MLB Week in Review (April 7-13)
The new MLB season marks the beginning of a brand new era in the league as there has been a shift that truly began in 2017.
Stars of the late 1990s and early 2000s are all gone after David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez retired at the end of the 2016 season.
This marked the end of that period of the league as the last few years have seen players that made the era what it was all walk away from the game.
Big Papi and A-Rod joined players like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Chipper Jones, and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
These players defined an entire generation of baseball as they lead their teams to amazing heights and played baseball their way.
That was not always the most emotional type of game as many of these players grew up in a world where it was better to be seen than heard.
They were players that did what they did on the field and gave the same boring answers off of it to ensure they didn’t rock the boat.
That is the time that they grew up in and the type of baseball they played and it didn’t mean that the baseball suffered.
These players were massive stars who emerged from a steroid riddled era to avoid the negative headlines and still become legends in the game.
With Ortiz and Rodriguez retiring last year though that group officially saw their last major names leave the game.
It was the official end to a strange era where baseball got a massive black eye and yet still came out on top in the end.
It also marked the beginning of a new era though and the league is in some great hands with new stars now needing to step forward and establish their own way to play.
That style will not be the same as the former generation as the Millennials are now in control and they are exactly what the league wants right now.
The league is trying to get more attention in an ever-crowded market with a younger group of fans that need a little more to get into a game that is notoriously long and boring.
The slow pace of baseball has not done it any favours among a younger group that they need in order to survive in the future.
To try to fix this before it becomes a serious issue the league has made changes to the rules in order to speed up the game.
That is only half of the battle though as the other is all about the personalities on the field.
Players need to be good like always but now they also need to be something a little more if they want to attract that younger group of fans.
They have to be more than the player that gives typical answers and tries to fit into a box, they have to be unique and authentic.
The perfect example of this is Bryce Harper who is now one of the biggest names in the sport and will be a player that the league leans on to grow the sport.
Harper is not shy about expressing what he truly thinks and he showed that last year when he started his campaign loosely based on the current President.
Harper was seen with a hat in a post-game scrum that said “Make Baseball Fun Again” and ever since he has campaigned for exactly that.
His point is that putting emotion back into the game and not taking it so seriously should be a priority for everyone.
The old guard that wants to eliminate bat flips or any show of emotion needs to evolve because baseball is just a game.
For Harper that emotion and personality are what will grow the game both with fans becoming more interesting and kids starting to love playing again.
Harper is the leader of this new school version of thinking and with the old stars mostly gone he has the platform to make baseball fun again.
He is not the only young star that the MLB looks to though as Mike Trout is clearly one of the best players in the game, possibly ever.
He might not have the same type of personality as Harper but he sure makes things exciting with highlight reel plays constantly.
Trout and Harper are the new leaders and for them, there is no shortage of young talent coming out of the minors and into the major leagues.
Youth has been taking over for years but they are officially taking over and have the floor as the new generation is set to lead the league into a new era of baseball.
From the last few years, it might be a fun time for the league as young players like Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa, Mookie Betts, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman are only starting out what could be dominant careers.
The most important thing from all of them though is that they are playing at a very high level while all 25 or younger and they are all having fun while playing.
It is a key for the next few years as the league needs this to continue if they want to grow the game heading into the future.
Fernandez to be Honoured
The Miami Marlins lost a big part of their team last year when Jose Fernandez crashed his boat and passed away as a result of the crash. It was a tragic loss of a very talented pitcher with an amazing story of his travel from Cuba to the USA who was only getting started in his career. The Marlins will honour the young pitcher who made a big impact over a short period of time when they reveal a statue of the ace sometime this year.
Change for the Tribe
The Cleveland Indians came under fire last year in a movement that has spread through multiple leagues throughout the sports landscape. Many began to voice their opinion about the nickname of the team but more their secondary logo. Chief Wahoo is considered by some an offensive image of a native American and they demanded it be removed as the logo for the team. They already made it a secondary rather than primary logo but the league is apparently making progress in having them move away from it altogether.
Everyone’s Watching Ohtani
The MLB has had a habit of seeing one particular international prospect that every team wants to sign and Japan is often the best place to look. The latest in a long line of great prospects from the country is 22-year-old pitcher Shohei Ohtani. The unique thing about him is that he is as good, if not better than many Japanese pitchers that have come from the Nippon League but he adds a tremendous ability to hit for power. He ranks among one of the best hitter in Japan and for National League teams he is a dream that everyone will be watching and bidding on as the season moves on.