Be there or be square
We have already reached the half-way point of the MLB season and the league is about to stage the eighty-sixth edition of baseball’s mid-season event staged between teams from the AL and NL. At this point in 2014, the divisions offered no real pointers as to how the regular season would end or the outcome of the postseason for that matter. Granted, fans were excited to witness the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during the postseason, before faltering against the eventual champions the San Francisco Giants.
The 2015 MLB All Star Game held at the Great American Ballpark , home to the Cincinnati Reds will provide the fans in attendance as well the television viewers the chance to see their favorite players perform in the mid-season classic. For the Kansas City Royals and their league-leading number of players chosen to be among the list of players representing the American League. This provides the franchise with the opportunity to still ride on the crest of the waves provided from last season’s success, albeit they came up short in the World Series. This season the Royals have been on a tear leading the AL Central , leaving the rest of the division in their wake.
I certainly believe the Detroit Tigers have misjudged the competitiveness of their divisional rivals and the zeal being shown by this Ned Yost managed team. Remarkable as things may well appear to be, given the fortunes of the Kansas City Royals prior to last season’s postseason appearance and then their letdown in the World Series . Things might well prove to be going well for the ball-club, but the struggles continue for a franchise that finds it hard to retain players given the financial shackles placed upon them by a front office and owner , David Glass , who has not been always willing to make a big splash of signing a marquee and productive free agent.
For years Glass was seen as something of a cheapskate, not always willing to pay or place a winning product on the field. Needless to say, claims of the Royals’ owner simply wanting to make use of the monies made available by way of the luxury tax, became one of the many reasons why allegations were made concerning the ball-club’s dismal record over the years. However, over the past five seasons the fruits of the organization’s labor has borne fruit with the development of several players from within their farm system. A number of those players were part of last season’s success for the Kansas City Royals and now they are again stepping up to the plate.
The Royals are a dismal 5-5 in their last ten games, their last victory coming with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. They will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday afternoon when they host their AL rivals at Kauffman Stadium , Kansas City , Missouri. Matt Moore will take the mound for the Rays against the Royals’ Chris Young . I believe the contest is likely to be a competitive one, with the Rays looking to make some inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees.
For two straight seasons the Oakland A’s were see as creme-de-la-creme within the AL West having won the division two years in succession and with it came all of the applause of making the postseason. Alas, the appearances in 2012 and 2013 were short-lived and fell short of the expectations of the A’s famed general manager Billy Beane. Countered by the fact the A’s are one of the least supported teams in all of baseball and their finances menial at best , the continued struggles for the franchise to compete has been a hard one for the organization and the ownership group headed by lead partner Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley . The A’s home venue , the O Coliseum is an archaic stadium, no longer seen as conducive to the team’s needs. Losing 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners has put something of an exclamation mark on what has become a dire season for the Oakland A’s , leading many to believe , Billy Beane and team manager Bob Melvin may begin a fire sale purging themselves of their impending free agents and their high-salaried players off the team’s roster.
Oakland has been looking to parlaying its success , building on their momentum to obtain a new venue with participation from the Oakland Alameda County Government . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization. If there isn’t winning product on the field of play, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to get the financial backing available to get such a proposition underway and actually becoming a reality. The Oakland A’s will be looking to get back to winning ways when they take on the New York Yankees in an away game when the two teams meet on Tuesday evening. Taking to the mound for the visiting team will be Sonny Gray as he faces the Yankees’ starting pitcher Nathan Evoldi .
