Major League Baseball gets no respect

By Jimmie Searfoss

There is a lack of respect when it comes to Major League Baseball. A lack of respect from the young fans, who don’t find it exciting enough to watch. There is a lack of respect from the diehard fans, who have lost their interest in the game due to the new rule changes. Most importantly, there is a lack of respect from the players themselves, who have been outspoken, even mocked, the direction the game is headed, and the only people to blame is the MLB front office.

The MLB’s latest headline is its crackdown on pitchers doctoring baseballs with foreign substances. Beginning June 21st pitchers will now be inspected after every inning, or after coming out of the bullpen for substances by umpires who will check their hat and glove. 

This is a rule change that needed to happen. However, the way the MLB implemented the rule, and the backlash from pitchers around the league has created chaos around the league.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Sergio Romo walked off the mound in Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers and before he got to the dugout, he was stopped by an umpire for an inspection. Romo, who had just given up a run that inning, was visibly not pleased with the new requirement. He proceeded to throw his hat, belt, and glove onto the turf, then pulled his pants down in mockery to the new rule umpires must now enforce. Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer pulled a similar stunt in his start on Wednesday by undoing his belt to prove he was clean.

Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher Tyler Glasnow and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer have particularly been outspoken against the rule change. 

“I just threw 80 something innings & you just told me I can’t use anything. I have to change everything. I truly believe 100% that’s why I got hurt. I’m frustrated MLB doesn’t understand. You can’t just tell us to use nothing. It’s crazy,” said Glasnow in a postgame interview. 

Bauer also reflects these views.

“They didn’t get a whole lot of this right,” said Bauer in an interview with Sportsnet LA.

To implement a rule that will change the way the sport is played three months into the season is rash and unprofessional from a league that is supposed to represent ‘Americas Pastime’. The league did not even need to wait until next season to implement this rule. The All-Star break, or even another set date a month or two down the line to give pitchers the opportunity to adjust would have sufficed. Instead, they felt the pressure and made a rushed and vague rule to throw into the game.

In the same interview with Sportsnet LA, Bauer demonstrated the sticky results of a mix of sweat and rosin by holding his hand in the air while a ball stuck to it. If a player is sweatier in one inning than another, causing the ball to stick more when mixed with the legal substance of rosin, how is an umpire going to determine if it was sweat or another substance? 

“Umpires haven’t been trained to know what is sticky and what isn’t. And like, if I can hold a ball like this obviously it’s illegal right, except it’s not,” said Bauer, “It’s a mess.”

The mess the MLB is currently in is a case of history repeating itself. In the early 2000s the MLB was infamously tarnished by the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) which led to an increase in home runs. Players like Barry Bonds who began their careers lean ended up becoming a massive hulk of a player at the turn of the century. With home runs on the rise and players becoming unnaturally large unnaturally fast, it was obvious something wasn’t right. When the scandal finally broke on the amount of PED users within the MLB, the league became forever linked to cheating. It’s biggest athletes, like Bonds, who had been linked to PED’s lost all respect they had gained through their career.

The same signs had been there when it came to pitchers doctoring the ball. It is inexcusable for the MLB to claim more pitchers had been cheating than expected when the statistics had been there for it all along. The MLB sent a memo to all 30 teams at the beginning of the season announcing it would be tracking spin rates closely to crack down on cheating this year. Why did they start monitoring closely this year? These stats have been available for years. In the Statcast era of baseball there is a number for every aspect of the game. When players such as Gerrit Cole, Brandon Woodruff, and Tyler Glasnow along with many other pitchers had managed to drastically increase the spin rates on their pitches around the same time of each other, it should have caught the MLB’s attention. Yet the MLB ignored it, like a high schooler putting off a paper, and much like a high schooler, rushed something together and turned in at the last minute. 

The NBA experienced something similar in its 2021 season. Its players had found a loophole in the rules and had exploited it. Players began to lurch forward unnaturally after a jump shot to draw contact from the defender thus causing a foul on the defense. It had created a lot of controversy around the league and with its fans. However, after the season, the NBA announced it was going to revise the rules in the offseason in a way to prohibit the unnatural movements of players during a jump shot. The NBA gave itself time to figure out their new rules and train their referees on how to call them. 

