Going in Different Direction

Sometimes, we just find ourselves GOING IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION then we had expected…
….as 2020 unfolds in a similar way as the 2019 for the Cards—the offense has boiled down to Home Runs, Walks, Strikeouts. The Fans are looking for a different direction. It appears that while the attendance has improved, but it’s not hit 40,000 yet…even for the Cubs! Maybe some fans “lost” baseball on their personal scope during covid. Maybe others have lost interest due to the games being too long with only sporadic spots of action, maybe the “Ride with the Winners” crowd senses that this team which is 26th in runs scored, 26th in OBP (on-base %–hence, few runners on base) isn’t a true post-season pony to ride. Maybe….some got spoiled from 2004-2013 with 4 World Series teams.
….the Cards heartbreaking loss to the Cubbies last night didn’t give us any hope that the season was going in a DIFFERENT DIRECTION for the Birds. Taking a 6-1 lead into the 9th only to see the Cubbies rally with 6 runs and win 7-6 REALLY hurt. To give you an idea, MLB teams entering the 9th inning with a lead of 5+ runs this season were 383-1. The only other meltdown was May 10 when the Asstroes rallied on the Yanks. The last time that the Cubs accomplished this 5 run deficit feat was on May 10, 2000…ugh! However, the 10 inning win last night seemed to wash it out of our mouths with a clean taste. Look for the Cards to be active after 2021 off season as Matt Carpenter, Andrew Miller, Dexter Fowler (yes…he’s still getting $14.75m of Card money ) and the buy out of Carlos Martinez will free up money to acquire another very good middle-infielder for 2022.
…Theo Epstein, now working for the MLB, after shaping up World Series teams in Cub & Red Sox land after many decades, has some proposal on how to move in a different direction. Some are familiar.. 1) Lower the pitching mound from 10 inches to 8 inches. When this was done prior to 1969 season, it was a dramatic change from 15 to 10 inches & the scoring increased from 555 runs in ’68 to 660 runs in ’69. 2) Limit the number of pitchers on the staff….TRY to teach pitchers to really “pitch” and not just throw the ball by the batter. Epstein suggested 10 pitchers, I’d try it at 11 pitchers. 3) Universal DH but DH is removed when starting pitcher leaves the game! Makes sense since every relief pitcher never sees the plate anyway. Further, I’d push the envelope to: 1) have a scoreboard clock timing the time between pitches-say 20 seconds…if late, the batter is awarded a “ball” in the count. 2) remove the strike zone box on TV so that umpires aren’t criticized by home team announcers (which sends a message to the viewers that we’re getting “short-changed since they seldom mention it when it favors the Cards. Of course…that’s their job to entertain & to get the fans involved emotionally. 3)For decades, there were “pitchers” umpires ..meaning that they had wide strike zones and the batters adjusted. They would do the same NOW 4) All video reviews (which could be done right at the home field by designated home field score keepers. They’d have 45 seconds after the play ends to reach a determination–yes or no.. If not changed in that time, the play stays. 5) get those bullpens covered by a roof…there should be NO Home runs going into the bullpen…put a angled roof so the ball rolls back to the outfielder. Take away the shortest of home runs…add more action on the bases. Again, take out all the “green” areas that are currently home runs. Make it part of the field…no monetary loss for owners and more action, hopefully more triples, for the fans. The MLB must move into some Different Directions to regain interest and fans.
…While the Cards have moved past the Cubs, their playoff chances are still at steep odds. Milwaukee is 7.5 games ahead with a strong starting staff for the division championship. In the “Wild Card” landscape, the Cards are 6 behind San Diego and 10.5 games behind the Dodgers as SF holds 1st place.
…USA’s Men basketball team dropping an exhibition game 90-87 against Nigeria stunned many casual fans. America had been 54-2 in Mens basketball exhibition games which began in 1992. USA topped Nigeria by 83 points in the London Olympics. 5 years ago, in an exhibition, Team USA whipped Nigeria by 43 points in an exhibition. However, Nigeria’s roster DID have 8 NBA players who seemed more prepared as a team. Further, Team USA came in with only 4 days of practice this week & no scrimmages. Nigeria met on June 20 and have enjoyed a complete team since June 27th. It’s a different direction …The Gold isn’t automatic any longer in Mens Olympic basketball for the USA.
….in the abbreviated 2020 season, No one thought the Mets would change directions so quickly & so dramatically. The NY Mets finished in last place in the NL East with a 26-34 record. Turn the calendar to July 2021 and…the Mets now sit in 1st Place with a 50-43 record. They’re faced with a severe test in the next 10 days as their ace, Jacob deGrom has landed on the IL. DeGrom is 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA, 146 strikeouts in 92 innings! Pete Alonso leads the batters in HR, RBI, OPS and is 2nd in HITS, Bat AVG & RUNS. Free Agent Francisco Lindor has solidified the middle-infield defense while being consistently on base for Alonso.
…NCCA President Mark Emmert is “seeing the DIFFERENT DIRECTION” of the role of the NCAA. Recently he said that the time is right to consider a decentralized and deregulated version of college sports and to shift the power to conferences and campuses while rethinking what college sports is all about. While he’s stating the obvious….that ship has sailed….at least he won’t be an obstacle in the “new” approach in college athletics.
….the new NHL franchise, Seattle Kraken, chose their team on Wednesday..they did NOT travel in a different direction than expected. Seattle avoided any “bloated” contracts that may have prohibited further transactions. The Blues lost Vince Dunn in the draft. Frequently…it seemed…Dunn just didn’t fit into Coach Berube’s plan so it wasn’t a surprise.
….Check out some of the past blogs (6 years worth) on http://www.bobryansportsblog.com or voice your thoughts on Bob Ryan Facebook—post it directly or send to me–rjryansr@Charter.net & I’ll do it for you. Have a great week!

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