Major League Baseball has suggested new rules that could be eventually implemented in games soon. On this episode Sucks to be… we look into why these rule changes are not only to speed up the game but rather a reaction to baseball losing fans to the other major sports leagues in this country. I break down each rule change and why baseball is desperately trying to appeal to a new generation.
On June 4th it was revealed that the city of Hartford was undertaking a huge project in an effort to revitalize the downtown area. The City announced plans to build a 60$ million dollar stadium downtown that will be completed in 2016. The stadium, which will seat 9,000 spectators, will be the future home of the New Britain Rock Cats whose lease in New Britain expires in 2015. While the negotiations between Hartford and the ball club have caused a stir, mainly because New Britain feels betrayed because the team did not alert them of the possibility of a move, the big question that comes from this is who does this impact the NHL’s return to Hartford.
Since 1997 the question that has lingered is will the NHL return to Hartford? With this new stadium there are two school of thoughts. Either this new stadium will help push the city to build a new arena, or the new ballpark will prevent the city from exploring a new hockey arena.
For some people, they think this ballpark helps the Whalers. If the ballpark helps to revitalize downtown Hartford. If it attracts large crowds and is a financial success, it maybe the spring-board for building a new arena in the Hartford area. On the surface the stadium seems like a good idea, especially for the NHL in the city, but it is a huge mistake.
Who are the New Britain Rock Cats? They are a Double A baseball team. It amazes me that the city of Hartford has made such an effort to acquire a minor league franchise rather than try to lure a professional franchise. Look, I understand that this sounds like a good idea, but it could come back to haunt the city. The Rock Cats currently play 15 minutes aways, was it really worth it the spend 60$ million to move them closer? Instead of building a minor league baseball stadium, especially with baseball’s popularity declining, Hartford should have invested in a new arena. They won’t build a 200$ million dollars arena that could host an NHL franchise, UConn basketball, concerts, and other events ? Let’s face it. UConn basketball is the most popular sports franchise in the state. Why not build an arena for them? This just seems like a short-sighted and almost a conciliation prize type of move by the city. We won’t invest in a new arena but here’s minor league baseball enjoy.
It still is a long road for the NHL to return to Hartford in the future. The hope for Whalers’ fans is that this downtown ballpark will be a step in the right direction. A building block for revitalizing downtown and pushing the city to build a new arena. However, this could be a bad investment that will deter the city from investing in a new arena that an NHL franchise would need. Either way, the city’s decision to build this new ballpark will greatly impact the future of the Whalers in Hartford. Here’s hoping this ballpark will be the first step in bring an NHL franchise back to Connecticut.
Unless you’ve been under a rock the past three months you’ve had to have heard the song “Let it Go” performed by the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem, I mean Idina Menzel. If people thought Frozen’s popularity would fade as winter began to thaw into spring, you’d be wrong. In Pittsburgh, catcher Tony Sanchez has announced that the smash hit “Let it Go” will be his walk up song when he comes to bat in 2014. Talk about an unusual choice. It may have won an oscar, but Let it Go is a rapid departure from the usual hard rock and hip hop walk up songs the big leaguers usually use. Who knows? If Sanchez helps the Pirates win and makes an all star team, maybe will be hearing more of the Walt Disney soundtrack throughout major league ball parks. Sorry Pirates parents, looks like your not escaping Frozen just yet! For the full music video check out the link here (Frozen “Let it Go”). Comment and follow below!
It’s been twenty years since Michael Jordan shocked the sports world by announcing his retirement from basketball in order to pursue a career in baseball. People were shocked and outraged, but most of all confused. Why would the greatest player in the NBA hang up his sneakers after winning his third championship in a row? We all know what happened next. Jordan rode the bus in the minors with the Chicago White Sox Double A affiliate Barons for one season before returning to the hard wood. After his return to the game, Jordan won three more titles and cemented his legacy as the greatest basketball player of all time. However, one can only wonder what would have happened if Jordan continued playing baseball? What impact would that have had on the sports world?
