1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Tuesday “Pitching-You Better Get It–If You Don’t Have It”

Posted by on June 25th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Pitching-You Better Have It-or Get It”

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And you were upset at what you have seen recently from the San Diego Padres pitching staff. A team that started (11-5) and since then is (27-35).

Don’t despair.

You could be in Baltimore this week, where it is summer-oven hot, Atlantic Ocean humid, and the boys of summer are buried in last place again.

The hometown Orioles, who host the Padres, are (22-56) and light years away from competing for anything but the basement.

Even worse, they are (9-28) at Camden Yards, a brutal team in a beautiful ballpark.

They have a team ERA of (5.85) kind of like Pacific Coast League stats. And at home that pitching staff has a (6.33-ERA). Drive you to drink Falstaff Beer, and lots of it at the yard.

The so-called ace of the staff is Andrew Cashner, yes, that Andrew Cashner, the ex-Padres starter, the one San Diego acquired after they gave up on Anthony Rizzo after about a month in the majors.

We all know how that worked out, Rizzo-home runs, World Series at Wrigley Field. Cashner-here today dealt tomorrow, bouncing around to Texas and other places. He was all of (4-15) last year there. Well at least he is (7-3) in a surprising season.

But the rest of the Orioles staff is a mishmash of struggling high draft picks, led by Dylan Bundy. Failed free agents, like the injured Alex Cobb, and four other kid pitchers they are force feeding, not having anywhere near the seasons the Padres young arms are having.

Manny Machado, who hit 162-home runs in nearly 6-years in Baltimore is now in San Diego.

He gave me an icy reception when I asked him about what was happening to his first ever team that wears Orange jerseys. “Go ask the owners why they did what they did” he told me.

“Where we going with all this questioning”, as if I was probing that he was part of the problem in Baltimore’s demise. Of course he didn’t care to talk about the World Series experience with the Dodgers either.

Manny got his money-that’s all he cares about.

In Baltimore, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripiken and so many other greats were a long time ago.

It got so bad in the Charm City, that even Buck Showalter, a baseball lifer got out after last year’s (47-115) summer of suffering.

It’s more than just pitching though. Gone too is the rock solid outfielder Adam Jones and 2nd baseman Jon Schoop. Injuries took out SS-JJ Hardy. Machado was traded.

Among the arms cut loose, Zach Britton, now a Yankee, Kevin Glausman, now with the Braves, Brad Brach with the Cubs.

Injuries ended the careers of promising Chris Tillman and Bryan Matusz.

They’re stuck with the anchor around their neck, sub-hitting .200-former home run slugger Chris Davis, still owed another 124M as his body breaks down.

Hated owner Peter Angelos has turned the team over to his sons. They hired a guy with good background, Mike Elias, from the Houston Astros chain to be GM. Some players are in the pipeline, but rebuilding takes years.

And Baltimore hasn’t helped itself by trading away a lot of international signing slot money in deals. Last I checked, Latin America and Cuba is the way to fast forward replenishing your farm system. Here in San Diego, yes, in Baltimore, obviously not.

And add into the equation, this challenge, rebuilding in the AL East, where you play the Yankees-Red Sox and Tamp Bay Rays virtually the entire season. How many games do you think you win in the division while trying to rebuild.

This Orioles franchise could threaten the pain the Houston Astos went thru, losing 115-games over a 3-year span before the Altuve-Springer-Correa-Bregman group surfaced to fix all things wrong in Houston.

So if Padres fans are disappointed with the young struggles of this pitching staff, think of how awful it is in Baltimore. A Birds team that is (67-171) the last season and a half on Chesapeake Bay.

Bad time to be in Baltimore, not just the summer heat and humidity, but Orioles baseball too.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Monday “Padres-Trust the Process-Painful As It is”

Posted by on June 24th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Padres–A Painful Process”

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An excruciating weekend in Pittsburgh, as the Padres lost 3-games in a row due to bullpen failures, to the woe-begone Pirates.

Of course there are always highlights with the team of building blocks.

We say the fast (11-5) start. The emergence of the young starting staff. The evolvement of Kirby Yates into an All Star closer.

The dazzling defense on the left side of the infield from Manny Machado-Fernando Tatis. The energy that El Nino (Tatis) brings to the base paths and on defense. The growth of Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes. The complete season that Eric Hosmer is putting together.

The callups of the kid pitchers, Cal Quantrill, Logan Allen, Miguel Diaz and the decent games they have given.

But like anything else, there are bumps in the road, and the realization this will take time.

Wil Myers continues to be a disappointment.

By preserving innings with the young pitchers, the Padres are on the brink of bullpen burnout and we are not even to July 1st.

The Friars are hesitant to push the limit with Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer, and Chris Paddack, and are hesitant to go extra innings with converted start Matt Strahm.

This is a borderline good team, whose future is still to come.

That’s why when you see meltdowns by Yates or Craig Stammen, or struggles of the starting staff on occasion, you just need to be patient going forward.

The Friars are almost at mid season and are a borderline .500-team, what I projected them to be. There have been a lot more good days than bad days following this team, and you can expect better down the road.