It’s time the MLB took a page out of its fellow sports leagues book, because a player pulling his pants down is not a good look.

Are we seeing another “year of the pitcher”?

By Jimmie Searfoss

On May 19, 2021, New York Yankees pitcher Corey Kluber stood atop the mound in front of 31,600 fans in the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Kluber had not allowed a hit all game, the only blemish on his record being a walk to Corey Culberson in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, former top Ranger’s prospect Willie Calhoun stepped to the plate to prevent history from taking place.

He was unsuccessful.

After watching a slider catch the outside of the plate for a strike, he hit a routine ground ball to Gleyber Torres, who threw to first base in time to complete Corey Kluber’s first career no-hitter.

Kluber’s no-hit bid was the first for the Yankees since their combined no-hitter in 2003. Although it was the first for the Yankees in 18 years, it has been a common occurrence so far in 2021. Kluber’s performance tallied the sixth no-hitter of the year, less than two months into the season, one short of tying the record of seven in a year set in 2012.

Pitching has been overwhelmingly dominant the first two months into the 2021 season. Hitters have been held to a league wide batting average of just over .230, while the pitchers have accumulated an ERA of 4.02.  In comparison to the 2020 season, which played roughly the same number of games as the 2021 season so far, the league had a batting average of .245 and an ERA of 4.44 with 1,999 more hits.

Although it is early, it is fair to call this season a ‘Year of the Pitcher’, meaning a year where pitching took the center stage and dominated baseball. However, this is far from the first time this has happened. A few truly pitching heavy years shine through the pages of the thick history book of baseball. It is time to throw on the old readers, and take a deep dive into them, to see how they stack up to 2021.

1968

The year that originally coined the term ‘Year of the Pitcher’ saw such dominance on the hill, it inspired a novel written by Sridhar Pappu titled, The Year of the Pitcher: Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, and the End of Baseball’s Golden Age. ’68 featured pitching legends like Catfish Hunter with the Oakland Athletics, Luis Tiant of the Cleveland Indians, the San Francisco Giants’ Gaylord Perry and Los Angeles Dodger Don Drysdale at their best. Hunter and Perry each tossed no-hitters that year, with Hunter’s being a perfect game. Luis Tiant obliterated batters with an AL leading 1.60 ERA while Drysdale was busy tossing 58 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the NL. This year was an all time low for AL hitters, leaving them with a batting average of .230, the lowest ever for the time being. However, in a year of overwhelming pitching across the board, The St. Louis Cardinals’ Bob Gibson and the Detroit Tigers’ Denny McLain stood above all.  Gibson held a 1.12 ERA at the end of the season while racking up 22 wins, 13 of which were shutouts. He also led the league in strikeouts. McLain had an absurd record of 31-6 with an ERA of 1.96. Since McLain, no pitcher has won 31 games in a season. Gibson and McLain each ended up winning their leagues Cy Young award, and MVP. The duo eventually met in the 1968 World Series, where they faced off three times. Gibson won two of them and set a World Series record of 17 strikeouts in game one. The Cardinals went on to win the series in seven games. Due to the strength of pitching, MLB changed its rules to make the strike zone smaller. They also lowered the mound from 15 to 10 inches high, to give hitters a better chance at the plate. The mounds height remains at 10 inches to this day.

2012

The world did not end in 2012, but it must have felt like it for hitters. This year featured an MLB record seven no-hitters.  One of which was a combined no-hitter achieved by six players. That was not the only record set by pitchers this year, of the seven no-hitters thrown, three were perfect games, an MLB record. Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox, the San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain, and Felix Hernandez from the Seattle Mariners were each perfect once. Humber’s and Hernandez’s perfect games took place in the same stadium (Safeco Field in Seattle) in another first for the MLB as no two pitchers had ever thrown a perfect game in the same stadium in the same year. Hernandez’s perfect performance is the most memorable one of that year. The famous photo of him celebrating with his arms raised, leg kicked, and famously slanted hat had gone viral at the time and cemented his nickname “King Felix”. Since Hernandez’s game in 2012, no pitcher has managed to be perfect.

