How to Win Friends and Influence Yordano Ventura

Perhaps Roughneck Odor and Yordano Ventura will be selected for this year’s All Star Game to compete in a special kick boxing event. That would be more entertaining than the over hyped and extremely boring home run derby. For more special events we could possibly add sack races with Prince Fielder, Pedro Alvarez, Bartolo Colon and this year’s special alumnus guest Benjie Molina. How about throwing a ball that, if it hits the bullseye, results in Joe Buck or Rick Sutcliffe being dunked into a shallow wading pool laced with Weed B-Gone or Roundup?

Well, about 38 per cent of the baseball season has zoomed by already and there are a few things to chew on or spit out as you prefer. First, draft day. They televise this stuff. I’m sure it’s fun for friends and family of those players selected, but really? Do that many people have nothing better to do on a day in June than to watch draft day on television? If so, it becomes less surprising that 35 per cent of all women and 40 per cent of all men in the United States are obese. Sheesh.

Let us now pause and remember 1991, when the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves met in the World Series and the home team won every game, which gave Tom Kelly‘s Twins a 4-3 series victory without the aid of an All Star game played by other people three months previously. Those Twins were a good team featuring Jack Morris and his complete game ten inning shutout in game seven and players with funny names like Hrbek, Gagne, and Knoblauch. The Braves were a good team too with guys like Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Ron Gant. That series was also notable because both teams had finished last in 1990, the worst to first phenomenon. Well, a short quarter century later, here they both are in last place again. So, remember 1991, all of you Atlanta and Minnesota fans. By the way,the Braves are building their second new ball park since that World Series loss, apparently because the Olympics are not actually held in Atlanta every four years or it needed paint or something.

Last season the Miami Marlins did not do so well and most of us blamed it on injuries, particularly to powerful right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who had been smashing home runs at a great clip despite playing in a gargantuan yard until he was hit in the face by a pitch. This season, the Marlins are definitely in the race in the N.L. East but, even though Stanton is back, his play is not really one of the reasons. The big guy has been striking out a lot and his batting average (remember that statistic?)languishes under the .200 level. Baseball is indeed a funny game, unless you are Bryce Harper.

Two foreign teams, Toronto and Colorado,play in parks where, for various unrelated reasons, it is a lot more fun to be a hitter than it is to be a pitcher. The Blue Jays are finally starting to look like a hitting team again (Jose Bautista leading off!)but Troy Tulowitzki, who always seemed to hit a ton, or at least 1,857 pounds when he played for the Rockies, has not yet joined the party. Again, it’s a funny game, unless you are Yordano Ventura

What the hell are we going to do if the Cubs start hitting? So far, they are being carried by their pitchers, which to old time observers would be comparable to the Republican Party being dominated by women who work for the minimum wage.

Okay, screw it, I give up on complete games being pitched anymore, just like I gave up a few years ago on the three days rest thing. So let’s adapt and change the earned run average calculation. We’ll use six innings instead of nine as the standard. Currently, a pitcher who completes 14 innings and yiels 7 runs would have an ERA of 4.50. If we change it to six innings, the new math would give the same performance an ERA of 3.00. Beautiful. To hell with Christy Mathewson and all of those old dudes.

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