All-Star Game Voting: A Flawed System

Hello baseball fans! We’re less than a week away from the All-Star game and the representatives for each league were announced yesterday. With this years selections, it again showcases a flawed system in which more deserving players don’t get to start when their numbers say otherwise.

Possibly the most glaring mistake made by fans is Cubs’ Addison Russell starting over Dodgers’ Corey Seager at SS for the National League. It just takes a quick glance at the numbers to see the wrong doing here. Seager’s hitting .304, with 17 HRs,41 RBIs with a NL SS leading 101 hits while Russell is hitting just .242, with 11 HRs, 49 RBIs, and only 66 hits. It is very clear who should be the starting SS for the NL next Tuesday but due to a system that relies on extremely biased fans, Seager will miss out on the starting job. Unfortunately for the rest of the NL this isn’t the only position that Cubs’ fans botched. They also made a mistake at second base by voting in Ben Zobrist to play second base. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that Zobrist should make the ASG, but Daniel Murphy should have ended up getting the starting job rather than the reserve role. Again, if people would have looked to the numbers during voting they would have seen that Murphy leads the NL in batting average at .349, has 14 HRs, along with 56 RBIs (leads all NL 2B). Zobrist falls short of Murphy in all those categories with a . 291 BA, 12 HRs, and 44 RBIs.

There was clearly a mistake made here and it comes down to uneducated or just ignorant fans. The Cubs have the best team that they’ve had in years and they actually have a realistic chance of making the World Series. With this in mind, they should have tried their best to lock up home field advantage by voting in the most deserving players to give the NL the best chance to win. With the last 4 out of 5 World Series titles going to the team with home field advantage, fans should take the voting much more serious if they really want to give their team the best chance to win a title.

As always I’d love to hear some feedback from you readers. You can reach me at fivepointfivehole@yahoo.com with questions, comments, or concerns. I’m always up for a baseball debate. Thanks as always for stopping by and don’t forget to check back soon to see what else is making it’s way through the five point five hole!

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Somewhere in the Middle

Hello baseball fans!

We’re in the middle of spring training now and it has been pretty eventful thus far as we have seen some rule changes (notably the “Utley Rule”), some late FA signings (Ian Desmond and Pedro Alvarez), and even a lifetime ban of, now Ex-Mets pitcher, Jenrry Mejia. However, we have seen some interesting news break just today, in the form of two different ESPN articles. One, an article of the uniqueness of superstar Bryce Harper, who is trying to change what he calls “a tired game”. With the other being a crazed rant by HOF great Goose Gossage, highlighted by the two lines “Bautista is a f—ing disgrace to the game” and “A bunch of f—ing nerds running the game.”

Although my opinion will be about as heard as a pin dropping in a war zone. I know I cannot be the only person and fan that finds themselves torn between “new school” and “old school” so here is my two cents on the subject.

As for Harper calling baseball “A tired game” I think that part is a bit of a stretch. Baseball is moving in the right direction and is pouring multiple resources into getting the youth of America excited about baseball again. In the article, Harper also talked about celebrating and showing emotion on the field, something I absolutely have no problem with. From tee-ball on, kids are told that the most important thing to do in baseball is to have fun. Now what message are we sending to baseball’s youth if they see a player bat flip a home run in a clutch situation and then they watch that same player get thrown at and hit in the next at bat? It shows them that when you have fun you get shamed and potentially hurt. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying there is never a time to throw at a batter, because there is, but it’s not every time someone shows emotion. Emotion is good for the game. It creates better and more vivid memories. Just look at the now famous Bautista bat flip, that apparently Gossage lost his mind over, there isn’t a single die hard Blue Jays fan that was watching that game that will forget that moment. An entire team and fan base showed it’s relevance again with one flip of the bat. That was pure raw emotion and there was nothing wrong with that.

As I said before, I’m not saying there’s never a time to throw at or hit a player but, it needs to be saved for the moments that are done with the direct intention to humiliate or disgrace a player. Let’s say for example a team is winning 5-0 in the regular season and a player hits and pimps a home run. That is vastly different than pimping a home run in a close playoff game. It’s cases like that and ones similar to it that should lead to retaliation. Gossage was WAY off base and out of line with the remarks he made and has really made himself sound like the cranky old man yelling at kids for having fun. As a fan of both the Padres, who Gossage helped take to the World Series in 1984, and of baseball I’m very disappointed with his remarks and know that I am not alone.     

Baseball is a game and games are meant to be fun. Thanks as always for stopping by and don’t forget to check back in to see what else is making it’s way through the five point five hole.   

