Baseball is a sport built upon the firm foundation of once-upon-a-time. We who love the game remember and revere the times when the team with the best record over the entire course of a season went to the World Series, when being the best actually meant something.
Commissioner Manfred, in his misguided efforts aimed at so-called progress, has watered down the very definition, not to mention the motivation, to be best to the point where being only good enough now is meant to suffice. When mediocrity becomes excellence, the inevitable cost is the fading into obscurity of a game that once was the national pastime.
Ever since I was a little kid playing baseball and then through a brief stint playing pro ball, I was always under the impression that it was a pitcher’s job to not give up runs. Then I see after Julio Teheran got bombed again against the Rangers, he said, “Doesn’t matter if you give up runs.” I wonder if carrying a 9.49 ERA is also OK?
Perhaps even more confusing is that Joe Maddon says “I still have confidence in him.” I think I am not alone feeling with that kind of response from Angel pitchers and then the manager that I am confident that the Angels will continue to be a bad baseball team.
Bill Shaikin writes about why the Angels can’t win in Anaheim. Well, many years ago, “Saturday Night Live” had a character named Mr. Subliminal. If he was around today, Mr. Subliminal would say something like this to Arte Moreno:
“Mr. Moreno I’m sorry your team missed the playoffs again this season (PITCHING). Offensively, your squad was pretty good (PITCHING). The defense wasn’t too bad either (PITCHING). Joe Maddon is a heck of a manager (PITCHING), to lead your team. A couple of the Halos young prospects like Jared Walsh and Joe Adell look like they can be key contributors in the future (PITCHING). Every team should have a player like David Fletcher, he is just a flat-out winner (PITCHING). And how about that Mike Trout (PITCHING)? He is as good of a player as there is in Major League Baseball (PITCHING).”
Love Mike Trout and marvel at his elite HOF skill, because how can you not? But a great leaping grab by another future Hall of Famer, Mookie Betts, ninth inning of Tuesday night’s Dodger-A’s game, somehow prompts this from ESPN’s Chipper Jones, “I like to think of Mookie Betts as the Mike Trout of the National League.”
Oddly, in Trout’s dream, he’s Mookie.
As good as shortstop Andrelton Simmons may be, I don’t believe many Angels players would want to spend any time in a foxhole with him given his selfish decision to simply stop playing right in the middle of a tight pennant race.
Jim B. Parsons
How fitting it was for the Dodgers to capture their eighth consecutive NL West title on Tommy Lasorda's 93th birthday.
Since this weekend is the season finale at Dodgers Stadium, which game is Cutout Appreciation Day?
Forty thousand new COVID cases per day in the United States. A thousand dead.
A family of six that are very close friends of mine all tested positive recently.
But the NCAA, universities and even our governor believe it is safe to send kids on to the field to play football and to the court to play basketball during a pandemic that has no sign of ending.
Additionally, I have not heard any explanation as to why athletes are prioritized for COVID testing. Reminds me of Johnson and Nixon sending 18-year-olds off to Vietnam.
Prioritizing money over health and human lives never has a good outcome
At least now UCLA is assured of playing meaningful football games in November for practically the first time since they ditched the single wing.
Rocking the vote
LeBron James is upset that he got only 16 first-place MVP votes, not that he didn’t win. Bill Plaschke, however, is outraged. Just because other sportswriters placed 85 first-place votes for Antetokounmpo means nothing. And the Lakers coaches and players agree with Bill. Well. that settles it then. We need a recount.
I thought it was all about rings. Why is LeBron crying about the MVP vote?
Like Steve Nash, Giannis has two regular-season MVPs and zero NBA championships. The NBA has a history of awarding the regular-season MVP to guys who historically don’t measure up. Does anyone really believe Charles Barkley or Karl Malone were better than Michael Jordan? Or Nash twice better than Kobe Bryant? Puh-lease.
So chin up, LeBron. Just go out and win the only trophies that really matter: the Bill Russell Finals MVP and the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
William David Stone
Excellent article by Bill Plaschke about LeBron. I also cannot understand why it wasn’t even close for the voters. I am more more impressed with LeBron every day, not only with the way he plays but his compassion to the disenfranchised and his concern about the treatment of blacks in our country.
Before I begin downing power shakes and pumping iron to improve my golf game, I’m going out on the putting green. Congratulations to Bryson DeChambeau for a great U.S. victory. It was fun watching Bryson power up for those 340-plus drives but, more amazing, watching his putts dive into the hole.
NBC, when you have hours and hours of coverage on the U.S. Open, and it is coming down to the wire, only two players under par fighting for the lead, and they get to the 14th tee where it is a crucial tee shot and both pull it in to the rough ... that is not a good time for your play-through commercial.
Watching the last-minute drive by the Chiefs on Sunday almost made me crazy! What were the Chargers thinking? The only way to stop a top quarterback like Patrick Mahomes is to bring pressure, lots of pressure! The defense can’t afford to give the QB the time to find a receiver or scramble for a big gain by only rushing four at a time.
In discussing the pregame injection that punctured the lung of Tyrod Taylor, coach Anthony Lynn observed that, "there were complications with the shot." That has to be the understatement of the year.
Ralph S. Brax
Does anyone else object to the fake crowd noise on televised football and baseball games? It is too loud and often played at the wrong times.
To the sin bin
I’m calling a 10-minute misconduct on the editors. It was just by chance that I saw the notice below the TV listings on B7 that a Stanley Cup Final preview was available online. What I got was another wonderfully written piece by your Hockey Hall of Fame columnist Helene Elliott.
Go to the box and feel shame.
I get it. There are only so many column inches to go around and who doesn’t want to know more about a Kansas City Chiefs tackle who cooks. I know you lost interest in the NHL when they stopped with the glowing puck gimmick, but there are dozens and dozens of fans like me who love this game and expect more.
And another two-minutes for reader interference.
John Vande Wege
We’re at a loss
Paul H. Brown
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