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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red Sox Update: Designated for Improvement...

The Curious Case of PapiFaceTomatoNose...
Well, it's official.  The Boston PinkHat hatred has gone National, and just as I feared, we've all been labeled as front running whiners.  But, that's OK.  Not all is lost.  You see, because much like the depressed people on Facebook who incidentally make us laugh with their constant updating of their radical shifts in mood and outlook, sometimes even the whiniest of points of view can shed light on a topic that's actually worth discussing.  Even if it is in more of a "blind squirrel finding a nut" sort of way...

The topic, in this particular instance, is the possible upcoming Major League Baseball realignment, and the role moving forward of the designated hitter.  Something I touched on last week, but that based on what I heard all this past week, something I feel could use a bit more of an in depth look.  Boston fans are focused in on it because of the latest controversy of how to get both Gonzalez and Ortiz in the lineup during games in NL parks (I would have never put Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield), but with realignment on the horizon and Interleague baseball figuring to become an even bigger part of the game, it makes sense now more than ever that the league would be looking to make a few changes.  Regardless of what Red Sox fans might be saying...

So, while baseball may not "need" to make changes, they look primed to do so, so here's how they do it while making the game better, and not pissing everybody off.  Well, at least not in the long run...

That, the Sox, an NFL prediction, and a heads up on some good DVR'n that you won't want to miss.  Oh and hopefully I'll be able to track down an appropriately clad little dime piece to help you all get this 4th of July weekend started off in style...  


There she is...
I'll admit it right up off the bat.  I'm not a huge fan of the designated hitter.  Just the nature of it has always bothered me a bit.  It's a signal of weakness.  Someone in your lineup can't hit well enough to be in the batting order, so you substitute a guy that can hit, but that probably can't filed well enough to play defensively.  Just all around not a confidence inspiring proposition.   Trust me, I get why it was implemented, but I think enough runs are scored these days that it's more of an idea that has run it's course...

I'm also not a fan of hapless pitchers going up there and being more concerned with avoiding injury than they are with actually helping their team score runs.  That's not a good thing, either.  Granted, I think these guys should be able to hit better than they can, but it is what it is...

So here I am, at a cross roads.  I like the newly proposed format of 2, 15 team divisions, but I don't think it works with the current rules in place.  So what do I do?  I tweak the rules.  Adjust them, so that under what would undoubtedly be a superior regular season format, the teams would be able to play an equally superior and entertaining brand of baseball.  Here are said suggestions...

The Interweb???!?!
Oh and Mr. Selig?  If I had any faith that you even knew what the Interweb was or how to use it, I would ask you to take notes.  Instead, I'm just going to have to ask you to continue looking like what I would imagine the love child of Stephen Hawking and Kermit the frog would look like, and continue shrugging your shoulders on National TV at least once every 3-4 years.  I know, right?  A tie?!?! We should totally make this game determine home field advantage.  You putz.  Props on the Wild Card though, and if you listen up to my suggestions, more of those props will be forthcoming...

Oh yeah, you don't have the Internet.  Well you guys do, so go ahead a sneak a peak at what we can only hope, will be the future of baseball...



1) Make the change to 2, 15 team divisions, with the top 4 teams from each league making the playoffs...Then re-seed those 8 teams once they get there, and after every round...

It seems like a bunch of radical changes, but if anything it's more of a throwback, with a little dash of common sense...

Granted most of us weren't alive, but this was more or less the way the standings were situated up until 1969. Long time ago for us, but in baseball terms, the way things are now are like a blip on the radar.  The new twist this time around, is that everyone will be playing everyone else.  I like that, too.  I don't like Interleague as the novelty that it is now, but make it a larger chunk of the schedule, and balance the schedules yearly as in the NFL (which will also help encourage parity), and I'm down...

As for the re-seeding, it just makes sense.  The better team deserves home field advantage, so why not make sure they get it every step of the way.  Oh and I don't think it should matter under the new divisions whether or not the World Series ends up being 2 teams from the same league.  The whole thing will be so bastardized by then that it won't even matter, so I say screw it.  But yeah, most importantly, re-seeding will be constantly rewarding the team that had the best regular season.  Hell, those 162 games should count for somethin', right?  And I'm sorry, Bud, but that means we're ditching your All Star game experiment.  This time it doesn't count, my friend.  Nor should it have ever counted...

2) Allow teams 2-3 more spots on their Major League roster.

