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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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!

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