RIP the DeVanzo Shift, you bunch of one-dimensional pussies

Ain’t that a crock: MLB votes in favor of several rule changes that will be implemented starting in the 2023 baseball season, which includes effectively, the banning of the shift

In all fairness, some of the other rule changes are fine.  The pitch clock, limiting pick-off attempts and widening bases.  The gradually increasing ADD nature of humanity can’t sit through three hour games anymore and are demanding change, and adding three inches to bases won’t really be that noticeable except to players who might not get their ankles kicked in or stepped on as much.

But the banning of the shift?  Now that’s booty.  Such a cop out.  Result of a bunch of bitches being, bitches.  The supposed greatest baseball players on the planet all suck so much at baseball and are incapable of hitting the other way so they collectively complain so much that it forces MLB’s hand to outright ban the defensive strategy that has owned them for the last decade.  Total bullshit.

I dislike this immensely.  Instead of trying to raise and develop players to spray and hit to all parts of the field, MLB has basically doubled down its catering to power hitters and is instead modifying rules to benefit them instead of telling them to suck it up and evolve their skillset back to when they were kids and probably told to use all parts of the field.

This is why on a global level, Japan still ranks above the United States in pure baseball talent.  When it comes down to it, they might not have guys who will clobber 50 homers in a season, but pretty much everyone in NPB is capable of hitting the ball to opposite field, and their collective batting average is probably noticeably higher than MLB’s collective batting average.

I still remember back in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, there was a Japan vs. US game; Roy Oswalt started for the US, and he absolutely got slaughtered by Team Japan who hung like six runs on him, without a single home run.  The Japanese hitters were basically just consistently plopping singles the other way, and Team USA just had no answer for it, and ended up losing 9-4 in an embarrassing elimination.

This, is the power of being able to hit to all parts of the field, but this is also something that we’ll probably never see in MLB, because instead of challenging players to adapt to a staunch defensive strategy, they’re just prohibiting the strategy and making it easier for players to remain fat talentless sluggers.

But most of all, I’ll never be able to proclaim “the DeVanzo Shift” again whenever an oaf like Joey Gallo steps into the box and gleefully watch a third baseman position themselves on the right side of second base, before he stupidly clubs a grounder into the teeth of the shift and gets thrown out at first with minimal effort.  In fact, Joey Gallo is probably the odds-on favorite to win an MVP award next season with the shift being neutered, and guys like Brian McCann and Jay Bruce are probably back in the cages right now, getting ready to make a comeback, knowing they won’t have to face the shift starting next year.

When the day is over, I haven’t paid hardly any attention to the game since my children have been born, but I still keep my ear to scuttlebutt.  And it bugs me that rules are being changed in this manner, not just in defiance of change, but because of the sentiment that bad behavior is being rewarded instead of inspiring improvement and betterment of the players’ skillsets, and that’s just pathetic.

On principle, I now have to root against Juan Soto

We pleebs will never understand: Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto rejects contract extension offer worth $440 million dollars over 15-years

The armchair baseball analyst stat geek in me understands the impetus behind this decision.  It’s really not that complicated.  Combining never-ending inflation and the fact that between now and 2025, other players will continue to raise the bar of annual value, Juan Soto stands to make more money than $440 million dollars when he his free agency.

But the normal human being in me just sees that a guy has rejected life-changing money two-hundred times over, and can’t help but feeling infuriated at the arrogance of some asshole who gets paid insane amounts of money to play children’s games.  Like really, even in “just” his arbitration years, he’s making more money than most people will ever see in their entire lives, and here he is turning down $440 million dollars like someone asked him if he were interested in learning more about timeshares.

Fuck this guy.  Frankly, fuck any guy who turns down any figure that’s seven figures or higher, and honestly, fuck anyone who turns down a league minimum deal to be a bench warmer considering the league minimum was bumped up to like $700,000 a year.  Y’all motherfuckers play baseball for a living, and turn down big money offers like they’re some sort of insults, like you were genius doctors who were working on the cures to deadly diseases on a daily basis.

Prior to this, I never really had any qualms with Juan Soto.  I always liked that he was this fairly unknown to those outside of the Nationals fanbase, that just quietly came up after all of the pomp and hoopla of the Bryce Harper departure of DC.  And not only did he quickly erase and make people in Washington forget about Bryce Harper, he helped the Nationals go all the way, and win a World Series in short order after showing up.