This is more practical and logistical than anything else.  The Player's Union will never approve the elimination or even the diminished role of the DH (it hurts their membership if guys that can't field can no longer "get work") without a few concessions headin' there way.  Adding 2-3 more spots to the roster his will be this concession.  Besides, it also gives the NL teams more wiggle room to adequately stock their rosters for games against the AL...

Like I said, it's more a logistical thing than anything else, but it's a move that'll have to be made, so I figured it made sense to include it...     

If Cream Cheese Sabathia can do it, and do it well...
3) For games in ALL parks, the pitcher will be required to hit for the 1st 6 innings of the game. After 6 innings, a DH can be introduced at the managers discretion, to replace the pitcher in the lineup.

It sounds gimmicky as Hell, I know, and it's definitely the most controversial of my suggestions, but hear me out...

First off, teams would be given a 2-3 warning that this latest change would be taking place, so there's that.  Secondly, it really does provide some of the best of both worlds.  Some of the strategy of the NL, with some of the added offense of the AL.  And thirdly, it will finally send the message that pitchers really will need to know how to hit moving forward, since they're going to become more of an offensive staple throughout the league...

Gimmicky, right?  I know.  Definitely not something you would ever think a game so wrapped up in tradition, like baseball, would ever consider.  But hey, you gotta break a few eggs, right?  And besides, I'm not suggesting it for the sake of suggesting it, I really do think this would make the game better.  Not only would it  make the pitchers more accountable for throwing at guys and force them to be more complete players, but it also adds a nice little drama element into the game by giving fans a chance to speculate on a nightly basis who the DH is going to be, and when and how is the manager going to choose to use him (you're adding a DH, but you're also just really changing your lineup)...

Short of that idea, I'd rather all the teams revert back to having their pitchers hit.  I know it's not a popular decision, and I don't hate the DH, I just think it happens to be the better brand of baseball.  Obviously why I feel my idea provides a rather elegant solution.  Maybe only selfishly, but still, I think it works...    

The 'West Coast Steinbrenner'? I like the sound of that...
4) Let Mark Cuban buy a freakin' team!

It's pretty obvious that the baseball establishment doesn't wanna let Mark Cuban in their club, but it's also pretty obvious that the guy is a damn good owner.  I can understand that they thought he was a whiny brat that would always be shooting his mouth off, but that was before.  He's calmed down, now, or at least he's reigned himself in, and I think it's high time they gave him a shot...

Oh and I hear there's a big market team on the West Coast that may need a new owner soon.  Maybe one with passion and experience??? Come on, give the kid a shot, already.  I have the sneaking suspicion the game will be better for it...


So there ya have it.  Four little changes that I feel would have a great impact on the game.  Disagree?  Well I'd love to hear what you've got.  And while you formulate your solutions, I'm just gonna keep on gettin' on with my business...

Yeah, this just isn't workin' out...
Red Sox Update
Last Week: 1-4
Overall: 45-34

Interleague play has got the Red Sox reeling, but I'm not sweatin' it.  I'm not pumped, but I think it's safe to say this is more a bump in the road than a sign of things to come.  Here are a few notes:

*You know what was great about John Lackey last night? His results...and that's pretty much it.  I did like the way he was able to settle down after a rough start, but I think it's more coincidence than anything that enabled him to allow 4 of the first 6 Philadelphia hitters to reach base, and escape by only giving up 1 run.  I'm not trying to pile on the guy, or anything, and his performance definitely wasn't discouraging, I just didn't see too much last night that convinced me that he's actually turned some sort of meaningful corner.  Not to mention the fact that his post game presser only helped solidify the fact that his attitude still sucks...

Nice double, though.  He'd fit right in with my new format...if he could actually pitch...

At least give Reddick some everyday love...
*With JD Drew all but retired out there in right field, the question for Theo Epstein must becomes who he targets at the trade deadline to play in the outfield.  Maybe not as a starter, but someone who can at least platoon with Josh Reddick, and give the Sox another bat to use that doesn't belong to Mike Cameron or Darnell McDonald.  The Mets' Carlos Beltran and the Twins' Michael Cuddyer are names you hear being floated around, and while I can't speak to specifics, I'd pretty surprised if it weren't a player of that ilk...

(shudder)
Hey, Theo may not be able to "give up" on John Lackey because of all the money they still owe him, but he can give up on JD Drew, because he's in the last year of his deal.  He may not want to, but hopefully that won't prevent him from making the right decision.  Oh, and I don't wanna hear about this "not adding payroll" BS, either.  Sorry, I just don't.  You spend $160 mil plus.  Go head and spend 5-8 more if you think you need to...

