It might be fun, but baseball doesn't "need" a Yankees-Dodgers World Series

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William Rhoden in the New York Times:

Still, what Major League Baseball needs is a great World Series, a
Series for the ages. And with all due respect to those two other
potential matchups, it’s a Yankees-Dodgers World Series that could take
the game back to its roots at a time when baseball desperately needs to
recover a portion of the trust, if not the innocence, that it has lost
in the steroid era.

There would be a number of interesting story lines in a
Yankees-Dodger World Series, not the least of which would be the return
of Dodgers Manager Joe Torre to New York to face the team that he
unhappily parted with after the 2007 season.. But the greatest
attraction has to do with the history and traditions that the Yankees
and the Dodgers represent.

Two venerable franchises competing in a World Series would recall an
era in baseball when things seemed simpler and the game was more pure.

Please.  For starters, the best modern World Series — one that truly was “for the ages” — involved two teams from less-than traditionally stellar baseball markets, each of which had just finished in last place the season before.  It was the Twins and Braves in 1991, and apart from Kirby Puckett, the game was loaded with young hungry and relatively unknown talent at the time.  A Yankees-Dodgers World Series might be interesting, but that kind of star power is not needed to make a great World Series.  Great baseball is needed, and there is no reason whatsoever to think that the Angels, Phillies, and maybe the Rockies couldn’t provide it too.

But the bigger problem with this article is the time-worn and always ridiculous reference to “purity.”  Someone please point me to a single time in the game’s history where it truly was “pure,” as Rhoden seems to think it was.  Was it in the 70s and 80s when players were doing cocaine and teams generally let drunk fans ruin the experience for casual fans? The 60s when it was amphetamines? The 1950s when teams like the Athletics whored themselves and their talent out to the Yankees, serving as a defacto farm club and making a mockery of competitive balance? The 20s, 30s, and 40s, when segregation reigned supreme?  Before that when people threw spitballs and twelve home runs could lead the league?

Seriously, Bill, you’re the one citing “purity” here. Tell us when the game was “pure” and why.  And if you can’t, please explain to me how a Yankees-Dodgers World Series can “restore” a state of affairs which never existed in the first place.

A Yankees-Dodgers World Series would certainly be an interesting thing. It would have some bit of nostalgia to it for people who remember the 1970s or the 1950s. It may actually turn out to showcase the two best teams — though the Angels certainly will have something to say about that.  It would no doubt be a great thing for the fans of those teams. It would give writers like Rhoden and me some easy storylines.  I certainly have no problem if such a thing comes to pass.

But don’t for a minute suggest that baseball “needs” it, especially for reasons involving some imagined “purity.”

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.