Davey Tinglefingers: Not Good

I’ve got a long-winded, open ended question to start this blog off with, so bear with me.  What happens when you mix the best lefty hitting team in the league, at home, on a 100 degree night with a left handed pitcher thats a delicate snowflake, wilts under any kind of pressure, and owns an ERA over 9 in the bronx? Bombs away.

Image result for aaron hicks red sox
Photo via Star Tribune

After giving up 4 Runs in a single inning of work the first time these two teams met back on April 11th, Price left the game with “elbow tingling” What this actually meant was Ol’ Davey was tired of getting his fastball out over the Green Monster and didn’t feel like pitching any more of that game. It was about as soft as you can get but hey when you’re afraid, you’re afraid. His follow up performance was postponed as Mr. Tinglefingers got “carpal tunnel from playing Fortnite”. OK. Dave we get it, Gary Sanchez shows up in your nightmares. just be honest man it’ll save everyone some time. Gary didn’t even play the other night and this bum still gave up 5 moonshots,  Kyle Higashioka who is 28 years old, never gotten a hit in his career (was 0-23) and hit .190 in the minors tattooed a ball 401 feet down the left field line. When that’s happening, what are the actual batters in this lineup going to do?

Judge-409 ft

Gleyber-380 ft

Hicks 1-373 ft

Hicks 2-406 ft

Oh and well also set our season high in hits with 16. In fact every batter that appeared in last nights game got a hit except Greg Bird, but who’s surprised by that?

With the Yankees playing so well offensively it would have basically taken a position player or Sonny Gray on the bump to give Boston a fighting chance. Unfortunately for them, they were staring out at Luis Severino who is basically the opposite of Sonny Gray. Sevy was brilliant all night, going 6 2/3, giving up 2 hits and striking out 6. This outing dropped his season ERA down to 1.98 and secured his 13th win which are both the best marks in the AL.  The Yankees are 16-2 in games Severino starts. I smell Cy Young.

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Via Pinstripe Alley

After Aaron Hicks blacked out and hit his 3rd homer of the game, Boone did something that I absolutely loved. With the game well out of hand at 11-0 in the 9th Boone could have put David Hale who was just recalled from Triple-A or #45 (he who will not be named) into the game to mop up the last inning. Instead he threw Chapman out there. Now yes, Chapman hadn’t pitched in a couple days so yes its a smart idea to get him some work and keep him locked in. But I also truly think that after getting beaten by 11 the day prior, Boone was trying to get a similar scorecard win. Did it work out? Not exactly, Chappy did give up a run, but it was in an 11 run game he probably didn’t even care  about and it’s at least 4 runs less than #45 would have given up. All in all I loved the move.

Anyone with a functioning brain, and any kind of baseball knowledge (aka not Red Sox fans) woke up yesterday and knew what was going to happen last night. I am 100% serious when I say this, David Price might be my favorite player. To be this ineffective vs the Yankees takes guts. To do it while getting paid 30+ million for another 4 years after this one is diabolical (seriously go Google his contract. How freaking funny is that?)  Now I know what you’re thinking. “How can a Red Sox player be your favorite?” Simple, David Price gives the Yankees wins, and allows for stat padding while at the same time hands the Red Sox demoralizing defeats and hurts their ability to pony up for another premier free agent. It’s basically the best of both worlds. Can’t wait until we meet again Davey, really hope you don’t “play Fortnite” before the game.

 

“Jersey Shore – Family Reunion” Was a Delight…Let’s Do It Again in 2023!

This week, MTV’s “Jersey Shore – Family Reunion” came to a close, and I am going to miss it.  The funny thing is that, when this season – essentially the seventh season of “Jersey Shore” (albeit with a 6-year gap between Seasons 6 and 7) – began, I did not think I would get into it.  By the time Season 6 had finished 6 years ago, I was fairly certain that the show had run its course.  Therefore, I figured that I would watch the first episode of “Family Vacation” for nostalgic purposes, and then I would stop.  This would not be the case.

Let us now flash back to the very beginning of the show, “Jersey Shore”.  Before its premiere in December of 2009, I had heard rumblings that this show was in the works, but I had not given it a moment of thought.  Then, a few episodes into Season 1, my then-girlfriend and her friend were watching these eight Italians (most of whom were not actually from New Jersey) on TV.  These alleged “New Jerseyans” were put in a house on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, and I did not know what to expect.  The first glimpse of the show that I saw was Vinny and Pauly D on a club floor, “fighting the beat”.