*After watching Cliff Lee on Tuesday night, one thought consistently was coarsing through my brain.  "Boy, I'm sure as Hell glad he's not on the Yankees".   Imagine that?  I mean, seriously.  Imagine that?!  I mean, he still potentially stands in the way of the Red Sox and a World Series, but at least we as fans don't need to be reminded of that fact nearly as often thanks to the fact that he's the American League.  Dude's just a menace to the mound...

*While the team might be limping towards the All Star break, both literally and performance wise, I'm choosing not be pass any further judgement till I see how the perform coming out of it.  It's a weird time, leading up to the break, with Interleague and trying to "rest guys" here and there, and while I'm not using that as an excuse for poor performance, I am saying that it's a good reason not to read too much into how the team's playing right now.  Coming out of the break, when hopefully more of their players will be healthy and ready for the push towards the playoffs.  That'll be the time to really watch and observe, and judge whether or not this team has a legitimate chance to take home their 3rd title in the past 8 years...

Right now, let's just say I'm not hating their chances.  Cliff Lee be damned...  


This week: @ PHI, @ HOU, vs TOR


News and Notes

Rounding out the week I have, as promised, here are a few DVR recommendations.  They're both HBO Documentaries because, well, that's my thing right now.  But I guarantee they're worth the watch.  Well, I've only seen the 1st one, as the 2nd hasn't been released yet, but I'd be pretty shocked if the latter were anything short of brilliant...

Remember, take a grain of salt before you watch these things (they are one sided documentaries, after all), but get your learn on, and enjoy.  It's HBO at it's finest, AND it's educational.  That's a win freakin' win if I've ever heard one...

Hot Coffee

Think you know the story about the woman who spilled coffee on herself at McDonalds?  Think you know what the US Chamber of Commerce is?  Well think again, friends...



The Curious Case of Curt Flood

Much like the current divisional alignment and the DH, free agency is the norm for the fans of my generation.  Needless to say, that's the not the way things always were.  Here's the amazing story of the improbable man who was to free agency what Jackie Robinson was to integration. Curt Flood...



Hey, I know I'm a documentary nerd these days, but it's not my fault.  If the History Channel would show some freakin' history now and again, and stop force feeding me shows about people who pick through and sell trash, I wouldn't have been driven to this!

Watch these, though, and don't think you need to be a nerd like me to be informed enough to enjoy it.  That's what's great about these things.  They're like reading 5 books in 90 minutes, all while being to surf the Interweb and have a delicious snack.  Again, if there's something that's not win freakin' win about this whole situation, then I'm missing it...

Getcha bolt cutters ready!!
Oh and as for my NFL prediction, let's just say someone in the know told me this week that he wouldn't be surprised at all if the main topic of conversation at all the cookouts this weekend would be the end of the lockout, and the return of the NFL.  Yep, from what I've been told, there's a very good chance that within the next 24-72 hours, we'll get the word that the game is back on, and that the lockout has ended.  That all our prayers have been answered, and that the smartest guys in the room were smart enough not to put themselves in the position to lose hundreds of millions of dollars...

Well I obviously sure as Hell hope that's the case.  And if it's not, this source is gonna meet my wrath.  Remember what I always say about unnecessary predictions?  I mean, I'm all for gossip and rumors, but to tease someone with something like this?  That's putting your credibility on the line right there.  You could go from "valued source" one day, to "Huge Ted" the next.  So tread carefully...

But oh God how I hope he's right on this one...

Taking no mercy since 2011...
And I'd be remiss if I didn't wrap up this week by giving props to my namesake.  Team RoochNation.com scored yet another win last night, a crushing 16-0 defeat of no doubt some local restaurant or bodega, and have solidified themselves at the top of the standings at 12-2.  To quote team manager, and longtime Rooch Nation confidant, Mr. Aaron Danho, "A shutout in softball, pretty impressive."  Impressive indeed, my good lads.  And keep up the great work.  Oh and feel free to make random softball references on my message board, here.  Matter of fact, I encourage it.  Hell, you're all part of the Nation now!  So get to crackin'!  Gotta spread that word!...


That's it for me friends.  Here's to hoping you all have a happy and healthy 4th of July, and I'll be speaking to you next week, as Summer really begins to swing into full gear...

Have a good one, kids.  And I'll catch you on the flipman...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

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