Good for Bud:
Any chance that baseball had to get back in the Olympics for 2020 likely was scuttled when commissioner Bud Seligsaid Major League Baseball wouldn’t put its season on pause to enable the best players to compete.
“Look, we can’t stop our season in August,” Selig said last month. “We just can’t.”
That won’t fly with the International Olympic Committee, which isn’t going to hold a tournament for horsehide retirees and minor leaguers when the NBA and NHL send their best to Olympus.
Good for Bud for two reasons: (a) for noting that the regular baseball season is more important than an international competition which doesn’t really give a hoot about baseball; and (b) for not playing ball with the same IOC which thinks that wrestling shouldn’t be in the Olympics anymore when it’s ONE OF THE ORIGINAL FREAKING OLYMPIC SPORTS.
But really: with professional leagues in multiple countries and an international tournament already in existence in the form of the WBC, does baseball in the Olympics serve any real purpose?
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.