Image result for jersey shore season 1

I made fun of this line, but it did not keep me from watching.  I proceeded to watch the remainder of that episode and all other episodes that season.  I thought that Pauly D and Vinny were intentionally hilarious, while The Situation was unintentionally hilarious.  The Sammi/Ronnie drama was captivating, and Snooki was always good for laughs when she would drunkenly fall down.  These people were all twentysomethings, and I was 28 years old.  There had honestly never been a time when I truly enjoyed clubs; if you know me, you can imagine that clubs are not exactly my scene.  That said, it was fun to live vicariously through these guys and their tales of “grenades” (2010 was a big year for these; because, not only did “Jersey Shore” finish its first season, but Bruno Mars also released his great song, “Grenade”.) and “t-shirt time”.  Never being one to “pick girls up” at clubs, I was fascinated by this guido world.

As the show progressed through six seasons, two major things changed.  The first involves the guy who owned the t-shirt store, the place of employment for the “Jersey Shore” cast.  For any young readers, you might find it silly that these eight people who were cast on what Bill Simmons once called “Guido Real World” also had to work at a t-shirt store while on the show.  What you must understand though is that, yes, it was actually incredibly silly.  The cast members would show up drunk to work, and the store owner would seem mad at them.  Of course, his store was receiving free publicity, so he could not really be THAT mad.  However, as the show progressed, it seemed liked this guy stopped trying to act mad.  Instead, he would always have a “sh!t-eating grin” as he tried to reprimand the workers.  By Seasons 3, 5, and 6 (the remaining seasons that actually took place at the Jersey Shore), this gentleman knew that he was making a ridiculous amount of money off these talentless individuals.  How could he be mad at the eight people responsible for his presumable mansion, Ferrari, and yacht?

Image result for jersey shore season 1 t shirt store

Anyway, the second change that happened to the show was much more vital to the premise of the show.  The cast morphed from being nobodies in Season 1 to being megastars by Season 5.  In Season 1, the show achieved its premise of letting us watch these random people try to get strangers to “come back to the hot tub”.  These eight random people were no more recognizable to the other clubgoers than anyone else was.  However, by Season 5, nobody was allowed anywhere near the cast.  There were countless camera shots of the cast on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, as TV viewers could see spectators roped off far in the distance.  Nobody was allowed near these stars anymore.  This is why I started to lose interest in the show.  As with most reality shows, the show’s premise worked well when nobody knew the stars but fell apart once the stars had become too famous.

That is why the show’s 6-year hiatus did the viewers good.  We did not really need another season of trying to force the square peg of these massive celebrities into the round hole of having them try to hook up anonymously with strangers like in Season 1.  Therefore, with the 5-year gap, the cast was able to age 20 years (it seems).  Snooki and J-Woww had kids; Angelina and J-Woww had plastic surgery done on everything; Vinny stopped eating carbs; Ronnie has a kid on the way; and The Situation no longer drinks but might be heading to jail.  A lot of “life” happened for these people over the five years, and that made for a very entertaining season this go-round with “Family Vacation” (cast in a Miami house).

During this season, the cast admitted to having grown up.  The house members poked fun at each other on a regular basis, especially making fun of The Situation for his tax evasion.  Yes, these individuals went to clubs, but they were no longer trying to “pick up” people of the opposite sex.  Well, they were not supposed to do so, but Ronnie did bring some girls back to the hot tub even though he was in a relationship.  Tisk, tisk.  At the same time, Pauly D remained the best part of the show.  The guy is always happy; it is like he is perpetually covered in the “good slime” from Ghostbusters II.  He is even able to feign surprise when he is hired to DJ big-time gigs, even though he is probably the most famous DJ in the country.

Anyway, when the show reached its finale on Thursday night, JWoww led a discussion about how the cast should meet up again every few years.  I am sure that was a not-too-subtle way of hinting that MTV should do “Jersey Shore” reunions every five years or so.  If that is her plan, I am 100% on-board.  I would gladly watch one season of “Jersey Shore” every five years.  Let’s make it happen.  I expect the next reunion in 2023.