Many people look at Jordan’s baseball career as a failure but was it really? Despite lackluster stats in his first season, his manager Terry Francona has said that Jordan showed steady improvement throughout the season and raised his batting average by fifty points in the Arizona Fall League. Had there not been a baseball strike at the end of the season
there was a good chance Jordan would have continued his baseball career. While it is unlikely he would have been the star player he was in the NBA in baseball, with his world-class athleticism and work ethic Jordan could have developed into a solid major league starter. Had he made it to the show, Jordan would have been one of only a few athletes who successfully played two professional sports. His popularity could have helped baseball’s popularity because people wanted to see Jordan. While he might not have been the missing piece to a world series, Jordan’s impact on the game could have been huge in regards to the exposure and attention he would bring to a franchise. If Jordan had continued his baseball career what would have happened to his basketball legacy?
What would the NBA be today if Michael Jordan was successful at baseball? The murder of his father in 1993 played a major role in Jordan’s decision because his father always wanted Michael to be a professional baseball player. Would Jordan’s legacy be remembered as fondly as it is today?
Think about it. Without Jordan the Bulls probably don’t win three more championships, Phil Jackson doesn’t become one of the greatest coaches in league history, and Jordan doesn’t add more stats or moments to his resume. No more game winners, no flu game, not another three peat. Lebron James is viewed as a traitor would walked out of Cleveland. Can you imagine if Jordan never came back? All of those NBA fans would have viewed him as a traitor to the game. Chicago fans surely wouldn’t remember him as fondly, that’s fore sure. The Bulls and Jordan built the NBA’s future in the 90s by making the sport more popular and making basketball one of the most popular sports in the world. Would the NBA be what it is today if Michael Jordan never came back?
Thankfully Jordan would return to NBA and cement the sport’s popularity. But it is hard to fathom a world without Jordan holding a basketball. We will never truly know the ramifications if Jordan had continued to play baseball. The repercussions across the sports world have dramatically changed the landscape of professional sports in America had Jordan been successful in his baseball career. Who knows? For all we know Jordan could have built up baseball or maybe decided to play both at the same time. Either way, its hard to imagine a world where Michael Jordan played baseball. All we can do now is ask ourselves what could have been if Air Jordan became Jordan in the outfield instead.
How is it that the best hitter at his position is not in the Hall of Fame? The fact that Mike Piazza is not in Cooperstown just proves how much of a mess the baseball world really is. By playing in the “steroid era”, Piazza has been placed in baseball’s rogues gallery under the premise that he could have used steroids. While no hard evidence has come out on Piazza, despite having seven years to find evidence, the Hall of Fame continues to let other players in. How about Frank Thomas? He played under the same circumstances as Piazza but hasn’t been marred by the steroids acquisitions? What happened America? I thought this was the land where you were innocent until proven guilty? Mike Piazza is a Hall of Famer, and here is why.
While Frank Thomas was a first round pick in the MLB Draft, most people forget about Piazza’s long and hard road to the top. Piazza was selected in
62nd round, and he was drafted by Tommy Lasorda because he was doing a favor for Piazza’s father. In the minors, he had to learn to play a new position, catcher, and prove that he could make it to the majors. In 1993 Piazza erupted on the Major League scene where he won the National League rookie of the year by hitting .315 with 35 homers and 112 runs batted in. With the Dodgers Piazza became one of the most feared hitters in baseball and changed the way we looked at catchers.
Most major league catchers don’t get remembered for their bats. They play a physically grueling position that takes a toll on their bodies. If a catcher can start 140 games for a team, it is considered a good season. Most teams would be happy with a good defensive catcher who could call a game. Then they’d stick that catcher at the bottom of the order and hope they could scrape out a few hits here and there.
This changed with Piazza who was the polar opposite. He became a slugging catcher with a lethal bat. He broke the stereotype of defense first, offense second for the catching position. If anything he was one of the worst defensive catchers in history. Piazza was a trend setter, he changed the game. Now we look at catchers to not only catch well, but also to be competent hitters. Look at Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, and Matt Wieters to name a few. While Piazza’s prime was in Dodgers’ blue, his greatest impact was in Queens where he became an icon of the Big Apple.
On May 22, 1999, New York baseball changed forever. The New York Mets traded for Mike Piazza and brought his big bat to the big apple. For a franchise that had been terrible in the early 90s, and were fresh off a season where they missed the playoffs, the Mets needed a savior. With Piazza’s help the Mets became a contender by making the playoffs in 1999, and then the World Series in 2000. Most importantly he gave the Mets a superstar. In a time where it seemed like all Mets fans were bring drowned by the constant snickering and boasting of Yankees’ fans during their dynasty, Piazza gave the Mets a voice in New York. While the next few seasons would be tough, Piazza continued to produce at a high level and eventually Piazza passed Carlton Fisk’s record on May 5, 2004 for the most home runs hit by a catcher. That day he belted number 352, a number that no catcher is close to catching.