1884

The ‘Year of the Pitcher’ is a year where pitchers in general dominate the hitters for that season. Although it is bending the rules of a true ‘Year of the Pitcher’ by only talking about one, it does not get more dominant than Old Hoss Radbourn’s 1884 campaign.  Radbourn led the league in wins, win percentage, ERA, games started, complete games, innings pitched, and strikeouts. With a record of 60-19, he led the Providence Grays the championship series against the New York Metropolitans of the American Association where he started and won three games in a sweep. He did not tally a single earned run in his 22 innings pitched of the series. Although it was in an era foreign to the game of now, his accomplishments in 1884 are still eye popping. A 1.38 era through 678.2 is unheard of in any form of the game, and if the Hall of Fame recognizes it as legitimate, so should everyone else.

1997

The 90’s was a weird time for pitchers. On one end of the spectrum, fireballers like Randy Johnson zipping balls by hitters for the Seattle Mariners, while on the other end pitchers like Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves were barely touching 90. Yet regardless of what the velocity was, chances were that the man in the box was not reaching first base. This was especially true in 1997. The season featured Greg Maddux’s famous 76 pitch complete game, which coined the expression, “to Maddux,” meaning a pitcher threw a complete game in under 100 pitches. This was also the season Pedro Martinez truly broke out. Martinez won his first Cy Young award with a 1.90 ERA as well as becoming one of only 19 other pitchers to strike out 300 batters in a season. Curt Schilling also joined the club after sitting down 319 with the Philadelphia Phillies. However, the pitching performances that cemented this year in the history books came in the postseason. Baltimore Orioles ace Mike Mussina, put on a show in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series by striking out 15, the most ever in an LCS, and third most strikeouts in postseason history. In Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, Livan Hernandez of the then Florida Marlins matched Mussina by out dueling Greg Maddux in a game where he struck out 15. Hernandez’s Marlins eventually went on to win their first World Series in seven games against the Cleveland Indians.

Final Analysis

When it comes down to it, this year stacks up well when compared to other pitcher dominant years of the past. With the no-hitters alone, 2021 has already cemented itself in the baseball history books. Yet, at the same time pitchers like the New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom are putting up stats that are, so far, comparable to Pedro Martinez with the then Montreal Expos in 1997. Others like the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer with the Dodgers, and Yu Darvish of the San Diego Padres have put up their usual Cy Young numbers and don’t look to stop any time soon. Any way you cut it, this one’s for the pitchers.

Daly Dose 08-05-20 What we have learned from the return of sports so far

This week on the Daly Dose, it is the anniversary of American Olympian Jesse Owens winning gold at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. We discuss the insane pressure that he must have faced. 

The XFL finds some help from an unlikely source, and a group of college football players is making some demands, but they may not have thought them through completely. 

Then, we are examining some of the things that we have already learned from the return of sports in America so far. We look at why so many people in the American sports media seem to be against sports returning. We discuss why many seem to be cheering for another sports shutdown. 

Major League Baseball has returned, and we learned that there are certain approved ways of “breaking the rules”. Plus, we were reminded of a very important item about the game of baseball!

We also learned that the NBA could have some problems on the horizon, and NBA defenses clearly need some serious work.

College football conferences are making schedule changes, and we are pretty sure that we know why. And the NHL has proven to be pretty exciting so far…at least for some fans. 

Finally, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stated that he believes his days in Green Bay are numbered. Today, we countdown the Top 5 teams where he could end up, if he leaves the Packers!  

Daly Dose 08-05-20 YouTube video Is the sports media cheering against sports?

This week on the Daly Dose YouTube video, we are wondering why so many people in the American sports media seem to be against sports returning. We discuss why many seem to be cheering for another sports shutdown.

Major League Baseball returned, and we learned that there are certain approved ways of breaking the rules.

Plus, we were reminded of a very important item about the game of baseball!

Daly Dose 04-29-20 Winners and losers from the 2020 NFL Draft

This week on the Daly Dose, we have a number of sports birthdays today, and tomorrow is National Bugs Bunny Day, and we think back to his influence on sports.

