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MLB 2021 Season Thread


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23 minutes ago, Sport said:

I feel like we're talking about Ohtani a lot and simultaneously not enough. I always figured that a good hitting pitcher would be just kind of good at both hitting and pitching, or really good at pitching and just good enough to get use at the plate sometimes (and there's been a couple NL guys who fit that description), but I never imagined the guy would be Babe Ruth. 

 

In the 90s, Ohtani would be national news. Not just sports news, but all over everything. Ken Griffey dominated everything, and then so did Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and Randy Johnson. And Mike Piazza and Derek Jeter and A-Rod. Those guys were all household names.

 

Then post-Selig, two things changed: First, baseball went up its ass in pursuit of moneyball and analytics. A Brad Pitt movie gave people permission to check out of baseball rather than in, because it was simultaneously a good movie and also exposed that baseball is more Excel than athletics. (I know it's not, but that's a fair enough takeaway from the film.)

 

Second -- and perhaps uncomfortable to say -- baseball has changing demographics. A lot of the current best players in the game either don't speak English as a first language, or don't speak English at all. This is completely "foreign" to the baseball of the 70s and 80s, when it was full of beer-bellied white guys who were relatable to the beer-bellied white guys in the stands. If Ohtani were from Nebraska instead of Japan, I'm sure his Q rating would be higher. I'm not saying that's a good thing; I'm just saying that's a thing.

 

But perhaps the second speaks to a third, which I've said before, is that MLB doesn't market its players. Like, at all. There are cultural factors baseball can't control, but plenty of PR factors it can. Ohtani should be on video games and lunch boxes and shoe commericals and State Farm ads and Teams ads and AT&T ads. Put him all over everything, especially during NHL and NBA playoffs. Add Kershaw and McCutcheon and, I don't know, anyone else who's very very good so we can see their faces. I couldn't pick 7 of the top 10 MLB players out of a crowd and that feels like a huge problem.

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25 minutes ago, DG_ThenNowForever said:

If Ohtani were from Nebraska instead of Japan, I'm sure his Q rating would be higher. I'm not saying that's a good thing; I'm just saying that's a thing.

 

Is it, though?  Hideo Nomo was the biggest thing for the Dodgers since Fernandomania.  And Irabu, Ichiro, and Matsui were national phenomena.

 

I am not for a second doubting the existence of American racism — either in general, or directed at Asian people.  Still, we can observe that American baseball fans have historically been willing to embrace Japanese players.

 

 

30 minutes ago, DG_ThenNowForever said:

MLB doesn't market its players. Like, at all. There are cultural factors baseball can't control, but plenty of PR factors it can. Ohtani should be on video games and lunch boxes and shoe commericals and State Farm ads and Teams ads and AT&T ads. Put him all over everything, especially during NHL and NBA playoffs.

 

While not every player wants to become the spokesman for products, there is no excuse for Major League Baseball not making Ohtani the representative player in all of its promotions.  He should be the equivalent of the NFL's Patrick Mahomes in terms of visibility.   

 

Does Ohtani speak English?  Not perfectly; but he is coming along.  And having an imperfect command of English didn't stop the Chinese basketball star Yao Ming from becoming a cultural icon during his NBA career; indeed, Yao's status as a learner of the language was part of his charm. 

The same goes for many, many international footballers who play in England.  If players who are far from fluent in English can be embraced by that monolingual fanbase, such players can be embraced by this one, as well.  


The issue is not one of demographics or culture; it is purely down to Major League Baseball's marketing strategies.

 

I am probably not a good one to talk, as I don't follow results; I pay attention only to the uniforms.  But back in my day, even non-baseball fans knew who Reggie Jackson and Nolan Ryan and George Brett were; they were national figures. My grandmother, who was born in Italy in 1897 and didn't know Thing 1 about baseball, knew who Reggie Jackson was.  By contrast, today's baseball stars are unknown to anyone who is not intentionionally following the game.  That problem is fixable, given the will.

 

 

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Granted, I'm an Angels fan and completely biased and enamored with Ohtani, but what he is doing this season is just insane. Pitches that he shouldn't even be making contact with are going over the fence. I admittedly brushed off the "Babe Ruth" talk when he first came over, but I'm starting to believe it. At the very least, I'm enjoying the hell out of watching him play. I'm worried he's going to run out of steam, given that he's appeared in every single game this year, but he's been the highlight of the Angels season so far (and Trout's off to an absolutely amazing start, despite his current slump and potential injury).