Obviously, at the rate in which he was performing, it was only a matter of time before this day would come when the rhetorical questions of how much Juan Soto was worth were going to emerge, but I just haven’t been paying any attention.  I can hardly keep up with the bullshit going on in Braves Country™ much less the baseball country outside of it, but I’m not the least bit surprised that we’ve finally gotten here to where Juan Soto is no longer the team-controlled stud that’s just happy to be here, but is a budding superstar who’s on the cusp of getting paid.

All the same though, now that he’s turned down a purported three different extension offers from the Nationals, with the last one being the aforementioned 15/$440M/no deferred money, it’s just absolutely flabbergasting the arrogance and audacity a person can have to actually say no to a sheer amount of money such as these.

Sure, there’s always the game of keeping ahead of the Joneses but nobody ever wins as is the passage of time.  Soto takes a 15/$500 in 2025, but by 2026, there will be some future megastar that will sign a 15/$505, and so on and so on.  It’s a game of insanity that will never end, and other than a few individuals getting rich, it’s only going to result in future professional athletes looking like bigger and bigger greedy assholes as they continue to extort and accept these gaudy salaries for playing kids games.

So now, on principle, I have no choice but to start rooting against Juan Soto.  He is far from the first guy that I’ve held this attitude towards, but as certain as the game of salaries continues to grow every year, he’s just the latest prick to cave into the game of greed. 

Soto may be on pace to be worth more than $440M in a few years, but that is, if nothing bad happens to him between now and 2025.  An injury or two, or perhaps the rest of the league re-writes the book on him and realizes he sucks at hitting pitches up-and-in, or maybe a combination of both.  History has no shortage of professional athletes who completely collapsed onto themselves during their contract years one way or another, resulting in them getting owned into oblivion in hindsight brutality.

I don’t wish physical harm to come onto anyone, but if Soto were to get hurt between now and 2025, I can’t say that I wouldn’t shake my head and laugh, especially if the guy struggles to bounce back and by the time 2025 rolls around, he’s just another silly greedy gambler who didn’t take the money when he had the chance, and instead ends up on the Long Island Ducks just trying to cling to any semblance of a career.

The best day of the year

For Bobby Bonilla, that is.  The day in which the New York Mets pay him his annual installment of $1.2M dollars, as part of a legendary deferment plan back established in 2000, where the Mets would be absolved of paying $5.9M then, but agreed to pay $1.2M every single year for twenty-five years starting in 2011.  Obviously it doesn’t take a math genius to know that $1.2M x 25 is substantially larger than $5.9M, and that baseball organizations clearly play by a different set of rules to where somehow this is a justifiable and acceptable alternative to paying money owed in the present.

I’ve posted about this day numerous times on my brog or social media, so I’ll save myself the trouble of re-writing something I’ve taken amusement for a day of every summer since 2011, and just cut to the chase to really the impetus of this post coming to fruition in the first place: the collision of fandoms, where pondering the coming of this year’s Bobby Bonilla Day, as well as recently watching wrestling where Miro, formerly known as Rusev, and thinking about his old gimmick that he miraculously got over with the fans, Happy Rusev Day, and merging it with Bobby Bonilla, and how to him, Bobby Bonilla Day must be the greatest day of his year, every year.

The idea to remake the old Happy Rusev Day in the image of Bobby Bonilla took off pretty quickly to the point where I actually expended a little bit of energy and time to make the above graphic; obviously it is fake, but I bet I could manage to move a few of these if I actually produced and sold them, but I don’t feel like dealing with any C&Ds from the Mets or the WWE.

But here we have it, the graphic, on the shirt, of the greatest day of the year, for Bobby Bonilla.  I like to imagine that he’s one of those degenerate former professional athletes who has no idea how to use or manage his money, and is basically broke by October, and is counting down the days until the next July, to when his next $1.2M paycheck will be coming from the Mets.

For the record, despite not having played a game in like 15-16 years, Bobby Bonilla is getting paid more than eight current active players on the Mets, and countless other players in Major League Baseball who are on league-minimum deals or anything resulting in under $1.2M bones.

