Courtesy of Grandpa Joe
Originally posted on The Dugout Doctors
This time of year always makes me sad. Sure, we’re only midway through the summer, which for most of you is like living in an oven, but I’m in San Diego and the temperature is always ideal. In summer, we get longer ideal days. What’s so sad about that, right?
I’ll tell you why I’m sad: football season is here.
Now, perhaps a larger portion of the readers of The Dugout Doctors understand my plight better than the rest of the country because this is a baseball site. But I’m the type of guy who spends most of the winter longing for baseball season to begin. I get excited when the first tab on ESPN.com is “MLB”.
But if you look now, “MLB” has been bumped by the link to the NFL portion of the site, and the headlines are predominantly football-related. This guy is signing here, that guy signed there. Sign up for fantasy football today!
I play fantasy football just like every other living, breathing organism on Earth, but a small part of me secretly hoped for an NFL lockout. I wanted people to care about all 162 games of the MLB season. Heck, even people in Pittsburgh are in on the action this year, but when (if?) the Pirates inevitably start to slip in the standings it will go virtually unnoticed, thanks to the NFL. And it’s not just Pittsburgh that’ll toss baseball on to the backburner like it was never around to begin with. The San Diego Padres, right here in my own back yard, may as well pack up now. Nobody cares once Phillip Rivers and friends don the Charger blue and gold.
I’ll be clicking all the fantasy football links around the internet soon enough as I scramble to come up with yet another hair-brained draft strategy that won’t work. I’ll be active on the waiver wire and with trades. I’ll lead my team to the playoffs only to choke in the post season, like always.
But right now I miss baseball season, and it’s not even over yet.
Originally posted on The Dugout Doctors
Baseball’s All-Star game, unlike those in the other major sports, actually counts. Well, sorta. It can end in a tie and there are enough pitching changes and offensive and defensive substitutions to make your head spin, but something is affected by the outcome of the game.
The winning team gets home field advantage in the World Series! Woooooooo!!!!! Because I’m sure that if there’s one saving grace for Matt Wieters (the lone Baltimore Oriole at the game), should his Baltimore Orioles not overcome their 18 game deficit in the American League East, it’s that someone from his own league gets to open the World Series at home.
So, in short, the game really can affect a World Series, though conventional baseball rules, customs, and strategy is totally thrown out the window. The best players don’t necessarily start, pitchers will be inserted just because they’re supposed to be, and the game, arguably, is a farce.
But I love it, and you should, too.
Forget about the winner-gets-home field-advantage spin. Nobody cares. And although I’m admittedly a significantly bigger baseball fan than any other sport, MLB’s All-Star game is the only one I care about. Here’s why.
1) Derek Jeter is starting over Asdrubal Cabrera (err… was voted to start, anyway). The reason anyone at all cares about this game is that the starting lineups are chosen by the fans. Is Jeter the best choice? No. Cabrera is clearly putting together a better season and, based on performance alone, is a better choice to start. But other than the baseball purists who oppose any sort of fun in professional sports, nobody cares about Cabrera. Most casual fans outside of Cleveland probably don’t even know who he is. Everyone knows Jeter. Just like how everyone knew Cal Ripken Jr. and Ken Griffey Jr., who both started more All-Star games than they deserved. If the casual fan is supposed to tune in to the game, they’ve at least got to recognize the players they’re watching.
2) Every team is represented. Maybe this is just the sappy father side of me talking, but isn’t this nice? “Look, kids, even if you work your entire life to play pro baseball but you end up getting stuck on the Royals, you still might make an All-Star game!!!” Similar to my argument about the fan’s choices starting over more deserving candidates, the only hope of drawing the coveted casual audience in Kansas City is the chance to see Aaron Crow throw an inning against the National League’s best.
3) What other sporting events are you going to watch? None!! Ha! Baseball wins, here, because you have no alternatives. Enjoy Wednesday, too, when not one single major professional sporting event is taking place. The All-Star game beats nothing, right?
So no, the All-Star game isn’t perfect. Everyone is represented, but getting everyone in to the game is a bit tedious. If you’re one of “those” who hate baseball because it’s slow, the All-Star game is far from a shining example of why you should care about the sport.
I suspect that a lot of the hate being directed at the event is that it’s a slap in the face to the purists out there who watch all 162 games as if they’re lives depended on it. The statistics obsessed nerds, who know more about a player’s season than the player himself, are harshly reminded that the game is supposed to be fun. It’s entertainment. The players are laughing and smiling, with zero regard for their batting average on balls in play in All-Star games held in cities west of the Mississippi in odd years. For one glorious night in July, stats don’t matter and the game of baseball is what it was created to be: a game.
Filed under: Musings | Tagged: All-Star game is fun, MLB, tomorrow you'll be begging for ANY pro sporting event | 2 Comments »
As posted on The Dugout Doctors…
By now you’ve seen the video by now of 18 year old uber-prospect Bryce Harper watching a deep home run, rounding the bases, and blowing a kiss towards the pitcher as he rounds third base. If you haven’t seen the video, here you go.
You say he’s arrogant and that he doesn’t “get it.” You argue that he’s immature and needs to embrace his status as the future of the Washington Nationals and therefore learn to lead by example.
