MLB Minor Leaguer Bunted and Made Soft Baseball ‘Purist’ Mad.

MLB minor league baseball bunt break up no hitter

Let me start off by saying, I love the game of baseball. I appreciate how difficult pitching and hitting at a high level is in the MLB. Baseball “purist” who cite “unwritten rules” are the softest and most easily triggered sports fans. They get fighting mad over bat flips, celebrations, and bunting to get on base in a no-hitter. The purist claim that these things ruin the game of baseball. They claim violations of the unwritten rules should be met with fastballs to the head or clubhouse discipline. I could not disagree more. There is nothing tough or hard-nosed about hitting a defenseless batter.

The latest example to send baseball fans into a conniption fit was a minor league game. This play turned into a bench-clearing altercation between the teams. Is there anything more weak than being upset about this? Hartford was up 3-0 in the top of the 9th inning and was 2 outs shy of a combined no-hitter. The Trenton batter bunted for a single.

Why are purist so mad he bunted for a base hit?

  • You play to win the game.
  • They were only down by 3 runs. A good rally can score more than 3 runs in one inning.
  • Nobody goes in the record books for a team combined no-hitter.
  • Bunts are legal. It is not the batter’s job to help you get a no-hitter.

Baseball fans are torn about bunts whether it is breaking up a no-hitter or getting on base against a defensive shift. I am of the Herman Edwards school of sports, “You play to win the game”. If that means bunting to get on base, then that is what everyone should do. I am truly confused why any legal strategy to win would ruffle feathers. It’s time for MLB fans to stop being so soft.

MLB: Are the Three True Outcomes of At-Bats Killing Baseball?

MLB Players only Walk, strikeout or hit a homerun Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge

These days, it hardly seems like you can watch a single MLB at-bat where the hitter doesn’t walk, strikeout or blast a home run into the seats. Indeed, a quick look at the data shows that the “three true outcomes” are happening at the highest rate of all-time. Just over 1/3 of all at-bats resulted in either a walk, home run or a strikeout in 2018.

MLB’s attendance dropped in 2018 as well, to its lowest point in the last 15 years. Is the rise of three true outcomes truly causing the decline of attendance in baseball, or is this simply a coincidence, with other factors at play?

After all, while baseball is increasingly become a battle between pitcher and hitter, and less about the defense, it’s not like this is a brand new phenomenon. Bobby Bonds, the father of the great Barry Bonds, recorded 32 home runs, 81 walks and 175 strikeouts way back in 1969, which meant a whopping 41.7% of his plate appearances resulted in one of the three true outcomes.

Bonds may be one of the first, but the ringleader for this group of sluggers is no doubt Adam Dunn. Dunn mashed in the big leagues from 2001 to 2014, hitting 462 home runs while drawing 1,317 walks and striking out 2,379 times. His career 49.9% three true outcomes rate is the highest of all-time, and he is truly the catalyst for this time of slugger.

A New Era: MLB Analytics

However, near 50% rates of three true outcomes is becoming more commonplace, as sluggers like Joey Gallo, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and Paul Goldschmidt have embraced the “launch angle revolution”, which is the idea that it is more beneficial to swing with a heavy uppercut, intending to hit the ball in the air more often. This tends to lead to more strikeouts, but obviously more fly balls = more home runs.

Plus, with the ever growing shift in play, these sluggers have seen their chances of getting a hit on a ground ball nearly evaporate. Why try to hit the ball hard on the ground if the defenders are shifting to your pull side, effectively neutralizing your ability to get a hit?

Sure, the obvious response is “well these guys could bunt, or learn to slap the ball the other way” but – as they would tell you – they don’t get paid excess of $100 million dollars to slap the ball the other way, they get paid to get on base, drive runners in and hit home runs. While striking out isn’t a part of that equation, most (all?) managers will accept that as a necessary evil if their guy is also hitting 40 home runs and drawing nearly 100 walks per season.

As for the fans, well it’s kind of up to them. If you watch baseball because you like watching a shortstop make a play deep in the hole and throw someone out at first, then yes, this revolution is hurting the game you love.

Baseball’s Bigger Issues

However, pointing the finger at the three true outcomes is ignoring the bigger issues the game is facing. Namely, a lack of competition from roughly 50% of the league’s teams, as well as increasing ticket/concession prices, poor marketing of the team’s biggest stars, and a divide between the “old-school” line of thinking and the happy, celebrating “showboating” style of the game’s younger (and predominantly Latino) stars.

That’s a story for another day. For now, accept that baseball is going to have a lot of strikeouts, a lot of walks, and a lot of long, fun-to-watch home runs in the future. Even if that means your favorite shortstop doesn’t make as many plays.

Mike Trout Contract Proves NBA, NFL Owners are Getting Over on Players

Mike Trout contract LeBron james NBA NFL highest paid

Mike Trout’s 12-year $430 million deal with the Los Angeles Angeles proves NFL and NBA owners have been getting over on their players with the salary cap and max contracts, unlike the MLB. The games’ greatest players like LeBron James and Tom Brady are rarely the highest paid.

LeBron is one of the greatest players in NBA history. He is a 14-time all NBA selection, four-time MVP, and three-time Finals MVP. He has only been the highest paid player once. LeBron has only been amongst the top five highest-paid four times. How much would teams had been willing to pay LeBron had there been no wage scale in the NBA? Maybe $50-60 million per season?

