Bryce Harper Has a Point

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“Bryce Harper2015SD002” by Johnmaxmena2 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BryceHarper2015SD002.jpg#/media/File:BryceHarper2015SD002.jpg

Despite the fact that I’m a traditionalist, I have to admit that Bryce Harper has a point when it comes to his assertion that baseball needs to inject a little more personality into the game. This week’s edition of the Sports Microscope podcast talks about that, and the rather unhinged comments by Hall of Famer Rich Gossage.

There is little doubt that the average age of the baseball fan keeps going up. There can also be no arguing that Major League Baseball needs to find a way to attract young fans and get kids excited about actually playing baseball. Players loosening up some of those unwritten rules about bat flips, etc. might be a good start.

Don’t get me wrong, some unwritten rules are good and necessary. Up eight runs and still trying to steal bases? The middle infielders covering second need to police that, or the pitcher needs to make the next batter wear a baseball. Not showing up the opponent should be the primary unwritten rule. Does flipping a bat, yelling after striking out an opponent, or strutting a bit after hitting a homer constitute showing up the opponent? I don’t think so. That kind of thing has been going on for years. Hell, wouldn’t Kirk Gibson‘s arm pumps after hitting the game-winning homer off Dennis Eckersley in 1988 be considered showboating?

There’s no easy answer here. Someone is always going to take offense at some perceived slight. David Price had perhaps the best solution – how about the shoes? Why not let player express their personality through their footwear? Why shouldn’t MLB change their policy that cleats have to be 51 percent of the team’s primary color? I like Price’s idea a lot and it brings the sport a little closer to what Bryce Harper suggests.

Also in this Episode:

  • Could Jered Weaver be at the end of the line?
  • Travis Shaw is hitting the heck out of the ball in spring training. What do the Red Sox do?
  • Jenrry Mejia must all think we are as dumb as he is
  • The mess in Baltimore continues as they sign human statue Pedro Alavarez
  • Brock Osweiler parlays seven career starts into 18 million a year
  • My pick for team of the week

I appreciate you listening and following me every week. You can listen to the latest podcast here, or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions here or at ggumbs@sbcglobal.net. Please let me know what you think!

 

What We Learned in MLB Last Night

mlblogo

A few things became pretty clear in Major League Baseball last night:

 

  1. Matt Harvey cannot easily set aside issues off the field. After he and his agent made a mess of an innings limit controversy Harvey came up pretty small on the field. He allowed 8 hits and seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. That performance is not likely to change the minds of thousands of Met fans who skewered the Connecticut native after he failed to temper the comments of his agent, Scott Boras.
  2. We also learned that the Washington National fans may have been justified in leaving in the seventh inning Monday night, drawing the ire of Bryce Harper, who blasted them. After blowing Monday night’s game late, on Tuesday the Nationals coughed up a 7-1 sixth-inning lead and lost to the Mets 8-7, effectively putting a fork in Washington’s playoff hopes. I wonder if Harper had anything interesting to say last night?
  3.  Teams have managers for a reason. The Boston Red Sox roster showed what happens when players try to think for themselves. A day after Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart tried to lay down bunts on their own early in a game on Monday, Rusney Castillo may have cost the Sox a chance to beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday. After David Ortiz singled with one out in the ninth of a 1-1 game, manager Torey Luvullo used Castillo as a pinch runner. Castillo then proceeded to try to steal second base on his own and was promptly gunned down by Russell Martin.

Now I’m not saying these guys are dopes (exactly), but it does seem to me to be the perfect example of why it is always important to stop and take a minute to think before you speak or act – MLB players included. If you don’t, you had better be prepared to take responsibility for the fallout.

The Arrogance of Scott Boras Leads Podcast This Week

Mets logoSuper agent Scott Boras forgot who was supposed to be in charge when he mouthed off about innings limits to the national media this week. In doing so, he put his client (read: employer), Matt Harvey in an impossible spot this week. His arrogance and stupidity leads off episode 23 of the Sports Microscope podcast this week.

Short of Harvey coming out and saying “Screw my agent. I’m pitching as much as I want to this year” there was no way for him to win. The Met fans have jumped all over Harvey. Even if a conversation like that needs to happen, it needs to happen in private. I hope Harvey had the courage to contact his agent and warn him if he ever does something like that again he’s fired. Hell, for PR sake, he should fire the man now.

That fiasco aside, the New York Mets are in a great position to win the National League East and return to the post season. And with their stable of young pitchers and an ageless Bartolo Colon, who knows what might happen. It will be interesting to see how Harvey weathers this firestorm and is able to help the Mets get to the promised land.

Also in this episode:

  • The exciting races in the AL East and West
  • The Minnesota Twins quest to sneak into the wild card game
  • Bryce Harper‘s comments about National’s fans out of line
  • The red-hot Red Sox youngsters
  • Some NFL notes
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

MLB All-Star Game Talk Highlight of Podcast #14

Sports Microscope PodcastNow that the MLB All-Star Game actually means something, the composition of the roster becomes a little more important. While the fans have the say-so in the starting lineup, the players have a vote for some of the reserves and pitchers, and the respective managers get to round them out.

The American League roster is led six Royals and skippered by KC manager Ned Yost. The Cardinals placed five players on the NL roster, and manager Bruce Bochy made a couple of questionable choices and left off at least one huge name.

Also in this episode:

  • Talk about the US Women’s World Cup title
  • Why soccer will never surpass football’s popularity
  • Bryce Harper‘s decision not to participate in the Home Run Derby
  • Rick Porcello‘s do-or-die start on Wednesday for the Red Sox
  • Mike Scioscia‘s KO of former GM Jerry Dipoto
  • Is Justin Verlander‘s career on the wane?
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. Feel free to leave feedback and ideas for topics for further episodes. Enjoy!