San Diego Padres Update (1/20)

Hello baseball fans!

It’s official! Spring training is less than a month away and it’s becoming more and more clear which teams have the potential to compete. Before this off season it looked as if the Padres may be able to compete for a second wild card spot, however, now that the upcoming season can be seen with a touch more clarity, it looks like the dream of competing this year is slipping away. It’s not because GM A.J. Preller hasn’t done anything this off season (which he has, trading Craig Kimbrel for a huge haul of promising prospects, picking up a LHP in Drew Pomeranz at the cost of Yonder Alonso, dealing Gyorko to the Cardinals for Jon Jay, signing FA SS Alexei Ramirez, and just as recent as this morning filling the closer role with veteran CP Fernando Rodney) it’s more because of how much more the rest of the NL West has done. The D-Backs have seemed to have made the biggest splash thus far signing CY Young runner up Zach Grienke to a huge 6yr/$206.5 million deal, the Giants have brought in pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto along with OF Denard Span, and as for the Dodgers… they are the Dodgers and are sure to compete. The bottom line is that it appears the Padres won’t be big factors in the NL West but there’s always the hope that the Padres turn into that one team that come out of nowhere to shock everyone.

Although it does not appear the Padres will be bringing playoffs to Petco Park this year, it will still be a very exciting time with everything going on.  The biggest being the All-Star game which makes it’s return to San Diego for the first time in twenty-four years. On top of the mid summer classic, the Padres also have a brand new look which includes commemorative All-Star season home jerseys, a new blue and yellow hat, new navy camouflage jerseys, and, my personal favorite, the return of the brown jerseys which will be worn on every Friday home game. The excitement does not end there however, as this years draft looks to add quite a bit of talent to the Padres organization with the friars having six picks out of the top 100.

Regardless of how the Padres season goes, this is an exciting time in San Diego and with the youth of the players they have now its only going to get better from here. So to my local readers do me and our Padres a favor. Show up. Be loud. Cheer for this team like it’s the only pro team left in our city because it could become that any day now. This is an organization that is trying now and as a fan base we should too.

Thanks as always for reading and don’t forget to check back to see what else is making it’s way through the five point five hole!

MLB Expansion

Hello baseball fans!

If you’re reading this chances are you love, or at least like, Major League Baseball and you have every reason to. Whether it’s the atmosphere of a stadium, watching your team chase down that one playoff spot left, or even better watching one of today’s stars launch a tremendous bat flip in front of his home crowd, this game of baseball gives fans so many reasons to love and watch it day after day after day. But is there room to improve America’s past time? The answer is yes and it should be done as soon as possible.

I take you back to morning of November 18th of 1997 when I was just a chubby faced toddler getting ready to turn two years old but already with a baseball bat in my hand. Although not quite as cute something much more influential to the game of baseball was taking place just one state over in Arizona. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays were getting ready to undergo an expansion draft that would mold the teams early years and provide two very different outcomes for each team.

The “D-Backs” won the World Series in just their 4th season while it took Tampa Bay eleven seasons and a name change (cutting “Devil” from their name after the 2007 season) to make the postseason. Regardless of their immediate results it was an exciting time for MLB.

With the inability to share my experience on that November day I spoke with a friend of mine, Steve Mathews, who was not in diapers at the time and was instead an 18 year old fan of the game. When asked about how he felt during the previous expansion Mathews said that “To me the ’93 and ’97 expansions were exciting. [You had] More players to get a chance, new places to play at, divisions scrambled up, I enjoyed it.” Mathews then went on to say that he hasn’t really thought about another expansion yet but thinks it would be cool for the same reasons but adds that he’d “like to see some new unis” and “would like to see it by 2020.”

Major League Baseball is in it’s longest drought without expansion since it began expanding in the 1960s and if they are to expand by 2020 it will need to start the process soon by establishing an expansion committee similar to the one created before the 1998 expansion. The committee will need to look at potential markets, money in these markets, the willingness of the people living there to spend that money, and what allegiances to teams already exist in these areas. It is extensive research that unfortunately cannot be done over night and will most likely take quite a bit of time. Here are the cities I would like to see MLB expand to (or in one case go back to).