But the road is indeed going to be tougher. Lots of games against the 1st place Dodgers, a series against the tough Red Sox…and the fact they have embarked on a stretch of 18-games out of 27 on the road, sandwiched either side of the All Star break.

It’s a process, understand that, the growing of a young team. Right now if feels like a painful process.

We need patience too. Anyone know where I can buy a 50-pound bag of ‘patience’….at Home Depot-Lowes or Von’s?

Believe in the blueprint, despite weekends like this in Pittsburgh.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports—Friday “NBA Draft-A Very Different Night–Classier Than Normal”

Posted by on June 21st, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

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“NBA-Classy Kids Come Out at Draft”

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The kids in college basketball have been in the spotlight all year, as they marched thru college cage season.

We saw great talent, explosive athleticism, lots of wins and plenty of accolades.

But Thursday evening, we saw a more human side of the top kids that went off the draft board.

Maturity, kids with values, strong faith, from all types of families. It was a very different look from years in the past, where there was lots of jewelry, glitter, trash talk.

The NBA introduced them individually with their parents, guardians and siblings, a very different look. Some came with mothers and fathers, some with just mothers, others with a grandparent or a brother and sister.

The most amazing things when you saw the tears in the eyes of the 1st pick, Zion Williamson, who went to New Orleans, was how humble he was.

Ja Morant of tiny Murray State went second to Memphis, and displayed the love for all the guidance his father gave him.

RJ Barrett of Duke, headed to the Knicks, praised his university and his legendary Coach K for all they gave him in his one year with the Blue Devils.

DeAndre Hunter praised his mother for helping guide him to stardom at Virginia.

Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga spoke from the heart about his native Japan.

1-player’s father was a priest. 1-had a father who played in the NBA. 2-other players praised their fathers, who passed this past year. Matisse Thybulle wept talking about his late mother, and a product of an inter-racial marriage.

For a couple of hours, we forgot about the controversial Lakers-New Orleans Pelicans trade, or impending free agency, , or selfish unhappy players., or organizational dysfunction. Instead we saw special kids, who have learned a lot of life at the tender ages of 18-and-19.

It was a unique couple of hours, and a special message about who these kids are, and what they have learned in life, on and off the court, in a short period of time..

For once, I enjoyed watching the draft.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Thursday “NBA Draft-Overshadowed by Free Agency”

Posted by on June 20th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

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“NBA Notebook–Teams & Troubles”

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This should be a big night, the NBA Draft, with all these college stars, but it seems to have been hijacked by what’s happening with free agency, and the aftermath of the NBA playoffs.

Take a tour around the NBA road map.

NEW ORLEANS….Zion Williamson, the Duke center, lands on Bourbon Street. Arriving with him will be 3-top young players from the Lakers , Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball and the Lakers 4th pick in the draft. See what happens in the next couple of hours, either the Pelicans keep the 4th pick and draft another big man, or deal it to another team for a veteran player. Otherwise maybe they wind up with Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech or DeAndre Hunter of Virginia. The Pelicans could be a really good team, correction, a really good college team.

LAKERS…This should be a time to celebrate the arrival of Anthony Davis in the 6-for-1 deal with the Pelicans, but LA has traded its entire future away, and now seems to have made a miscalculation in the salary cap, now learning they do not have the space for another max contract. Add to the fact they have to sign 10-players to put around Davis, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma. If they don’t deal away more, they won’t have 33M space to get Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, or another elite free agent.

CLIPPERS…They built a good team, but don’t have true stars. They have two max slots available for free agents, but with Kevin Durant hurt, and a great unknown in the emotion of Kawhi Leonard’s future decision, they might land both, maybe one, or possibly none in the free agent market. They traded away a lot to get to this point, but what if the marquee names go elsewhere?

GOLDEN STATE….A tremendous run might be ending, though Coach Steve Kerr does not agree. Klay Thompson possibly re-signs, though he doesn’t play till next April with that knee surgery. Durant could leave, but he’s likely out all year with the Achilles surgery. What if he stays too? The great unknown.

BOSTON…Danny Ainge has always collected assets,young players, draft picks, and has never been afraid to deal. But now he’s got a problem, despite owning 3-first round picks, all late in the first round. He’s losing C-Al Hereford, headed to a big payday somewhere. He did not get Anthony Davis in the New Orleans trade. Kyrie Irving has opted out. Suddenly it does not seem to be a destination point for free agents. How did they miss the boat?

TORONTO…The feel good season could be over shortly, if Leonard leaves shortly to free agency. He not only won an NBA ring for his team and the city, but also for the country. He is so unique, so private, maybe he stays. If he doesn’t, it’s been a great run.

NY KNICKS….They have two max free agent slots, it’s the Big Apple, playing games at the Garden-the Mecca, but that’s all there is. Ownership problems, a relentless critical media, and little talent on hand. Who would go play there? Will it ever get better?

BROOKLYN…A strange configuration, this franchise in the shadow of the Knicks. They have two max slots, and view themselves as player for Kyrie Irving, leaving Boston, but you look at the Nets and think the Clippers always playing second fiddle to the Lakers. Maybe Durant and Irving wind up there together. Maybe they don’t and the dreadful years continue.

