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.   

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!

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!

Introduction

Hello baseball fans! This is the first of many posts to the brand new Fivepointfivehole baseball blog. First off, I would like to thank you for coming here to check out my new website because without readership there is no journalism and thus no platform to share my passion.

As you may have seen in my “about” section my name is Matthew Green, I’m a 19 year old San Diego native, and I have a never ending love for the game of baseball. When it comes to sports (with the exception of soccer) I can talk for hours and hours but I have made the decision to write solely about baseball because in my mind baseball is the best. I’ve played baseball from the age of five until just recently when I made the decision to take a break until next spring. When trying to describe my love for baseball to people I need only look to my favorite movie The Sandlot to do all the explaining necessary as the narrator David M. Evans puts it, “Even as a kid, for most baseball is a game, but for Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, baseball was life.” The same goes for me. Baseball is, and always will be, more then just a game.

This blog is going to be covering all things baseball from the offseason to the world series and every bit in-between. I’m fully open to any critiques, questions, suggestions, or opinions you may have so you can always email me at fivepointfivehole@yahoo.com. This is my first attempt at publishing anything on my own but have previously written for my high school newspaper. You can find all my past articles at http://saga.guhsd.net/?author=55. Once again thanks for stopping by and I hope you check back in the future.

-Matthew Green