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1 hour ago, Crabcake said:

What a surprise, the White Sox hired a dinosaur and lo and behold, he’s acting like a dinosaur:

 

"There will be consequences"

 

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Tony LaRussa doesn't like his players hitting home runs off of 47 mph meatball pitches. Tony LaRussa does like opposing pitchers hitting his players, especially after he promises "consequences" for the player who got plunked. Anyone who does a postmortem on the 2021 White Sox season and wonders aloud why this team fell apart completely after the All-Star break needs to gets get bludgeoned with wiffle bats.

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Side note: tonight was the return of doin’ stuff for me and I was able to sit right behind the dugout and watch LaRussa complain as Sano hit three HR and the Twins win on a walkoff.

 

It was nice to be back.

 

Edit: having not watched the game the night before I didn’t realize what had happened.  So that’s why the Twins threw at him and the pitcher was tossed.  So my team was also guilty of protecting the unwritten rules.

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6 hours ago, Sodboy13 said:

Tony LaRussa doesn't like his players hitting home runs off of 47 mph meatball pitches. Tony LaRussa does like opposing pitchers hitting his players, especially after he promises "consequences" for the player who got plunked. Anyone who does a postmortem on the 2021 White Sox season and wonders aloud why this team fell apart completely after the All-Star break needs to gets get bludgeoned with wiffle bats.

I used to have that 3-0 pitch mentality. But I realized that you should be able to swing at 3-0 if you are looking for a pitch you think you can hit. The pressure is on the pitcher, not the batter. Why give leeway to the pitcher and let a 3-0 pitch go? 

 

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Tony could drop a few racist remarks on a hot mic, be drunk during a game, and call Jerry Reinsdorf every name in the book, and he still wouldn’t get fired. 
 

I hope this leads to him stepping down.  Guy should never have been hired to begin with. 

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7 hours ago, DEAD! said:

I used to have that 3-0 pitch mentality. But I realized that you should be able to swing at 3-0 if you are looking for a pitch you think you can hit. The pressure is on the pitcher, not the batter. Why give leeway to the pitcher and let a 3-0 pitch go? 

 

 

Baseball being about balls and strikes and hitting sometimes but not others is so weird.

 

Perhaps it's not exactly sportsmanlike to hit a HR off an infielder just trying to close out the game, but if the batter gets a contract bonus for 20 HRs, he gets a contract bonus for 20 HRs. No one's going to go back and asterisk non-sporting HRs because the manager has a stick up his ass.

 

Also, these guys get paid at the highest level to play at the highest level. There's no crying in baseball, etc. (Except that there sure does seem to be a ton of it.)

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We went through this last year with the Rangers and Fernando Tatis Jr. This is even dumber because it's the Twins fault they were using a position player on the mound. That guy doesn't get paid to pitch so his stats aren't important, but Mercedes gets paid to hit and when you know his story and road to the majors it's even more like "yes, dude, swing". Even if it was a normal pitcher I don't get that unwritten rule anyways. If the Twins were up 10-0 and the pitcher has an 0-2 count is he expected to throw a ball? IT'S SO DUMB. 

 

And what a needlessly stupid way for a manager to lose his clubhouse. I hope we have a full on sign-ignoring mutiny from the White Sox players. 

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23 minutes ago, Sport said:

We went through this last year with the Rangers and Fernando Tatis Jr. This is even dumber because it's the Twins fault they were using a position player on the mound. That guy doesn't get paid to pitch so his stats aren't important, but Mercedes gets paid to hit and when you know his story and road to the majors it's even more like "yes, dude, swing". Even if it was a normal pitcher I don't get that unwritten rule anyways. If the Twins were up 10-0 and the pitcher has an 0-2 count is he expected to throw a ball? IT'S SO DUMB. 

 

And what a needlessly stupid way for a manager to lose his clubhouse. I hope we have a full on sign-ignoring mutiny from the White Sox players. 

I'll add onto this that the Twins used an extremely expendable position player who was completely phoning it in.  If you're not even going to try out there you deserve to have your meatball launched into orbit.

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If you don't want your opponents to play the game of baseball because you're losing so badly just forfeit.

 

I mean, come on, you're telling a guy who'll be up for arbitration this offseason to not crush a 47 mile per hour meatball?

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Isn’t it even more insulting to toss out a position player to pitch against players in the best league in the entire world? I get the strategy of it, but on its face, that’s never looked real great to me. I would want to smash homers off of the dude, too. 
 

All this talk about how baseball is losing fans and they’re focused on crap like game speed. The real issue is difficulty of access to their product. That’s #1. But the other thing that’s turned me totally off is just how mentally fragile these guys seem to be. Why do I want to spend three hours watching guys :censored: about unsaid decorum? It’s childish and pathetic.

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