Lots coming over the next few days, but I wanted to hit three points very quickly.
- Yesterday, I suggested that baseball hasn’t had a true face of the game since the nineties – which is absolutely true. But I’d like to make one thing clear: While the sport may be getting back to the “way it used to be,” today’s athletes are far more talented than ever before.
This timeless argument was brought up again yesterday on Colin Cowherd’s radio show when the host said that a play Ichiro Suzuki made over the weekend was probably a better one than the famous catch Willie Mays made in the 1954 World Series, but because great athletes were so rare back then, “The Catch” stands out while Suzuki’s will be forgotten tomorrow. He then went on to say that to him, Babe Ruth just looked like a fat guy who was bigger than everyone else playing, which made him that much better.
Cowherd was right. When you hear people list the greatest baseball players of all time, they will inevitably have Mays and Ruth in their top five. And there’s a good chance Ty Cobb will be among the top three. This boggles my mind. Cobb hit with his hands separated for god sakes! Aside from being bigger, stronger and faster, today’s athletes have the luxury of video and various coaches to help them with their technique.
So much of the “luck” involved in the game has been washed away. Even during Mays’ career and especially for Ruth and Cobb, a slump wasn’t caused by a guy dropping his hands or not hitting the ball to the opposite field, it came about because the baseball gods weren’t on said player’s side. Maybe if those guys had the same tools at their disposal that the athletes of today have, we would be able compare different eras. But because they didn’t, these arguments are just silly.
- Speaking of luck, why does it seem like guys on the Yankees get hurt more than anyone else in the league? The latest injury came last night to Ian Kennedy, who strained a muscle near his ribcage. And the next will probably be Joba Chamberlain, whose pitch count is going to triple in the span of a week and a half when he makes his first start early next week.
As far as the way they are treating Joba, the Yankees remind me of how I was when it came to putting together presents as a little kid. For example, I remember always being into those tents that you could keep in your room, but I could never put them together. I would always rush into building them and during the middle of the night, the tent would inevitably come crashing down.
The foundation was always shaky and that’s the problem with Joba. It takes longer than three outings to go from 30 pitches every few nights to 90 pitches a start. They have a great product but rushing him will force bad results.
- If I’m the Chicago Bulls, I’m not as concerned with Joakim Noah having a little bit of marijuana on him as I am about the fact that it was found within his pack of cigarettes. Granted, one is illegal and the other is not, but how many athletes still smoke cigarettes?