The Twitter Account All Baseball Fans Needs to Follow

If you’re a sane person and enjoy baseball, there’s an account Twitter that I consider the best one on social media. Behold…Pitching Ninja.

It’s the one account on Twitter, with the exception of maybe Bleacher Report and a few influencers, that I actually look forward to seeing content from. The founder, Rob Friedman, puts together incredible gifs (pronounce it however you may) of pitchers being absolutely filthy.

Example A:

Example B:

Example C:

From individual pitches to overlays to mentality on the mound and through training, Pitching Ninja gives you really unique insight on baseball’s greatest art that you typically don’t see on any other sports accounts. It really is mesmerizing stuff, and allows you to appreciate the wonders of baseball. Throughout the years, I’ve legitimately learned a lot just by watching these 6 second clips, and I highly recommend shooting it a follow if you love America’s past time.

Toys R Us Closing is Absolutely Heartbreaking

I woke up to this tweet today and was devastated. Yeah, I’ve known about Toys R Us closing, and obviously it’s no secret that toy stores/retail stores in general have been in trouble for years now thanks to online shopping, namely Amazon. But to see this picture just kind of puts it in perspective. My childhood may be over, but no kid is gonna get to experience Toys R Us ever again.

Honestly nothing compares to the feeling when your parents finally gave into your weeks of constant begging and brought you to the toy store to pick something out, or going through the catalogs ahead of Christmas or your birthday to pick out what you want. I’ll never get to watch my kids experience that and that really kinda sucks.

In general, technology has almost kind of ruined how kids entertain themselves anyway. Don’t get me wrong, video games/computer games were definitely a big part of my generation’s childhood. You could pretty much consider my PlayStation 2 my first girlfriend (don’t worry I didn’t try and have sex with it), but there were still plenty of other ways we entertained ourselves. Hot Wheels, Tonka Trucks, Slip n Slides, the whole nine yards. And do NOT even get me started on Playmobil, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you did your childhood all wrong.

Almost every day life gives you a “wow you’re getting kinda old” moment, but some of them hit harder than others. And this morning, Geoffrey the giraffe broke my heart. RIP in Peace to Toys R Us, the realest toy store to ever do it.

Elon Musk, if You’re Reading This, Please Send Chasen Shreve to the Sun

So you might have heard, but the Yankees got swept by the Rays this past weekend. Safe to say that’s not what you want, but I’m not gonna panic. The Yanks just swept the Mariners last week and took 2/3 from the Phillies this week and sit just a half game back of the Red Sox in the AL East. I could sit here and complain about Gary Sanchez’s sub .200 batting average, Greg Bird’s lack of production, or injuries to the starting rotation. But honestly I’m not too worried about any of those. To shortly summarize why:

  1. Austin Romine has been raking, and will hold down the fort while Gary rehabs. Also, Gary is too good of a hitter to play like this all year, and had already started breaking out of his slump before the injury.
  2. I’m a Greg Bird guy and think he’ll put it together, but if not one/a combination of Brandon Drury, Neil Walker, and Tyler Austin will produce. No Chris Carter for us this year.
  3. Tanaka will be back before we know it, and it’s a certainty that Brian Cashman will add another starter before the trade deadline.

Now, to the real problem that will not correct itself and the purpose of this blog: Chasen Fucking Shreve. The guy is easily the worst/least reliable reliever in the Yankees bullpen, and yet we always seem to see him in high leverage situations? How in the world does Chasen Shreve take the mound in any semi-meaningful situation when Aaron Boone has Adam Warren, Jonathan Holder, Chad Green, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman at his disposal? It makes absolutely zero sense, but that’s baseball, Suzyn.

In today’s day and age, it’s common to come across interesting statistics on Twitter. There are interesting statistics, and then there are how in the name of Chuck Knoblauch is this a real thing that exists statistics. This one definitely falls in the latter category:

That’s just unreal. You literally should have to try to be that bad. The Yankees lead the majors in wins in one-run games, with the bullpen being a huge part of that. I know I’m saying that it’s only June 28, we’re only a half game out of first place, and there’s no reason to panic. That being said, we can’t be running guys like Chasen Shreve out there and just throwing away winnable games. Every game counts, especially with the Red Sox in our division. The reality is that one of these two teams is going to end up in a one-game elimination come October, even after likely winning 100 games, or at least close to there. Every game counts, and when I say that, I don’t mean you need to use Dellin Betances in 85 games this year. Bullpen workload management is a huge part of a team’s prolonged success throughout a season, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees should be throwing a pitcher as downright incompetent as Shreve out there night after night. Do something, anything, to replace him, whether it’s calling someone up from the minors or buying low on a reliever who has had struggles elsewhere via trade and hoping the Yanks can help him figure it out.

