The Short Porch: It’s Heating Up!

One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.

-Nolan Ryan

Hey there baseball, how are you? Its been a while and I just wanted to check in and see what has happened since we last talked.  Its June now! The draft is the 4th which has me asking myself “will there be any superstars in this draft?”  Who will be the steal of the year that makes rival GMs wish they had a time machine to do it all over again and make the right pick this time? I love drafts, so much so that I play franchise mode and simulate until the draft, then I simulate until next year’s draft.  Picking a potential superstar out of nowhere gets my engine running.  Remember the 2009 draft that had Mike Trout being selected #25 in round 1, 4th compensation pick, guess who had the #1 and #2 picks?  Washington Nationals had the #1 pick and went with Strasburg, can’t go wrong there.  But the Mariners with the #2 pick took Dustin Ackley… ya know the face of the Mariners franchise.  Still can’t forgive Jack Z for that one… at least they got a look at Kyle Seager. But this is what makes the draft so much fun, guys that look to be future superstars get drafted early sign big contracts and then fizzle out while the players taken in the later parts of the draft sign for little money, live 6 to a 2-bedroom apartment, eat raman every night, and work their tails off to prove the scouts who passed on him wrong.  Seems every year we hear “damn we should have drafted that guy” or “Injuries are what did him in, I thought he would develop into something great”.

Let’s check back in in another 5 years and see where these picks end up because it’s too soon to tell where their talents will take them. Now it is time to turn your attention to what is happening this year and the season that’s in play as we speak. Many things are going on but here are a few things I find interesting about this young season.  We have a pretty good idea, year after year, that either the Red Sox or Yankees will be good, one of those two teams should win the A.L. East.  Sometimes they are both good at the same time in the same season, and the rivalry is officially declared as “back on”. This year is no exception, as we speak the Sox are in first place and Yankees in 2nd, baseball writers have been calling for those two to finish atop the A.L. East since spring training and it looks like they may have gotten it right.  Other no brainer post season teams that were “Locks” to make the fall classic are struggling, Injuries have slowed the Dodgers claim to king of the N.L. West.  Cubs seem lost and the Brewers are looking to dethrone the kings of the N.L. Central. The Mets literally had a fire inside Citi Park last week, possibly a signal that a fire sale is not too far off? The Astros, who are supposed to go back to the World Series after acquiring Garret Cole in the off season, are only a game up on my depleted Mariners for A.L. West best. The Atlanta Braves… what up with them? Can they keep it going? Did we flash back to the 90’s? Are Hammer pants back in? ah remember the Turner Broadcasting days, good times back in the day. But will they come back to earth once pitchers figure out holes in the game of their young talent and find ways to exploit them at the plate?  How about the Nationals, could this be the year they figure it out and win in the post season?

Seasons rarely go as planned, with injuries or suspensions not foreseen by the front office. It’s easy for a season to become lost, but is that the case for the Mariners after losing Robbie Cano for the season? I mean losing your best player (and what was once, a sure fire first ballot hall of famer) is not a great way to inspire a team to compete but it often forces the other players to look deep and find a way to win. They can’t coast through the games anymore they need to play hard every night.  Good teams seem to get the message while bad teams wallow in the “woe is me” pit of no return where a high draft pick is compensation for the woeful year. I am no expert and being “that” guy, my extensive experience is limited to the many hours I spent playing MLB the Show (I am exceptionally good with all the sliders turned up) But the thing is we see this type of story happen every year.  Star goes down with either injury or suspension and the guys seem to play better for a month, but this is a long season we still have June, July, August, and September left. Maybe they can weather the storm and ride it out to a post season bid I don’t know, maybe if Joseph Gordon-Levitt would stand up in the stands and flap his arms up and down I would know that they are going to be ok. Speaking of Angels in the outfield…

 

 

Shohei Ohtani is just filthy.  This is not even fair. I am starting to think that maybe somewhere Joseph Gordon-Levitt is signaling AL to come direct that slider to unhittable parts of the plate. That’s the only way I can fathom that pitch and its movement.  Mike Trout seems to be getting better, if that is possible, on defense and is showing why he is one of the greats in the game today. Angels will need help though and a trade seems unlikely as they have one of the weaker farm systems in the league, something needs to get done so that we can see certain generational talent in the post season again. I suggest a trade to Portland once we get a team (no Bias at all).

When is MLB going to move a team to Portland?  I would even take an expansion team.  Look, we all know that its going to happen sooner or later, so why not now? The Tampa Bay Rays have horrible attendance and tv ratings, Oakland is in the same boat. Move the A’s to Portland and the Rays to Montreal. Maybe with the addition of Russell Wilson and Ciara to the investment group, the Portland Diamond Project, it will help speed up the process of getting a team to the greatest city in the Northwest. Here’s a question I have for Russ,” if you are an owner would you trade for yourself and call yourself up to the league”? You can bet I would if I had the money to own a team (somewhere Pete Rose just placed a bet on that action) I would be the starting shortstop batting lead-off securing that #1 draft pick next year, it would be worth it.

April and May are over, forget about it they not coming back until 2019, stop crying.  There is more baseball ahead and now the NBA will end, and we can focus 100% on baseball.   Actually, I stopped watching when my team, the Trail Blazers were swept, so I have had a lot of time to catch up on baseball. I don’t see a good enough reason to watch the rest of the finals as we already know who is going to win. I would rather watch highlights of the royal wedding than this garbage — OK never mind that was an exaggeration but you get the point.  We want variety in the NBA and not the same thing repackaged every year, this is the 4th straight year of Cavs vs. Warriors. Thank God for baseball and its constantly changing and unpredictable schedule, giving hope to teams that would not have much hope of competing for a championship in any other league. Baseball is the unofficial sport of summer, and the livin’s easy. Get out and Play Ball.

 

P.S. Seriously we need more “Bat Dogs” in the league. Air Bud has shown us that dogs belong on the field, its now time to give them an opportunity.

 

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