more baseball goodness.