Tom Brady is considered by most to be the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. He is a six-time champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP, and he holds numerous passing records. But, is he ever the NFL highest paid player? No.

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Money Left on the Table For NBA, NFL Highest Paid

LeBron, Brady and other greats are well paid, but don’t get to collect their fair market value because of wage restrictions. MLB players have a truly open market, and players are paid what the market will bear. LeBron and Brady combined have been paid or are owed a total of $614 million in on-field salary. Mike Trout himself will now be at at least $521 million.

The owners created the salary cap, and max salaries to control costs. The leagues are kicking down 100s of millions per year to each franchise. There is no shortage of dollars, but fans believe there is. Teams regularly ask players to take a discount to help build a championship roster. Fans should hold owners responsible for getting the finances right instead of the players. Let the billionaires figure it out. 16 years ago, Arte Moreno bought *the entire Angels franchise* for $182.5 million. They are now worth $1.8 billion. 

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Will the NBA, MLB or NHL Overtake the NFL As America’s Favorite Sport?

Will the NBA, MLB or NHL Overtake the NFL As America's Favorite Sport?

America Loves Football

Football. It’s Goliath and America’s favorite sport. Since the 1970’s, America transitioned to loving football more than baseball and its fans haven’t turned back. According to polls in 2018 by Ranker and a Gallup, the NFL is the leading choice for favorite sport by fans. In addition to this, the NFL has led all sports leagues in America, and the world itself, in revenue. But, with declining viewership in 2016 and 2017, political issues, and the expansion of other professional sports, will football reign king in 2030?

In order to find out, this article will review America’s Big-Three:

  • The National Football League (NFL)
  • Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • The National Basketball Association (NBA)

This article will also discuss the rise of the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

Major League Baseball (MLB)

Although baseball is no longer America’s Pastime, it has still done very well in recent years. Major League Baseball has seen 16 consecutive years of gross revenue records. “Since 1992, when Bud Selig took over as commissioner on a full-time basis, league gross revenues have grown 377% when accounting for inflation.” In 2018, Major League Baseball totaled 10.3 billion dollars in revenue. Baseball got paid. Even with a four-percent drop in attendance in 2018, its television revenues remained stable while sponsorship increased. In addition, Fox signed a new extension with Major League Baseball that runs from 2022 to 2028 and totals 5.1 billion dollars.

The problem with baseball’s overall popularity is it’s singular nature. Most baseball fans couldn’t care less about any league other than Major League Baseball. College baseball, Triple-A baseball have limited fandom attached. NCAA football and basketball are huge. Soccer has a plethora of different sports leagues spanning the entire globe in addition to the World Cup for both women and men. Basketball also has the NCAA tournament for women and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Baseball doesn’t have that. It is an isolated sports league in revenue, views and fans. So it makes sense that many American’s don’t choose baseball as their favorite sport.

However, as far as fans per league go, baseball is still mainstream. As of 2017 data, Major League Baseball, when compared to other American professional sports, had:

  • Highest attendance
  • Second-most active fans
  • Second-most Avid fans
  • Second-most fans of any interest
  • Second-most television views
  • Second-most purchased clothing/apparel with team logos

Will Major League Baseball outgrow the National Football League? It’s highly unlikely. Nonetheless, Major League Baseball revenue, attendance, and television viewership will keep it relevant for years to come.

The National Basketball Association (NBA)

Basketball is attempting to make a major push as a contender. In an interview with CNBC, Washington Wizards majority-owner Ted Leonis compared the NBA to a growing stock. High speed cameras, data, and transparency have set up the NBA for gaming and gambling. Considering the supreme court recently declared sports gambling legal, this is an incredibly smart move by the NBA. The Wizards even broadcasted games on an alternate local channel that was designed for sports gamblers. Including real-time odds and contests may seem insignificant, but attracting a new and growing sports gambling market will set the NBA up quite nicely.

One argument against the growth of basketball is the ratings of the 2017-2018 NBA Finals. Just a few years prior, the 2015-2016 NBA Finals had the best ratings since Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls had their second three-peat. The 31 million viewers put Game Seven of the 2015-2016 NBA Finals in elite company. Only two other NBA Finals games, both in different three-peat Championship games of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, had over 30 million viewers. But in the 2017-2018 NBA Finals, the average viewers dropped nearly 3 million from the previous season.

Perhaps this is due to fans seeing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers battle Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors for the fourth-consecutive season. Fans were bored. It was the same story each year. LeBron dragging a team to the NBA Finals only to lose to the Golden State Warriors wasn’t anything new. But lucky for the NBA, this will be the first post-season without LeBron James since the 2004-2005 season. The 2018-2019 NBA Finals will also be the first LeBron-less finals in nine seasons. This season is different and the parity will be refreshing for basketball followers.

NBA Global Expansion

Ratings aside, the NBA is evolving and pushing worldwide expansion. Striking international broadcast deals and making games/highlights more viewable for international audiences is the NBA’s newest target. The top-five markets for NBA basketball outside the US are China, Austrailia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. There are currently over 178 million Chinese followers of the NBA across social media channels in addition to over 300 million Chinese basketball players. More than 30-percent of the NBA league pass subscriptions are in Asia. Basketball is also the second-fastest growing sport in India and the league in running Junior NBA schemes across Asia and Australia.