Portland, OR: According to Bloomberg Business, Portland was ranked as the 12th richest city in the United States in 2014 and out of the cities above them on that list only two of them do not currently have major league teams in or within an hour of them (Des Moines, IA and Charlotte, NC). This goes to show that Portland has money to spend and with it being a youthful city on the rise, MLB would give the people of the city a great way to spend their money. Now the argument can be made that the Mariners are too close to Portland and putting a team there would dip into their market but that argument is just as easily defeated when you look at the distance. It takes roughly three hours to travel from Portland to Seattle and, if you take the Dodgers for instance, if you leave dodger stadium and travel that same amount of time you run into not one but two other major league teams. Another reason that could help bring a team to Portland would be the cities craft beer scene, if used the way San Diego has used their craft beer scene, it would create even more room for growth in the industry along with giving fans the classic experience of enjoying a beer at a baseball game with friends. It’s yet to be seen if there would be enough fans in the area to support a team but its definitely worth MLB looking into it.

Montreal, QC: This move would be one that would be I believe a lot of Canadians would love. With the Blue Jays recent success now is a better time than any to give two teams in Canada another shot. Many ex-Expos fans who have ended up rooting for the Blue Jays for the sole purpose of rooting for a Canadian team need to return home. If the Nationals would be willing to sell the rights to the Expos back to the owner of Montreal’s potential team then it would bring back memories that parents and grandparents would be able to share with their children and grandchildren. In just two exhibition games last season 96,000+ tickets were sold which has caused MLB to schedule another exhibition series this upcoming season, which might be a hint that there could be a team calling Montreal home sooner than expected. Having two teams in Canada could also make for a very interesting interleague rivalry with the Blue Jays that would be sure to pack the stadium. Also on a smaller note who wouldn’t want to see an updated and modernized Expos jersey?

Feel free to leave me a comment or send me email at fivepointfivehole@yahoo.com. Let me know your thoughts and where you would like to see baseball expanded too. Thanks for stopping by and make sure you check back to see what else is making its way through the five point five hole!

Personal Update

Hello baseball fans!

A quick update on what’s been going on in my life. It’s been since July since I have been able to get some posts out and for anyone who was avidly reading I’d like to apologize and explain. Starting last July I had the chance to start working out with the San Diego Mesa College baseball team and between school, baseball, and work I did not have a lot of time to sit down and write. Everything was going great at Mesa until about 8 weeks ago when a list was posted with the names of the players that would be moving on to the next round and my name was not on it. I’m slightly upset but not bitter at all that my name wasn’t on that list. I gave it my all and as it turns out, it was not meant to be. I am however, extremely blessed to have been able to play the game I love as long as I have and am truly thankful for every coach and teammate along the way that made me a better player, teammate, and most importantly a better man. My love and passion for baseball does not end here though. Instead, it will take a different path and intertwine with another passion of mine, writing. With the extra time I now have, I plan to focus on growing as a journalist by continuing my schooling and also by putting out more posts on this blog.

I hope you all continue checking out my posts and see what else is making its way through the five point five hole. 

The Pete Rose Dilemma

Hello baseball fans! It’s that time of the year again, Hall of Fame Weekend. With no disrespect to the current incoming class, it is yet another year that Pete Rose is not being inducted. We all know the story by now, Pete Rose has a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball for betting on the game. But was the punishment too severe? Did Pete Rose hurt the game more then steroid users such as Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez, who can freely be a part of the game? Does a new commissioner increase his chances of being reinstated? These are just some of the questions that have once again began to swirl around the baseball world, and chances are you would be given a completely different answer depending on who you asked. Here’s my two cents on what they should do and why I think Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

4256 hits. That’s it. That’s what matters. Did Rose make a mistake? Yes, of course he did. He knows it. I know it. You know it. Baseball knows it. The long-time argument has been that his faults as a manager should not overshadow his accomplishments as a player. However, recent evidence has shown that he did bet on baseball while playing for the Cincinnati Reds, and this evidence will likely keep him out of the Hall for quite some time longer, and possibly forever. The one ray of hope still remaining for Rose is that he has never bet against himself or his team. This could prove to be enough to get him in the Hall of Fame, but only time will tell. Then there’s the steroid comparison. Many people will say that if baseball decides to let Rose in, then baseball will be forced to let Bonds, Rodriguez, McGuire, Sosa, Clemens, etc. in as well. But that’s simply not the case. Betting on himself or his team didn’t make it easier for Rose to hit, it didn’t make pitchers scared to pitch to him, and it didn’t change his amount of hustle and all around play. The same can’t be said about the steroid users.

When Rob Manfred became commissioner of baseball, Rose reached out to him and asked if his case could be reevaluated. For the first time, Rose was not immediately shut down. There was a growing sense around baseball that this could be his chance, but with the recent evidence that I stated above, it doesn’t look good. The chance is still there however, as Rose’s appeal process will not conclude until August, but at this point it will take a miracle.

