As the baseball season winds down and the NFL heats up, I’ve been flabbergasted by the poor play in both leagues. First, major league baseball. I like going to yahoo and looking at the statistics because God forbid the Boston Sunday Globe puts them in anymore. The number of hitters with 30+ home runs and under 100 RBI is astounding. As a matter of fact, even under 90! What this tells you is it has become home run derby. Teams do not manufacture runs anymore. Instead, they all swing from their ass trying to jack the ball out of the park. Here is an example of a manufactured run. Base hit, steal second. ground ball to the right side moves player to third, sacrifice fly. 1-0. Way too many guys with 100 strike outs. Nelson Cruz 41 bombs 93 RBI, Mike Trout, (I can’t criticize Mike Trout), but he’s under 100. Albert Pujols, 39 HR, 93 RBI, hitting .244! Lifetime .330 hitter in NL, hasn’t hit over .272 in 4 years in AL. He hasn’t forgotten how to hit he isn’t making adjustments. National League, Bryce Harper has 41 jacks and 99, he’ll get to 100. Todd Frazier, 35, 89, Carlos Gonzalez, 40, 97. Also, look at the batting averages, way too many guys under .250 and it’s accepted!
So what’s going wrong? My take: 1. Defensive shifts. Which I think are great. The problem is hitters absolutely refusing to exploit them. The “I”m not going to change the way i hit.” is prevalent and costing hitters at least 20 points on their average. Slap a couple of ground balls down the left field line and they’ll stop. 2. Working the count. I tell my sons this, “don’t take strikes!!!!” You probably get 1 pitch to hit per at bat, don’t let it go. The pros are different when a guy paints a 97 mph bb low and away that you couldn’t hit with a telephone pole. Hitters have higher batting averages earlier in the count then with 2 strikes. Don’t swing at garbage, but don’t let a good pitch go by. It’s the parking lot mentality around Christmas at the mall. You going to pass up that one spot 50 yards from the door to see if you can find one 20?
Here is where I’m going to criticize Ted Williams. After 1950, he played 10 more season and never knocked in 100 RBI, why? Because he would not swing at pitches outside the strike zone. I’d rather see a guy hit 20 points lower and knock in runs then sit up there taking walks. The Red Sox of the 1950’s stunk, maybe if Ted swung the bat more they would be better. Look at Joey Votto. 29 HR and 80 RBI, he’s hitting .317. He’s walked 142 times. I bet the Reds would have won more if he made contact. He’s also struck out 134 times. 1/3 of all his plate appearances, he doesn’t put the ball in play. $14 M a year. as the great Bill Parcells said when the Patriots let Irving Fryar (who just got sentenced to 5 years in prison) said, “We can be in last place with him and we can be in last without him.”
Third, Not choking up and hitting the ball the other way with two strikes. Jackie Bradley Jr, has finally hit a little in the majors for the Red Sox. He’s capable of 15-20 bombs over a campaign. He strikes out way too much, and will not protect. He just tries to yank the ball out. And that is the majority of MLB.
The pitching has gotten a lot better than the slow pitch softball scores of 10-15 years ago. Guys throw hard, really hard. But pitch counts have hurt the game a lot. You have too many mediocre arms in the bullpen because the pitcher doesn’t go past 100 pitches. I’m of the belief that pitch counts HURT pitchers and have increased injuries. Allow me to explain. Pitchers know that they have only so many bullets for a game. So they max effort every pitch. What would happen if you walked into the gym and maxed out every time? You’d get hurt. Same with pitching. This is why there are so many Tommy John surgeries. Remember the phrase “bear down?” When was the last time you heard that phrase? The beauty of baseball is guys who were great 40 years ago would still be great today. Who do I like for the playoffs? Toronto and Pittsburgh.