Harper is displaying an arrogance unseen since the days of Rickey Henderson, and perhaps it’s exactly what baseball needs to be exciting again. You can rip a guy like Barry Bonds all you’d like, but don’t pretend for a second that you’ve never mimicked him (or Ken Griffey Jr., or David Ortiz or whoever is your favorite slugger) by admiring a home run in your back yard.
The cockiness is certainly more exciting that than the alternative: the play-it-safe, “my-performance-only-matters-if-the-team-wins” façade put on by most superstar athletes these days.
Screw that. Flip the bat, watch your home run, and walk halfway to first base.
Forgive me for not understanding the general outrage over the incident. When did baseball become a game for stuffy old men and statistical geeks? It’s no wonder nobody cares about baseball anymore. It’s boring. It’s slow. You’re apparently not allowed to have fun. Know when people did care? When Barry Bonds was mashing 500 foot home runs in to the San Francisco Bay remaining in the batter’s box until he saw the ball splash.
And what’s with the double standard among sports? We laugh at touchdown celebrations and criticize the NFL for often being too strict about them. We cheer the NASCAR driver as he spins doughnuts on a track’s infield after winning a race. Yet we scream “unprofessional” when Jonathan Papelbon screams after closing a game or when Giants closer Brian Wilson does his whatever-you-call-it with his arms at the end of each game.
But when Bryce Harper, an 18 year old kid, has a little fun of his own, the world stops spinning. Lighten up.
If you don’t check my site more than once a month, you haven’t noticed the disgusting lack of new posts on any sort of consistent basis. What was once a daily updated site became three times a week… became twice a week… became weekly… became sometimes, maybe.
Turns out, the “Hey, this isn’t as time consuming as everyone said it’d be!” mentality that I had towards the initial months of parenthood was WAY off – parenting is most definitely time consuming.
But at heart, I enjoy writing. I will continue to update The Priceless Pursuit on occasion, but in the mean time, you can find my work somewhere else: The Dugout Doctors. I expect to contribute to this site much more frequently, so click my link incessantly. All the time. 20 times a day.
My personal blog on the page can be found here.
I won’t copy/paste the entire articles here, because that’d keep hit counts low, don’t ya know, but my first piece is about stats sucking. No, not the ‘traditional’ categories like wins and losses, but rather all of the new garbage that is too convoluted (and time consuming) to understand.
Go check it out.
This past weekend, for the first time in ages, I returned to my local card shop – All Star Cards, in Santee, CA. It’d been a while – definitely not since January 2011 – and it was my first trip since the skyrocketing prices of the short lived “Stephen Strasburg era” of the hobby, which REALLY turned me away. It was too harsh a reminder the ‘bubble’, and subsequent burst, of the hobby just a decade or so ago.
But with baseball season in full swing, I’d begun to feel the baseball card itch, so I packed up the little guy and off we went! He actually hasn’t been since before he learned to walk, which makes it AT LEAST seven months since our last trip. Anyway…
I’d wanted a pack of 2010 NCAA Sweet Spot since college football season, so I was pleasantly surprised to see these packs “discounted” below their original MSRPs. So much for the baseball card itch, eh?
I pulled the normal, uninteresting base cards, of course, but I swung and missed (… there’s a baseball reference!) on an autographed mini helmet. Instead, I pulled a Mike Wallace event used jersey. Guaranteed worn in the Rookie Premiere event! Woooooo!!! Seriously, though – can’t we just stick to the vague “game used” swatches? The “event worn” stuff just doesn’t have the appeal.
I certainly didn’t drag little Joseph along without intentions of getting him some fun stuff, too. Naturally, we hit up the bargain table. First up: a discounted Greg Oden MacFarlane figure! $3… imagine that.
Also, some packs. Two, from 2011 Topps Opening Day.
As it usually goes, these items left me with an uneven total, which I don’t like. To round out the purchase, I’d initially decided to purchase ONE pack from something new. Ginter has yet to be released, which would’ve been an easy choice, so instead I looked to Gypsie Queen… which is $7 a pack. Seven. dollars. What the hell? There aren’t any Strasburg autographs inside, as far as I know, so what’s up with the exorbitant price tag? No thanks. I turned around (literally – the bargain table is across from the baseball card packs) and saw this:
ProSet Guiness Book of Records cards! A whole box! 36 packs, 10 cards per pack, 100 card set. By that math, I should easily be able to put two sets together. If I’m lucky, I’ll squeeze three out of the box. This purchase was a no-brainer.
I left the shop with mixed feelings. The Sweet Spot definitely left me with a sense of buyer’s remorse, which is what slowed down my purchasing a few months ago. I don’t like the feeling of getting nothing for my money, which is what tends to happen with unopened wax. So maybe I should stick to singles, which is the exact realization I came to many months ago. I also loved the junk wax purchase, as these – in their unopened forms – look awesome in the man cave card shop. No, I won’t get $5 in monetary value out of the World Records box, but I also wasn’t getting $7 out of the Gypsie Queen box, either.
Besides, the World Record cards are more fun, and that’s what this hobby is all about.