Okay, this post is about the game of baseball as a whole. Today, as I was creeping on Facebook, I saw where ESPN BASEBALL TONIGHT asked the following question, “When his career is over, will Alex Rodriguez have been bad for baseball?”. As I scrolled through all the comments I noticed the usual trolls were out in full force. Some people were praising AROD, others were demonizing him and others were your homer fans acting as if this was an attack on the Yankees.
First let me say this, AROD had a lot of talent coming into the big leagues. Unfortunately, we will never know when he started using PEDs and for how long. With that said, I think he deserves a lifetime ban. I am rough on my view of PEDs. I think Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds need lifetime bans as well. The same goes for Manny Ramirez, Ryan Braun and Bartolo Colon. I could continue with writing a ton of other names that have cheated. But I think you get my point.
I don’t like cheaters and cheaters. Players that choose to do this disgust me. Give me Ken Griffey, Jr., Derek Jeter, Tony Gwynn, Andre Dawson, Greg Maddux and Ryne Sandberg. These are some of my favorite players all time. They did it the right way.
I think MLB hid their head in the sand during the 90s when PEDs began to thrive. Thankfully, they have addressed the problem and hopefully they will get tougher on the liars and cheaters. That’s just my opinion. I’m not talking about spitballs, corked bats or too much pine tar. I’m talking about drugs that make you significantly run faster, throw harder and hit the ball farther.
When it’s all said and done, AROD hurt the game and is the guy receiving most of the blame in the media. He’s not the only one guilty, but has become the face of the PED users. So, yes, AROD is bad for baseball in my opinion.
In 2006 I didn’t care too much about the WBC. However, this year is completely different. Team USA started off looking tough as if they were on a mission. They were out to win the whole thing. I still think they can win it all. Yet, the thing that bothers me is the timing. I have said it numerous time before, but I am going to complain about it one more time. The WBC needs to be played in November. Team USA has seen Dustin Pedroia, Chipper Jones, Ryan Braun and Matt Lindstrom all come down with what appear to be minor injuries. Now these guys and the MLB teams they play for have to make tough decisions. If they continue playing for team USA they could injure themselves worse and miss the beginning of the regular season. Or they can play it safe and sit out the rest of the WBC. These guys are competitors and I believe they would like to continue playing for team USA, but they also know who pays them the big bucks. That’s why I say move it to November right after the World Series. This will keep guys from missing spring training with their respective teams and would hopefully get more major leaguers involved for all teams competing.
It’s getting late in the season and teams are still fighting for a spot in the playoffs. The Philadelphia Phillies already have the last 2 MVPs in Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. Chase Utley could make 3 years in a row for the Phils. He’s having a great season and is trying to help his team make it to the post-season for the second straight year. The big 3 of Utley, Rollins and Howard make for a tough lineup to face. However, having Rollins and Howard in the lineup may hurt Utley’s chances at winning the award.
Then there is Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals. His stats are great every year. But this year is different. No longer does he have the protection in the lineup that he had in years past. Yet,he is making other players on his team better. For example, Ryan Ludwick has slugged 31 homers and drove in 93 runs so far this season. This is no insult to Ludwick, but I honestly don’t think he would have achieved these numbers without having Pujols in the lineup. Pujols continues to dominate pitchers and is doing it with a bum elbow that he considered having surgery on before the season even started.
There are other deserving candidates from other teams as well. Ryan Braun of the Brewers is having a fine season, but has been sidelined as of late with a bad back. The Houston Astros have Lance Berkman and the now injured Carlos Lee. Both of these sluggers would be top 3 candidates if their team was more of a playoff contender. Even though I don’t like the New York Mets, I think we must consider David Wright as well. He has more help though with Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and aging Carlos Delgado in the lineup. Matt Holliday of the Rockies and Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins are two other players worthy of MVP consideration.
Then there is the darkhorse candidate in the catcher of the Chicago Cubs, Geovany Soto. He has quietly become one of the top catchers in the game of baseball. In my last post, I mentioned why he should be considered as the best catcher in the National League. For those same reasons, I think he merits consideration as MVP. Would the Cubs pitchers be as effective as they are with Michael Barrett still catching? I doubt it. He’s a team leader, good hitter and good defender. All while being a 25 year old rookie.
When the season is over and the MVP is announced I think it will come down to Chase Utley and Albert Pujols. While I would love to see Soto end up with the award I know he won’t. His offensive numbers don’t match up with Utley or Pujols, but he does more for his team than he will get credit for. The next time you watch a Cubs game take notice of Geo. Whether he’s calming down a veteran pitcher or delivering a clutch hit you will see how valuable to this team he really is.