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Jake Arrieta says if a young player flips his bat after a home run, “He might wear the next one in the ribs.”

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Jake Arrieta joined David Kaplan and Jesse Rogers on Chicago’s ESPN 1000 on Tuesday. He was asked about players flipping their bats in celebration after a home run.

It’s not surprising that Arrieta feels this way, but it’s also disappointing. Major League Baseball wonders why fans are gravitating towards other sports like the NBA and it’s because their players can actually express themselves in the arena. Mike Trout is the best player baseball has seen since Ken Griffey, Jr. and he’s about as interesting as paint drying on a wall. That’s because baseball tamps down players’ impulses to express themselves, to show emotion. Active pitchers (like Arrieta), former players (like Goose Gossage), and commentators preserve this outmoded mentality where emotionless play is correct and it is sapping the sport of personality.

If I were commissioner, I’d stop trying to fiddle with the rules to try and make the sport interesting. Instead, I would try to bring out the best in the players, make them relatable to fans. And I’d make a phone call every time someone like Arrieta speaks in favor of hurting players who dare to show emotion on the field.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics