Home Sports MLB trying to pass off this farce of a game as baseball

MLB trying to pass off this farce of a game as baseball

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Ron Hassey, a Yankees catcher in the mid-1980s, was asked how he was feeling. “Physically, I’m fine,” he replied. “Mentally, I’m day-to-day.”

We get it.

Monday, the Marlins led the Mets, 4-3, in the seventh. Brandon Nimmo was on first for the Mets, none out, Jeff McNeil at bat. The Marlins went into a radical shift toward first. A bunt or anything close to a tapper toward third would give the Mets at least two on.

But not even a try or a feint. On a 3-2 pitch, McNeil lined into the shift, double play. Although the Marlins struck out 13 times, they won this thoroughly modern, dreadful game, 5-3.

With The Game in horrible fundamental decay due to home-run-or-strikeout “strategies” and managers who pull effective pitchers in search of arsonists, the simplistic cry has been renewed: ban the shift!

In other words, MLB should continue to legislate changes to artificially treat badly eroded skills while sustaining or worsening the abandonment of smart, winning baseball.

Even by this season’s farcical standards, this past weekend’s Yanks-Mets series offered a continuum of inexcusably bad, Laurel and Hardy baseball played at the highest professional level.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani strikes out for the Angels.Getty Images

In Game 1 of Sunday’s scheduled abbreviated doubleheader — an eight-inning game played in 3:22 — the Mets, in the process of blowing a big lead, struck out 14 times and left 30 men on base. Nimmo, the Mets’ leadoff man, left five on by striking out four times.

In the seventh Mets’ radioman Howie Rose, who, despite his “Put it in the books!” remains an honest voice of New York baseball, was flabbergasted to report Michael Conforto as the “only man in the Mets’ lineup who hasn’t walked, struck out or both!”

Rose made no secret that he was calling a badly diminished skills game — again.

Also in the seventh, when Aaron Hicks, batting .200, hit a home run that just cleared the right-field wall, he had the modern, no-upside audacity not to run, choosing to stand and marvel at his achievement — even if he risked blasting a self-impressed single.

If Hicks thought he looked cool, he was wrong. He looked like a fool.

But again, this is how The Game is played. In the series, mild infield grounders were cause for defensive confusion and panic while two games were decided by wild pitches. The replay rule was applied to make second-guesses at very close calls that were never intended for replay review.

Naturally, Saturday’s 2-1 Yanks’ win didn’t end on a Dellin Betances extra-wild pitch — about 10 feet above the plate — but according to YES’s Michael “Exit Velo” Kay, it ended on a “walk-off wild pitch,” because silly slick expressions are now a big part of broadcasting.

And with both Sunday games lasting past seven innings, Kay was twice able to emote his worn out “Time for free baseball!” — even if no one who watches on cable or satellite watches for free, let alone received a credit for nearly four months of unplayed sports.

Then there was more YES drivel about how hard Gary Sanchez is hitting the ball, even if as of Thursday morning he had raised his batting average to .130 with 42 strikeouts in 91 at-bats.

Of course he hits it hard! It stands to reason that anyone who indiscriminately swings at everything as hard as he can will occasionally hit the ball hard.

Sanchez ended Sunday’s all-DH doubleheader in the eighth with a monster grand slam that also demonstrated his sense of self-awareness. He stood and posed as if he’d just conquered Abyssinia, not a flake of humility or dignity. Given his continued failings on offense and defense, he’s still the man!

Why would Sanchez, even in a rare successful moment, provide knowing fans with another reason to find him insufferable?

And then it began: Sanchez was the first Yankee to hit an extra innings grand slam!

But as reader/author Guy Kipp notes, he hit it the eighth, which began, by 2020 rules, with a runner automatically placed on second — like those automatic 200 points just for taking the SATs.

But at least the Mets didn’t again suffer that Aug. 26 loss, when Miami’s Jon Berti, exploiting repetitive neglect, stole second, third and then home. Pure farce is what now passes as Major League Baseball. And mentally, we’re pitch-to-pitch.

YES-men well-versed in selective honesty

I guess we’re never supposed to grow weary of being treated like imbeciles.

Monday, the Rays’ Ji-Man Choi homered to right, a ball that barely cleared the short right-field wall in Yankee Stadium. We’d seen scores of Yankees hit similar homers, but never heard anyone on YES lament that they were cheap.

Michael Kay
Michael KayRobert Sabo

But Choi’s homer brought this out of Michael Kay: “It wasn’t exactly a blast, but it counts, and it would’ve been a home run in four of the 30 ballparks, Houston, Philly and Tampa.”

The next night, given the same opportunity on a DJ LeMahieu home run that barely cleared the that wall, Kay just hollered that it was home run! Same as he did after Hicks’ just-made-it homer to right, Sunday.

But that’s selective honesty, a bit different than rank dishonesty. Sunday night’s Islanders-Flyers playoff game on NBCSN was advertised as an 8 p.m. start. It began at 8:20, a time-dishonored deception, but one that works if viewers don’t know better.

Then there’s the King of Shamelessness, ESPN. This week it reported that LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase will enter the NFL draft early, “a source told ESPN.”

A bit later that report added, “CBS Sports was the first to report the news.” Oh.

There’s a stand-up guy on the Cardinals

Need A feel-good?

If I were King of a baseball network, I’d already be dogging Cards’ pitcher Adam Wainwright as an analyst. He’s engaging, sharp and one of the extra-good guys in all sports.

Against Cleveland, Sunday, Wainwright’s 39th birthday, he threw a 122-pitch complete game for a 7-2 win.

After the final out the entire Cleveland dugout stood to applaud him.


Why don’t TV sports producers bother to preview or even consider what they’re about to show us?

Saturday, CBS presented a WNBA game, Who Knows? vs. Ya Got Me. The only things on the screen to identify the teams were unfamiliar, small team logos.

After roughly 20 minutes we learned it was Dallas vs. Indianapolis.


Misanthropic Aroldis Chapman, who could’ve killed the Ray’s Mike Brosseau with a 101 mph beanball, Tuesday, complained that his three-game suspension was “harsh.” Harsh? He’s lucky Brosseau can still speak!

Of last-name coincidence, in 1920 Cleveland infielder Ray Chapman was killed by a pitch to the head thrown by the Yanks’ Carl Mays.

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