And this is going to continue to be the case for 13 more years.  God bless the Mets and their silly business practices, and Happy Bobby Bonilla Day for another year!

There are no winners in the Freddie Freeman saga

Man, despite the fact that it’s pretty well known that Freddie Freeman is about the most likeable human being to ever play the game of Major League Baseball, I wouldn’t ever have imagined him being the center of one of the more dramatic baseball storylines to have occurred in, well, this generation, so to say.

To quickly summarize, as quickly as a wordy blabbermouth like myself can do: 2021 was the last season of Freddie Freeman’s contract with the Atlanta Braves.  Inexplicably, the Braves win the World Series, everyone is on cloud nine, Freeman is all but expected to re-sign with the team.  Over the winter, baseball actually goes into a labor-centric lockout, where teams are prohibited  from negotiating contracts with players.  Lockout ends, everyone maintains that Freeman is guaranteed to re-sign with the Braves.  Somewhere along the path, negotiations don’t seem to materialize and suddenly news breaks that the Braves have made a trade for Matt Olson, the all-star first baseman from the Oakland A’s, effectively dropping the mic and saying that they are moving on from Freddie Freeman, sending shockwaves throughout Braves Country™.

It was reported that Freddie Freeman and the Braves were unable to come to terms of a deal, citing that Freeman wanted a six-year deal, but the Braves were only willing to offer a five.  It wasn’t long afterward that the Los Angeles Dodgers would sign Freeman for six years, and in terms of business, the saga was complete.

However, in the media, the saga continued as after all the involved teams started buttoning up their rosters, words would emerge from the Braves’ camp, and Freddie Freeman himself, and a very sad and almost tangible sense of hurt feelings from both parties would continue on.  The Braves blathering on about how they’re a business and that no one person is above the team, Freeman insinuating that he felt slighted that the Braves didn’t pursue him hard enough, and all over the place, be it other baseball peers, fans, legends, everyone’s taking sides on who they backed in this surprisingly public beef between the Braves and the former face of the team.

Regardless, the dust would settle fairly quickly because Freddie Freeman is better than everyone else and allowed it to resolve and said all the right things, because he’s just such a good fucking human being, and the 2022 season would begin with the Braves embarking on a life post-Freddie, and Freddie suiting up for the goddamn Dodgers of all other teams out there.

Needless to say, the weekend of June 24th was earmarked heavily by the Braves and their marketing department, because it would mark the one and only visit of the Dodgers to Atlanta on the season, and the first-ever visit of Freddie Freeman as an opponent.  As the date drew nearer, I heard that the team was resorting to standing-room tickets because the demand was so high.  And as the team had been doing all through the year, which is something that I thought was pretty cool, was doing individualized ring ceremonies for any contributors from the 2021 squad who had moved on to other teams.

So the weekend came and went, with the Dodgers taking the series 2-1, in three fairly heavily contested games.  As expected, Freddie Freeman’s return was an emotional event for pretty much everyone, as he was given a hero’s welcome and all the respect in the world, numerous standing ovations and cheers no matter that he was a Dodger.  Freeman cried at least 57 times throughout the weekend, basically every time he was behind a microphone while he was presented his World Series ring, and any time he had a moment with a former teammate.

It’s clear that there was and always will be a tremendous amount of mutual love between the Braves and the city of Atlanta and Freddie Freeman, and the games themselves were kind of an afterthought compared to the giant lovefest of Freeman’s return.

But then just a day later, news broke that seemingly out of nowhere, Freddie Freeman had fired his agent, Casey Close of Excel Sports Management.  The timing of it happening right after the visit to Atlanta raised eyebrows everywhere and next thing we know, the book of the Freddie Freeman saga is being reopened.

Continue reading “There are no winners in the Freddie Freeman saga”

MLB x KBO would be pretty awesome

Interesting: MLB and KBO have been having discussions over some collaborative projects such as having games in each others’ venues and the possibility of MLB vs. KBO all-star exhibitions

At this juncture in my life, I don’t really have that much drive or even want to go to any baseball games.  Usual spiel about how I have no time and how I’m trying to be more selective of what I do with it when I have it, and frankly I don’t like crowds, I don’t like dealing with the aggravation of parking and traveling to and from venues, so the idea of going to baseball games isn’t nearly as appealing to me now as it might have been many years ago when I had more time and zero children.

