Taking baseball back? MLBRT 4/7

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Taking baseball back?

What’s that all about? Taking baseball back where, when and how? Well it’s really only for just one day… Opening Day, in fact… but Johnny Bench is spearheading a movement to have all the teams opening the season all on the same day… and in a sense having the fans take baseball back from TV.

A $17 million bench player?  That’s what Pablo Sandoval is right now in Boston…

Chief Wahoo… Montreal baseball and… the Chicago Cubs… is this finally the tear?

The crew opines about it all… right here and now…

1) Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench has jointly with Kingsford Charcoal started a campaign that is declaring that the fans need to take back Opening Day… #TakeBackOpeningDay… in baseball. Essentially the idea is in Bench’s words… “Let’s have a National Baseball Day. We’ll have 15 cities hosting games. We’ll have a barbecue — Kingsford said they’d do that… We’ll have hot dogs and hamburgers and we’ll have a tradition once again. People can take part and look forward to the season all at once.” 

A CBS.com baseball writer added this idea… make the first Sunday in April… which won’t conflict with the NCAA Tournament and is of course on a weekend when most people aren’t at work… Opening Day each year, with all 30 teams in action. We are asking the powers that be to let TV rule every other night of the season but let Opening Day remain Opening DAY. 30 Teams. 15 Stadiums. One Glorious Afternoon. 

What’s your take on this campaign for “taking back baseball?” 

Dan-3-e1444417855165Dan: Honestly, I have no problem with having all the games on a Sunday. It’ll open it up to the fans watching what they look forward to all off-season and just help out a lot with people in general watching.take it back

While no other sport does have just 1 day for opening day, they all do something special for it. NFL has Thursday night opening with music before, then two Monday Night Football games. NBA has 2 games on TNT;  NCAAB opens up with a 24-hour basketball marathon.

Do something special to get people back into baseball as big as it can be. Opening Day is one of the days that always draws the most amount of fans for a regular season game regardless of how good a team is projected to be. Why not do something special? Have it all on a Sunday, start the season off with a bang.

E_J_-12-e1437441468102Earl: I think it’s a good idea, to be honest. There are conflicts with the NBA, and NHL seasons coming to an end, and there is also the Women’s NCAA Final Four going on that Sunday, but I still like the idea.

Have all 30 teams play on the opening Sunday and encourage more fan participation in the 15 home stadiums is a nice touch. It might be too chilly to barbecue in all locations, but that’s what jackets and mitts are made for. Right?

meJoe: Sounds great in theory and I would actually like to see it happen, but, simply put…

It ain’t.

MLBRT Steve small iconSteve:  I like Johnny’s way of thinking. However, he is missing another key component that could interfere with Baseball on the first Sunday in April.johnny-bench-

First, you have the Women’s Final Four. Now, I know, the ratings for that isn’t top notch, but there are still fans of women’s basketball.

Then many times you have Wrestlemania. Now, as a member of the wrestling segments on 7poundbag.com, and, as much as I love my baseball, I love my wrestling as well, and I am not going to miss Wrestlemania. Sure, I would watch any afternoon baseball game, but when 5pm hits, I will be glued to the TV for Wrestlemania.

I like his way of thinking on taking back baseball, but there are too many other things that would be overlooked. I don’t think making it a National Holiday that Sunday would be good. Why not make it a National Holiday that Tuesday? Works for me.

2) The Red Sox recently announced that veteran third baseman Pablo Sandoval would open the season on the bench in favor of second-year player Travis Shaw. Essentially, at least for the time being, this makes Sandoval a $17 million bench player. 

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman spoke with Sandoval’s agent, who offered up this: “If you want to win, why leave the Ferrari in the garage?” 

First… what’s your opinion on the Red Sox move, and, Second: does Sandoval’s agent’s statement have any merit whatsoever?

Sandoval (R) won't start @ 3rd
Sandoval (R) won’t start @ 3rd

Dan-3-e1444417855165Dan: The Red Sox paid a lot of money for Sandoval. Saying he’s a $17 million bench player makes the Red Sox look like they messed up big time with signing him.  While, the contract might have been in poor judgement, with regards to placing him on the bench to start the season, it’s their best judgement for the best of their team. If, they forced him into the starting lineup just based on his contract, he could end up hurting their overall morale and team. Starting off slow isn’t going to work in a tough AL East in which the divisional lead is up for grabs.

