Favorite team… everyone’s got one…
This week the crew talks about their favorite team, Red Sox gripes, Kershaw’s back, Mike Scioscia and Kershaw’s back and whether he’ ll be back later rather than sooner…
Pull up a seat at the Round Table and join if ya a mind to…
1) How and/or why did you become a fan of the team you presently root for?
The main reason is everyone in my family are Brewers’ fans and I had a couple family members work with the Brewers. I grew up going to a lot of games and they’ve been a major part of my entire life. The other reason is because they’re the local team and I’m not a big fan of picking some random team who’s good and becoming their fan. The final reason is due to the influence of my father liking the team and, again, attending games and family.
Earl: Well as I’ve said a million times now I’m a fan of two teams, and I became a fan of both by attending a game. My father somehow became a Yankees fan in the 1990s (I guess winning will do that) but he and my godfather took me to my first baseball game when I was 6 years old. It was a Mets-Cubs game and even though the Cubs won, the 1988 Mets were a good team and there was a good buzz at good old Shea Stadium that stuck with me.
The second team I follow is the Toronto Blue Jays and I first stepped foot in the Skydome when I was 10 years old, and I basically fell in love with the place. It also helped that the Blue Jays were on the verge of becoming World Series winners. Around that time I also was given a signed Jays baseball. It wasn’t real. It was one of those souvenir products that had the signatures of all of the players on the team, but I treasured that ball for years.
Joe: Since I can ever remember the people in my family were either Yankee fans or Red Sox fans. That’s just the way it was when you lived in Connecticut, especially in the 1950’s an early 1960’s. Yes, there were the Giants and the Dodgers for a while during part of the 1950’s but the Yanks and Sox were the two main teams people usually rooted for. And, they have always been rather fervent and passionate about their favorite team loyalties. The lines of loyalty in my family usually split with most of the women rooting for the Yanks and the men for the Red Sox.
I come from a single parent household. My mom raised me, and, true to form, she being a woman, was a Yankee fan and I inherited her team loyalty. It didn’t hurt that while I was growing up (50’s and early 60’s) that the Yanks won a lot of World Series. From when I was 7 in 1956 until I was 15 in 1964 they were in 8 World Series winning 4. And, the fact Mickey Mantle was the star of the team? That certainly didn’t hurt in gaining my fandom.
So, in effect, you can say I inherited my favorite team loyalty… but, I will say this I took my Yankee fandom very seriously right from the start… Bobby Richardson glove (2nd most favorite Yankee) and all… and have never wavered… ever… in rooting for them. Maybe not like some rabid nuts but I do root very seriously for the Yanks.
I’ll start with the Cubs. They are basically my local team as I live about 2 hours South of Chicago. They were always on WGN TV, so, I just started watching and would attend a few games a year.
The Braves sort of fell into my lap around the late 80’s as they were on WTBS. I was and still am a huge wrestling fan, so, I would watch the NWA on TBS every Saturday at 6 pm. Usually the Braves would be on right after, or, even before, so, I would keep it on and watch the Braves. Then they started getting some young talented stars like Glavine, Smoltz, Avery, Lemke, just to name a few. So, I just kept watching them all the way through the 90’s and even today, where it appears we are back to the dark years again.
2) The Red Sox recently played a night game in Baltimore and then flew into Detroit for a day game the next day. They asked the Tigers to reschedule the game to a night game. The Tigers said no… nicely… but, still no. The Red Sox kind of whined about it.
Do the Red Sox have a legitimate gripe or should they just suck it up and play ball?
(FYI: Almost every team has a scheduled game that comes at an inopportune time at some point in a season and almost every team asks the home team, if they can move the time of the game, and, almost every home team says “no.”)
There are 162 games in the season. One loss isn’t a major deal. But, who knows, they could easily win the game as well. It’s the way the schedule is, you can’t change or alter it. You just have to take it how it is and play the game. The home team is acting perfectly okay in denying the request to change the time of the game. It not only takes away their advantage but also causes a great inconvenience for fans. Play the game and quit whining.
However, whatever bad blood there could be between the two, it shouldn’t matter here. Just play the game. Every team has some scheduling issue at some point. You’re playing 162 games, so there is bound to be some sort of schedule issue at some point. It’s part of the game so just shut up and play.
Joe: First: Why would the Tigers… unless there were some very serious extenuating circumstances… ever want to make the schedule easier for a potential opponent for a playoff spot… aka, maybe a 2nd wild card.
Second: At some point in the season, for every MLB team, there comes a time when the schedule is “unfair”… it’s called stuff happens. Hey, Red Sox… stop your damn whining and suck it up and play the damn games.
Third: Why should the Tigers inconvenience the fans who have already laid out their money for the game but more seriously would have to restructure their day’s plans… work issues, day care/ababysitter issues, whatever…
One more time… Hey, Red Sox, suck it up, already.
Steve: I have said this before and I will say it again… these guys are getting paid millions of dollars to play a sport that they love to play. Suck it up! You are professionals and you have to play the schedule that you are given.
I shame the Red Sox for even asking, to be honest with you. Unless, there is some sort of emergency that would prevent them from making the game, I don’t blame the Tigers for refusing.
3) During the off season Jason Heyward signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs for 8 years/$184 million. When he was signed many baseball folks were somewhat surprised that the Cubs would give Heyward that much money for primarily his excellent defense and usually not too shabby offense.
So far, in 2016 his slash line is .225/.304/.313 with 19 doubles and 5 HRs. Not exactly up to his not too shabby standards. Even Mgr. Joe Maddon had him take a recent weekend series off against the Colorado Rockies.
