MLB facing tough questions entering all star break

by Toqui Tahmid | Posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2016 | 0

Major League Baseball hits the all-star break trying to figure out how to keep people interested in the product. That’s not just a Toronto thing.

Attendance is down, questions are being asked about the way the game is actually being played – nuts and bolts issues as opposed to stuff at the edges – and the American League races are essentially done, except for which 100-plus win team will finish second in the AL East.

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It is a strangely disconcerting time for the game, because there are reasons to be excited.

At first, after getting baseball trading pin to the similar site vivipins Los Angeles team start their season and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles is having the best season we’ve seen in our lifetime – the excellent Tom Verducci takes a deep dive for Trout in this and hits the break joining Jeff Bagwell as the only Major League player with 25 home runs, 75 walks and 10 steals before the all-star game.

Yet he’s doing so with a team that flies way under the national radar, making him in some ways the personification of a sport that seems to have lost momentum. To that end, George F. Will, baseball fan and longtime Washington post columnist, suggested in a recent dispatch that all will be well with the game if baseball lets the free market take care of it.

Will was talking about commissioner Rob Manfred’s musings about legislating against defensive shifts – essentially making the point I’ve made frequently with my Baseball Central cohort Kevin Barker, that the folks in uniform need to figure this out and if it comes down to the next generation of hitters, so be it. And the new generation is something else.

Shohei Ohtani of the Angels has been limited to less than 44 games and nine pitching starts, but he has tantalized. Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals, Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees ‘ Gleyber Torres and Miguel Adujar have all whetted the appetite of those awaiting Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

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The A’s Bob Melvin has been the best manager in either league, with a team that has won 20 of 25 and could be a player for J.A. Happ. They’re tough late in the game: 38-0 when leading after seven innings, the only Major league team to do so. No team has scored as many runs in the eighth and ninth #darkhorse

  • I’m not a fan of saying a team needs to make a trade, but the Brewers need to make a trade. The NL Central is there for the taking, never mind a wild-card spot, and Milwaukee lost six in a row leading into the break and has Eric Thames and Ryan Braun on the DL #timesawasting
  • Since May 3, the Yankees and Red Sox have had at least a share of the Majors’ two best records on 71 of 74 days #dominance
  • Every time I watch the All-Star Futures Game, I wonder why baseball doesn’t figure out a way to meld it and the Home Run Derby in prime time on Monday night? Even play a five or seven-inning game … #slamdunk
  • Indians’ Yan Gomes found out he was an all-star a he come to the plate Saturday. Gomes was traded by the Blue Jays with Mike Aviles for Esmil Rogers days after Aviles was acquired for John Farrell #nightmare

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In a baseball season where what’s old often seems new again, I can think of no more fitting replacement for fired St. Liuis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny than Joe Girardi, the brush-cut former Yankees bench boss. After all, the Cardinals fired Joe Torre as manager in 1995 and the next season he led the Yankees to their first of four World Series wins in a five-year span and six appearances in eight.

The Cardinals are a strange team, considered to be among the most conservative organizations, and there have been whispers throughout the game that the ’old school’ environment of the clubhouse sometimes brings out the worst in players.

A failure to communicate was given as one of the reasons the Yankees fired Girardi: but failure to communicate in a market like New York is one thing.

The St. Louis market is another. Girardi is friends with Cardinals president John Mozeliak, going back to their days with the Colorado Rockies in 1993-95 when Mozeliak started working in baseball as a batting practice pitcher. Friend Bob Nightengale of USA Today wonders if Mark McGwire wouldn’t be a candidate and, man, would that be the ultimate career rehabilitation

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This is Toqui Tahmid a webmaster and sports reporter at Tsmplug



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