No major fallout in the St Louis Cardinals’ hacking scandal, with the Cardinals announcing the termination of scouting director Chris Correa . While there seems to be no suggestion that Correa acted alone , I personally believe he was the sacrificial lamb in this whole debacle ! GM John Mozeliak has been less than forthright in seeking to explain the ball-club’s actions and the obtaining of sensitive information from the Houston Astros . For its part , the MLB hierarchy has issued no public statement concerning the matter and it seems unlikely that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will take any action against one of baseball’s most esteemed organizations . We can have fans up in arms about the issue of steroid cheats , the nonsensical and irrational behavior of players in the NFL as well as their misogynistic behavior towards women, blatant racism , homophobia, of which the same traits can also be found within the NBA. Yet God forbid , the fact we now have a baseball team now blatantly committing a criminal offense and not a fucking whimper is heard from the anal retentive sports’ fan, let alone their being any great measures being undertaken by the media to actually conduct any type of investigation behind the actions of the St Louis Cardinals.
News’ cycles being what they are , I guess there’s now more interest in a bigot such as Donald Trump , his ambition to become the Republican Presidential candidate , or idiots within the South Carolina State Legislature suggesting the Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism. Last I looked , racism was still alive and well , long before Dylan Roof took it upon himself to slay nine African-Americans, as he sought to single-handed to begin a race war. Oh my God , not another fucked up suburban white kid , with the intelligence of a lump of shit, looking for attention. Was this mother-fucker still sucking on his Mom’s tit before he went on this rampage , having not been able to gain any attention from his buddies in high school ? Or was it the fact, the lure of the KKK was more alluring, than perhaps having his cherry popped or the claims as some have suggested , Roof was angered by the fact his ex-girlfriend had begun a relationship with an African-American male. Hence the saying, “ once you go black, you never go back “ . White boy , ain’t got no lead in his pencil.
The St Louis Cardinals are the runaway locomotives within the NL , leading with the NL Central by a comfortable margin and likely to have their division all sewn up before we reach the month of September . Mike Matheny and his team have been rarely troubled over the course of their season and it begs the question can the Cardinals be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant ? St Louis alongside , the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are far in a way the best teams within the National League at this point of the season, but as we all know the baseball schedule is one of two halves at the culmination of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule. Having demolished the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon the Cardinals will seek to follow up that victory by looking to inflict further pain upon their NL Central based rivals.
The events surrounding baseball’s mid-season spectacle might well be more entertaining and fan-friendly than can be found with the NBA All Star Game , the NHL All Star Game and that of the NFL’s Pro Bowl . Fans do get the chance to meet with their idols and the players tend to be more appreciative than their counterparts within football , basketball and hockey. Yet for all all the praise and reverence , baseball still finds itself with a dwindling television audience and a marketing strategy that might as well have been thought up by a bunch of drunken fools. The All Star Game itself carries with it, the winning league having home game advantage in the World Series , but even with that as an incentive there doesn’t really seem to be much else that the event really has going for it. Baseball’s Home Run Derby elicits about as much excitement as seeing an eighty-year old wrinkled female up on stage performing a striptease performance , with Vanilla Ice’s hit ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ playing in the background. The efforts of the contestants might well be admired , but in reality, what is it the fans are really getting to witness ? Efforts of real human endeavor ? If that’s meant to be the case with regard to the Home Run Derby , then I would rather watch paint dry or the mating ritual of a pair of elephants. At least there is a sense of realism with what’s being shown on screen , rather the implied implication the contest is something of real physical demand.
Baseball is now at a crossroads , with the career of its greatest ambassador of the last two decades having come to a close last season , there is no Derek Jeter for the fans to follow. The exploits of Mike Trout can provide a great deal of excitement , but he is now playing for a franchise which has consistently under-achieved over the past six seasons. Trout is not to blame, but clearly the Los Angeles Angels are in a state of disarray. In the NL , Bryce Harper is finally fulfilling the potential many of us felt he had , but his lack of maturity and the fact no one on the Washington Nationals’ roster or managerial staff was prepared to hold the player accountable, led to his slow development on all fronts.
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Are you a fan of the MLB All Star Game and if you could level one criticism of the event, what would it be ? Also , which team do you believe has been the biggest disappointment and which club do you feel has been the biggest surprise ?
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