In retrospect how would you rate the Cubs contract with Heyward, and, is defense really worth that much money over offense?
Dan: I didn’t think this was a very good contract to begin with. I thought the Cubs gave Jason Heyward way too many years and too much money. With how he’s been playing, I would rate this contract as horrible. While he’s been helpful defensively in the outfield for Chicago, defense just isn’t that big of a deal to pay a man that much money for eight years and he can barely do anything at the plate to contribute.
Defense is important, however, it’s not a high priority in the outfield so much as a shortstop, second baseman or catcher would need to be defensive-minded. This wasn’t a good deal for Chicago and after year three or four, they’ll be trying to dump his contract off.
Earl: Heyward did get paid too much, which many did point out, however I wouldn’t be too troubled by his numbers so far. He was never going to be a big offensive threat and his history proves that he’s a better player than what he has demonstrated so far this season. He’ll likely kick himself into gear and get his stats up.
Joe: Thought when the Cubs first signed Heyward that they drastically, and somewhat stupidly, over paid for a player who provided excellent defense but just an average to a below average bat. I think that analysis is being proven as the season plays itself out.
I think this is just a transition for him that he is not quite used to yet. I see big things out of Heyward, and it would not surprise me at all, if he has a monster post season.
Next year, I think he comes back to life and will have a great year with 20 plus HR with over 80 RBI.
4) When a team performs poorly it’s usually never the fault of the manager… at least not completely… but it’s usually the manager who winds up taking the hit by getting canned. Which brings the conversation to Mike Scioscia… Scioscia is in his 17th year as the manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In his first 10 years, he brought the Angels from being a .500 team (or worse), who usually ended the season in 3rd place, to a World Series championship (2002, his 3rd year at the helm of the Angels) and, then, to just about a perennial winner of the AL West.
However, in his last 7 years (including this season) the Angels have essentially reverted back to the form they were when he assumed being the manger of the team… mostly a bunch of 3rd place finishes or worse with a random 2nd place finish thrown in. (Yes, somehow, there was one 1st place finish.)
So, with the opening sentence in mind… is it time for the Angels to say goodbye to Scioscia? If not, why?
Mike Scioscia has been the Angels manager for 17 seasons and has only brought one Championship to the Angels organization. In all reality, he got them out of the slump they were in, took them to the World Series and then brought them back to the slump they were in when he picked up the job. I think it is time to move on and let somebody else handle the team and bring them out of the slump they’ve been in for the past several seasons.
Your time is over Mike, move on to another team.
Scioscia is a good manager, but the Angels need a shakeup and the quickest way to do that is to bring in a new manager. It’s time to part ways and start over.
The team is in kind of in the same rut they were in when he first began as their manager and maybe its just time to change managers and see if they can get it going again under a new manager.
Steve: Gosh, this is tough, because, I know Mike Scioscia and his family. I have followed his career ever since his days with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I have to say this though, even though I hate to do it. Yes, it is time for the Angels to make a change.
I don’t think he has lost control of his team, but, over the past couple seasons, I have not seen the fire in him as we have seen in the past. The Angels have one of the most talented lineups in all of baseball and should be contenders for the pennant every year. I think it would be best for all parties to simply part ways, but, I think, that Scioscia will find a new team and be able to lead them. I would not put it past them to see the Dodgers make a push down the road for him.
5) Clayton Kershaw is 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 145 strikeouts against only nine walks in 121 innings this season… but, has been out of the Dodgers rotation since his last start on July 26th and spent most of that time on the DL. Assuming he finally does come back this season (and from all indications, including Kershaw’s, he will) do you think he reverts back to his Cy Young form or something less than that or worse?
Dan: I think that Clayton Kershaw will return back to Cy Young form. If, this was a fluke season in which he pitching with those out-of-this-world numbers and had gotten hurt, I would say that he would return mainly to career numbers. If, I said that Kershaw would go back to his career numbers/averages, then it would be Cy Young form.
He’s arguably the best pitcher in baseball, currently, and, could go down as one of the best all-time to play the game with constant comparisons to Sandy Koufax. He’ll likely win the National League Cy Young Award this season and his month-long absence will be a blurb in what was once again a fantastic season.
I wouldn’t place a bet on him doing it immediately, but, he’s too skilled for him to be a lesser pitcher once he returns from the disabled list.
Joe: Back injuries always concern me when a MLB player gets one. Because, sooner or later it winds up getting more and more serious until the player either just isn’t as good as he used to be and the team eventually says, “Sorry, we got to let you go” or the player just says… ala Don Mattingly… “I just can’t perform like I want to and the pain is just too much. So, see ya later. I’m retiring.”
I will say this…if Kershaw’s back ever does get to the point where he can’t pitch to his prior excellence, I think he takes the Mattingly route retires before the team tells him they no longer want him.
He has said that he is ready for the next step in his rehab and, I think, with the rest and recuperation, he is going to come back stronger than ever. And, since, he will be rested for the post-season, we may even see a new playoff form Clayton Kershaw that we have not seen before.
I have no doubt that he returns to form and becomes the dominant pitcher that he has been over the past five years.
Katie Ledecky needs Bryce Harper… the reigning NL MVP… to hold all her medals while she shows him how to throw a baseball. That’s 4 gold and 1 silver…
Ledecky, the record breaking and breakout star of swimming as well as the Olympics she handed her medals over to Harper, before throwing a the ceremonial first pitch at Wednesday’s Nationals-Orioles game.
It was a strike. Katie Ledecky just does nothing wrong these days…
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