A friend of the show is hitting it big, and we review the latest installment of The Last Dance, the Michael Jordan documentary.  Sidenote: A friend of ours appeared in Sports Illustrated in a Jordan related article recently. You should check it out here: How Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls inspired the world

Major League Baseball hands down a pathetic punishment, an all-time great is retiring, Tom Brady is fitting in down in Florida better than expected, and we tell you why Jameis Winston might be a perfect fit with the New Orleans Saints. 

Then, we hand out some winners and losers from the 2020 NFL Draft! What do the SEC, the San Francisco 49ers, and pool tables have in common?  

Finally, with Tua Tagovailoa being drafted No 5 by the Miami Dolphins, we countdown the Top 5 winningest left handed quarterbacks in the history of the NFL!

Daly Dose 02-26-20 Talking sports with Coach Mac

This week on the Daly Dose, we are joined by a long time friend of the show…high school basketball coach Russ McKinstry stops by to give us his unique perspective on a number of the top sports stories!

We discuss the Major League Baseball cheating scandal, and why the Houston Astros; World Series trophy isn’t going to be taken away. 

The NCAA Tournament is coming quickly, and we break down some of the top teams in the country, even though they may not be the blue blood programs that we are used to selecting. The North Carolina Tar Heels are really struggling this year, has the game finally passed by coach Roy Williams?

We look at the NBA, as it heads into the final stretch of the regular season. Why are viewer ratings down, and what can the league do to get them to improve? Who are the top teams to watch as the playoffs arrive, and what should worry the Los Angeles Lakers?

Finally, we touch on the new CBA proposal that NFL owners are trying to get approved, and consider what could derail a Kansas City Chiefs dynasty!

Daly Dose 02-05-20 Hail to the Chiefs

This week on the Daly Dose, the NBA trade deadline is coming, the Boston Red Sox make an odd move, the Michigan State Spartans need a new head football coach, and ratings for Super Bowl LIV were up significantly! We are pretty sure we know why. 

Then, we are joined by two longtime friends of the show to break down Super Bowl LIV! The Kansas City Chiefs are NFL champions again! How were they able to come back and beat the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter? Did quarterback Patrick Mahomes really deserve the Most Valuable Player award?

We also begin to look forward to the NFL offseason. Where could some of the top free agents end up, and which teams could be playing in Super Bowl LV? We give our way too early predictions!

Daly Dose 01-22-20 Super Bowl LIV is set and CFB awards

This week on the Daly Dose, we are joined by a longtime friend of the show to recap the NFL Championship games! The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years! How were they able to overcome another early deficit? And the San Francisco 49ers were able to run roughshod over the Green Bay Packers. Will they be able to do it again?

We begin to discuss Super Bowl LIV with long time Dose contributor Big Robb, and get his pick for the big game!

We also take a look at the Major League Baseball scandal, and discuss where it might go next. 

Then, we close out the college football season by looking back at some of the biggest surprises and disappointments from the past year. Plus, we hand out a number of awards to some of the top performers this season!

Daly Dose 12-11-19 Our five year anniversary

This week on the Daly Dose, we are celebrating the five year anniversary of the Daly Dose Sports Podcast! How have we managed to last this long? We have no idea.

Then we jump into some of the biggest stories this week in sports, the College Football Playoff is set, the Washington Nationals get some good news…but bad news may be coming, the New England Patriots are back to their old tricks, and we have a new heavyweight champion in boxing!

We take a look at a few coaches in the NFL and college football that could be feeling a very hot seat, and could be getting some bad news very soon. 

Then, we reflect back on the Top 5 things that we have learned over the past five years of doing the Daly Dose!

Daly Dose 06-04-19 Which MLB teams should start to panic?

Tuesday on the Dose, the St Louis Blues get a big win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, Jeopardy finally has a new champion, and we discuss whether the Toronto Raptors were being disrespectful when they went to a box and one defense against the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals!

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he wants to shorten the preseason. Should we actually believe this is ever going to happen?

Then, we take a look at a few of the Major League Baseball teams that are off to a slow start and debate when they should begin to start to panic, because the season could be slipping away!