Brand new and a few weeks overdue for 7poundbag.com. The MLB Roundtable discussion is here! Steve, Bill, and Archie discuss the latest news and notes around America’s favorite pastime.
1. With many blown calls already this season, should umpires start to be held more accountable with their calls? I am not talking apologize, but fines and/or suspensions?
Steve – I am a firm beleiver in the fact that human error is part of the game, but let’s get serious people! The umpires have made some outragous calls this season and has even cost teams games. Take the Rangers vs Rays game, where the Rays had a runner on with Longoria on deck down by one run. Maybe the worst strike call I have seen in my 33 years in existence. The Rays are going to be pushing for the playoffs, and in the AL East, every game is pivotal. If they miss the playoffs by one game, this will be a disaster. Yes, Umpires need to be held accountable. Should they lose their job? No, but in the real working world, if you make a mistake, you are subject for disciplinary action, the same goes for umpires. A small fine, and a short suspension could open up their eyes a bit, and focus more on what they are doing.
Bill – Umpires are only human, but that excuse is beginning to no longer be acceptable. Umpires can clearly make or break a game, but I simply don’t feel that MLB umpires have as much an effect on a game as some of the other major sports. The only truly game changing party is the one behind the plate. In watching some games this season, I’ve seen many balls that should have been called strikes and vice versa. Is that grounds for a suspension or fine? It’s hard to say, but it’s not completely out of the question.
Archie – I am pretty sure there is already a MLB review board for all umpires. Whether or not they have judicial power to fine I’m not sure but I am just as sure that they DO have the power to suspend. Maybe they should start exercising that power more often.
2. With a month into the season. Who has been the biggest surprise, and the biggest dissapointment to start the season?
Steve – Surprise- The Colorado Rockies. In a division where the Giants and Dodgers were supposed to be the teams to beat. The young Rockies are having a stellar first month of the season. They are taking full advantage of home field by playing at Coors. Thier pitching has been the surprise of all. If they can stay healthy all season, these kids with their offense can compete.
Dissapointing to be anyone from the Los Angeles area. Two teams the Angels, and Dodgers spent nearly 400 million dollars on newly aquired free agents. The Angels are having trouble putting anything together as Pujols is looking old, and Hamilton is turning out to be a huge dissapointment. The Dodgers just cannot hit the ball as they are third to last behind the Cubs and White Sox in runs scored. If they are in the same conversation with the Cubs, something must be going wrong. The pitching for the Dodgers is the only thing keeping them around right now.
Bill – The biggest surprise to me thus far is the Braves, quickly storming out to 15 wins (at the time of this writing) and the enigma that is the newly acquired Justin Upton. I knew he always had the type of play in him that he’s now showing in the ATL, but why couldn’t he show that in AZ? Far too often Upton seemed to simply slide along on his immense talent and not take the game as seriously as he should. Now in ATL, it seems as though he was holding out on AZ and is finally doing what he could have done all along. As for disappointments, there are several. Speaking objectively, one has to be surprised and saddened at the same time when considering the talent and money spent on the roster that belongs to the LA Dodgers. The same could be said of the Angels given their acquisition of John Hamilton in the off season. Both teams are vastly underachieving to this point, but it is still quite early into the season. For the homer in me, I’m saddened by the lack of production on my beloved San Diego Padres. Carlos Quentin didn’t help matters by getting himself suspended, either.
Archie – I can answer both questions with one team. The Atlanta Braves. Off to a terrific start hitting homeruns, lights out pitching and good defense. However, even on that team some of the biggest disappointments abound. It is amazing to me how the Braves are winning with Simmons batting .209, Uggla batting .185, BJ Upton .150 and Jason Heyward batting .121
3. Perhaps the biggest name that could be up on the trading block is
Phillies 2B, Chase Utley. Is this a signal that the Phillies may be
looking to rebuild?
Steve – Yes, Philadelphia is aging, and after 5 consecutive playoff runs, they missed the playoffs last year. I don’t think they should jump the gun on Utley, because they are still one of the most feared lineups in all of baseball. If they are anywhere close to contention for the playoffs, they need to keep Utley and make one final push for October. If they are stuck in fourth or fifth in the East, it is time to rebuild. Sorry Phillies’ fans, looks like another few years of the cellar.
Bill – Perhaps, but a team should always be looking to stay competitive. Sometimes that means parting with assets you wouldn’t expect to be made available in a trade, but it takes big names and solid talent to build for both the present and for the future. Utley is still a highly productive player and should remain so for at least three or four more seasons before he begins to drop off quickly. His position is one that requires a mix of speed, agility, and strength in order to produce results. Seeing as how he’s 34, will he be able to maintain all those attributes? Would it be worth exploring a trade to see what you can for him now instead of losing value when he’s near the end? Of course. It’s a business after all, and the Phillies are just doing what any team in their position should do: remain proactive.
Archie – The Phillies have the fourth oldest by age team in all MLB while Atlanta and Washington both have the third and fourth youngest respectfully. IF the Phillies DO NOT address their age, they will live to be cellar dwellers of the NL East for the next four or five years.
4. Barry Bonds’ HR plaque was stolen from AT&T Park recently. The Giants
say they are in the process of replacing it. Is this the right move?
Steve – If the question was for Major League Baseball, then no because I think anyone that has been linked to PED’s should be banned from the sport. That said, the Giants DO owe Bonds something as he put San Francisco back on the map in baseball and lets face it, gave the Giants a ton of revenue for their club. The Giants earned a lot of money because of Bonds, and that should be rewarded. However, good for whoever took the plaque as a statement.
Bill – While I’ve never been a fan of Bonds, I do believe that replacing the plaque is the right thing to do. What was wrong was to steal it in the first place. Some people simply have no shame.
Archie – Good or Bad, right or wrong with all the Roid stuff, Bonds is STILL the best hitter I have ever seen play the game. Only other person close in my book is Ken Griffey Jr. So yes, the feat was done. It was a landmark, so they should replace it.
5. Are you okay with David Ortiz’ comment before the Red Sox vs Royals
game, when he gave a public explicive?
Steve– Okay with it? I love it!!! Ortiz’ one statement the week after the horrible bombings in Boston gave the city something to cheer about for the first time in a week. He let it be known that this was their city, and in that sentence said that we are moving forward. I think the pure emotion of Ortiz was great for that setting, and no matter what he said, it was worth whatever networks had to scuffle to hit the “bleep”.
Bill– Seeing as Ortiz’s use of the FCC’s least favorite word was only used to emphatically punctuate an emotional situation that had befallen our nation and that city, I’m fine with it. Baseball, like life, is a highly emotional event. Despite Ortiz not being an American, it doesn’t take away or tarnish the sense of pride he has for the city that he calls home. Now, if Ortiz were going on a rant and nothing like what transpired took place, I’d be against it. Call me wishy washy if you must, but for doing what he felt to be right in that moment…. I fucking love that guy.
Archie– No. He is still a public figure and as emotional as it was He should have controlled his emotions. Young kids and parents everywhere will take away from his speech the wrong content. All they still hear is the F word and not the message.
That is all for this week. If you would like this panel to answer one of your questions, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @StephanHall. On a personal note: Please keep Boston and the families of the victims in your thoughts.
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