This global expansion is welcomed and operated by owners and players alike. Ted Leonis described international games as business trips. Winning the game was only one part of the goal for players and management. Public appearances, sponsorship meetings and media deals were just as important to the league. Making NBA basketball global has a huge monetary incentive. Creating a larger market allows for a greater chance for sponsors, media deals and merchandise sales. It also increases the likelihood of talent. India and China alone combine for nearly 2.8 billion people. They make up 36-percent of the world’s population. Capitalizing on that market is the NBA’s best chance to compete with the NFL.

The NBA is a strong contender for 2030’s top American sports league. If they continue to press these three goals:

  • Capture Sports Gambling Market with Gambling-Friendly Broadcasts
  • Increase Talent Pool Worldwide
  • Grow International Revenue and Media Deals

The National Hockey League (NHL)

With the expansion to Seattle in 2021, the National Hockey League will have its 32nd franchise, equaling the NFL’s total. Hockey has been growing in the US and making its way across the states. This can be seen by its revenue jump in the past decade. Since the 2006-2007 season, the NHL’s revenue has doubled. Gathering in over 4 billion dollars in revenue in 2017-2018 pushed the NHL to become the fifth-highest sports league in the world in revenue. Expansion to more cities and national growth of fans has been great to the NHL.

Of note, hockey has also seem a substantial increase in youth popularity. While the percentage of 6-12 year olds playing youth football, basketball, baseball, and soccer has declined, youth hockey has seen a 64-percent rise in recent years. There are also roughly 45 thousand high school participants in ice hockey.

From the fans that have been paying attention, it’s no surprise that hockey is on the up and up. However, the idea the NHL will surpass the NFL by 2030 is short of a dream. The NFL brought in roughly three times the amount of revenue. With that being said, the NHL putting itself in the Big-Three by 2030 and edging out Major League Baseball does have a small chance.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

The dark horse of all American sports leagues is Major League Soccer (MLS). Many consider Major League Soccer the little brother (or distant relative) of European soccer. Yes, the Premier League does garner much success, ranking fourth in revenue in worldwide sports league. Yes the MLS has been in the shadow of other professional sports, but it has seen a hockey-like surge. Since 2008, Major League Soccer went from 14 teams to 24 and will have 27 teams by 2021. The league will also name its 28th team next season. Soccer is expanding across cities in the US.

Major League Soccer was also Yahoo Finance’s Business of the Year. Both ticket revenue and attendance were up in the 2018. Global stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic entering Major League Soccer have drawn support and increased followers of the league.

Most important, Major League Soccer’s 30th anniversary will coincide with the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This World Cup will take place in America. Due to a joint bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, games will be played in Mexico, Canada and the United States. In addition, the quarterfinals through the final will all be played in the United States. This will be monumental for Major League Soccer. Hosting the world’s most popular single-sport competition will certainly give Major League Soccer a major boost.

Nevertheless, just like the NHL, Major League Soccer will not be able to compete with the NFL. If it can grow to the revenue currently experienced by the NHL, that would be a large success. But don’t set expectations high for MLS soccer.

The National Football League: The King Stay the King

Following 2017, many thought that the NFL was losing its grip on America. It experienced a drop in ratings in back to back years. But that didn’t last long. TV viewership in 2018 had resurged five-percent from 2017. Sunday Night Football also was the top primetime show seven years in a row. Viewers are no longer an argument against the NFL.

Views aside, its best to review money. If money talks, the NFL is shouting. In 2018, the NFL brought in 13.68 billion dollars in revenue, averaging 427 million dollars per franchise. The 2018 purchase of the Carolina Panthers should also be noted. David Pepper’s 2.2 billion dollar purchase was an 800 million dollar increase from the price paid for the Buffalo Bills in 2014. This revenue increase and demand is associated with commissioner Roger Goodell.

Since taking over as league commissioner in 2005, Goodell has led a revenue increase from 6.5 billion to 13.68 billion dollars. He aims for 25 billion dollars by 2027. Changing league rules, negotiating media contracts and expanding global reach to London and Mexico keeps the NFL at the top.

The introduction of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) and the reintroduction of the XFL will also raise football’s fandom. These leagues will make games more affordable to attend as a gateway to NFL game attendance. They also will act as development leagues for players, schemes, coaches, rules and business. Utilizing them in such a way will provide the NFL exactly what it needs to remain king.

Final Rankings for 2030

As much as some would love the NFL’s top spot to be taken over by 2030, it just won’t happen. Football has a firm grasp on America. Fantasy football was large enough to support “The League” for seven seasons on FX. The Super Bowl is America’s most-watched game. And roughly a third of Americans polled by Gallup picked football as their favorite sport. Football just has too much. Roger Goodell has also proved that he is willing to alter the game each season and push revenue forward for league owners. Ever evolving and popular, the NFL will still be at the top.

With that being said, the NBA will close the gap significantly with the NFL by 2030. International expansion, rising young stars and LeBron’s development with the Los Angeles Lakers will bring the NBA to sports royalty. Two giants competing with one another. Football and basketball will be the Big-Two.

In conclusion, here are my 2030 rankings for America’s sports leagues by revenue with one bold prediction for hockey:

  • Big-Two: The NFL (No.1) and the NBA (No. 2)
  • Next Up: The NHL (No. 3) and the MLB (No. 4)
  • Keep Climbing: The MLS (No. 5)

NBA rises to meet NFL.

MLB falls below the rising NHL.

Soccer still has ground to cover.

