Jul 10

Thought On All-Star Home Run Derby

Another year, another Home Run Derby. The only thing with edge last night was Kansas City booing Robinson Cano for bypassing the local hero. Of course, it didn’t have the from-the-heart venom of NBA fans booing the Miami Heat.

Initially, I watched the Derby with interest, if not fascination, the way I did the NBA slam dunk. But, there’s no real challenge if the pitch is lobbed over the play, so it became boring. Then, after the steroid issue, you knew what fueled all those upper deck shots.

So, I’m not a big fan of the Derby. I’d rather watch Criminal MInds reruns.

But, the paying public in the host city still loves it. I heard on talk radio yesterday saying how it Derby should be tweaked, ranging from celebrities (PLEASE, NO) to retired sluggers (not a bad idea).

I don’t care for the Derby because it is staged and not real competition – even though in a million swings I could never clear the wall – but as long as they are selling out the stadium, just leave it alone.

May 23

Thank God For Mets

As you can tell, I have not been around since Friday. I went in for surgery, had complications and only today have I been able to sit up without help. The only thing I could reach was the TV remote. Today is the first day since Friday that I’ve been online.

Helping me through this time have been the Mets and TV sports. In particular, the NBA playoffs. My basketball rooting interest are the Celtics and whatever team is playing Los Angeles and Miami. When those teams play I am paralyzed as to who I want to lose more, the Lakers or LeBron James’ team. No, I won’t get over it.

But, I must say, the Mets have been a joy to watch. R.A. Dickey is a great story and his contract should be extended. Time after time, he does it again. I wasn’t crazy about the communication in left field between Mike Baxter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and the bullpen has been a challenge to watch.

I’ve been watching Ike Davis, and while I believe he’ll get his swing fixed, the overriding question is when? I was against the minor leagues, but he’s just not right.

I see where David Wright’s average has dropped and threatening to dip below .400. I read with amusement where Terry Collins answered about Wright possibly challenging .400, saying he had the speed. What mumble jumble. If George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs and Rod Carew all fell way short, how could anybody believe Wright can sustain that clip for the Mets?

Anyway, I said thank God for the Mets, and I meant it. Whomever your team is, give thanks for that. When people are down physically and mentally, or just shut ins, sports is their key to the outside and there’s a lot of reason to give thanks for that.

I hate leaving the blog unattended, and tried to reach Joe DeCaro to post for me, only I learned he had surgery himself. The two of us should be on the DL.

Anyway, I hope you realize I was thinking about you guys while I was hurting and how I missed the communication with you. I need to reach out again to repair the damage from being away, but I hope you realize after all this time I wouldn’t leave without saying a proper goodbye and something had to have come up.

It’s still a thrill for me to watch the Mets, comment about them and read your responses. Thank you for that and I’ll try to stay on my feet from now on.

Best to you all, JD

 

Jan 05

Torre has to be frontrunner for Dodgers.

There are some impressive, heavyweight syndicates vying to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the latest entry the clear frontrunner in my opinion.

TORRE: From bench to boardroom?

I’m thinking slam dunk for Joe Torre.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, has potentially the most financial clout, but Bud Selig and the owners will likely view him as a loose cannon, much the way NBA commissioner David Stern does.

The Magic Johnson and Steve Garvey groups bring a local flavor, but they don’t have the cache of Torre.

As the sale of the Boston Red Sox proved, Selig leans toward his favorites and has long admired Torre. That Torre worked for Selig last season also gives him an insight into the inner workings of Major League Baseball the other groups lack.

Torre is a leader on so many levels, with respect within the baseball community and the Los Angeles business community. This is a man with integrity and clout. If he’s truly sincere in this endeavor, I can’t see the team being sold to anybody but him.

 

 

Oct 24

Real baseball fans are watching … just not enough of them.

The ratings for this World Series, which has been compelling, are down but should pick up by Game 6, which is a certainty. I’m betting on a Game 7, the game’s ultimate gem.

But, that’s not enough for Maj0r League Baseball because the East Coast giants aren’t involved. With MLB’s¬†penchant for panic and knee jerk reaction, I am beginning to wonder what the response will be.

Tinkering has already done damage to the credibility of the regular season. With interleague play and the unbalanced schedule, not every team runs the same race to October, which had been a constant for nearly a century. I guess 100 years of a good thing is not enough.

Major League Baseball is seriously considering expanding the playoffs to create interest in more cities and to add extra gates. Another round in the postseason turns baseball into the NFL, the NBA and NHL, which rewards mediocrity.

What had been unique to baseball – and valuable to the sport’s identity – was the difficulty in getting to the postseason. Every team facing the same obstacles gave value and integrity to the regular season. That has ¬†been diluted.

It’s now a crapshoot where just about anybody can get in, and this year we have two teams that play the sport correctly, but don’t attract a national audience. What MLB wants is for the playoffs to be expanded, but in the end have the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Dodgers somehow involved.

It doesn’t work that way.

Ratings are down for a variety of reasons, beginning with conflicts from the NFL and college football, and so many other viewer options on cable and satellite. At one time, even when the Series started being played at night, baseball was the popular choice.

It’s not that way anymore.

For years, MLB operated in a fashion to discourage growth from a young fan base by scheduling the playoffs later in primetime and its regular season pricing for tickets. It is more inconvenient for a young fan base – and also for the older fans who long supported the sport – to follow baseball. Those in their 70s and 80s who watched games in Ebbets Field and in dozens of parks that no longer exist, can’t afford tickets and don’t stay up as late. They have been shut out, just like the youth who are choosing other convenient options.

MLB needs to re-evaluate its marketing strategy to get back the fans who long supported the sport and attract its future fan base. Its not enough to get cities to build new stadiums and ride that enthusiasm, because eventually the thrill fades.

As those of us who are watching can see, it is still a remarkable, attractive sport that when played well is a joy to watch. We should savor what we are seeing and not regret those teams that aren’t here.

MLB could start by starting the games an hour earlier as to not shut out the East Coast in the late innings. Start the telecast at 7:00 p.m., with first pitch a half hour later. I’d rather have a small West Coast following in the first two innings than lose the East at the end of the game where memories are made.

In doing so, MLB would sacrifice money in its TV deals now, but it will pay off in the future, and that’s what’s best for the game.