As for his reference to a Ferrari, he’s more like a Corvette. An over-priced Corvette at that. I never considered him a Ferrari at any point in his career let alone now, while he’s starting his 2016 season on the bench.

E_J_-12-e1437441468102Earl: Sandoval has always played heavy, but, if the Sox have issues with his weight and the impact that it has in the field, then they have the right to make that move.

As far as Sandoval’s agent, he needs to stress to his client that he has to get in shape. Either get in shape, encourage him to move to first base, or it’s time to start marketing him as a full time designated hitter. Because he can’t stay at third base long term at his size.

meJoe: From what I hear, the dude is out of shape; can’t really field his position; has had a poor spring and blah, blah, blah… all the same old stuff that seems to be following the Panda since he had his breakout year when he was a Giant in 2009.

Sandoval (L) & Shaw
Sandoval (L) & Shaw

I believe this meant as a wake up call for him BUT still it’s the manager’s responsibility to put the lineup out there that gives his team the best chance to win. And, although I don’t follow the Sox that closely it seems that may just be the case here… Travis Shaw simply has better range and fields the position… 3B… better than Panda. And, while Panda when he is on may be the better bat, he wasn’t “on” in 2015 and hasn’t shown much improvement so far in 2016, so far. Ergo… Shaw is in the lineup and Sandoval ain’t.

As for the agent’s reference to him being a Ferrari… that’s agent speak and simply laughable at best. Unless, its a very old rusty Ferrari that was never taken into the shop for at least a tuneup ever.

MLBRT Steve small iconSteve: Look, Travis Shaw earned the right to start. And, I will counter Sandoval’s agent, by saying he is exactly right. The Red Sox want to win, but Shaw is your Ferrari, and Sandoval had been playing like a Ford Escort this Spring. So, if Sandoval doesn’t like it, then play better it is as simple as that.

I watched a few Boston pre-season games, and Sandoval looked lost and out of his element. Shaw was playing hard, and having great at-bats. It’s the right call for the Red Sox.

3) We’ve discussed this issue in one form or another at various times at MLBRT but it’s time to play “Either you’re on the bus or your off the bus”… is this the Chicago Cubs’ year, finally?

Dan-3-e1444417855165Dan: Honestly, I think this is a really good season for the Cubs to win it all. They’re the team to beat in the National League, that’s for sure. But, I think the Blue Jays have this year wrapped up. They scored 200 more runs than Chicago last season and their offense has improved.cubs series

Another concern for me is the Cubs will have to go through San Francisco (they’ve won the previous couple seasons in which the year ended with an even number), and there’s the New York Mets. But, I think, you’ll see Chicago in the World Series this season. If, they face anybody but Toronto, you’ll see them win a ring.

E_J_-12-e1437441468102Earl: I’m on the bus as far as the Cubs having a legitimate shot.

Am I prepared to say that the Chicago Cubs WILL win the World Series? No. Not because they don’t have the roster to do so, but with their history, I’m not that confident to make that declaration.

meJoe: Sorry Cubbie fans… but… according to my Crystal Ball… I’m off  the bus…

… the Mets are going to the World Series in 2016. Their pitching is vastly superior to anyone else’s as far as I am concerned and they will do just enough to support that pitching to once again repeat as the NL champs.Cubs-World-Series-Rin

MLBRT Steve small iconSteve: I am a fan of the Chicago Cubs. I will not say that the Cubs are going to win the World Series this year. I will say this, they have a great chance to make it to the World Series, and this year may be their best chance in a very long time to really make some noise in the post season. They have the right core of players, the right manager, and the right front office.

I will not predict it, because I will jinx it. They have a great shot, and I’ll ride the bus as far as it takes me.

4) On Friday night…April 1st… the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox played an exhibition game in Montreal before 55,000 rabid fans…  

Should MLB return to Montreal?  

