The Major League Baseball season has finally come to an end. The longest season of all major sports in the USA has now made way for one of the most interesting postseason starts in sports. While the MLB season has 162 games, there is a very important one game playoff that takes place as soon as it ends, in order for two wildcard teams to make it into the real tournament. This year’s games feature the Yankees, the Astros, the Cubs, and the Pirates, four teams that have played as hard as any this season. The NL matchup for the wildcard pits two teams, that are extremely familiar with each other, in a nine inning winner take all showdown. The Cubs and Pirates are in the same division, so they have played a whopping 19 games against each other this season, with the Cubs winning 11 times. Although the Cubs have a history with the Pirates, season series records don’t mean much in the playoffs since it is up to the players and the fans to bring enough energy to get their team to another game. The Yankees and Astros have played a few games this season, but neither team has managed to show that they are truly superior to the other, I am a Yankee fan so my allegiance is set, but this game looks to be a tough one for both teams. The MLB wildcard games are the most exciting games of the season, four teams enter with only nine innings to show that they belong in the playoffs, I can’t wait to see who comes out on top as these teams will definitely give it their all in the hopes of reaching the championship round.
Fan safety is a huge issue at sporting events these days. The safety of the fan is commonly stressed at every event I have ever attended, but in spite of the warnings and apparent security all over these gigantic venues, fans are still being injured in terrible accidents every year. Last night, during the Yankees game at Atlanta, a man fell 50 feet from the upper decks while leaning over the railing to shout insults at players. Thankfully the man did not fall on anyone below, but sadly, he later passed away from his injuries. A tragic event like the fall of this man could have been prevented by an increased presence of security in his section, but events like this happen all of the time with less catastrophic results. I can’t blame every tragic event on security, since they have no control over the alcohol intake of fans, and all sports related fan injuries are not easily preventable, but I do think sporting venues can do more to keep fans safe. To be completely honest, I think the biggest risk to a fan at a sporting event is alcohol abuse. Most tragic events that take place in or around sporting events, have been alcohol related, and that is not just a coincidence. It is not really the team or the venue’s job to stop fans from drinking, but they have fruitlessly tried for years to curb fan alcohol abuse. It seems that the notices to “drink responsibly” are going largely unfollowed, and fans are getting more reckless with each passing season. I love going to sporting events, and I don’t think much needs to change in order to make a ballgame a safer place. I just think all fans need to understand that everyone at the venue wants to enjoy the game as they do, and that getting home safely is more important than getting overly drunk or “shaming” the visiting team and their fans.
The New York Yankees have been on an absolute tear over the past 10 games, a team that many thought was on the decline has seen new life thanks to their lineup’s extreme versatility. The Yankees have scored 90 runs in the last 10 games and they are showing little sign of slowdown. At the beginning of the season the team looked as though they would only be able to live on the strength of the players at the top of the batting order, but the team has shown that they can perfectly adjust to any changes injuries or slumps may bring. During this hot streak the bottom of the Yankee lineup has been hitting extremely well, they have even outperformed the guys at the heart of the lineup in a few games. I am a Yankee fan so I don’t want to “jinx” their success, but it isn’t a completely ridiculous thought that this team may go very far in the playoffs. The Yankees have not been a good team over the last couple of years, and while this year’s team seemed overwhelmingly average, the Yankees decided to pass on any major team improving trades. The story behind the Yankees’ lack of movement at the trade deadline was the team’s desire to keep their prized pitching prospect, Luis Severino, and while the jury is still out on Severino’s big league productivity, many people believe he is “the real deal.” Severino looks to make his first major league start tonight for the surging Yankees, and I as a Yankee fan, would love to see him kick off his MLB career with a legendary performance. Hopefully the team’s decision to keep him will pay off both this season and in the long term.
Alex Rodriguez joined an exclusive club yesterday, he became the 29th player in MLB history to tally up 3000 hits, and he managed to accomplish this feat in stellar fashion as he did it with a homerun. Before last night only two other players have managed to hit a homerun for their 3000th hit and it is only fitting that Arod, wearing number 13, would make his 13th homerun of the season his 3000th hit. Alex Rodriguez is one of the most hated athletes in America due to the fact that he admitted steroid use, but I really don’t think the people who hate him realize just how talented he actually is. I understand that steroids and other performance enhancing drugs do help athletes work out harder and stay healthy, but they can not give people the ability to hit the ball. I don’t think baseball players should be penalized for using PEDs, because at the height of the drugs’ popularity, the use was rampant in the league, and the most talented players were the only ones benefitting from their “effects.” For every Mark McGuire there was a Jeremy Giambi, although they were both on the drugs, they had drastically different careers, and this is due to the talent gap between them. The very real talent gap between Arod and other users of PEDs is my major reason for believing Arod and these other “cheaters” belong in the Hall of Fame. As it stands, the hall of fame is and will always be without several very talented players, I just hope the MLB will take the time to reevaluate the blame, and give players like Arod a shot at being immortalized in the hall of fame for their legendary careers.
Over the past couple of days my younger brother was home to visit, so we randomly decided to attend every Yankee game of their most recent home series. The proposition of attending a sporting event is always welcomed, but the fact that I find baseball games to be quite tedious made me apprehensive to the idea of watching three games in a row. While I did have plenty of fun watching the Yankees win the first couple of games, I was quickly burnt out while sitting in the heat of the third game and I had to leave early, a decision I am thankful I made since the game went into extra innings. I love the Yankees, but I am really not as big a fan of baseball as I was when I was a child. When I go to baseball games these days, I am only interested in two things, great pitching matchups, and fantastic hitters, I am more of a fan of the individual players’ talents than I am of the actual game. In this series the pitching matchups were not very strong, but the young pitchers on the scheduled did a great job at keeping me entertained and keeping the game competitive. The Yankees and the Rays are two teams that seem to be in a rebuilding phase, so they are not the most exciting teams to watch at the moment, but the ability to get out and watch some baseball reminded me why I love the summer. The Yankees won the first two games of the series, and lost the third in a dreadful extra inning game, but all things considered it was beautiful outside and perfect weather to enjoy spending time with family and friends. With summer on the way and ticket prices relatively low, I definitely recommend a nice baseball game to anyone who interested in “catching some Sun,” and cheering on the home team.
The New York Yankees have officially lost it. The Yankees where once a baseball franchise that struck fear into the hearts of their opponents, along with their massive payroll the Yankees were once a powerhouse of “purchased” talent. In recent years the Yankees have decided to try and build the team from their minor league talent, a tactic that has yielded some promising talent but very little promise. The Yankees were once the team everyone loved to hate, they would sign the best talent for the most money and win championships, but since the passing of owner George Steinbrenner, the team has lost much more than just its CEO. Under the leadership of “The Boss,” as Steinbrenner was affectionately known, the Yankees had a certain moxie about them, fans hated them, players hated them, but when given a chance to wear the pinstripes those players quickly conformed to the Yankee way. There was a time in the late 90s when the Yankees had the ability and the bankroll to sign any player, today the Yankees failed to sign a much needed prospect, even worse is the fact that they allowed their mortal enemy and eternal rival, The Boston Red Socks to sign the highly talented Yoan Moncada. The Yankees have been known as “The Evil Empire” for years, as a nod to the Star Wars franchise, but today it has become increasingly apparent that there has been a shift in the force, and it looks like the Yankees are going to need much more than Luke Skywalker to regain the balance. I am a Yankee fan so I am not exactly cheery about their current condition, I guess I can do as all Yankee fans have done for years, rest confidently on our laurels, and thank God that we are not Mets fans.