However, if something manifests from this potential collaboration between MLB and the KBO, that would definitely pique my interest.  Especially if it ended up with KBO games being played at MLB facilities, that would definitely be interesting to me.  I’ve long wanted to go watch a KBO game, but the opportunities have never been available in the two times that I’ve been home to the Motherland; the first time was during the Korean Series, and the Doosan Bears basically closed out the series right as I had arrived, and the second time I went was in the winter when there was no baseball.

So if ever there was a possibility that KBO would hold games in America to try and raise awareness of their game, I would definitely be interested in going to see that.  And I’d definitely be interested if there were ever any KBO vs. MLB all-star exhibitions, although I get the impression that those would probably take place in Korea over the United States, much like how MLB sporadically does an MLB vs. NPB series in Japan every so often.

Obviously, I’d be pulling for KBO squads against MLBers, even if there were some Braves and/or Freddie Freeman on the squad, because if it really came down to it, I’d rather see Koreans beat Major Leaguers.  I’d hope to see a repeat of the 2006 World Baseball Classic, where Team Korea trounced Team USA at Angel Stadium, and honestly?  I guess I think MLB is so arrogant, that I’m content to even see Japan own them too, and although it seems highly unlikely considering the quality of KBO pitching, I’d be over the moon if a KBO all-star team no-hit an MLB squad of cobbled together players called an all-star team, much like Japan did a long time ago.

Either way, none of this happens without this collaboration coming to light, so here’s hoping that MLB and the KBO can work something out, so that I can have something fairly unique and novel to help me regain some interest beyond the casual level again, one day.


As much of a sports fan as I am, it’s not often a topic that I really feel that compelled to write about that often these days.  I’m pretty far removed from following anything beyond a casual level, so it really take some pretty interesting things to pique my interest for me to want to write about it.

However, in the span of a weekend, three things happened and I was just kind of like oh shit, that’s something that’s interesting.  And of course they all happened within basically the same weekend, and I was out of town, so it’s not like they were anything I could take note of and/or write about right away, as if I would’ve had any free time to begin with.  But regardless, I figured I’d just make one big dick swinging sports post and knock all three birds with a single stone.

Mavs 123, Suns 90 – keep in mind that this was a game 7 of an NBA Playoff game.  I feel like I make a post about this topic every year, because it seems like every single year there’s at least one tragically embarrassing blowout game in the playoffs, which often makes me beg the question that how are NBA playoff-caliber teams getting eviscerated so badly?

To my understanding, the Mavs were up by over 40 points at one point in the game, and all I could really think that this is mostly the same Phoenix Suns team that went to the finals last year, but here they are getting trounced in the semis, in a game 7 no less, the epitome of the clutch, pivotal, where you make your money pressure cooker game. 

But instead of being a nail-biter, double overtime thriller where two talented teams refuse to budge, we have this embarrassing display of defeatism and the embodiment of giving up, which is a fair metaphor for today’s NBA itself, and the Mavs move on, while the perpetually overrated Suns begin the golf season at around the time they’re used to.

Throwing a no-hitter but still losing – this year’s Cincinnati Reds is an interesting squad.  The franchise commenced to have a fire sale and trade off just about everyone on the squad who would make over the league minimum save for first baseman Joey Votto (who respectfully became an American citizen but probably regrets it if his occupation requires him to stay on the Cincinnati Reds), and they’ve been absolutely dreadful throughout the first month of the year.

I think at one point there were like 4-17, and all I could think about was how two of those paltry four wins, came against the Braves, who aren’t exactly doing a particularly good job of defending their World Series championship in life after Freddie which I’m not still salty about not.

But then they suffer one of the harshest ways to lose a game, in which their starting pitcher literally throws a no-hitter, and they still somehow manage to lose the game.  It’s funny because I remembered the last time this happened, which was a game between the Dodgers and Angels, where the Angels no-hit the Dodgers but still lost the game.  It’s a rare occurrence and the very embodiment of failure, and I don’t think there’s going to be a more futile moment in the season for the Reds than this particular game.

