Thoughts Following MLB’s Opening Week.

Well baseball has returned for a new season, and thus I have some thoughts I’d like to convey, for my opinions to be better understood for the following season. So following are some of my opinions from this, the first week of the 2017 MLB season.

1.    So this offseason was kinda boring right? Last offseason felt like it was way more interesting. On my front (being a Yanks fan) last season had a lot more trades to break down and analyse, and obviously the free agent class was a whole lot better. With a worse free agent class this year it felt certain we would see a number of blockbuster moves, but really the only one we got was the Moncada – Sale deal and maybe the Adam Eaton trade, but that doesn’t really feel like it counts. We got tricked into thinking maybe McCutchen or Quintana (not trading him still does not make sense to me) trades were coming, but they turned out to be almost cruel trick by the Sox and Pirates. All the free agents, except for the Desmond deal (although I shoulda bet on the Rockies doing something stupid.), went to somewhere that made sense. Along with that we didn’t get any laughable trades like last offseason’s Miller or Kimbrel trades. OK, maybe the Kimbrel trade wasn’t that bad, but I mean come on, Margot and Guerra and others for A RELIEVER, that won’t look great when you add up the wins in 6-8 years. Also we had the Giles and Chapman trades, and the Price, Heyward and Upton deals. Anyway, offseason rant over.

2.    I think (well know) that I may have fallen in irrational love with Ronald Torreyes, he shouldn’t be more than a backup in future but he is so much damn fun to watch. From simply the best HR celebrations:

to his at bats immediately after the 6 foot 7 Judge that just has to confuse the hell out of the pitcher. Also it feels like total poetic justice that he would hit the first Yankee HR of the season.

3.    CC has been awesome, he has totally reinvented himself since 2015 and it is so much fun to watch him carve up the Rays for five straight innings and then pitch admirably against a very talented Orioles line up. I think he will definitely come out of this season as the Yank’s strong number 2 pitcher with a low 4, high 3 ERA and being the awesome coach he is to the kids in the rotation. I just hope he pitches well enough to get another 1 year contract with the Yanks next year, and try to get win 250.

4.    Am I the only one petrified watching Noah Syndergaard pitch. Don’t get me wrong he is still totally awesome and just amazing to watch, but I am just waiting for that one 100 mph sinker that takes the rest of his arm with it. The hitter would probably still whiff though. I mean honestly, the guy is unnatural, and when he had to come out on opening day I was legit terrified that it was more than a finger. In any case he is just insane to watch, and clearly the right kinda player for baseball’s future, but when he throws constantly over 98 for 7 or 8 innings it feels inevitable that his elbow will break, plus he’s on the Met’s so just me saying this will cause a Tommy John outbreak in their rotation.

5.    Can we all just agree that Bumgarner is the second coming of Babe Ruth, he is definitely the number one batting pitcher in MLB, and we’ll see what Otani’s real skill with the bat is when he comes over at some point. I’m still cracking up over his response to Brandon Belt overtaking him on homers in the season: ‘It’s OK. I play tomorrow’. He is probably my favourite pitcher not on the Yanks and I would not be surprised if he drags the Giants kicking and screaming to a NL West victory.

Anyway, I hope this was useful for you to build a bit of knowledge around my baseball thoughts, and my surrounding opinions. I promise the next baseball piece will be less of me revealing my feelings about the sport, or explaining my origins.

 

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Why Baseball?

This is, I hope, the first of a series of writings I will do on baseball, and most of the ones I have intended to do will be much more an analysis of the game itself than this, which is supposed to be an explanation of my interest and an exploration on the formation of interest in Sport.

When ever I am asked why it is I am so into baseball, and spend the time I do on it I give the simple answer, that was the sport I most enjoyed playing as a child, and therefore why I still display a love for it today. This is not the full story, there are in fact a smattering of factors all of which contribute to the development of it to the point of my favorite hobby.

The first baseball related thing I remember is my grandfather watching it when I would visit. He was a Mets fan, and most of my memories of him are watching with him, not really sure what was happening, but feeling the tension nonetheless of every hit ball, or swinging strikeout. My most vivid memory is of the score being something like 5 or 6 to 4 or so, with two men on base and someone I did not know at bat. It was a later stage, maybe the top of the seventh, and I watch with glee and awe as this nameless, faceless human being laced a ball into the outfield, except that wasn’t the ball, that was a piece of the bat, the ball had actually bobbled out of the infield and into the right fielder’s mitt for a 2 rbi single. This was hit that tied up the score, and had me amazed for how crazy the game could be, a bat could be broken but the ball could still wriggle it’s way into a hit somehow.

When I was 6 or 7 I got a book written by some guy called Jorge Posada who I guess was a baseball player that was about baseball. As a child I loved it, and it only compounded my growing interest in baseball, as I found out you could bat lefty or righty, and about this team called the Yankee’s who piqued my attention. Now I should use this moment to explain that, yes, somehow with a grandfather who was a Mets fan I became a Yankee fan, despite only ever watching the Mets and the only other real baseball influence me being a fan of the Mets. Then again just watching the Mets is probably enough to push away an impressionable young fan, still finding out their options.

Then, as a 6/7 year old I joined my first proper team, around where I lived, with a bunch of the kids in my school, and to my shock this was a rare sport that I, perhaps not excelled, but certainly did well, slotting into the 3 spot and getting moved around the infield and outfield as the coach tried to find the best positions for some kids who were better at booting the ball in the air than actually catching. Perhaps even more important than my own ability at the sport though, was the fact our team went unbeaten for the season, and that I played all but one of the games. It was ridiculous fun smashing the ball and running the bases, and mucking around with friends when we were supposed to be ‘fielding’.

My interest sadly waned as I moved to England, where there was no reporting of baseball and for a long time I had not baseball influence. It started to creep back into my life at age 11 or 12 when a girl joined our school who was a Giant’s fan, really hard to talk to after their second WS by the way though. I then also found out about and joined a baseball league in London which was when most my knowledge about the actual game of baseball was developed, and allowed me to build up more and more of an enjoyment and slow dependency on the game. This for the longest time though was the extent of my baseball interest until about 3 years ago, where I followed, confused, the end of the Yankee’s 2014 season. I found out that that guy who had written that book was actually Jorge Posada, the long time Yankee Catcher and DH, who also could mash a few HR. As well as that I discovered the stat side of baseball. That discovery is why I spend so much time obsessing over baseball, as I learn more and more about the stats and sabermetrical developments going on in the game. I am now avidly waiting for the new season in 2017, and more importantly, really enjoying the WBC, although sad now the Netherlands have left.

So, this I hope has made it a bit clearer sport interest and jubilation comes from.