Things are still great in the Bronx right now. However, if Elon Musk would be so kind as to help us send our good pal Chasen to the sun that would just be swell.

Three Silver Linings to Rooting for a Team as Terrible as the 2018 Mets

The New York Mets are a terrible, terrible baseball team.  After starting the 2018 season 11-1, the Mets have gone 20-44.  If you are wondering 20-44 equates to a .3125 winning percentage.  The Royals (.308) and Orioles (.299) are the only teams with worse winning percentages for this full season, but the Mets could easily drop below those two teams within the next day or two.  Are the Mets as bad as those two teams?  Absolutely.

Image result for 2018 mets bad
Photo via northjersey.com

If one has watched baseball for any considerable portion of his/her life, that person can tell pretty easily how good a team is.  I have watched the Mets regularly since 1990, so I can vouch for the fact that this team is as awful as its record indicates.  What are the main indicators that jump out at me in terms of the Mets being terrible?

1)     Jason Vargas got hurt before Sunday’s start, and the Mets decided that their minor leagues are so barren that they were better off starting reliever Jerry Blevins.  This required patching together 9 (actually 11) innings of bullpen innings from a bullpen with maybe 3 legitimate Major League relievers.

2)     Jason Vargas has been so bad that the afore-mentioned bullpen option worked out better than a typical Vargas start.  Speaking of which, please disregard this.

3)     Continuing with the “speaking of which…”, Jose Reyes has a batting average of .175 and an OPS of .507 yet remains on this team.

4)     Mickey Callaway has decided to bench prospect Amed Rosario for several games in a row so that Reyes can start.  Seriously.

5)     Since 2015, the Mets’ offense has dominated with Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup and been terrible with him out of the lineup.  Cespedes has played only 37 games this year.

6)     If the Yankees had kept Todd Frazier, he would be a bench player this year.  On the Mets, he hits in the #2, #3, and #4 spots.

7)     The first-place Atlanta Braves released both Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista over the past year.  Both of these people have had stretches of regular starts for the Mets.

8)     Kevin Plawecki has hit cleanup.

9)     Mickey Callaway said on Sunday that the Mets need to “sync up” the performance between their position players, starting pitchers, and bullpen.  That is the baseball equivalent of Ben McAdoo’s “complementary football”.  That ended up well.

10)  Most importantly, Jacob deGrom has an ERA of 1.69, a WHIP of 1.01, 16 starts, and a whopping five wins.

Image result for jacob degrom
Photo via sbnation.com

What a disaster.  For the second-consecutive season, the Mets enter summer completely out of the playoff race.  Obviously, this is a major disappointment for a big-time Mets fan like myself.  Summer is much better for a baseball fan when that fan is excited to watch his/her team every night.  I am not excited to watch the train wreck in Flushing.  Summer is much better when a fan can start to build excitement for a pennant race, when the fan can start to scoreboard-watch the team’s primary standings opponents, and when the fan can dream of thrilling October baseball.  Summer is much better when the fan can enjoy the highs of important wins and agonize over important losses.  I know it is weird for me to speak well of agony, but one does need to experience joy in order for him/her to fall into agony.  Only a complete masochist agonizes every time a terrible team loses.  Yes, some self-loathing Mets fans fall into this category, but thankfully I do not.

With all that said, there are three silver linings to rooting for a terrible team.

1)     I can enjoy the wins, but I never feel the agony!  Sure, I do not become too elated when a 31-45 Mets team wins a game, but I do feel at least a modicum of joy.  On the flip side, I do not feel any negative emotion when the Mets lose.  I felt negative emotion in April and May when the Mets descended from 11-1 to oblivion, but I am now far too deep into the learned-helplessness phase.  I expect the Mets to lose every game.  Plus, as I mentioned last year, I know that I am not going to loyally watch a team this bad once NFL season begins.  I have no false aspirations of the Mets making their way toward a pennant race or (Good lord) playoff baseball.  Therefore, I have nothing to lose right now as a fan.  For example, I attended Sunday’s surprisingly exciting 8-7 Mets’ loss to the Dodgers (the Vargas/Blevins game).  I was legitimately thrilled when Kevin Plawecki hit a game-tying three-run homer in the 8th inning.  However, when Justin Turner hit a go-ahead Los Angeles homer in the 11th inning, I matter-of-factly felt like the game was over.  I knew it would shortly be time for us to go home, but I was not upset.  How could I be upset about a team losing its 23rd game in 29?  It would be like being upset that Roadrunner evaded Wile E. Coyote yet again.

