Barry Bonds hit his 714th homerun of his career yesterday and the majority of the media is saying he "tied Babe Ruth’s record of 714 homeruns." Now, for as long as I have known the career homerun record belonged to Hank Aaron with 755 homeruns, over 40 more big flies than Babe Ruth. I know Babe Ruth is a baseball icon, but give Hank Aaron his credit, he owns the career homerun record, Babe Ruth is simply second. Bonds likes to say passing Babe Ruth is more important to him than passing Aaron, who owns the record. Why is this you ask? Bonds explains it is because Ruth was a left-hander, like himself. Barry, we aren’t that naive. With your past comments, we know the reason you consider passing Ruth is more important than Aaron is because of the racial issue. I believe I can speak for many baseball fans when I say I don’t care what ethnicity you are, or if you are white or black and have a record. If you are talented enough to reach milestones then what does it matter what color skin you have? Being talented enough is a different issue when talking about Bonds, however. His steroid allegations have tainted his career and every record in that long career.
So, media, why not give the man who really owns the record the respect he deserves. Would the media be celebrating if two teams tied for second place? What if two players tied for second in batting average for a season? Why celebrate tying second place? In a sport with as many extra innings to determine a winner, the media is celebrating a tie, of second place nonetheless.
Many would believe that the title of this post implies that I am going to discuss the problems Yankees’ pitcher Randy Johnson has had this season. However, those are well documented and I will not discuss that at this time. I am going to discuss the disappearance of dominance by Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera and whether he is losing something or it is the cause the the way manager Joe Torre is being used.
Mariano Rivera is considered by many to be the greatest closer of all time and and has been the Yankees’ most valuble player throughout their run of four championships and playoff appearances. This year, however, Rivera is not pitching like the Rivera of old. I do not believe he is "done" as people like to say. He is simply being used in the wrong way. In save situations this season Rivera’s ERA is 1.80 and is throwing 68.5% of his pitches for strikes. In non-save situations Rivera’s ERA is 5.80 and is throwing 60.1% of his pitches for strikes. Rivera is still pitching like Rivera in save situations, but in non-save situations he has struggled.
Who is to blame for the struggles of Mariano Rivera? I may be taking a bold stance to other Yankee fans, but the person to blame for this is Joe Torre. Sure he was considered great in the Yankee dynasty, but that’s over and so is his greatness. He was overrated during the dynasty to begin with, with veterans such as Bernie Willams, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, Roger Clemens, and Joe Girardi all Torre had to do was sit back, manage the media attention, and let his veterans play. Now, Joe Torre actually has to manage and he is proving he is awful at managing his bullpen. Leaving Kyle Farnsworth in for two innings after he has dominated the previous inning is not the worst thing. Farnsworth has closing experience and can handle the role, so why is Torre so quick to pull him out of the game? Or, when your starter has pitched eight strong innings, throwing 85 or less pitches, leaving him to finish the game gives him and the starting rotation confidence. If the pitcher gives up a baserunner, by all means, bring in Rivera, but bringing him in when he is not needed is a waste of his talent. The media says he needs the work because the Yankees are not playing in many close games, but then the media will say in the playoffs he is tired from being overworked in the regular season. So what is it? Does he need work to only be overworked?
The disappearance of dominance of Joe Torre, if there was any dominance to begin with.
Baseball is currently in the 10th year of interleague play, and the question is always asked is interleague play getting old? Living in New York and growing up a Yankees fan, the Subway Series is always treated as an event, but is that event becoming just another game? The Yankees and Mets play each other six times every year now it seems as though the original novelty is gone. The excitement of interleague play may not be the level it was ten years ago when interleague began, but major interleague rivally matchups such as White Sox-Cubs, Yankees-Mets, Angels-Dodgers, and A’s-Giants still fills the parks and creates excitement in the area. However, are the fans of the teams that do not have a rival in the opposite league growing sick of seeing the two teams matchup?
My opinion on this issue is a very mixed one. On one hand I am tired of seeing the Yankees and Mets battle each other every year. Interleague play took some of the excitement of the Subway World Series in 2000. On the other hand however, these rivally matchups fill the seats and as a future in the business of baseball, making money is the main priority for the organization and selling tickets and the national exposure of the series increase the profits of the teams.
So it depends on the person looking at interleague play. The fan may be growing tired of the same matchups, but the organization looks foward to the sell-outs and increase in profits.
Where are you on this issue?