In most cases, this would have been Piazza’s shining moment, the one everybody remembers, but it isn’t. He’s known for an event bigger then baseball.
On September 11th, 2001, a horrific and unspeakable attack happened to our country. 10 days later, the Mets played the first game since the terrorist attacks that rocked this country. There was an uneasiness that hung in the air. Is this what we should be doing? Is it too soon? Is it safe? It was hard to cheer through the tears and fear. That night, the Mets were losing 2-1 in the eighth to their arch rivals the Braves. Then a crack rang throughout Shea Stadium breaking the silence. Piazza had smashed a fastball over the centerfield fence to give the Mets the lead, 3-2, and gave the crowd something to finally cheer about. Piazza did something that became more than a baseball highlight, he gave a city devastated by disaster hope and helped to begin the healing process.
After a second straight snub from the Hall of Fame, it is clear that Piazza is being cheated out of Cooperstown. While playing the most physically grueling position in the sport, a position that beats players up and wears them down, Piazza still was an offensive force. Despite his decline in his last few seasons, Piazza finished with a career .308 average, 427 home runs, and 1,335 runs batted in. He was a 12 time all-star, 10 time silver slugger, and rookie of the year in 1993. With all these statistics, the way he dominated when he played, and by being the best offensive player at his position in history, Piazza being snub just proves the bureaucracy of baseball writers. Just because they think someone did something, without any proof, gives them the right to deny a player’s shrine in Cooperstown that they deserve? While this is certainly not the last Hall of Fame controversy, especially with more of the so-called steroid era candidates coming up, this is just another sad commentary on the mess in baseball. Mike Piazza rightfully deserves his place and Cooperstown, and the longer they keep him out will just continue to compound the mess when it comes to judging this era of the game. Mike Piazza has to be in on the next Hall of Fame ballot, or else the writers of baseball will be cheating one of the greatest hitters of all time.
Baseball can be a cruel mistress. Just ask Harvey “Hard Luck Harv” Haddix. Never heard of him have you? Neither did I, but he is responsible for the greatest pitching performance in baseball history. Despite the most dominate performance a pitcher has ever had, he still lost the game. You’re probably saying “wait how can a pitching performance be so great if the guy lost”? It’s not like he threw a perfect game. Ah, but he did throw a perfect game, and more. On May 26, 1959, against the Milwaukee Braves, Haddix toed the rubber for the Pittsburgh Pirates. With just a fastball and a slider, the Braves couldn’t figure out the southpaw. Inning after inning, batter after batter, Haddix dominated the Braves potent lineup. Haddix said that “I could have put a cup on either side of the plate and hit it” and displayed pinpoint control with the baseball. Even with the Braves bullpen pitchers stealing the signs and telling the hitters what was coming, the Braves still couldn’t buy a hit. Finally, after 9 innings, Haddix had done it- 27 up 27 down- a perfect game, erh sort of. Despite the performance, the Pirates offense couldn’t score a single run in order to get Harvey the win. So what did he do, he kept pitching. Soon the 10th,11th, and 12th, innings flew by with Haddix still perfect. Finally, in the 13th, the pursuit of perfection was over. After an error by Don Hoak, a sac bunt, and a home run by Joe Adcock the shutout and no-hitter evaporated too. The game would end in a 2-0 loss for the Pirates and
Harvey’s performance was soon forgotten. How can we judge this performance? A record of 36 outs of pitching perfection, or a performance that should be forgotten without the win? Without question this was one of the greatest feats in baseball history. To get 27 outs in a row is almost impossible as it is, but 36? Think of all the factors that have to go into a perfect game. As human beings, we are designed to be imperfect, to have flaws. Baseball is a great representation of this because while a pitcher can be perfect, his team can be imperfect. The whole perfect game was broken up because of a fielding error. Trying to be perfect in an imperfect game filled with fielding errors, bloop singles, bad umpires, and bad luck is just a representation of what we have to through in life. If anything, Haddix has taught us all an important life lesson. No matter how perfect we are, we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Instead of blaming people for their imperfections, or in this case, costing a player the greatest pitching performance ever, you just have to let it go. It’s tough to do, but we have to accept that the past has already been written and that all we can do is be ready to write our future.