Baseball fans have now spent a week liberated from the tyranny of the intentional walk–or so the game’s rulers would have you believe.
If the question is viewed strictly in the mechanical terms of what MLB wanted to accomplish–shaving a few minutes off each game’s running time–then you may believe there’s nothing wrong with simply putting up four fingers and waving a batter to first base. But if you look deeper at the issue, you start to realize just how bad an idea this rule change is.
Continue reading Take Your Way-Off-Base
A Hot Stove Can Burn You
Well, isn’t all that special?
The winter meetings provided a host of answers to a grand series of questions–some of which we never even bothered to ask. As previously mentioned, this space was right about Mark Melancon joining the Giants–but quite wrong about Aroldis Chapman staying with the Cubs. (Spoiler alert: he didn’t.) And Chris Sale’s hard left turn from being on the way to Washington to now joining the Red Sox was quite unexpected. And I never even considered Dexter Fowler joining the Cardinals. Lots of stuff, in both the general sense and in the sense of what a pitcher throws out there on a given trip to the mound.
Which brings us to the ultimate (at least for now) question: what does all this movement amount to? What’s it all mean? Continue reading A Hot Stove Can Burn You
The Dominoes Start Falling
As predicted in this space a week or so ago–and, let’s face it, probably a lot of other places, too–free agent closer Mark Melancon signed with the San Francisco Giants yesterday.
Remember, the premise of that piece was that the balance of power in the National League–and, conceivably, the rest of MLB as well–hinged upon which free agent closer wound up where. To recap: Melancon looked like a good bet to go to SF, while the most likely scenario for Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman saw those two re-signing with the Dodgers and Cubs, respectively.
There’s been no word yet on Jansen or Chapman, but the Melancon signing is already enough to have shifted that NL power dynamic. Continue reading The Dominoes Start Falling
Now that the Chicago Cubs have met everyone’s expectations by winning the World Series–indeed, they actually exceeded my expectations for them–we can now start speculating on whether or not they will win it again next season. Or, if not the Cubs, which other team will come out on top in 2017?
Right now, Chicago has to be the odds on favorite to repeat. They were last season’s dominant team, after all, and–as we have been exhaustively told for a couple of years now–they are so loaded with talent that they should remain dominant for years to come.
Closer Mark Melancon: most likely to move, most likely to make a difference in 2017
Not so fast, though. There’s actually quite a bit of reason to believe that the balance of power in the National League is about to shift, again, and it all depends upon three arms: specifically, the three top free agent closers on the market right now–Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.
Continue reading Closer Inspection
Thanks to being swamped with work these past few weeks, your correspondent has had to take an imposed vacation from The DFR.
Did I miss anything important while I was away?
Kidding. I kept connected enough to know that ESPN’s adopted house team–the
Red Sox West Chicago Cubs–won it all. But I would be remiss if I did not note, even this many weeks past the conclusion of Game 7, something else important that happened this past post-season, something that had little to do with what went down on the field.
For all the excitement surrounding Chicago’s victory, it was one of the Connecticut Clown College’s rivals–FOX Sports–that may have achieved the more important and lasting victory, because it looks like the network has finally found the color analyst their broadcasts have been looking for forever: John Smoltz. And Smoltz’s ascendancy into the upper ranks of national sports broadcasters may provide clues to the formula for finding the best announcers for the games we watch.
Continue reading The Ups And Downs Of Color Commentary