MLB doesn’t seem to care for overseas fans: An Overseas fan’s Gripe

Okay so for many that may seem to be a bit of over kill. Perhaps I am being over dramatic- you may say. No. I am not being over dramatic. I got into baseball in 1986 as a goofy nine year old. Since then I have tried to keep up with the sport as hard as it was back in pre-internet days.

It has been much easier since the internet kicked off to follow the fortunes of my team, and the sport I love (and consider the best in the world.) Bud Selig certainly seemed to foster the idea within baseball of making it a sport that was counted as a world sport. Like the NFL it has a large following overseas but unlike the NFL it seems to have very little interest in fostering and developing that interest anymore.

Look I pay a lot of money for my team- I pay more than I get out of it in a quantitative means. For example in order to make sure I get genuine merchandise of my favourite team I have to order from the US. Now that means I will pay more for postage than I do for the actual item. I am okay with that. It means that in my own way I have invested something into the team besides the emotions that comes with being a fan.

I pay for games by subscribing to the MLB network. I do this despite preferring to listen to the games rather than watching them- this is because I love listening to the commentary of John Sterling. The man is awesome. I know that the chances of the Yanks coming to play over here are slender. Even though the Yanks owners and the Red Sox owners both have substantial links to English Premiership clubs (Manchester City and Liverpool FC). So unlike fans in America I don’t have much chance of being able to walk into any baseball field and watch a game live. Streaming online- both live and on demand games are all I have.

So when the MLB decided this season to tinker with their website and their apps prior to the beginning of the post season I was disgusted to find out that they had rewarded the loyalty of international fans by simply messing with the service. The website crashes so much that I have all but given up going to it. I can’t even read articles there now let alone watching videos. Trying to stream the baseball on my Android, Smart TV and Xbox is like a game of roulette as to whether it will work or not. Most times they crash. This has left me feeling that the MLB have a kind of mindset that says international fans, are not worth really bothering with.

I hope that they will be bothered to fix this problem and get their website back up and running so we can get back to watching and listening to games online that way, and that what “update” they used to mess up the apps, is undone. I’d hate to resort to not subscribing to the MLB network this upcoming season- instead subscribing to another provider to watch the games. Because in the end I could be one of those fans who buy cheap unofficial merchandise, who don’t pay for streams but merely watch the recaps and find other more nefarious means of watching the games. I could be one of those but I wouldn’t. I want to pay to watch the games. I want to support my team and invest in the league. But not if they keep on treating me as less than an after thought. Because loving the game is not enough to make me pay for shoddy service. I hope the MLB sort their act out. As it stands it is not good enough.

Chapman May Add To The Bullpen: But With Suspension Looming Is He The Right Fit For The Yankees?

Okay so Cashman has been busy. It is good that he has tried to do things to help this team. The Yankees didn’t really do a lot last season when it came to bringing in new players to shake things up. It was one of the main problems for us as a fan-base last year especially when the season came to its conclusion and we looked at the way Toronto had gone out to get players who would make a difference. Pushing them to winning the AL East the AL championship game. This inaction left us more than vulnerable and though we were still in the hunt last season it was not as good an end as we wanted. Still we got there, next year, the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the dynasty would be a perfect time to win the World Series again. But that is the future and the fantasy of all baseball fans.

This offseason Cashman has been busy enough, bringing in enough players to add to the farm system so that we are building the future. But in getting Chapman from The Reds in exchange for four minor league teams the Yanks have added a player to the team that will add to the team right now. In getting him, Brian added to the bullpen in a way that made one of the toughest bullpens in the league to face even more of a daunting prospect. We now have the three best relief pitchers  in the league so once we get our starters in shape and they can last deep into a game then we should be a lot harder to beat. But that depends on how good the starters will be. They were not really that good last season and had problems not only with their pitching but with health. So if we can get the starters in better shape and their pitching much sharper we should be okay with the bullpen we have.

But here is a problem. No I am not talking about the failure to make runs out of men on bases. That is no doubt the ramblings of some other post. The problem is that we have traded away four guys for one player who is facing disciplinary action for violating the MLB Domestic Abuse Policy. This is the only thing that I do not like about the trade.

Not the fact that he is could be suspended. In matters like this, such things as the absence of a player for suspension. The problem for me is that Chapman is being investigated for an incident which allegedly saw him firing eight shots from a gun and choking his girlfriend. They were serious enough to scuttle a trade to the Dodgers. It remains to be seen how that will play out, so I won’t talk to much about that other than to say that it is the only cause for concern in what looks to be a great move in a baseball sense, it is a gamble that I feel will pay off. I’d hate to be the batters facing the Yankees bullpen this coming season.

Papelbon- Keep Moving On

So the Yanks are on the list of teams which the Washington  Nationals’ closer can be traded to without his permission. The Nationals are no doubt hoping to get shut of the guy, his choking Harper during the season which began with so much promise and end in such a let down, will no doubt mean that he will be gone from their clubhouse.

