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!

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