Now on to the NFL as I’m flipping on the Jets and Dolphins live from London. Quick aside, which ad are you more sick of? The sleeper pick in Draft Kings, or the tool biting his hand like Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley in Fan Duel? Torture, 4 ads every hour on the hour. Need to circle the wagons on my fantasy football team. Big Ben hurt for 6 weeks, was my QB, Antonio Brown, first WR. First place, league high in the second week, I just need to hang on until the playoffs. Picked up Andy Dalton as my starter. Did I just write that?
Why is the NFL lousy? 1. Too many penalties, there is no flow to the game. Defenders aren’t allowed to hand check without illegal contact. With the spread offenses, offensive lineman don’t know how to block causing holding penalties. 2. The kickoff needs to be moved back so there are some returns. How many returns to do you see? Not too many because you’re better off taking a knee and getting the ball at the 20. 3. Lack of talent at the QB position. Kirk Cousins, Colin Kaeprenick, Alex Smith, Ryan Mallett, and Jay Cutler; what do they have in common? They all suck. Alex Smith, on a good Chiefs team, didn’t throw one TD pass to a wide receiver last season. And then you have the mediocre guys starting under center. With Tony Romo and Roethlisberger out, the backup QB throws 3 yard passes and told not to make a mistake. Not a way to play. 4. Thursday Nights. Players aren’t recovered, which lead to some horrific sloppiness. Game plans haven’t been gone through enough. I read somewhere last year that in a game, there is only 11:00 of actual action. With all the advertisements, referee conferences, replay reviews, injuries, penalties, the game has become slow.
I shouldn’t complain, I’ve had Patriots tickets for 20 years, and get to watch Tom Brady. I love watching Seattle play, as well as Green Bay. Aaron Rogers is fantastic. Patriots fans need to tone it down however. Who cares whether Brady gets player of the week or player of the month? One more ring is all I ask, forget the rest. Oh yeah, run the table too.
I think the NFL is worse, only because of the volume of games MLB plays. There might be a lousy MLB game, but the next night could be a thriller. With the NFL, with a week between games, there is more to parse and analyze. It makes it more glaring.
Workouts, Fridays have been my official day off. I’ve been playing basketball again on Thursday night and actually playing well. My issue is the next morning my knees joints ache. Walking down the stairs is a production. The good news is the hill sprints and the two More Kettelbell Muscle programs have kept me in good game shape. Mondays, I’ve been fasting for 40 hours which has kept my diet in check. Been back in the gym once or twice a week. 5 x 5, for squats and deadlifts, Been working with 275, good form. Bench press, 5 x 5 with 165 and thrown some pull-ups in between sets. For presses, once or twice a week, using kettlebells, doing ladders of presses/squat/rows with 55’s, 2,3,5 or 70’s 1,2,3. Do some swings for a finisher.
I tried doing snatches with a 55, 8 sets of 5,5 and next day my forearm was sore. No issues doing a double snatch, but any high volume is providing me with feedback that I shouldn’t do them. Sigh. The two More Kettlebell Muscle programs are doing are You Don’t Know Squat 2.0 and Clean ‘Em Up 2.0. 9 weeks each, I do the first one as a complex, the second one as a chain. Heavy day is brutal, I’m using 45’s and it comes out to 10 complexes, over 200 reps with a work:rest 1:1.5. Now the rest is going to be 1:1. Easy day I use 55’s. The chain is the killer, six times around. It starts out innocently, but by the 4th time around fatigue sets in. I also throw some hill sprints in once or twice a week.
It looks something like this
Sunday More Kettlebell Muscle / sprints
Tuesday More Kettlebell Muscle/sprints
Wednesday Heavy kettebell ladders/ roll dice do swings. Rolled 11 yesterday, 235 swings with a 70 in 11 minutes
Thursday More Kettlebell Muscle, Hoop at night
It is not much as it appears, all workouts are under an hour. No real goals set, just getting things done.
Have Famous Grouse in the bar right now. Good blend, has a cognac like flavor to it. Better than Johnnie Walker Red and on par with Dewars.