I have tried my best to avoid the subject, what with the avalanche of media coverage elsewhere, but the Biogenesis story cannot be ignored, even in this blog. It hits home especially hard at the moment because we are in New York for the series with the Mets. The amount of newspaper space and radio-television time spent on Alex Rodriguez is unbelievable...and appalling. Simply put, A-Rod continues to be interested only in staying in the spotlight regardless of how it affects the game he supposedly loves. With the amount of money involved, there is some appreciation for his stance, but again, this is much more about A-Rod than it is the money. Since he is appealing, the rest of us will be dragged along with him.
MLB’s stance moving forward should be of greater interest—and scrutiny—for those of us interested in baseball’s future. There has been a suggestion bandied about that offenders should have their contracts terminated. The ramifications of nullifying contracts for offenders lie at the heart of the management-labor relationship in the sport. Many feel such an action would serve as the best deterrent yet towards eliminating PED use, but it is not as simple as it might seem. The union wants assurances a move of this nature would not set a precedent to allow management to terminate contract for other missteps. I believe there are enough current players that would be in favor of a penalty like this, but it is something that needs to be negotiated, not arbitrarily executed. Baseball remains in the lead at cleaning up its house in comparison to the NFL and the NBA, but work remains.
That sentiment also applies to the state of the Rockies. The combination of injuries, baffling inconsistencies, and bad luck in terms of facing hot teams has left the ballclub nowhere near its position earlier in the season. If you ever need to put a value on the presence in the lineup of a healthy Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, look at the Rockies’ results when one or both of them are not in the lineup or at full-strength. The freaky nature of the injuries to both players only adds to the frustrations for the team and you fans. Nevertheless, the results here in the second half show where the team needs to go in the offseason. A legitimate power bat, preferably right-handed, is needed to provide protection for the times when the two All-Stars are unavailable, as well as for the still-developing players like Willin Rosario, DJ LeMahieu, and Nolan Arenado. It would make a good lineup, when healthy, even more formidable.
There is plenty of reason to feel upbeat, however, regarding the progress of the pitching. Jorge De La Rosa will be back—maybe even extended beyond 2014—and Jhoulys Chacin has grabbed with both hands the chance to be the rotation’s horse. Chad Bettis’ work through the rest of the season, along with the development of Tyler Chatwood and Juan Nicasio will be scrutinized, and everyone associated with the team is anxious to see what possibilities Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler might bring to spring training next February. One more sleeper to watch: Tyler Matzek may have found a way, at last, to harness his talent, and that would be another lefthanded bonus.
My CHECK IT OUT this time is an oldie, but appropriate to my current venue. I recently watched a documentary regarding Billy Joel’s career that was wrapped around his concert at Shea Stadium here in New York before it was demolished for the Mets’ new home. The film is certainly worth a view, and the album, Live at Shea Stadium, is a keeper. Joel is the consummate showman throughout, but the guests that joined him onstage made the effort special.