Albert Pujols… pitching – Speaking of the Angels, when they released Albert Pujols in 2021, to me it was a foregone conclusion that he was headed back to the Cardinals.  Sure, it didn’t happen as immediately as I figured it would, but with the DH becoming the norm in 2022, there was absolutely no reason why the Cardinals and Pujols couldn’t reunite for the sad but melancholy but feel-good story of legend returning to where it started to finish out the career, but in the case of Pujols, not on a one-day contract, but as an actual active player.

But as is the case with lots of guys at the twilights of their careers, Pujols is definitely in it to have fun above all else.  And what better way to unwind and have some fun in a game where the Cardinals were already up by nearly 20 runs, than to take the mound himself and let everyone enjoy the fun of position player pitching?

And of course, it was as entertaining as the joy of position player pitching typically is.  Pujols was all smiles and laughter, and even the San Francisco Giants became tolerable as they took enjoyment of the situation.  The funny thing is that if this were 10-14 years earlier, I would’ve expected Pujols to pitch like Pedro because why wouldn’t the greatest player of a generation know how to pitch as well?  But instead, we have old Pujols, lobbing 55 mph lollipops, and just trying to get hitters to get themselves out; and naturally he gives up four runs in the process, but at this point who really cares?

The once demi-god was clearly having a great time, humbly getting knocked around, and the Cardinals still won the game, so no skin off anyone’s backs there.  And for a single half-inning, I think everyone could agree that baseball was never more fun than watching Albert Pujols pitching.

The Braves didn’t deserve Freddie Freeman, anyway

In short: Braves’ Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman takes a second out of a game to share a moment of compassion and empathy for an opposing player with a hug and comforting words upon finding out that his dad had recently passed away

If people outside of Braves Country® were not that familiar with the kind of human being Freddie Freeman was, playing in big fuck you market Los Angeles will definitely help spread the word, of just how loveable and more or less perfect of a human being that he is.  It took all of what, 5-6 games into the season for Freddie Freeman to already get noticed for, being the Freddie Freeman who was the heart and face of the Atlanta Braves over the last decade?

Just like that, Freddie Freeman reminds everyone that baseball is still just a kid’s game, and that it’s okay to have fun, but also the importance of sportsmanship, humanity and just being a good person.

I haven’t followed baseball enough over the last few years, but I do know who Jose Iglesias is, primarily an elite glove guy, which at a premium position like shortstop is usually adequate to always have a job in the big leagues, but already my heart goes out to him, for hearing of the news of his father’s passing.

Freeman is no stranger to being everyone’s best friend, regardless of if they’re a teammate or not, and upon finding out about Iglesias’s dad, and his general reaction, he wasted no time in Freddie being Freddie, and offering up a hug and comfort, regardless of if it were an opponent.

This right here, is what Freddie Freeman brings to the table, regardless of his batting average, slash stats, WAR and other tangible evidence of baseball talent.  Aside from being a legitimate MVP-caliber player, he’s just a guy that gets the game of life, and that there are always things that are bigger than just baseball.

As for the Braves, they just didn’t deserve him.  Yes, I’ve read a lot of the scuttlebutt about how the whole thing transpired, and all the of the actual salt and fabricated sugar at the end of the journey.  But the reality is that the Braves really could’ve tried harder prior to free agency, but they didn’t, because they’re the Braves and everything the team does has to be fiscal this and shareholders that and it always boils down to money, in spite of the fact that baseball is a ridiculously lucrative venture that has revenues in the legitimate billions on a yearly basis.

No disrespect to Matt Olson, who is doing his job and starting his career with the Braves as the successor to Freddie Freeman pretty hot, but there’s not a single part of me that still wouldn’t wish to have Freddie Freeman on the team instead.  But the Braves couldn’t get over all the numbers swirling around Freddie, as far his age versus Olson’s age, the dollars, and the years asked for, and this is where we are as a result.  Short of winning a Roberto Clemente Award for exemplary citizenship, I can’t imagine there’s much Olson can do to replace all the intangible and little things that Freeman brought to the Braves for all his years.

I know it happens to every sports fan at some point(s) in their lives when they have to watch a beloved player go elsewhere, and sure the Braves are primed for potential success all the same, but losing Freeman, a guy I legitimately watched grow up with the team, all the way in the minor leagues, all the way to a World Series championship, that’s one that the sting is going to linger a long time.