I haven't posted one of these in a while, just so much going on lately. Well, the big news that happened today is of course, instant replay on home runs. Pathetic, isn't it an umpire's job to make the calls? It used to be "The Umpire makes the call" now they are bringing instant replay into this, it just isn't the same. No more getting lucky on the fan reaching out over the fence to get a ball, no more getting lucky with the other team getting robbed of a home run call, trust me, I'm a Tigers fan and we need the luck. So, for that reason, I think it is a stupid idea but for other reasons too.
Are already 4-hour games going to stretch in to 5-hour games? I can't even sit down and watch a whole baseball game for more than two hours. Is the umpire going to go up to the video room and see if a home run was grabbed by a fan or something? It might not seem like it will take a ton of time but it will. The MLB just decided that it wanted to make the games shorter and it started shooting up ideas on how to make it shorter. Forget the instant replay though, here are my ideas to make the game shorter:
1. No more "Jose Reyes happy dances"
2. Actually run on home runs and walks, don't just jog really slowly
3. 8 seconds for a pitch once you step on the mound.
4. Only two steal checks per runner
5. No stepping out of the batters box
6. Only two cup adjustments per at-bat
That is all of them - the games would be shorter that way.
The next big news is about Frank Francisco - he is the new closer for the Texas Rangers. Boy, do the Rangers have problems. I wouldn't want a guy who threw a chair at a fan even on my team, let alone being my closer. Francisco has zero saves this year in six chances. Terrible. I would want my closer to have a little more expirience than someone who converts 0% of his six save opportunities. Everything is getting messed up for Texas, first Ian Kinsler getting injured for the rest of the season and now this. Along with Josh Hamilton struggling at the plate, the rest of the year won't look pretty for Texas.
My proposal to the Rangers would be to put Wes Littleton at the closer spot for the rest of the season. Actually, I would put him at closer for next year too. Littleton isn't a power pitcher that strikes out a ton of guys like most closers are (think Todd Jones, but with more talent). Littleton makes up for his lack of strikeouts with his lack of walks. Throughout his career, he has only walked a batter every three innings. Opponents are hitting just .232 against him (career stat) and they hit just .189 against him when he was a rookie in 2006. He is loaded with potential - I'll admit that I am using him as my closer on MLB The Show. This guy is going to be a closer sometime in his lifetime, mean as well make it now. Oh yeah, Littleton would be a much better closer than Francisco, he has more saves than blown saves, pretty good for a guy who has never closed.
Speaking of the Rangers, the Detroit Tigers have put former long-time Ranger Kenny Rogers on waivers and this time it is serious. Yes, pretty much every player goes on waivers during the season but the Tigers really want to get rid of this guy. All he does is blow wins right and left. Kenny Rogers is an amazing playoff pitcher, with the Tigers in the miracle 2006 playoffs, Rogers did not allow a run all postseason and pitched close to 30 scoreless innings. He used pine tar during the first few games but in his second to last game of the playoffs, the TV picked up a substance on his hand in the second inning. The umpires made him wash it off and the rest of the game, and the game after, he did not allow a run. Minnesota and Boston have the most interest although I prefer not trading to a division rival. The Tigers won't require a steep price, probably just a relief pitcher.
Last but not least, a long rival history may be coming to an end - not totally though. That's right, the Yankees and Red Sox will play their last series against each other in the "Old Yankee Stadium era". It will surely end on a high note - the Yankees are very hot lately and the Red Sox have been in both playoff contention and wild card contention. I expect three competetive back-and-forth games but the beauty of watching them is seeing what will happen, right? This series is a much see.