Dan-3-e1444417855165Dan: Yes, and it’s either going to happen via expansion or a team will relocate.BBL Reds Blue Jays 20150403

They have the resources. The public wants it. They have a group that is willing to partner up and buy a franchise. They are willing to build a new stadium, which is very well needed, for a team. They have the fans. They have the resources. Now they have to wait to see if Tampa Bay or Oakland will get a new stadium built or if they’ll be forced to move.

If not, they have to wait until MLB decides to have an expansion to 32 teams, which is something being talked about. But the talks are in the works at MLB about getting a team back to Montreal.

E_J_-12-e1437441468102Earl: Not unless Montreal builds a new stadium. I understand there is still a fanbase in Montreal but Olympic Stadium is seriously outdated. I watch Major League Soccer and that stadium is still a dump.

Build a new stadium, get real grass, and, if, MLB wants to expand then fine. However, I wouldn’t consider it without Montreal building a new stadium.

meJoe: I’m leaning to “no” here.

But, if they get a team that is competitive…which means it can’t be an expansion team but a team that is relocating…  and has ownership that is going to spend reasonable money to keep them competitive , then, I think, Montreal fans might attend games in enough numbers to make it viable.

In my opinion, the two main reasons Montreal fans did not support the Expos was that the previous owner at the time… broke up a championship level team and never replaced any of the players with equal talent and Olympic Stadium was one of… hell, I was in that place…it was the worst ball park ever for baseball.

MLBRT Steve small iconSteve: Sorry Montreal, you had your chance.

Olympic Stadium
Olympic Stadium

It is no surprise to me that people came out in bulk to watch a baseball game in Montreal, as they only get to see baseball every now and then. If, baseball returns to Montreal, the fans will get excited, and probably for the first half of the season, there will be many fans in attendance. Then it will taper off slower and slower, until there is only 10,000 people in the stands.

I had the chance to go to a Montreal Expos game back in 1998 in Montreal. It was a Tuesday night game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. We paid a whopping 2.00 American money to attend the game. When we got inside Olympic Stadium, you seriously could hear a pin drop. I could hear conversations on the field. We ended up sitting literally right behind home plate as there was no one at the game. I think, if, I remember right, they announced the attendance at just over 6000 fans. I don’t care if your team sucks, and they are playing another team that sucks, you don’t show up for games, you don’t get a franchise, period.

5) In a recent announcement, Cleveland Indians’ owner Paul Dolan said that the team has officially demoted their Chief Wahoo logo to secondary status. Specifically he said, “We have gone to the Block C as our primary mark. Clearly, we are using it more heavily than we are the Chief Wahoo logo.” 

Previously, the Indians had removed it from the road cap in 2011 and then from the home batting helmet in 2013. The logo, however, still has a home on the sleeve of the Indians’ jerseys.

Your reaction to Dolan’s comment and the Chief Wahoo logo’s future?

Dan-3-e1444417855165Dan: I’m kind of tired about discussing, reading, etc these logo issues with NFL and MLB teams. The Indians have a good team and the best staff in baseball. Get rid of the distractions and just make the logo a block C.

With regards to Chief Wahoo’s future… the days are numbered. He’ll eventually be removed completely.

E_J_-12-e1437441468102Earl: I like it.indians_logo

I would go a step further and seriously contemplate changing the organization’s name but, if that is a step too far, at least downplaying the Chief Wahoo name and logo is a good enough start.

meJoe: Hopefully this is the final stage before they eliminate the racist image of Chief Wahoo…

And, that’s all I got to say about that.

MLBRT Steve small iconSteve: Chief Wahoo already had one foot in the grave, and it is only a matter of time before he is completely taken off of the Indians uniform and merchandise. I am guessing this was the plan all along, to make the Native Americans happy, but gradually remove the logo bits at a time to make the transition that much better.

I’m not an Indians fan, so I don’t have the sentimental attachment to the logo like many fans may have. I think it is silly that they have to even go this route. They did the same thing with the University of Illinois mascot, where they had to change the logo not to offend the Natives. I would see it as a compliment, not anything negative.


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