MLB Week in Review (June 14-20)

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It is a funny thing in sports when fans watch players and get attached to them, it is just a symptom of fandom. Fans in all sports can be a little crazy and over the top but there is a true love for their team and the players on their team. We all get attached to the teams we follow and although we may not have anything on the line there is still a sense that a lot is riding on the game we are watching. What ends up being on the line is pride in the team that you call your own and pride in the players that do well. It is the opportunity to say proudly “That’s my team” and although some may take it a bit too seriously every fan has that attachment. So when a hero passes away that you have been following or that was the reason you fell in love with the sport a piece of that fandom is gone. It is not as if you knew the player or you are suffering nearly as much as the family and friends of the player but there is still a sadness that comes over you when someone you grew up idolizing passes away. That would happen three times in these past three weeks for baseball fans as three legends of the game passed away. Don Zimmer was the first legend to pass when complications from heart surgery took one of the true baseball men away. Six decades in baseball, that is Zimmer’s legacy as he spent the majority of his life in the game that he loved. The utility infielder would make his MLB debut in 1954 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and would begin an 11 year career in the league. With stops at the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Washington Senators Zimmer would never stay in one place for long. After a year in Japan Zimmer’s playing career had finished but his time in baseball would not as he became a manager in 1972 with the San Diego Padres. Zimmer continued his time on the bench as a manager and a coach until his last day. He was the epitome of a baseball guy, who spent his entire life around the game he loved and would never have likely never left the game. A week after Zimmer passed away a legendary pitcher would leave us as well in Bob Welch. Welch was a 17-year veteran of the league who had a knack for winning. He is the last pitcher to win more than 25 games, he won 27 in 1990, and has three World Series rings in his storied career. His legend started early when, in the 1978 World Series, he struck out Reggie Jackson in the top of the ninth with two out and two on. His winning ways would continue throughout his career and when he retired he had the third most wins in the 1980s, 137, and was mentioned alongside Dave Stieb and Jack Morris as one of the best pitchers of the era. This week would see another legend lost and this time it was one of the greatest men in MLB history when Tony Gwynn Sr. lost his battle with cancer. Gwynn was one of the greatest batters in the history of the MLB and although he did not have the most power it was his ability to make contact and earn hits that made him a legend. More than his performance on the field though, was simply his attitude and his willingness to give. That is what made him the greatest man in MLB history as he was the greatest ambassador to baseball that the MLB may ever have. Now in an era where sports heroes are constantly brought down to earth by steroids and scandals Tony Gwynn was a look back to when baseball seemed more pure, despite the ugliness behind the scenes of the league. Gwynn would win plenty of awards and accolades but three that expressed his attitude perfectly were the Branch Rickey Award, the Lou Gehrig Award, and the Roberto Clemente Award. These three awards are handed to the player who does the most for his community and who represents the character of baseball. That is Gwynn’s legacy in baseball as he was a lot more than a great hitter, he was a great man and for many baseball fans that type of player may not be seen again. It was a sad three weeks for baseball as it lost three great men and three legendary personalities that will all be missed greatly around the game.

 

Extra Innings
(Extra Thoughts on this week in baseball)

The contract worthwhile
Clayton Kershaw became the highest paid pitcher in baseball in the offseason but started the season and this week he showed why when he struck out 15 batters on his way to his first no-hitter of his career

Big Papi in Trouble
It has been a frustrating year for the Red Sox and David Ortiz but when he began to publicly complain about the scorers at Fenway the MLB stepped in sending him a memo telling him to stop complaining about scoring decisions as discipline may come the next time it happens

Next Cuban star?
Yasmani Tomas is a name that many should get to know as the Cuban star defected this past week and is expected to be a hot commodity for multiple teams around the MLB as all teams look for that next Cuban star

 

standings_w12

Key Scores:
Texas Rangers 14 – 8 Oakland Athletics
– The Rangers and A’s were forming one of the best modern rivalries as they continued to fight for the division in the past two years but the Rangers have fallen off this year even with their big win in an offensive battle

Kansas City Royals 11 – 4 Detroit Tigers
– The Royals are the surprising challengers in the Central division as they look to end the reign of the Tigers and would go a long way to doing just that beating up on the Tigers’ pitching staff for 11 runs and closing the gap

Los Angeles Dodgers 8 – 0 Colorado Rockies
– The Dodgers would give Clayton Kershaw plenty of cushion in this game but he wouldn’t need any of it as he would have the performance of his career striking out 15 batters and earning a no-hitter as the Dodgers continue to roll

Toronto Blue Jays 14 – 9 Cincinnati Reds
– The Blue Jays were the hottest team in May but in June they have struggled to get back to winning although they will not give up as evidence by the 8-run deficit they faced in this game before scoring 11 runs from the 6th to the 9th inning to take the win

 

Next Week:
Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels (Sunday June 22nd; 8:07 pm ET
– The Rangers are continuing to try to get back to the top of the West division and a step towards that is beating the Angles who sit in second place but the Angels are no easy out as they continue their strong year

New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Tuesday June 24th; 7:07 pm ET)
– The Blue Jays would rocket up the standings in May but their true test continues to be beating their own division as the Jays welcome the Yankees to Rogers Centre looking for some revenge of the series sweep by the Yankees this week

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Thursday June 26th; 10:10 pm ET)
– Two of the oldest teams in the MLB will face off in a great matchup as the Dodgers continue to roll in June as one of the best teams in the league while the Cards continue to be their solid consistently competitive selves

Colorado Rockies vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Friday June 27th; 8:10 pm ET)
– You can call it the battle of the Breweries as Milwaukee and Colorado are known for their beer but this series will be about the Rockies trying to stay in the fight for the West against the best team in the Central

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