HTH: Antonio Brown vs JuJu, MLB Needs Bat Flips, One Shining Moment

Antonio Brown Juju Smith-Schuster fued, hot takes house, One Shining Moment, MLb Batflips are the Best

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Antonio Brown is making himself look REALLY BAD

Antonio Brown is super lame for releasing private direct messages between JuJu Smith-Schuster and him. We all know that releasing private messages is a huge no-no. The only people that typically do that are facing jail time, are owed money, or scorned lovers. Antonio Brown’s loyalty and character have to be questioned at this point. If he releases private messages for no reason, he will snitch too.

AB was trying to make JuJu look silly publicly. But he ended up making himself look petty and like all the ‘cancer’ talk from the Steelers was true. How can you clown a college player for reaching out to an NFL player for advice? JuJu comes across as ambitious and driven for reaching out to one of the best wide receivers in the NFL for mentorship while in college.

I defended Antonio Brown throughout his entire career and exit from the Steelers. Now, all the things he said about Ben Roethlisberger look true about himself. AB looks like a hater with low character. Was all this because he was upset JuJu was named the MVP for last season?

I do have to give credit where it’s due. Brown was right when he said young players see the NFL a different way until they get paid. Young players who are playing well do have a more idealized version of the league. And sometimes when they do get paid, they begin to think they are the center of the universe. Now everyone knows, you better watch what you send Antonio, it might end up on his Twitter account.

JuJu was right when he told AB to “Keep your emotions of the internet”.

MLB’s Antiquated Unwritten Rules are Dumb

I could not be any more tired of baseball’s antiquated unwritten rules. Seeing pitchers throw at batters because they bat flipped or rounded the bases too slowly after a home run is lame. That is no different than if a coach put a bounty on injuring a player in football because he didn’t like his touchdown celebration.

Old school baseball people call pitchers who hit players “hard-nosed” or “tough.” I believe the opposite. How tough to you have to be to hurl a 90+ mph ball at someone’s head? The actual repercussions for throwing at a player are minimal. There is the occasional dust-up at the mound, but most times the pitcher is either warned or ejected. That is a small price to pay for endangering another person’s life and livelihood.

Hitting a baseball in the MLB is one arguably the most difficult things to do in sports. If a player is successful 30% of the time through a long career, he will go to the Hall of Fame. It makes NO sense for anyone to be upset when a player celebrates doing something so difficult.

I loved Bryce Harper bat flipping against the Nationals. The fans loved it too. They celebrated it with boos. Now, the Washington fans have a villain and rivalry with the Phillies. All of that is great for the game. The old school “get off my lawn” crowd needs to wake up and smell the roses. Baseball’s unwritten rules are for the unimaginative dinosaurs who are unsuccessfully trying to prevent change.

Fans enjoy the celebration and want to see players having fun. Maybe if the baseball gatekeepers encouraged players to have fun and show emotions, the games’ best players wouldn’t be able to walk down the street in anonymity.

The moral of the story is, play better. Stop letting people do things that are celebrating-worthy against and you instead of being upset with their reaction.

One Shining Moment is The Greatest Thing in Sports

There is no one moment in sports I have anticipation for like the end of the NCAA Tournament. For three weekends, the sports world is emotionally and financially invested in the outcome of March Madness. It all culminates when Luther Vandross’ voice starts, “The ball is tipped, and there you are...”. Every year, the short filmmakers find a way to pour all the drama, emotion, and excitement from all 67 games into approximately three minutes. One Shining Moment never falls flat or disappoints. I love it.

Mike Trout Still Underpaid After 12-year, $430 Million Extension w/Angels

Mike Trout signed $430 Million contract with Los Angeles Angels but he is still underpaid

Imagine signing the largest contract in professional sports history and yet the general consensus is that you’re still being underpaid? Welcome to the life of Mike Trout.

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Mike Trout is finalizing a 12-year, $430 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels, which would be the richest contract in professional sports, breaking the 13-year, $330 million contract that was signed by Bryce Harper almost three weeks ago. Trout’s contract has an AAV of $35.8 million, which is also a record. If Trout became a free agent in 2020, the bidding war for his services would have been insane. Teams would have easily surpassed the $500 million threshold had he listened to other offers and there’s no doubt in my mind that Trout would have gotten to $500 million. He’s worth every single penny so congrats to the Angels for locking down a once-in-generation player for a bargain.

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Mike Trout is universally regarded as the best player in baseball. In fact, Trout is one of the greatest baseball players of all-time through his first 8 years. There’s historic numbers, and then there’s Mike Trout numbers. Let’s take a look at some of Trout’s stats. I hope you are sitting down because they are mind boggling. Also, remember that Trout is only 27-years old and has played in 8 seasons. (Trout debuted in 2011, but only played in 40 games in his first season.)

  • Career .307/.416/.573 hitter with 240 home runs, 648 RBIs, 793 runs and 189 stolen bases.
  • Trout’s career WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is 64.3. That’s the highest ever by a player entering his age-27 season. The average Hall of Fame WAR is 69.
  • In 7 full seasons, Trout has been a All-Star 7 times.
  • Trout has been the MVP or runner-up in 6 of 7 full seasons (2 MVPs, 4 runner ups). The only time he was not the MVP or runner-up happened in 2017 due to injury. Trout only finished fourth in MVP voting that season.

Value of the G.O.A.T

As you can see, Mike Trout’s value is priceless. If the Angels paid him $1 billion, Trout still lives up to that contract. If he retires today, he’s in the Hall of Fame.

