Bob Nightengale USA TODAY Published 5:30 PM EDT Jul 9, 2019 CLEVELAND -- Major League Baseball once again celebrates their sport Tuesday with the All-Star Game, showcasing the greatest collection of young stars, including one of the finest players to ever grace the playing field in Mike Trout, in a proud city steeped with baseball tradition. Yet, when everyone returns home Wednesday, getting ready for the second-half of the season, reality will finally hit: Baseball is at a crossroads. It must decide what it wants to become. Does it want to remain this nightly edition of home-run derby, with players swinging for the fences every time they step to the plate, with home runs, strikeouts and walks accounting for nearly 40% of the action? Or does it want to return to the game it was designed to be, with teams manufacturing runs, managers employing hit-and-runs and players bunting and stealing bases Tony Clark, the players union executive director, who played 15 years, had five … [Read more...] about MLB: Baseball is at a crossroads. What does it want to become?
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Gabe Lacques USA TODAY Published 9:08 PM EDT Jun 30, 2019 Over the past four seasons, Major League Baseball has bestowed the honor of “All-Star” on an average of 75 players – or, exactly 10% of the active player population. So, it seems MLB, fans and the players who vote on the roster would have to work fairly hard to mess anything up, right? Well, the never-ending quest to optimize the All-Star Game always ends up with a few diamonds buried too deep in the grass. Oh, the concept of an All-Star “snub” isn’t what it used to be. And many players who did not get any love from fan/player ballots or see a puff of white smoke above MLB’s Park Avenue offices will still find their way onto the National or American league rosters. But before the inevitable wave of injury replacements nudge a few more players to Cleveland for the July 9 game, it can never hurt to air some grievances on behalf of the overlooked. With that, a look at a handful of … [Read more...] about MLB All-Star Game 2019: These players got snubbed
Jesse Yomtov USA TODAY Published 12:47 PM EDT Jun 2, 2019 Top picks in the Major League Baseball turn out to be busts at a fairly high rate, but that's not to say that some of the greatest players in history have been selected early in baseball's draft through the years. We took a look back through the history of the draft and decided on the best player taken at each pick from No. 1 to No. 30. In order to be considered, the player had to have signed that year. It's worth nothing that the MLB draft didn't begin until 1965. 1. Alex Rodriguez (1993, Mariners) – While Ken Griffey Jr. and Chipper Jones are two of the greatest players ever, A-Rod (117.8 WAR) is more than 30 WAR better than those two. Also considered: Chipper Jones (1990, Braves), Ken Griffey Jr. (1987, Mariners) 2. Reggie Jackson (1966, Athletics) – If Justin Verlander has a few more good years, we're easily taking him here. Others: Justin Verlander (2004, Tigers), Kris Bryant (2013, … [Read more...] about MLB draft: Best picks in history from 1-30
Steve Gardner USA TODAY Published 9:24 PM EDT Apr 24, 2019 For Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the long wait is over. Well, as long a wait as it could be for a precocious 20-year-old who also just happens to be the best player in the minor leagues. The Toronto Blue Jays have announced the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero will make his major-league debut Friday at Rogers Centre against the Oakland A’s. Guerrero, who hit a combined .381 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI last season at four minor-league levels, was expected to spend some time in the minors this season to allow the Blue Jays to keep him under contract for an extra year. However, he began the season on the injured list with a strained oblique muscle and needed additional at-bats in the minors before he was ready to be called up. Any questions about his readiness have been sufficiently answered. In seven games with Class AAA Buffalo, Guerrero hit .360/.429/.640 with a pair of homers and seven RBI. Even this … [Read more...] about Blue Jays calling up Vladimir Guerrero Jr.; will make MLB debut Friday
Bob Nightengale USA TODAY Published 6:43 AM EDT Apr 16, 2019 PHOENIX — It was 30 years ago this month when Ken Griffey Jr. made his major-league debut, and almost instantaneously, became the pure, innocent, joyful face of baseball. There was that unbridled passion for the game, that infectious smile, the backwards cap, showing the world it was cool to be a Major League Baseball player. Here we are, three decades since Griffey’s broke onto the scene with the Seattle Mariners, with the game now perhaps having more young stars than ever before, but something is missing. There's a serious dearth of African-American baseball players. While commemorating Jackie Robinson's 100th birthday this year, MLB has an African-American population of only 7.7% this season. There are 68 African-American players among the total of 882 players on opening-day rosters, injured lists and restricted lists, according to research by USA TODAY Sports. There are a staggering 11 teams that … [Read more...] about Jackie Robinson Day: MLB’s black population remains low