There is a divide in baseball when it comes to Rose’s fate and, regardless of the decision reached in August, this is one of those things that will be debated for years and years to come. Thanks for stopping by and check back soon to see what else is making it’s way through the five point five hole!

San Diego Padres Update 7/19

Hello baseball fans! First off I’d like to apologize for not writing since just before the season started. As some of you may know, I have been pursuing my baseball career again after taking a year off. Between baseball and work, I haven’t had as much time to write as I would like, but I’m back now and can’t wait to start again. Without further delay, here’s the latest.

The San Diego Padres (43-49 9.5GB) have been a bit disappointing thus far and it’s up in the air whether they’ll be buyers or sellers as the trade deadline approaches. There is a ray of hope however as the Friars are winners of their last 4 entering play today and it looks as if the players and fans alike are starting to rally behind Matt Kemp’s hot bat. Although a push for the division isn’t very likely, they could still make a run at one of the two wild card spots. This 10 game home stand could be the deciding factor for the Padres this season, because if they don’t start winning the Padres will definitely be sellers. Now most likely fans are gonna see a few players dealt regardless of whether the Padres win or lose. However, the difference will be the caliber of players traded. If the Padres do start winning and they become buyers, you can look for the club to go out and get an everyday SS such as Starlin Castro, Jean Segura, or Elvis Andrus, along with possibly looking to improve in CF and 2B as well. If they turn out to be sellers it’ll boil down to how much of a fire sale they’re willing to have. Justin Upton will be gone for sure, James Shields may be dealt if the Padres can get enough in return, and either Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner will be dealt as well. As an important reminder to the fans, the Padres need your support more now, during this home stand, than they have all season. So go out there, fill the seats, get behind your players, and get LOUD!

I’ll be posting more and more now that I have my schedule figured out. If you have any questions, comments, or debates you can always reach me at fivepointfivehole@yahoo.com. Thanks as always for stopping by and don’t forget to check back in to see what else is making it’s way through the five point five hole!

Opening Week Story Lines

Hello baseball fans! First I’d like to wish everyone a happy Easter and I would also like to wish everyone a happy Opening Night! That’s right, winter has passed, Spring Training is over, and the first pitch of the regular season is just minutes away. Now with my last preseason post I give you the top story lines for Opening Week.

Cardinals at Cubs: The big story here is actually the lack of the biggest story of Spring Training, Kris Bryant. The Cubs have decided to keep Bryant down in the minors for a short period of time to ensure that he will remain under team control for an extra year which has irritated some fans but excited some others knowing that Bryant will most likely be staying in a Cubs jersey for the next seven seasons. Not to be over shadowed however is SP Jon Lester’s Cubs debut vs Cardinals SP ace Adam Wainwright. With two dominant pitchers on the bump today it’s sure to be pitchers duel.

Padres at Dodgers: The new look Padres take on Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Monday with Matt Kemp playing in his first ever game not wearing a dodger jersey. It won’t be an easy series for either team and will come down to a great pitching staff in the Dodgers vs a new powerhouse offense in the Padres. As I’m typing this out, the Padres GM AJ Preller has completed another trade that has answered the remaining 25-man roster questions. In a blockbuster trade with the Braves, the Padres have acquired CP Craig Kimbrel and OF Melvin Upton Jr (formerly BJ Upton) for Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Matt Wisler, Jordan Paroubeck, and the 41st overall pick in next year’s draft.

Red Sox at Yankees: A little later on in Opening Week the Boston Red Sox will travel to New York to face the Yankees in arguably the biggest rivalry in sports history. The Yankees will look to silence the explosive Boston offense while also taking advantage of the Sox’ sub par pitching staff. Although neither of these teams appear to be the favorite to win the division, a Yankees-Sox game is sure to excite and you can expect all three games to be over analyzed by everyone.

Diamondbacks: Top Cuban prospect Yasmany Tomas was optioned to AAA in a move that shocked many. The D-Backs signed Tomas this offseason to a 6yr 68.5 million dollar deal and were hoping for Tomas to be major league ready at either 3B or OF but it appears he isn’t quite there yet. There’s no timeline for when he will make the big league club but when he does it’s almost certain that Tomas will make a huge impact.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure you check back to see what else is making its way through the five point five hole.

-Matthew Green

Spring Training Performances

Hello Baseball Fans!

