Sports continue to change but It’s not always what you’d expect…
…in the MLB, ONE WOULD EXPECT all the contenders to have strong closers…but it’s not always who you’d expect…According to MLB “experts”, the best closer currently is Edwin Diaz(Mets. In the AL, Cleveland’s Emmanual Clase has a 1.32 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 26 Saves is listed @ #2 by some publications. If you haven’t been following the AL…Cleveland is in 1st place! (What’s next…the Pirates in 1st Place😊) Going in the other direction is Josh Hader. Hader has been a tremendous closer—in 2021, his ERA was 1.34 with 34 saves in 60 games. But…in 2022, his ERA zoomed to 4.56 after it was 1.09 @ the end of June. Hence the Brewers traded him. They didn’t have a lock-down closer in reserve. They obtained Taylor Rogers to fill the void. Early results, don’t reflect a real impressive “lock down” closer. The Cards roughed him up in the last series.
… The Cards are leaning on Ryan Helsley. He’s shown some strong numbers—6-1, 0.92-ERA. But, he hasn’t been used extensively in that closer role. He’s been in 39 games & has finished 23 games with just 12 saves. One would expect that he’d be used exclusively in the closer role in last 48 games.
….After St Louis U completed a highly successful 2021 Mens soccer Season finishing with a #7 national ranking and reached the National Quarterfinals. The Bills saw 8 of those players turn professional with 6 players going in the MLS draft. Sooo….ONE WOULD EXPECT the Bills to lower their expectations for 2022 with so much talent gone. Not so… The Billikens were voted in the2022 pre-season voting as the top seed in the A-10 conference. HC Kevin Kalish does return 2 starters(John Klein-led the country in assists in 2021) and Christian Buendia. The 14 newcomers to SLU are Five D-1 Transfers & 9 Freshman. There are 3 StL area incoming players as well as 4 players from overseas. It’s a real blend. It should be fun to follow their development.
…Some of the major NCAA-F teams continue to jump leagues to grow their income and to enhance their NIL income for their players. The 2 major conferences have grown by 2 teams with the movement of Oklahoma & Texas to SEC; UCLA & USC to the Big Ten. Each conference will now have 16 teams. Other schools like Notre Dame, Miami, Florida State, Clemson, Oregon might be knocking on the door soon. Conference “flipping” will continue. If this “jumping” continues, ONE WOULD EXPECT that at some point, these conferences will reach a saturation point of teams and that the huge payouts of these conferences. Then, ONE WOULD EXPECT that some other schools would be asked to transfer “out”. I don’t see conferences staying so ironclad as they were for decades. The loyalty gate does swing both ways. Nor, do I see them having 20 teams in a league either. Rather, I think there could be a continual movement up or down—depending upon your skill in one sport—Football!
…As one checks out the 2022 MLB attendance, the Cards are #2 in the MLB with 39,848avg/gm! Only the Dodgers are higher…and they are much higher—48,347. ONE WOULD EXPECT the winning teams to have the biggest crowds. While Tampa Bay has fallen off in W-L column somewhat in ’22, TB has been in the post-season 3 straight years. Yet they are 13th in the AL in attendance with 14,200+ in 2022. The Rays brought in 30,900+ in their very 1st year. That has been their highest mark ever. The Ray have exceeded 20000+ attendance in just 3 of their 25 years! The Marlins have improved a great deal in ’22 but are averaging 11,000+/game! They brought in 30000+ in their first 2 years (93,94). Yet…neither team draws in Florida. When one notices that the MLB (all 30 teams) average around 6,000 just for spring training games, it’s a real problem in Florida. I’m to the point of thinking that neither of these teams will EVER draw in Florida. Ticket prices are not high. There are just too many snow-birds in Florida for either team to really draw up to the level that should be expected. Nashville, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Raleigh are waiting!!
…As a Blues fan, ONE WOULD EXPECT that the play of Colton Parayko would have continued on an upward movement. However, it seems that his play has leveled off…or, in some cases…maybe even declined. For starters, he needs a permanent, strong partner on the backline. Maybe, that would enhance Parayko to move up the ice in transition and initiate a transfer from Defense to Offense. I don’t know if he’s lost confidence in his shot or what, but he doesn’t seem to get in on target with a high degree of regularity. He doesn’t have to score…let those rebounds be shoved in by a forward. The Blues need him to elevate his play considering all his minutes on the ice.
….ONE WOULD EXPECT that if the MLB could lower the 3 True Outcomes (HR, K, walk) syndrome that the games would be more entertaining & quicker. Believe it or not, in 2022 all 3 outcomes have been lowered. Home runs dropped from 1.26 to 1.09; Walks from 3.34 to 3.13; strikeouts from 8.9 to 8.47. This would be the first time since 2005 and only the 2nd time in the last 30 years that all 3 outcomes have dropped in the same season(according to Jayson Stark). I must say….on 1 hand–I don’t really notice it. On the other hand, when Waino & Mikolaus pitch, the speed of the game quickens. From my perspective, why don’t the younger pitchers emulate them? Don’t treasure strikeouts, in many cases, they are just another out that usually requires more pitches. Wins mean more than strikeouts and you must get 5 innings to notch a win!!
…When you look at the glossy LA Dodgers record, ONE WOULD EXPECT to see a starting staff with glossy names. Koufax, Drysdale, Sutton, Hershiser, Valenzuela, Kershaw are names that pop into mind. However, In 2022, the Dodgers’ best are Tony Gonsolin & Tyler Anderson!! Who?? Neither were guaranteed in the rotation at the start of the year. Gonsolin is tied for the league lead in WINS and his 0.89 WHIP is the best in the NL. Anderson, in his 6th years had an ERA+ of 100 (league average). This year, it’s an amazing 151. ONE WOULD HAVE EXPECTED the Dodgers to go out to acquire a veteran, proven starter(s) at the deadline…but not in ‘22
….ONE WOULD EXPECT that this blog is about finished…YOU’RE RIGHT! Thanks for the read! Pass the word to family/friends. Each week the blog may be found on my facebook page (Bob Ryan) & on my website- www.bobryansportsblog.com. YOUR ideas on any part of the blog are invited. Put them directly on the FB page under the blog or send them to me & I’ll do it. Have a super week! Bob