MLB Week in Review (August 11-17)

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USA has been in a constant state of change since it was first settled as the New World in the 1500s. From that point on Americans went from being British to their own country and developed in to the latest world super power. There have been many bumps along the way though and one of the most studied has been the tumultuous period of the 1960s. During this time many people fought for their rights in the country including African-Americans. The movement of African Americans from slaves to free men and women was a rough one. During the 1960s many African-Americans were free but lived in a world where they were not welcome. Unable to use the same washroom or eat at the same restaurants meant that these citizens were truly considered second class in US society. As anger built around this situation leaders from the African-American society began to emerge and call for equality. Leaders like Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began to have their voices heard and started the Civil Rights movement. Through this long battle African-Americans began to see change as equality began to take shape. The battle was a much longer one that just the 1960s in the US but it was a time of the most change. In fact some of the civil rights movement has roots decades before the 1960s time period. Now it doesn’t seem that sports would have much to do with a political movement in a country but the reality is that sports ply a major role. This is especially true for the MLB which is considered a piece of Americana as it has existed for over 100 years. The MLB’s involvement in the Civil Rights movement began on one day that changed the way many thought about race. On April 15, 1947 a young African-American man named Jackie Robinson took his first step on to an MLB field in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform and made history. Robinson became the first African-American to ever play in Major League Baseball. For years there were other leagues for African-Americans to play including the Negro leagues with some of the most talented baseball players in the game. Still many believed that these leagues were less than the MLB with players who could not be better than any white player. Jackie Robinson proved everyone wrong as he showed not only that he could make an MLB team and play in the league but also that he and other African-Americans could actually compete with the rest of the white players. It changed the league forever. It was not immediate as players did not follow Jackie Robinson into the league at a high rate but what it did do was prove that African-American players are just as good if not better than their white counterparts. It was also a way to show all Americans that African-Americans can do anything that white Americans can do. It destroyed the theory that white was somehow better than black. It was a very important moment in the MLB as well as the USA as it was one of the first sparks to the Civil Rights movement. From that moment on African-American players have played a very important role in the history of the MLB. To honour this history and the role that they played in the Civil Rights movement the MLB established the Civil Right Game in 2007. Originally a preseason game, the Civil Rights game moved to the regular season in 2009. This year it will be featured in the heart of the postseason race as the Dodgers and Braves face off in the 6th annual Civil Rights Game. It is an important moment for the MLB as they look back at their role in a very important part of US history.

Meanwhile in the current day the MLB made headlines throughout the sports world with two big stories. One was the addition of another name in the record books as Felix Hernandez pitched another perfect game. He became the 23rd person in the history of the MLB to throw a perfect game and the first ever to throw a perfect game in a Mariners uniform. The other major story that made headlines was not an accomplishment and instead was a reminder of a time that many would rather forget. The news broke in the middle of the week that Melky Cabrera had failed a drug test. It was the same issue as Ryan Braun had with Cabrera testing for elevated testosterone levels but unlike Ryan Braun Cabrera simply admitted he had made a mistake and took PEDs. It was small consolation for many as Cabrera still broke the rules and disappointed the fans who believed that his renaissance year was for real. Cabrera was having a career year in 2012 as he looked to be in the mix for the NL Batting title and a possible MVP award. It is clear now that his year was all a lie as he had cheated to become an offensive power as he brought back the skepticism from the steroid era. Instead of believing in breakout years Cabrera’s drug test brought back the time where any jump in performance would be immediately associated with steroid use. For the Giants it was another case of a star player leaving in shame, see Barry Bonds, as Cabrera would be suspended for 50 games. With only 45 games left in the season for the Cabrera will miss the rest of the season and possibly make an appearance in the postseason if the Giants can move on far enough. The MLB made headlines this week for both good and bad reasons as reminders of bad times and signs of good times molded into one week in the MLB.

 

MLB Standings

American league

East:

1. New York Yankees (.597)

2. Tampa Bay Rays (.546)

3. Baltimore Orioles (.538)

4. Boston Red Sox (.483)

5. Toronto Blue Jays (.471)

Central:

1. Chicago White Sox (.551)

2. Detroit Tigers (.538)

3. Cleveland Indians (.454)

4. Kansas City Royals (.441)

5. Minnesota Twins (.424)

West:

1. Texas Rangers (.576)

2. Oakland Athletics (.534)

3. Los Angeles Angels (.517)

4. Seattle Mariners (.467)

 

National league

East:

1. Washington Nationals (.622)

2. Atlanta Braves (.588)

3. New York Mets (.471)

4. Philadelphia Phillies (.454)

5. Miami Marlins (.450)

Central:

1. Cincinnati Reds (.605)

2. Pittsburgh Pirates (.555)

3. St. Louis Cardinals (.538)

4. Milwaukee Brewers (.458)

5. Chicago Cubs (.393)

6. Houston Astros (.325)

West:

1. San Francisco Giants (.546)

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.542)

3. Arizona Diamondbacks (.504)

4. San Diego Padres (.430)

5. Colorado Rockies (.385)

 

Key Scores:

Seattle Mariners 7 – 4 Los Angeles Angels

– The Angels are in the midst of a divisional and wild card battle as they look to fend off the Oakland Athletics but another division opponent got in the way as the Mariners were able to attempt to slow down the Angels with a win

 

New York Yankees 3 – 0 Texas Rangers

– Hiroki Kuroda is not the ace of the Yankee pitching rotation but he has helped the pinstripes to wins all season and against one of the best teams in the league Kuroda only allowed two hits as he helped the Yankees past the Rangers

 

Seattle Mariners 1 – 0 Tampa Bay Rays

– In a game that essentially meant nothing for Seattle their ace stepped up as Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect game, the 23rd in MLB history, shutting down the Rays offence despite only receiving one run in support

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 2 – 1 St. Louis Cardinals

– The Pirates are looking for their first winning season in years while battling for a wild card spot and the Cardinals are looking for a repeat of last year as both teams fight it out for the wild card and second place in the NL Central

 

Next Week:

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves (August 18th; 7:10 pm EDT)

– Two teams with a great history will play in a game the history of the civil rights movement in the MLB as the Braves welcome the Dodgers for the Civil Rights Game where Jackie Robinson will be honoured for his role as the first black player in the MLB

 

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (August 20th; 10:10 pm EDT)

– Two long-time rivals face off as the Giants and Dodgers face off in a critical matchup with both teams fighting for the top spot in the NL West as they race towards the postseason hoping to avoid the wild card and win their division

 

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals (August 22nd; 7:05 pm EDT)

– The Braves are looking for another division title after a terrible collapse last year ended their postseason streak but they will need to get past the new beasts of the east in the Washington Nationals who will be looking to beat the Braves and extend their division lead

 

Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays (August 24th; 7:10 pm EDT)

– The Tampa Bay Rays are in a tight battle for second place in the AL East and a possible wild card spot while the A’s are in the same position in the AL West as both teams face off to get the win and a leg up on their competition

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