Thank You Team USA For Quality Baseball
This week we have a few Major League Baseball items to discuss. With the World Baseball Classic game tonight, let’s give some appreciation to the members of Team USA Baseball.
Personally I want to say “Thank you” to the entire roster of Team USA and to manager Jim Leyland and the staff he has with him. The organizational restrictions combined with the WBC limitations puts you in a difficult position but I believe you will overcome these challenges.
There has been much debate about why Team USA does not have its “best” players participating. Names like Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, and Madison Bumgarner are mentioned but quickly dismissed. Pitchers that worked deep into the playoffs in 2016 simply need recovery time. Understandable.
Then Mike Trout’s name gets thrown out there as an individual who should be on the team. He turned down the invitation to participate with Team USA. I listen to Sirius XM Radio and really enjoy the programs and respect the opinions and experience of the show hosts. There are a few people on Sirius who have been very critical of Mike Trout.
They went so far as to call into question Mike Trout’s patriotism because of his decision not to play for Team USA. Giving no thought that maybe Trout was honoring a previous commitment to family or had an obligation of some kind. His reasons are none of our business so deal with it.
A former GM questioned Trout’s patriotism by not playing. Another host said signing a baseball contract comes with an obligation to play in events like the WBC. We really have to stop and think about what we expect from major league baseball players.
Mike Trout is one of the best players I will see in my lifetime but to say he is THE BEST? I cannot do that. There are so many excellent players every season, choosing one, for me, is not possible. A two-time AL MVP, 5-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and 5-time AL All Star. Trout would certainly help Team USA but is he really needed?
Trout and others said “No thank you” when invited. Do you want a guy on the team when he doesn’t really want to be there? One of the other members would have to go if he were playing. Which of the four current Team USA outfielders do you want to remove from the roster to make room for Mike Trout? I think these four have done a great job for Team USA and are more than qualified.
4-Time Gold Glove Award
2013 Silver Slugger Award
5-Time National League All-Star
2012 Gold Glove Award
4-Time Silver Slugger Award Winner
5-Time National League All-Star
2013 National League MVP
2014 Silver Slugger Award
3-Time National League All-Star
2014 Gold Glove Award
2016 Silver Slugger Award
Let’s all stop talking about players that are not on the roster. Focus on showing appreciation to the individuals that said “Yes” when invited to be on the team. Why spend our time discussing who is not on the Team USA roster. The roster is filled with All-Stars, Gold Glove winners, and MVP’s?
Win the title or not, I think Team USA has done a great job managing and playing. That should be the topic being discussed and not who turned down the invitation.
THANK YOU Team USA for your commitment and fine play in the WBC.
There is a term that has become popular recently when discussing Major League Baseball players. These individuals are the best in the world at what they do and they get paid very well for that. We enjoy watching them perform and wish we could be them if only for a little while.
I want to put an end to using the term “piece” when referring to baseball players. Why do people insist on using the phrase, “he’s a nice trade piece” or “we got some nice pieces in return?” What are they now, pawns and rooks to be moved around in a board game?
Can you not just say “he’s a nice ball player” or “we got nice talent back when trading…” As a general manager do you really want to refer to your players as “pieces?”
That used to be something you would call a bad vacuum cleaner; “That thing is a real piece!”
I have two ideas that will help Major League Baseball with this whole “pace of action” that Commissioner Rob Manfred is committed to addressing.
- Synch the video replay with the stadium scoreboard. This will visually involve the spectators rather than making them wonder why the game is stalled. When there is a video review being made on the field the manager should inform the umpire what he is disputing. The umpire should notify the replay officials, then the umpires return to their stations on the field. As the officials are looking at the replay the fans see exactly what the replay officials see. Then the results from the replay officials is flashed on the stadium scoreboard. Play resumes without having to wait for umpires to return to their places.
- You want action? Do something to force the hitters to make more consistent “fair ball” contact. If you are going to wear a shin protector, elbow protection, or other device while batting you must leave it on while you run the bases. Double to left-center field and immediately time out is called so I can walk my elbow guard to my base coach so he can hold it for me. No more! You wear it to hit, you wear it to run. If it falls off while you are running bases you cannot advance any further than the base you are advancing to before the device fell off. You lead off the inning with a double to left-center field but your shin protector comes off between home and first, you must return to first base. “Pace of action” should not only involve balls in play because there is action during strikeouts and walks. Pace of action will improve with this rule because fewer people will wear the shin protector. This forces them to become a better hitter so they don’t foul the ball off their leg. Fewer hitters crowding the plate and trying to yank every pitch. One or two foul balls off the bunion with no protection will cause major league hitters to adjust their approach at the plate, putting more balls in play, improving the pace.
scotthortness.com Scott Hortness March 21, 2017
Adams/Trout photo by Keith Allison https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/