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Although Trout is the best player in the MLB, he’s the furthest thing from a rockstar. In fact, Mike Trout is not as popular as you would think. Last year, Trout ranked 11th in jersey sales. There has been a narrative forming that the MLB does not market Trout enough and some of that has truth to it. Trout and the Angels are scheduled to be on national television 10 times with three of them being out-of-market only games on MLBN. The Angels are not very good and the MLB tends to focus on rivalries in big markets for national games (Think Red Sox – Yankees), but wouldn’t it make sense to put Trout on national TV especially when he travels to the East Coast? To put this into perspective, LeBron James, arguably the greatest player, and the Lakers are scheduled to make 31 appearances on national TV in 2018-2019. It also hurts that Trout has only played in 3 playoff games, which is more of a reflection on how poorly the Angels have been since 2011.

Plus, Trout is very laid-back and low key. He doesn’t crave the spotlight or make it a point of emphasis to become a star, which frustrates Rob Manfred, who said, “He [Trout] has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.” I live in New York. If Mike Trout were to walk down a New York City street in regular clothing, out of 10 people, how many people would recognize him? One, maybe two? Seriously, if you saw the greatest baseball player in the world at a deli in NYC with his wife, would you recognize him?

It’s not a knock that Mike Trout doesn’t want to be a huge star in the public realm. That’s just how he rolls. Trout deserves to do whatever he wants. And you know what? He has earned that right. Instead of focusing on how to make Mike Trout bigger star, let’s just appreciate him for what he is, which is the greatest baseball player on Earth.

How Many Championships Does Bryce Harper Have To Win To Justify His Contract?

Money money money money, money. This past week, Bryce Harper, MLB’s top free agent, signed a record contract worth $330 million over 13 years. This contract became the largest contract in pro team sports history, breaking the previous record of Giancarlo Stanton’s $325M deal. That is a lot of money for one player, but that’s […]

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The Baseball Hall of Fame is Tarnished without Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens

Baseball Hall of Fame Bonds Clemens Schilling

The Baseball Writers Association of America has yet again tarnished the Baseball Hall of Fame by leaving out Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Curt Schilling. They weren’t left out because there is any question about their place amongst the greats. They have been denied because of their controversies with PEDs or writers who are punishing them for not being “nice guys”. Denial of these greats is not only unfair and biased, but it also crushes the integrity of the Hall of Fame itself. 

The criteria for entering the Baseball Hall of Fame: Can you tell a history of the era without mentioning this player? If we are talking about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, or Kurt Schilling, the answer is a resounding no! It is laughable that neither Bonds, Clemens, or Schilling received more than 60% of the required 75% votes.

MLB Turned a Blind Eye To PEDs

First and foremost, the MLB league office, owners, coaches, writers, and even fans have completely fumbled the handling of the PED/steroid era of baseball from the beginning. This includes commissioner Bud Selig who is in the Hall of Fame. The best approach would have been to put the past behind them with a strong hand moving forward. Let the league know you will have strict drug testing, but you can’t change the past. This would have gotten rid of the retroactive witch-hunts. When you look back in sports history, actively searching for “misdoings” such as performance-enhancing drugs, it is almost impossible to do so fairly and unbiased. Hindsight detectives narrow their search on the biggest names of the eras. They aren’t searching through the thousands of MLB players during that time. There is no chance to find all of the people who used PEDs.

The league turned a blind eye to steroids/PED usage while capitalizing financially from the home runs chases after the 1994 strike. Then the league turned on its players after the Mitchell Report came out. It has let the writers conspire to keep some of the games greatest players out.

The Time Has Come to Let the Greats In 

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were baseball titans. Bonds is not only one of the best players from his generation, but he is also considered by many, the greatest hitter of all time. Bonds, in his 22-year career, is a 7-time MVP, a 14-time All-Star, in addition to setting many records in his time. Clemens was an 11-time All-Star, an MVP and tallied 7 total Cy Young Awards. When fans thought of hitters, they thought of Barry Bonds. When they thought of pitching, Roger Clemens came to mind. They defined the era.

However, because of baseball“purist”, neither Bonds nor Clemens has been entered into the hall because of their PED scandals. It is a travesty to the game to leave these greats out. Especially when the Hall of Fame has inducted players such as Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, and Tim Raines. Even the commissioner Bud Selig who presided over the “steroid era”  was voted in. Piazza has admitted to having used Androstenedione and amphetamines during his career before they were listed on the banned substance list. Bagwell likewise admitted using it, but only admitted using it up to the 1998 season. Jose Canseco, in his book “Juiced”, accused Pudge Rodriguez of using PEDs. Most absurd of all is the case of Tim Raines. Raines confessed to playing while under the influence of cocaine, while also concealing a vile of cocaine with him on the field. He did this for years. While many performance-enhancing drugs are “illegal” in accordance to the rules of professional baseball, Tim Raines used drugs that are criminally illegal. Each of these players, as good as their numbers were, have drug controversies surrounding them.

Bonds and Clemens were Hall of Famers Before PEDs

With that being said, let’s review Clemens and Bonds pre-1999. As Piazza and Bagwell have defended their drug use in the steroid-era, we can also defend Bonds and Clemens. Before the 1999 season, Bonds already had 3-MVP awards, 8 Gold Gloves, and had become the first MLB player with 400 stolen bases and 400 home runs. Clemens himself had 3 Cy Young Awards, an MVP Award, led the league in ERA four times and strikeouts three times. This was all before the 1999 season. Before the circus. Before the controversies. Those stats alone would be argument for his Hall of Fame enshrinement.