2)     I have zero time commitment to the team.  Again, it is disappointing not to have the thrill of a good baseball team to watch this summer.  At the same time, this truth means that I do not feel bad when I have to miss a game.  In 2015 and 2016, I was upset whenever I could not watch a game.  This year could not be any different.  Again, I know that I will lose touch with the team in September.  Therefore, if I miss more games in July and August, who cares?  It is also worth noting that my wife and I will be taking two honeymoons this summer – one in July and one in August.  If the Mets were halfway decent, I would currently be going to great lengths to make sure I can watch as many Mets games as possible on those trips.  Fortunately though, I am perfectly content to avoid going to those great lengths for this terrible Mets edition.  Therefore, from the “You don’t want to be bad husband on your honeymoon” department, thank God the Mets are awful.

3)     It is humorous.  If the 2015 or 2016 Mets chose not to use any starting pitchers in a game, I would have been angry.  When the 2018 Mets did it, I laughed.  Honestly, when I read 9 of the 10 things listed above, I laugh.  Only deGrom’s tough luck does not make me laugh.  He is one of the best pitchers of his generation, but he is toiling on a terrible team.  Everything else though makes me laugh.  The Mets daily trot out a lineup that is worse than the Yankees’ AAA lineup.  When something is this big a disaster, the only healthy thing one can do is laugh about it.

 

Photo via NY Post

 

Anyway, I know that it has been a difficult two seasons for Mets fans.  I hope that all of you Mets fans out there can use these three silver linings to get through the 2018 Mets season as I have and will continue to do.

Why Replacing Umpires with Robots is a Horrible Idea

If you’ve been following the MLB within the past few years, you’ve realized the game has become a lot more reliant on technology and statistics. Instant replay, the “shift”, highlighted strikezones for televised games. You also may have heard vague rumors that umpires should be replaced with robots to ensure the game result is based on the players.

Image result for umpires and robots

I love baseball, but I know the game has flaws. The dropped third strike rule has become outdated, pace of play can be adjusted, and the season length is considered too long. But I don’t see the umpires still being humans as a glaring error. Maybe it’s because I’m a baseball purist, but the umps missing a strike call is part of the game, as is human error.

The MLB has a tough vetting process, and turnover takes a long time. New umpires usually don’t get announced onto the official crew until 200 or 300 games into their career. That’s a large enough sample size to see if somebody can do their job right or not, and with every game, they get better and better. Listen, there will always be bad umps (cough cough Joe West) and there will always be good umps. This is true at every level, and even outside of baseball. People will be good at their job, and people will be bad at their job. Some people suck. That’s life. But if we replaced every person that sucked at their job with a robot, we’d be in quite the predicament, wouldn’t we?

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Have you ever made a mistake at work? Have you ever even made TWO?! You’re not perfect, and neither are MLB umps. They’re gonna miss a call here and there. But if you were threatened to be replaced by robots because you sent an email to the wrong person or missed a deadline, wouldn’t you be ready to say “hold the fuck up”.

Let’s not also forget the fact that there is somebody to blame that makes sports so wonderful. Somebody to turn to when things don’t go our way. How many times have Cowboy fans tweeted pictures of Dez Bryant with the caption #DezCaughtIt? Or how many times have Orioles fans (all four of them) said something about Jeter’s home run in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS?

What would we say after games we lose? “Our two-out hitting was really poor”…”We consistently found ways to strand runners in scoring position”…”Our pitching walked too many guys”. NO! That’s insane, in what world do we actually blame those responsible. Finding a scapegoat is what sports, and life, is all about. If we take the umpires out of the equations, we’re stripping ourselves of our sanity and increasing our natural ability to accept failure and improve ourselves as people. Ridiculous.

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And my most crucial point…what would the robots strike three call be? Talk about making baseball boring again.