I hope that he is not going to come to the Yankees. To be honest I doubt very much that he is ever going to play for the Bombers because we have already got two of the best closers in the game I think. Robertson was a loss for the Yankees and I didn’t know how well they were going do with Andrew Miller, but he came into the Bronx and really got into the swing of things with Dellin acting as the set up guy in the 8th. They were two shining points in the pitching staff, especially Andrew Miller who recorded 36 saves from 38 opportunities with 2 blown saves. That is a great return from the guy.

Papelbon is projected to get more saves that Miller in 2016 by BaseballReference.com but even if that was the case I don’t see him being a good fit for the team especially since he has been so vocal in his dislike of the team. He is not popular with the fans of the Yankees and he is also one of those players who is no stranger to controversy. Sure we have had some guns for hire in the Bronx A-Rod being an example, but finally here is one reason why I cannot stand him, and what I hope he is not signed by the Yankees….

Papelbon leads the RedSux in their lame “Yankees Sucks” chant.

So seriously Hal, and Brian… do us a favour. Don’t touch the putz with a barge pole. Andrew Miller is far better, much more mentally stable and mature despite being younger, and miles ahead when it comes to class. Let him on… Papelbon can keep on keeping on, if Washington has sense and gets rid of this clown. His act is low rent. Let him play for the Muts… they lack class over in Flushing.

It Has Been A Busy Winter- Has It Not?

Cashman has been working hard. Albeit with limited means. The Yanks have really tried to get players that will help the young farm team players who are coming on, and who showed so much promise at the end of the season.  It is good that these guys are given their chance to make the team, and that instead of paying out big contracts for big failures like Brendan Ryan, Chase Headley and A-Rod for example who have dwindled in their abilities. Two of those guys, along with Stephen Drew were paid contracts because of Cashman’s weird logic and trust that he could read the tea leaves of SABRMetrics better than any other GM in the Majors.

He was convinced that they were better hitters than their numbers suggested and they didn’t live up to that hype, nor to the completely insane pay cheque that Cashman gave them. That is why after the Cubs got Ryan they released him. Now I am sorry for Ryan. His figures weren’t that bad last season, despite being only fit for 47 games. But he was not that good of a player overall. I think that Castro will be a good addition to the team. Didi was great, despite a ropey start. But that was a good move in the end. Headley needs to go next, Drew I like and feel bad for saying it, but I do think that he is a waste of a spot that other younger players would and should be given a chance to make their own.

The thing that we need to have is more aggression in our baserunning. We need to play like Torre’s Yankees teams did. Scrappy never give up ball, hitting it big of course, since the Stadium is one of those places were we can do that. But then small ball is vital, and we need to get good at that because there are times when we are playing in other places that are not so easy to hit, where there isn’t that porch on the left field which calls out for homers to be hit there. In those places we need to run the bases, moving the men along, not trying to skin the ball every time it is pitched at us, but careful baseball full of guile which will ensure that we will not see another season when there were so many men left on, which let’s face it was exactly what killed us this season.

If we stand any chance of winning, though to be honest I think it will not be until after we get rid of the big contracts of A-Rod, CC, Beltran, and Tex, in favour of smaller contracts for players who are younger, fitter and not living on the laurels of seasons past. Then we will see something happening and the quest for 28 will come to fruition.

It is early days yet. But I like the moves that I have seen the front office make. They have not gone for big contracts and in some way I wish they did. I would love to see Cespedes come to the Yanks. I think he would be a great replacement for Beltran. I think an outfield of Gardner, Ellsbury, and Cespedes would be an exciting one, of big play makers, and good hitters, base runners. But I doubt very much that we will get Yo in the Pinstripes. Which is a pity. The infield looks good. But I think Bird and Refnsyder need their chances to be there come opening day, with Didi and Castro it is exciting. We never know what will happen of course. That is what I love about the game. You never know what is going to happen and while all the moves that have made, and the noises about more things to come in the trades front certainly make me excited for the spring more than I have been for a long time, it is early days yet I fear.

Early days with still the taint of a hangover from the logic of the big hitter big payout contracts that may have won the last title for the Yankees but which hasn’t delivered anything more than the sad feeling of a season ending in September while others go on to play October ball. Once these last traces of a logic that went against the logic of so many successful teams is finally put to rest then we can go on and win.

Because let’s face it. The successful dynasties of Yankee past were always based around a group of in house youngsters being developed at the right time, bolstered with tough gritty players who were brought in to fit in the team. We have only won once by filling the team with big hitter, big name soloists who were always more likely to think of themselves as the stars, but never just members of the team the way that Paul O Neil was, or Tino Martinez, players like that. Who fitted in with the team and helped the farm players come along. We need to go back to that. It seems we are.