Baseball Hall of Fame Bonds Clemens Schilling

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not arguing against players like Piazza, Bagwell, Rodriguez, or Raines. They were great players. Pudge was the 2nd-best catcher of all time and the others certainly have their numbers. But Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens lifted the league higher than any of them did. But because the PED stories surrounding Bonds and Clemens were louder than the others, they are denied their glory. It’s another case of sports history becoming a shadow of itself due to “morality”.

Good Guys Don’t Go to The Hall of Fame, Great Players Do

Unlike Bonds and Clemens, Curt Schilling finds himself without induction due to his personality. The writers and many fans don’t like him for some of his political and public remarks and posts. He’s certainly said many things that would disqualify him for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. While this may be true and his character may be in question, that should not hold any weight in voting on his play. His stats and accomplishments should put him into the hall, yet he was refused acceptance.

The Baseball Hall of Fame needs to be consistent. It can’t give into identity politics, popularity contests. This is professional sports, not election season, or a good guy of the week award. Retroactive research and biased opinions should equally lack validity in defining the greats of their times. Baseball needs consistency and a stance. Doing otherwise is a disservice to the game.

 

Hot Takes House 6: Hue Jackson, Oklahoma Football, World Series, Cavs Stink

Hot Takes House 6

The Hot Takes House 6 is open for business. These are hot takes and fun from the weekend. Send us your hot takes to ImMad@unafraidshow.com, and they may make the next week piece. Do not read any further if you are easily offended.

The HTH now has the “Winner of the Weekend” at the bottom.

Send us your hot takes to ImMad@unafraidshow.com, and they may make the next week post.

FUN FACT: Nearly 3% of the ice in Antarctic Glaciers is penguin urine.

NFL

1. The Browns stuck with Hugh Jackson for two seasons of 1 win football, but fire him at 2-5-1. How does that make sense?

They would be 4-4 if not for some horrendous officiating. The Browns had a culture of losing. That does not change overnight. The team is much improved, but now ownership loses patience? Did the fans expect a team who has won 1 game in the past two seasons to instantly figure out how to win games?

The Browns offense has struggled. That means you replace the offensive coordinator mid-season, not the head coach that all the players love. You cannot get another head coach mid-season. Even if you could, he can’t install a system, gameplan,  change the culture to his own during the season.

Another botched move by the Cleveland Browns.

2. FitzMagic is back. The Buccaneers have a huge math problem.

Football math is different than real life math. 1+1=2 in math and more is usually better than less. However, in football two quarterbacks are not better than one. Shuffling quarterbacks around only confuses the team, causes locker room division, and prevents winning.

We thought FitzMagic was dead, but thanks to Jameis Winston’s four interceptions last week he rises from the ashes. Neither option is good for the Buccaneers. Ryan Fitzpatrick only plays well when he is not named the starting quarterback. When his job is in jeopardy, he plays extremely well. And Jameis Winston has just not lived up to the hype that surrounded him in college and after his rookie year.

The moral of the story is that the Bucs season is finished and they need to plan for their future at quarterback.

3. How is the NFL going to figure out the possible 4-way tie for worst team in the NFL?

The Giants, Raiders, 49ers, and Cardinals are all awful. It is mathematically possible for all of them to finish with the with a tie for the worst record in the NFL. There should be a Super Bowl for the worst teams in the NFL called the Toilet Bowl. The worst team in the league should be determined on the field, and not with tiebreakers.

Imagine a world where during Pro Bowl weekend, the two worst teams played and the winner got the #1 pick. You would have great television ratings and interest.

The good news for the league is that even though the teams are bad, they still put up a good fight for tv ratings.

4. Seahawks performed the greatest team touchdown celebrations of all time.

College Football

5. If I’m Lincoln Riley, there is no way I leave Oklahoma and take the Job. He can make way more money as a college head coach, has the opportunity to be a legend, and NFL longevity is rare. He can coach at Oklahoma for 20+ years with the way he is recruiting.

There is value in stability. Most coaches don’t learn that until they have job hopped one too many times. A lot of college coaches have NFL dreams, but more and more of them are starting to realize the benefit of running a successful college program. Riley will make much more money being the coach at Oklahoma. He won’t have to move his family around, and he will have longevity.

Lincoln Riley can stay at Oklahoma, which is a top 5 college football job and be a legend. Coaching legends are made in college, not the NFL. Think about how many legendary college coaches you can casually name compared to NFL coaches. College football has, Bear Bryant, Pop Warner, Woody Hayes, Eddie Robinson, Nick Saban, Knute Rockne, Bobby Bowden, Chip Kelly, David Shaw, Dabo Swinney and 20+ more. The NFL has Lombardi, Belichick, Parcells, Noll, and Landry; then you start to slow down and use Google.

It would be a terrible decision to leave Oklahoma where he can compete for National Championships every year for the Cleveland Browns who have won three games in the last three season. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

6. I love the arrogance of Alabama fans who believe they should be unquestionably the #1 team in any poll despite planing NOBODY.

Up to this point, Alabama has only played one team within the top 40 teams in college football. I admit Bama’s dominance has been unprecedented, but their schedule has been soft. They get their first real test this week as they head to Baton Rouge to play LSU. I have had them #1 in the Unafraid Show College Football Top 10 until this past week. Clemson has displayed the exact dominance against better competition over the last few weeks.

