by Paul Semendinger August 1, 2020
The Yankees are off to a hot start. That’s great. They are dominating teams exactly in the ways many of us thought (or hoped) they would to begin the season. The Yankees are hitting a ton of homers and looking like a dominant force. It’s fun to watch the Yankees win and win and win.
Tommy Kahnle – It looks as though Tommy Kahnle will opt for Tommy John Surgery. That’s a tough blow to him. He was one of the most reliable arms in the Yankees pen. He probably had a nice big pay day ahead, now he’s got to go back to proving himself. Sometimes we (as fans and writers) forget how difficult it is to come back from a major procedure like TJS. It’s no sure thing and the process to get back is long, difficult, and grueling. I wish him only the best. Hurry Back Tommy!
Giancarlo Stanton – Thus far in 2020, Stanton has been the player the Yankees thought they were acquiring. It seems that most great players who come to New York have a transition year where they often take a step backwards. The years that follow that transition year, for the superstars at least, are usually big years. Stanton’s second Yankees’ season was ruined by injuries. This might have been a magical year. It’s too bad we’ll only see 60 games of this version of Giancarlo Stanton. The hope is that he can stay this focused, locked in, and healthy for all of 2021 and 2022. (I actually don’t think that’s unrealistic.) These might be (and should be) great years for him.
Gary Sanchez – Sanchez has looked lost at the plate. Since bursting on the scene in 2016, his performance (and I’m just talking offensively) has been less than everyone has hoped. He’s had some hot streaks, but not many, and he often looks lost at the plate. The big question for Gary, if he has a disappointing 2020, is how much weight you put into this short season. I wonder if Gary will ever fulfill the promise and the hope that he displayed in 2016. From 2017 through 2019, he is only a .238 hitter.
J.A. Happ – It seems that everyone has given up on J.A. Happ. In regard to his Yankees’ career, Happ might be done. I still remain convinced that J.A. Happ will be a 20 game winner after he turns 40 years-old. He’ll just do that in a uniform other than the Yankees’ pinstripes.
Joe Kelly & the Astros – I predicted this at the time… By MLB not punishing the Astros’ players for cheating, they left it up to the rest of the the league to enforce a type of vigilante justice on those players. Joe Kelly was just the first to do this. Other pitchers will bean the Astros hitters. Other runners will slide hard into Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve. Tags on Astros’ base runners will be harder. The players are not going to make this easy on those players – for a long time, if ever. They cheated, they were arrogant about their cheating, and they were unrepentant and not remorseful when caught. The Astros players have engendered loathing from so many. MLB did a terrible job, an absolutely terrible job, when they did not discipline the players. They didn’t do them any favors either. They made life miserable for them. And that won’t change. Old hard feelings don’t go away. Players’ memories are long. They don’t forget. Since justice wasn’t served, a different type of justice will be enacted. Fans of the game knew this from the start. It was, and is, as clear as day. The fact that MLB didn’t see, understand, recognize, or consider this speaks poorly to the leadership and the decision makers.
All that being said, MLB made a bad problem worse by suspending Joe Kelly – for NOT hitting a batter and what ensued after (brought upon in large part by Carlos Correa) for 8 games during a 60-game season. Really? MLB just seems to compound their bad decisions. This won’t, in the long term, help the Astros, it will only engender even more anger, animosity, and such. Joe Kelly seemed to wear the “enemy” label well. He was easy to root against because of his brashness and his competitiveness. Opponents didn’t seem to like him. Fans of opposing teams certainly didn’t seem to like him. All of a sudden – because MLB treated him so unfairly for doing what everyone knew a player would do – and what other players will also certainly emulate – he has become a sympathetic figure to fans of all teams.
This is the baseball that MLB has created.
Ads All Over the Internet – is it me, or do most of the on-line newspapers now have an extreme over-abundance of ads? My goodness, when I get the Saturday Links ready, it now takes three times the amount of time because of the plethora of ads that pop-up on these various news sites. It is to the point of absurdity. In addition, so many newspapers and other baseball sites have gone behind paywalls. It’s a shame. There are so many great writers I can no longer access because I’m not willing to subscribe to 45 million different paid sites.
Feeling of impending doom- We all know that the 2020 MLB season hangs on a thin string and that it might be cancelled at any moment. Does it do any good when the Commissioner reiterates that point seemingly over and over? I think most fans just want to enjoy the games we are lucky enough to see knowing that it’s a long shot that the season even gets completed.
Rule changes – I fear that all of the new rules – the expanded playoffs, the runner on second base to begin extra innings, double header games of only seven innings… all of these rules which absolutely change the very game of baseball itself – will stay. These rules were introduced as an experiment with the justification that the 2020 season brought unprecedented circumstances (which is true, of course). Still, now that they are in place, I predict that they’re not going away. When we see the 2021 season and beyond, all of these “one year rules” will still be here. I don’t think any of these rules make baseball better. They change the game in profound ways. I don’t like it when they tinker and tinker and tinker with the game. The game of baseball was great as it was. It didn’t need wholesale fixing.
Let’s Go Yankees!