HOUSTON…Such an explosive season and now they seem ready to implode. The bitter divorce of Chris Paul-vs-James Harden, the decision to shop a bunch of other key support people, not much interest from free agents to go there. Harden could be left by himself by the time the off season is over.,

MIAMI…Remember when Pat Riley controlled the world? The franchise has never been the same since LeBron James left, Dwayne Wade got old, and Chris Bosh suffered from blood clots.

MILWAUKEE…A great season for the Bucks, but now Kris Middleton is opting out of his contract, and they face an enormous challenge to keep the team together, knowing that superstar Giannis Antetokoumpo can be a free agent a year form now. Is it over before it ever got started?

OKLAHOMA CITY….Two stars, two big contracts, but they’re not good enough even with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. How do they make it better?

Going to be an interesting Thursday night at the draft, and an equally interesting week going towards July 1st free agency.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Wednesday “Padres-Umpires-War of Words-Face to Face & Social Media”

Posted by on June 19th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

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“War of Words-Right-vs-Wrong”

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They are both wrong, and this is pretty ugly.

This being the weekend eruption-eject of Padres slugger Manny Machado from a game in Colorado, for his face to face confrontation with umpire Bill Welke.

This, also being what happened on Tuesday, the Umpires Association criticism of the 1-game suspension to Machado by the Commissioner’s office.

This whole thing is inappropriate, as MLB exec Joe Torre said in the aftermath of the Ump Union tweet criticizing the minimal suspension after the volatile incident in Colorado.

They’re all wrong.

Machado deserved more than a 1-game suspensions for the obscenity laced tantrum, the slight bump of the umpire in the beginning of the argument; the helmet throwing rage, and then hurling his bat into the wall behind home plate.

The umpire deserves criticism for his quick trigger finger ejection of the Padres star just as Machado was turning around to protest the off the corner pitch, that was called strike three.

Macado was caught using the “F” word as least 3-times in his tirade. Welk said something in response right at the beginning, though no one will say what was said.

Manager Andy Green got tossed later in the game, and did have an extended conversation about the Machado ejection.

But neither the player, nor the manager, wanted to talk to the media about specifics, Machado’s language, Welke’s response, or Green’s conversation.

You can give Welke the benefit of the doubt for blowing a call, but you cannot forgive him tor the heated instant ejection.

You probably need to critique his whole body of work in the game, where his strike calls were all over the zone, inside-outside, high and low. He was not consistent that day.

And to complicate it, the Umpires Union went after Torre for handing out just 1-game suspension…and Torre responded with his own criticism of the Union using its twitter account to mock the decision.

The Union took it a further step, by insinuating there was ‘workplace violence’ that was tolerated by Torre because of the bat throw…absurd.

Later in the evening, the Union continued its own tirade, adding more on Facebook, calling the 1-game ban a ‘disgrace to umpires’ and ‘disgrace to the game’. They said players should never have the right to touch someone in authority.

Padres pitcher Craig Stammen says both sides need to respect each other. Eric Hosmer said there was no accountability for the umpires actions. Ian Kindler says some umpires target players.

Umpiring has been hot and cold all year long. Everyone admits it’s a tough job, a subjective job, a job made harder by by the electric stuff, and the ball movement these pitchers now bring to their repertoire.

Each sport is different in its discipline over criticism of the officials..

The NFL will take a players game check for abuse of officials., if they hand out a suspension, though that is rare.

The NBA routinely hands out 25-to-50,000 fines for public criticism and abuse of officials, from players and coaches.

The NHL rarely disciplines players with fines, and sometimes will dock coaches some money. .

Oddly, baseball might hand out a base fine to Machado for the 1-game suspension, but they won’t dock him 1/162nd of his salary for the suspension.

Players who get ejected for arguing, and even managers, don’t get fined for the ejection.
Contact with an umpire is a different case. Excessive abuse can lead to a minimal fine, but what is 5,000 for a player making 30M a year like Manny Machado?

But now in this wild world of social media, new dimensions have taken over.

MLB baseball should hand out a fine to its own Umpires Association for breaching etiquette with the public rebuke via twitter.

Hard to believe going forward, this Welke-Machado issue will go away. Welk ejected Machado and Green earlier in the season, when Machado dropped his bat at the feet of a catcher, going for a foul pop.

Within the Padres clubhouse, veteran players said they needed to ‘respect’ the job the umps do, but also said, they want umps to respect the players right to talk about controversial calls.

Machado didn’t respect Welke with the way he acted. He deserves 3-games with the abuse. he spewed out. Welk deserves to be chastised for what he did, the instant ejection and to be reviewed for his overall poor job calling balls and strikes..

And the Union should be fined for violating protocol. That complaint should be delivered in private to the MLB league office, not globally via twitter.

There will be an appeal shortly. It will be via Skype, not in person. Then there will be a decision Machado should get docked, Welke should get critiqued, and the Union should pay a penalty.

They were all wrong.

Ugly, ugly, and surely not over

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