I will admit that if Alabama will be returned to the #1 spot if they take care of business this weekend. But if they do happen to lose, I suspect Bama fans would still expect them to be #1.

7. Can Washington State win out? If they do, can they make the College Football Playoffs?

Since the beginning of the season, I have said Washington State was on the verge of a special season. I am hesitant to believe they will finish the last four games without a hiccup. They play Cal, Colorado, Arizona, and Washington. The good news is three of the four games are in Pullman. However, if they do they can absolutely make the College Football Playoffs.

Assuming Alabama and Clemson win out, Wazzu would need Notre Dame, Oklahoma, or the Big Ten Winner to lose one game. If any of those things happen, the Cougars will be a lock for the College Football Playoffs.

8. Which four teams will make the College Football Playoffs after week 10?

Right now, I have the four playoff teams as Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame, and LSU. However, I believe the four best teams are Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Notre Dame.

The eye test leads me to believe Oklahoma is the second best team in the country. They have the best offense in the country. And if Oklahoma can play even a little defense, they will give Alabama fits. But, you get the rankings that you earn.

MLB

9. David Price got robbed out of the MVP.

He started two games and got two wins in a five-game series on short rest and came out of the bullpen in two other games. We have NEVER seen a starting pitcher pitch in four consecutive playoff games. And we didn’t even talk about the fact that Price did it in a five-day space. He only had one rest day.

At least David Price finally shut up all the naysayers who have talked trash about his postseason play throughout his career.

10.  offense was awful in the World Series and has been awful since the NLCS. They got virtually no production from either catcher, Bellinger, Hernandez, Machado, and Taylor. Did I miss anyone?

To call the Dodgers offense anemic during the world series would be an understatement. I believe in the quote that says, “A man’s strengths flow from the same well as his weaknesses.” This quote applied to the Dodgers. The lived by the homerun swing to win their 6th straight NL West title, and they died by the homerun swing in the World Series.

The list of Dodgers hitters who hit well during the world series is David Freese, Puig with a small side of Justin Turner. As a Dodgers fan, it was so frustrating to see the number of popups and easy flyballs. As good as this team is, I am unsure if homerun ball can win a World Series.

At this point, Dodgers fans would be much happier with homegrown Corey Seager at SS than paying Machado $300 mill.

11. Dave Roberts might as well let the computer manage the games.

I think Dave Roberts is a good manager until the playoffs. Data and analytics are an important part of sports. Roberts relies on the computers and the baseball “book” way too much. Managers need to use analytics to make their lineups and set their defense. However, it is always important to remember that analytics are the predicted outcomes of hundreds or thousands of scenarios. The reality is analytics are always right in the long term. But, in the short term of one playoff series, the numbers can skew. It is extremely important for managers to use intuition, feel, momentum, and gut feelings to win playoff games.

Dave Roberts took Rich Hill out too early in the 2017 and 2018 World Series. He also put Madsen in three times for relief pitching during the World Series. Each of those times he got beat up. Everyone in the stands and at home watching on television knew what was going to happen the second and third time.

12. The Boston Red Sox had to win the World Series or their season was a complete failure.

The Red Sox had 108 wins, the best hitting team in baseball, set the single-season strikeout record for pitching and were healthy. Let’s not forget they had the highest payroll in all of baseball. Anything besides a World Series would have been an abject failure. You only get so many opportunities at championships. If Boston lost the series, this team would have been the most disappointing team in baseball history.

NBA

13. Cleveland Cavaliers proved they are the worst run franchise in sports when they fired Tyronn Lue 11 days into the season.

Bad companies run off their best talent (LeBron), let successful leaders leave (Griffin), are constantly over budget/salary yet understaffed (talented roster). The Cavs have hit the trifecta.

How on earth did you believe Ty Lue was good enough to keep as your coach when you have a championship caliber team, but somehow not good enough to coach your non-playoff roster? You have to assume that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert thinks Lue is a bad coach if he fired him 11 games into the season. So my question is, why would you let a bad coach lead your championship level team. It makes no sense and only proves the incompetence on Dan Gilbert as an NBA owner.

Cavs firing Ty Lue makes me believe Gilbert believes the same nonsense Tristan Thompson said: ‘ they should be the favored in the East. Lue was dealing with maybe the worst roster in the league and figuring out how to play without one of the best players of all time on his team.

Lue is 128-83 in his head coaching career and 41-20 in the playoffs. He has three trips to the Finals, an NBA title. He has multiple Game 7 wins. One on the road in the ECF & a Game 7 on the road in the NBA Finals.

WINNER OF THE WEEKEND

The Warriors response to Fergie’s ex-husband Josh Duhamel saying Draymond Green should apologize to Fergie for laughing at her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was Classic.

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Hot Takes House: Dallas Cowboys, AP Poll stinks, Patriots Shame, Mo Bamba Speaks

Dallas Cowboys

The Hot Takes House is open for business. These are hot takes and fun from the weekend. Send us your hot takes to ImMad@unafraidshow.com, and they may make the next week piece. Do not read any further if you are easily offended.

Fun Fact: The MD on MD 20/20 alcohol does not stand for Mad Dog. It stands for Mogen David.

1. Why on earth does the AP Poll have Georgia ranked #8? They have ZERO quality wins and the only good team they played DEMOLISHED him?