Spring training is in full swing which means we finally get to see how all of the off-season moves start to effect a team and how the players are doing in their new environments. With the plethora of moves that had the potential to drastically change a teams outlook on the upcoming season we can now take a look at how some of these players have performed thus far.

Starting out in the Cactus League with the Padres. Fans have valid reason for excitement as Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Will Middlebrooks and Wil Myers are off to hot starts. Just yesterday Middlebrooks homered in the 2nd inning then Upton and Kemp went back-to-back in the 4th against the division rival Giants giving fans a sneak peak of the power they bring to the team. Those haven’t been the only highlights for the Padre newcomers as Myers currently sits at a .308 avg with 1 HR, Upton and Middlebrooks are both hitting .400 with 2 HRs, and Matt Kemp is crushing the ball hitting .545 with 1 HR.

Out in Mesa, AZ the Cubs were able to see new ace, and recently named opening night starter, Jon Lester for the second time this spring, as he pitched 3 innings, allowed 3 hits, no runs, and recorded 3 k’s. Lester’s first appearance, which came last Friday against the Reds, was just as dominate as he only allowed only 1 hit and recorded 3 k’s in two innings on the bump.

Moving to some of the new additions out in the Grapefruit League. The Red Sox added both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval on the same day this off-season however the two players have preformed very differently so far this spring with Ramirez hitting .444 in 3 games while Sandoval is hitting just .125 in 3 games. For Ramirez this off-season’s focus won’t be his offense however, it will be his transition from SS to LF which will be closely monitored for the rest of Spring.

Finally over to the Nationals, who signed Max Scherzer to a 7 yr/ 210 million dollar contract this off-season. It’s been said that with the addition of Scherzer the Nationals have the best pitching rotation in all of baseball and if he can put up numbers anywhere near his 2013 and 2014 campaigns it’s going to be tough to argue with that statement. So far this Spring, Scherzer has appeared in two games, throwing a combined 5 innings, giving up 8 hits, 2 earned runs, and striking out 5. Although these numbers aren’t great there’s no reason to worry and he should be getting into regular season form very shortly.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure you check back to see what else is making its way through the five point five hole.

-Matthew Green

2015 Offseason Winners

Hello Baseball Fans!

I want to thank those of you checked out my first post. It did much better than expected and has made me more excited to move forward with writing. Sorry it’s been over a week since my last post, I went on back to back vacations but I’m back now and hope to get posts out about once a week.

Today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this offseason’s winners for each league.

NL: San Diego Padres

All bias aside the Padres’ offseason has been an incredible one that has captured the attention of the entire baseball world. First year GM AJ Preller has wasted no time since taking the position in August of last year. As soon as the season finished Preller went to work by taking an offense that ranked last in baseball in runs, batting average, and hits and added Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks, and Derek Norris. Next, Preller took a pitching staff that ranked 4th in baseball in ERA and made it even better by signing veteran workhorse James Shields to a 4 yr/ $75 million deal. It’s no secret that the Padres want to win and they’ve set themselves up to do that not only this year but for years to come, with Justin Upton being the only new addition set to become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season. It’s also worth noting that all of these players have some type of post-season experience and there’s no doubt that they want to be back in the playoffs sooner rather than later. The San Diego Padres have pulled off an almost impossible offseason and are the clear winners in the National League this winter.

AL: Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox finished at 73-89 last season and knew that it was time to make some changes and Rick Hahn, now in his third year as GM, did just that. Unlike the Padres who were at or near the bottom of every offensive category last season the White Sox were right around the middle. However, when you combine an average offense with bad pitching (with the exception of Chris Sale) and defense you aren’t going to win many games. Luckily, the White Sox decided to bring in veteran hitters Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, Emilio Bonafacio, and Gordon Beckham. While Bonafacio and Beckham really only supply depth, Cabrera is sure to hit for average and get on base, and LaRoche will hit behind Jose Abreu giving Abreu much needed protection that will be sure to make Chicago’s offense a forced to be reckoned with. The Sox didn’t forget about their sub-par pitching either, bringing in relievers Zach Duke and David Robertson off of free agency and trading for dominant starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. With a revamped offense and arguably two of the best starting pitchers at the front of the White Sox rotation it’s without question that the Chicago White Sox are the offseason winners in the American League.

Both the Padres and the White Sox have done phenomenal jobs to enhance their teams this offseason, but the season isn’t won in winter and it will take a lot more to win in the regular season. These teams have done there best and certainly made their fans, and frankly the rest of baseball, excited to see what they can do. Now all we can do is watch the season unfold.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure you check back to see what else is making its way through the five point five hole.

-Matthew Green