Category Archives: Baseball

Column: How to fix Allstar games

By JD McKay

The NBA All-Star game is Sunday, which is a joke just like the NFL Pro Bowl and the other two major U.S. sport All-Star games (baseball, football, hockey), but other than Russell Westbrook none of the players really care. Which in turn makes me, the fan, not care either. But after watching the NFL Pro-Bowl about three weeks ago, I know that something needs to change.

The NHL All-Star game is a toughy. The NHL is the most violent sport already, so an exhibition game is not worth the risk to players. However, to make things more interesting, in 2016, the NHL made their game a four-team tournament, using their four divisions as teams and playing three-on-three rather than the typical six-on-six. They also have been using a skills challenge since 1990. The idea of the skills challenge is for players to show off their athletic abilities in events like speed skating, shot power, and shot accuracy. I like what the NHL has done to their All-Star game, and it is just too dangerous to get players out on the ice hitting for no reason in an exhibition.

The NFL Pro-Bowl is the worst. The players do not care at all, and the NFL is not really doing anything. Football obviously has a higher risk of injury than all of these except hockey, but the NFL can do different things to make the game more enjoyable for fans. One change has been made. Last year, the NFL added a skills challenge packed with dodgeball, an obstacle course, and best catches. But more can be done. If the players do not want to play a full pads game, they can go for a game of seven-on-seven football. The idea of seven-on-seven is all passing with only seven players per team, no lineman except for a center to snap the ball. The NFL could do a six team seven-on-seven tournament. The fans would vote in the players; then a middle linebacker and quarterback would be paired together. They would then draft their team.

The NBA game is all about the player attitudes. They do not care. Basketball can still be dangerous, but compared to football or hockey, it is much safer. If the players would be willing to play harder, it would be interesting. However, the players will not care until they have a real reason, a green reason. The NBA could promise bonuses to the players of the winning team, giving the players a reason to play to win.

Lastly, the MLB is one of the most watchable games. It is a typical baseball game, but pitchers pitch for two innings, tops. They could stay as it is, or to make this a little for interesting, pick four celebrities to pick teams with players voted on by fans. The team would play a three-inning game, tournament style. The other change the MLB should make is a true skills challenge, they have a home run derby, but they do not have a legit skills challenge like the other sports. They could do an outfielder’s accuracy and far throw contest, a pitch speed contest, and stick with the homerun derby.

Those sports all need to make a change. Baseball’s change is relatively small, and hockey’s may just be too dangerous, but football and basketball need to change. Hopefully, they will, but I am not really expecting it.

Column: Rookies usher in new baseball era

By JD McKay

After 162 games, a week of awards, and a great postseason the Major League Baseball season is over. The Astros finally won a World Series, Aaron Judge had the greatest rookie season of all time, and home runs hit an all-time high. Plus, my Yankees look like they will be a powerhouse for the next 10 years. The Yankee’s potential inspired me to predict next year’s results.

Offseason transactions haven’t started, but as of Nov. 22 next year’s World Series will see the Yankees beating the Cubs in six games. The Cubs will need to add one pitcher to be able to beat the Dodgers and be back to truly being World Series contenders. The Yankees have one of the highest MLB payrolls and a farm system stuffed with talent, just waiting for the players to mature enough to be MLB caliber.

The Astros and Yankees will become baseball’s newest playoff rival. Yearly we will see Judge vs George Springer and Gary Sanchez vs José Altuve. The National League doesn’t look like any two teams will be like the Yankees and Astros.

Until Clayton Kershaw retires, the Dodgers will also be a dominant team in the NL. The only team that can truly compete with them as of right now is a healthy Nationals team. Unfortunately, they are never heath and like to choke in the postseason.

Now to last season. In case you missed it, the World Series was spectacular. Once again, home runs were hit at an all time high, 25 homeruns were hit in the series, and eight in Game 2.

This season, Judge hit 52 home runs and Giancarlo Stanton hit 59. Both guys are 6’6” or taller and the tallest position players in the MLB. Plus, rookie Cody Bellinger hit 39 home runs and only played three quarters of the season. Edinson Volquez threw the only no hitter and Madison Bumgarner, a pitcher, hit two home runs on opening day.

Speaking of rookies, Bellinger and Judge were unanimous Rookies of the Year, and Judge was second in the AL MVP votes. Altuve won the AL MVP by 150 points. The NL MVP was much closer. Stanton’s incredible second half of the season made him MVP, two points over Reds future Hall of Famer Joey Votto. The Twins manager Paul Molitor won 85 games and made the playoffs after 103 losses the year before.

All in all, this was an incredible MLB season. The Yankee’s young stars arrived and started a new Yankees dynasty a few years early. The World Series went to seven games and saw several extra innings. We also saw the Astros finally reach the mark they have been trying reach for several years. The 2017 baseball was a season of surprise and home runs. Hopefully the upcoming 2018 season will be as spectacular.

Softball, baseball teams wear pink last week in support of breast cancer awareness

Baseball team defeats Jeffersonville 5-1 Tuesday night

Photos by Sydney LaDuke