Georgia was inexplicably ranked #2 in the nation with wins against Austin Peay, South Carolina, Middle Tenn State, Missouri, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. None of those wins were against teams currently even in the top 35. Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Clemson all had better resumes. So, how on earth do they play their first good game, get destroyed and fall to #8?

Georgia is a talented team, and they made it to the CFB Championship game last season. But that was last season. With a loss to LSU and their soft schedule, Georgia is now eliminated for the College Football Playoff unless they make it to the SEC championship and beat Bama.

I am continuously puzzled by the obvious bias of the AP Poll towards the SEC. I understand their bias toward Alabama because they are the champs and look better than last year. The Top 10 for Week 8 should look like this.

2. Find somebody to believe in you the way Jerry Jones believes in Jason Garrett. Jones said, “[Garrett] is an asset that I think will get us to where we want to go, and that’s a championship.”

Jerry Jones is the new Al Davis. I am not calling for Jason Garrett’s job, but I am questioning Jerry Jones’ judgment. In 8 full seasons is there anything that points to Jason Garrett leading the Cowboys to the Super Bowl? I like the Dallas Cowboys, but the fact remains that Garrett only has two double-digit win seasons, two playoff births, and one playoff win. I know teams get hot and strange things can happen, but I can confidently say the Dallas Cowboys will not win the Super Bowl this season.

3. It never ceases to amaze me how little interest there is for regular season baseball compared to playoff baseball.

I am a baseball fan, but regular season baseball is not must-watch television. I catch at least part of a couple of games per week, but I don’t schedule events around baseball. However, I do schedule events around College Football. The numbers say I am in the majority here. I realize this is a function of scarcity. There are 12 regular season college football games compared to 162 MLB games. But, when playoff baseball comes around, the games can do amazing numbers like the RedSox-Astros game on Sunday night. It got almost 21 million viewers. Those aren’t NFL primetime numbers but very respectable!

4. Patriots fans flipped off Tyreek Hill and poured beer on him after his TD, but he is supposed to keep his cool.

When you buy a ticket to a game, you do not get a license to do and say whatever you want to the players. There is an expectation of trash talk and occasional obscenities, but there are common sense lines you shouldn’t cross. There are a lot of people who could not keep their cool after such a disrespectful violation. The NBA’s Malice at The Palace escalated over fans throwing beer at players. The leagues have to ensure the players’ safety and a family-friendly environment. I must applaud the Patriots organization for banning the fan from future games. There is no place for that behavior.

Here are Fan Rights at games: Seat, Cheer, Boo, Be Entertained, Say anything you want as long as you would say it locked in a bathroom with the player, and you could not sue or press charges for whatever happens.

We saw where trash talking goes too far in the McGregor vs. Khabib fight. The moral of the story is, “Don’t let your mouth write checks that your ass can’t cash.”

5. This clip from “The Shop” got me thinking about my life.

When people have said to me, “OMG you are so articulate. I wasn’t expecting it.” I’m always confused about whether I’m offended and enraged as an athlete, black man, or both.

What do you think? Leave a comment or email your thoughts to immad@unafraidshow.com.

6. Does Tom Brady’s success after the age of 40 make you wish you had taken better care of yourself?

This question resonated in my bones. Most of us all look back on our twenties and early thirties and realize we could have treated our body a lot better. Imagine how much better you would feel if you took care of your body better when you were young. I’m 37 years old and just getting myself back together from an NFL career, and a lot of long nights with early mornings.

Tom Brady is 41 years old and still one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Some of his success and longevity is a result of taking very few hits compared to a typical football player. However, we cannot discount what his the role his nutrition and workout plans have played in prolonging his career.

7. Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman has replaced Matt Schaub as the pick-six GOAT. Nobody has ever done it worse.

Even people who hate Colin Kaepernick believe he should be in the NFL after seeing Nathan Peterman play. I have no clue how Bills coach Sean McDermott ever thought Peterman was good enough to bench Tyrod Taylor for. Decisions like that make me and all Bills fans question his judgment.

8. Who are these idiots who say Pat Mahomes is just a “hot” quarterback and will cool off and be an average quarterback?

This take is even too much for the Hot Takes House. Pat Mahomes is on earth right now. He lives on the street with all the other elite quarterbacks. When you have seen greatness, you don’t need 10 years of evidence to identify guys who are built out of the same stuff!

About halfway into LeBron James’ rookie season in the NBA, you knew he was different. When you saw Aaron Rodgers take over for Brett Favre, you knew he was special.

9. If Oregon wins out to finish 11-1, they will make the College Football Playoffs.

The Ducks are generating serious buzz on the national scene. After 7 weeks of football, they are within striking range of the top 4. Ultimately, the SEC will only get one team in because Alamaba will hand whoever the champion in the East is their second loss in the SEC Championship game. After that Oregon only needs any one of these things to happen: Notre Dame loses a game, Clemson lose late, ACC Champion be anyone but Clemson, eventual Big XII Champion lose one more game, or Big Ten champion finish with two loses.

See, it is pretty simple. I know the media will tell you something else, but Wrighster is never Wrong!

10. Washington Huskies fans… Now that you have had a chance to sleep. Do you want to talk about it?

Too soon?

Hope you enjoyed Hot Takes House. See you next Monday! Send us your hot takes to ImMad@unafraidshow.com, and they may make the next week post.