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Posts Tagged ‘Bud Selig’

Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan has covered this maple bat controversy from the very beginning. Last May he wrote an article about the introduction, cause, and increase in the maple bat crazy. Barry Bonds initiated the maple frenzy when he juiced 73 homers over the outfield walls in his memorable, yet highly controversial 2001 season. Since that remarkable season for Mr. Bonds, over 50% of players are now using this soft wood (truly).334-spt_p0513_13c2bondsbatembeddedprod_affiliate113

For all you carpenters out there, this sounds elementary. However, for all of us that are lost around a hardware shop this should clear up a bit of the confusion. Each wood has a specific level of hardness (called Janka Hardness Scale), typically the harder the wood the more expensive the cost. Thus, no major league batter is going to use a wood that has potential to break and pay for an uncontrollable amount (there has been no specific wood denied until now). Generally, the players have used an ash bat. They break less causing their wallets to remain bulky from game checks. Ash has a 1320 Janka ranking, while maple has a 950 Janka ranking. There is a legit reason why there are more bats shattering with Mariano Rivera’s hard cutter and leaving batters with only a few fingers on the handle.

2443989902_c1e1db808b So why switch from ash to maple? Well, superstitions of course! Every player has their superstitions, whether that is wearing the same undershirt, sniff their bat (Carlos Gomez), adjust their batting gloves after every pitch (cough *Nomar *cough). Then again, Bonds did hit 73 home runs with maple. Mmmmm, maple syrup and pancakes. Sorry, my inner mind went irrational on me. Speaking of irrational, did I mention that superstitions are all irrational and non-scientifically proven?

The safety hazard that a shattering bat, which some players can swing up to 65 MPH, put bluntly is jeopardizing all players, fans, and coaches safety. A splintered bat barrel, or even the smaller shards, could potentially cause physical harm. It is surprising that a player has not been extremely injured by a bat. We have had coaches (Pittsburg), and fans (stray flying bats), but nothing like when the Columbus Blue Jackets (hockey) had a fan die.

This new rule enacted by Bud Selig should be praised, not scorned. Players should prevent injuries that can derail entire team’s seasons. As it is, unexpected fluke injuries devastate teams year in and year out. A ball that can be thrown 100 mph is dangerous and a bat being swung at such said pitch is just as dangerous. The MLB is saving itself of many lawsuits, and preventing the health of their players (something that cannot always be said; cough * NFL * cough).

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The Rays sweep Boston, A-Rod passes Jimmie Foxx, the White Sox extend their winning streak to 7, Lance Berkman accepts invitation to participate in the Home Run hitting contest (whichis going to ruin his season) but what really caught my eye is the All-Star voting. What a waste of everyones time. When the two leading outfield candidates for the NL are Alfonso Soriano and Ken Griffey Junior you know something is wack.  Braun shouldn’t have to battle out Alfonso Soriano who is hurt and an old star that isn’t hitting like a deserving starting All-Star should.  In 5th place is Matt Holliday, who is an extremely talented player, but when you were gone for 2 weeks and players like Nate McLouth who is given not credit is barely in the top 15 in voting you know you have a popularity contest.  Why should I watch a game when the best players aren’t really showcased.  Instead, I am watching the best players from the media hyped markets play a realistically meaningless game (stupid Bud Selig to make the winning league have home field advantage in the World Series.  What kind of drugs do you have to be on for that thought to even cross your mind?).  I am going to save your eyes the rest of my endless rant that would cripple any 20/20 you might have.

Hiroki Kuroda- After spending time on the DL his first start back he threw 7, 5-hit, shutout innings against the Astros. In two starts against the struggling ‘stros he has thrown 13.2 innings allowing 6 hits, 1 run, 4 walks and 6 strike outs with a ERA and WHIP under 1. His next start is at home against the Braves. Although he was roughed up back on April 20th, he is a much better pitcher at home than on the road. Look for another impressive start on Monday.

Matt Capps- Was placed on the DL today, and it is expected for him to miss at least 2 months with a bum shoulder. This could explain his recent pathetic outings (5 blown saves in last 7 opportunities).

Carlos Marmol- Maybe I jinxed him, or maybe his mechanical flaw was destined to bring him down to Earth, but he has given up 8 earned runs in his last 5 innings of work after allowing a 3 run homer to Ray Durham last night (although he did pick up his second win on the season). He has also walked 8 batters in this time frame too. I am thinking that Lou Piniella has overworked him this year. He has thrown 48 innings so far this year in 43 appearances. That brings him close to a pace of 95 innings and 85 appearances. That is a lot of work for a man of his stature. Though if he can figure out what is wrong with his mechanics than I don’t worry about how the next 45 or so innings will go.

Nick Blackburn- How ’bout that, another good outing for Mr. Blackburn. If you look at his last 8 starts you will see that for each poor outing he has followed them with 2 decent starts (if not quality starts). If your league still has him hidden under some of the other WW Fodder, scoop up this gem.

Chipper Jones- Maybe the sources I found were a bit off (but who can blame them, this is still of course Chipper “Fragile-handle with care” Jones) as he hits his 17th homer this season in a losing effort against the recently floundering Phillies

Xavier Nady- Hit 2 homers to lead the Pirates over the Reds. The summer months have never been good to Nady, and maybe just maybe he could repeat lasts years July when he went .321/.363/.512 (most of that slugging was by doubles). However, realistically he is a April-May player with sagging numbers the rest of the year.

Jay Bruce- He hit a solo and 3-run homer last night, hitting in the lead off spot for the ninth time this season. The 2-hole is where he has hit for success at this level (.435/.527/.652 compared to .126/.157 /.188 in all any other batting spot). After last nights game he is 6/15 in his last 4 games with 4/2/5. However, he is still striking out too much (34 time in 130 at-bats (26%)).

Chase Headley- Hit his 4th home run on the season for the Padres lone run of the game extending his hit streak to 8 games. Although during this streak his average is still sitting at .254 because each game he is only getting 1 hit. This shows some good contact day-in and day-out, so his average could improve towards the .280-.290 range (he hit .294 or better all 3 years of minor league ball except for rookie ball).

Troy Tulowitzki- Went 1/3 for the 5th straight game hitting his 3rd homer of the season, and 2nd since coming off the DL. I truly think that we have the Troy of old back in our midst. Look for another second half explosion from this cool soCal native.

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