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Sports Blog Comments Off on A Thought On The MLB Playoffs

A Thought On The MLB Playoffs

By: Spencer Orlin

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 3, 2012) – I love watching basketball. And next to the MLB, the NBA might be the most entertaining. The competitiveness and athleticism of the game make professional basketball infinitely exciting. But with all the good that there is in the NBA, there is one thing about the league that I absolutely cannot stand: the playoff system. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Out of the thirty teams in the NBA, SIXTEEN make the playoffs. Routinely, there are teams who qualify for the postseason, despite playing sub-.500 basketball over the course of an 82 game season. Rewarding that kind of mediocrity with a chance to win a National Championship is one of the most absurd displays in all of professional sports.

This year, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has implemented an expansion of the current playoff system. Instead of three division winners and one “wild card” winner in each league (a format that has been in place since divisional realignment in the mid 90’s), there will now be two wild cards for both the National and American leagues. These two teams play each other in a one-game playoff to determine who advances to the NLDS. While some may view this expansion as a positive, placing greater importance on winning your division. While I do agree with that argument, the negatives associated with expansion far outweigh the positives.

Anybody with any common sense at all should be able to see the primary reason for baseball’s playoffs expansion. To make the game more competitive? Of course not. No, the main reason for what is occurring this October can be found in Selig’s wallet. Money, obviously. Simple observation shows that 162 games with a “play-in” generates more income than 162 without that game (the added excitement and coverage of the wild card game only adds to the haul). Clearly, more money is better than less money, even if it threatens the integrity of baseball. More on that later.

Now, there is no way for me or anybody else to know exactly how these two wild cards game will be received once October 5th has passed, but I think it is a safe assumption to say that there is going to be at least one fan base that will be very upset as a result of a blown call, in game decision, error or any other kind of variable that can impact a single game. Anything can happen, and I personally guarantee that the best, most deserving team in each league will not advance to the “actual” postseason. I just hope and pray that that team is not the Braves.

Before I continue, a short disclaimer is needed. I am not a die-hard baseball fundamentalist. I believe that changes are necessary to keep the game up to pace with our ever-changing society. But these changes should never challenge the integrity of our pastime. And that is exactly what is happening with current playoff expansion. When the NBA began allowing more than half of its teams, the line between elite and average was blurred. Now, like I said earlier, teams that lose more than half of their games still have a chance to make the playoffs. That’s just wrong. While baseball hasn’t quite reached that point yet, the early makings of it can be seen. This year’s Philadelphia Phillies were one of the many below average teams in the National League all year. At one point, they sat 17.5 games behind in the NL East. A team like that should never have an opportunity to make the playoffs. Yet, in early September, they trailed the 2nd Wild Card leading Cardinals by only 3 games. While the Phillies have since been eliminated from playoff contention, the fact that they were within striking distance was appalling.

Baseball has always been the classiest major professional sport in the United States. This has been achieved largely because of the classic elements of the game, such as a select number of teams playing in October. With the new expansion of MLB playoffs, that element of the game is being challenged. I can only hope that expansion stops here, before the baseball postseason is just another version of basketball.

Sports Blog Comments Off on NL Cy Young

NL Cy Young

By: Locke Hoover

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept. 29, 2012) — The Cy Young is an award every pitcher strives to win during there career. It is a great achievement in a pitchers career. This award means they are the best pitcher in the league. I am going present four candidates case for winning to Cy young and then tell you who I think should win the award. The four pitchers I think should be considered are R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Craig Kimbrel, and Matt Cain. The first candidate is R.A. Dickey. Dickey has a 2.66 ERA 20 wins five complete games over 200 strikeouts and well over 200 innings. Batters are hitting .223 against him and he is 7-5 after the all-star break. Dickey has had a career year and the knuckleballer has a great chance at winning the award. Gio Gonzalez is a 20 game winner with a 2.84 ERA. He has over 200 strikeouts and will have over 200 innings pitched (193.1) when the season is over. Opponents are hitting .204 against him and he is 8-5 after the all-star break. Craig Kimbrel has 40 saves in 43 chances, a 1.04 ERA and has pitched 60.1 innings. Kimbrel has 111 strikeouts in 60 games pitched and opponents are hitting .126 against him. After the all-star break in 27.1 innings he has a .66 ERA with 15 saves and 55 strikeouts. Matt Cain is the fourth and final candidate in the running for the Cy young. In Cain’s 31 starts he has 16 wins and a 2.77 ERA. He has thrown over 200 innings pitched and will have over 200 strikeouts (191) when the season ends. Opponents are hitting .222 against him. He is 7-2 after the all- star break with a 2.97 ERA.
There are the four candidates stat breakdowns and now I will tell you whom I think should win the Cy. Gonzalez is tied for first in wins, fourth in strikeouts, seventh in walks, sixth in ERA, sixth in WHIP, seventh in winning percentage, and fourth in complete games. He is on a division leading team has had a great year. He has a great case to make but in some peoples opinion he is not the best pitchers on his own team, so how can if win a Cy if this is the case? Kimbrel has had a great year as a closer. He leads the lead in saves and has the most strikeouts as a reliever since 1990. He has been light all year and just going by the eye test has been on of the best pitchers in the game. Cain is fifth in wins, second in innings pitched, eighth in innings pitched, fourth in ERA, second in WHIP, fourth in winning percentage, and fourth in complete games. Cain is on a division winning team and has been a horse all season for the Gaints. Dickey is tied for first in wins, first in innings pitched, first in strikeouts, second in ERA, third in WHIP, second in winning percentage, and first in complete games. Dickey is pitching for a losing team, which will hurt his chances, but to me that is why he should win the Cy. Dickey has 20 wins on a team that has only won 72 games. So there you go folks you 2012 Cy Young winners is R.A. Dickey.

Sports Blog Comments Off on Dan Uggly: All-Star Takes A Benching

Dan Uggly: All-Star Takes A Benching

By Spencer Orlin,

When Dan Uggla was traded to Atlanta in the winter of 2010, there was a sense of optimism surrounding the Braves. The most offensively sound infielder in the league and a notorious ‘Braves-killer?’ I was personally ecstatic and definitely on the Uggla bandwagon. After a rough 2011 season and an absolutely abysmal 2012 season, he has completely fallen out

After riding the bench for two straight games this past weekend, Uggla was informed that he had officially lost his job as the team’s starting second baseman. While this may come as a surprise to those who know Uggla as the man who produced five consecutive 30+ homerun seasons (also the only time a second baseman had done this in the history of MLB), many Braves fans see his benching as a relief, as the slugger put together a .182 batting average with only five ho of graces with the Atlanta faithful and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.

meruns and 19 RBI’s in 45 games since the all-star game, along with an On-base Percentage + Slugging percentage (OPS) of .647, far below his career OPS average of .812.

Uggla getting benched is a move that undoubtedly caused some waves in the dugout but ultimately it was the right move for Gonzalez to make. With the shadow of last September’s collapse looming, this 2012 team has the unenviable task of making Atlanta forget about last season. If that means benching a slumping former all-star, then that’s what needs to be done.