Train Wreck or Fender Bender

All of us experience “bad” things happening to us.  Some are very serious while most are solved in a short period of time. Same is true in the sports world.

…The MLB has been buying and taking control of Minor Leagues (MiLB) teams shortly. The MiLB players will now be joining the MLB players union! Again, the MLB union & the owners will tussle over improvements.  This could be a Train Wreck. Minor League players have suffered (yes…actually suffered), they are in dire need of major improvements as they hold onto the dream of reaching the MLB. The MLB raised weekly minimum salaries for minor leaguers in 2021 to $400/week at rookie and short-season levels, $500 at Class A, $600 at Double-A and $700 at Triple-A. Further, housing is now provided for these MiLB players.  Btw… $400/week is just $10/hour for a 40 hour week. Yet these players FAR EXCEED 40 hours each week as one considers practices, games, travel, etc. Some MiLB players will have to push aside their personal dreams and fight for improvements. Some will suffer and see their careers go up in smoke but…future, MiLB players will benefit. Further….only about 10% of MiLB players ever reach the MLB! The MLB is “taking on” a real set of major issues…raising MiLB financial levels to the minimal expectations of most Americans; making those games “fun” to attend; enhancing USA youngsters to get back “into” baseball as they were decades ago.

….The MiLB has been grossly mismanaged for many years now. The MiLB has been on a severe “loss” mode for many decades as leagues & teams have disappeared.  In 2021, the number of full-season MLB-affiliated minor Leagues was reduced to 11 leagues with a total of 120 teams (4/each MLB team). By comparison, in 1950 there were 58 minor leagues with many other semi-pro leagues. By 1960, the number had dropped to 22 minor leagues and semi-pro leagues had disappeared. I suppose the MLB owners don’t really care if they “make” money…although that thought does seem contrary to what we see in their negotiations.

…. If the MLB owners think that people will suddenly change their habits and start attending these MiLB games, I believe that they’re mistaken.  Decades ago, these low level MiLB games, semi-pro and amateur games were the backdrop for sitting outside as the temps dropped, Fans just don’t go “out” to games for the evening as they did decades ago. I point towards air-conditioning as the catalyst to this change. Before AC, it actually was more comfortable outside. If I was an MLB owner, I’d make admission FREE for the minor league games….let the concessions -Parking (and now raffles) be your income. But…it’s really going to be a Train Wreck for these owners to sort out MiLB baseball and make it into a healthy financial endeavor.

…A Train Wreck was the Mizzou-K State game. MU was thoroughly outplayed in all aspects of the game. K-State dominated both sides of the Line of Scrimmage in a 40-12 rout. The long-time former Big 8, now Big 12 co-member, was better in EVERY phase of the game. After 2 games, MU is 76th in the USA in scoring after bringing in a young Coach who was “reportedly” an “Offensive Minded Coach”.  Nonetheless, after watching the entire game, there wasn’t much positive. Heralded Frosh, Luther Burden, barely touched the ball and was hardly targeted. Give your best player the ball as often as possible…not very insightful…just common sense. The Wildcats hired an experienced, winning coach, Chris Kleiman who had a record of 69-6 @ N. Dakota State in 2019. K-State isn’t an  NCAA Top 10 or Top 25 team but they’re making progress in his 4th year @ Manhattan. Mizzou hired a Head Coach with 1 year experience as a Head Coach 3 years ago. He has yet to field a team with a record over .500 @ Columbia.

…There were train wrecks in the NCAA-F world this weekend. 3 Major upsets coming from the Sun Belt Conference. Marshall upended Notre Dame 26-21. ND was a 20.5 point favorite. 1st year Head Coach-Marcus Freeman is sitting on a hot seat right now!  Appalachian State (coming off a 63-61 loss to N. Carolina last week) beat #6 ranked Texas A &M 17-14. Georgia Southern edged Nebraska 45-42 as Nebraska’s streak of 214 consecutive wins when they score 35 points @ home is snapped! Nebraska fired their coach, Scott Frost, on Sunday! This is even more significant than it first sounds. It was 3 weeks prior to his $15m buyout being slashed in half by Oct 1! These college Train Wrecks are what really MAKE the NCAA-F world exciting for fans…but…not so much for the coaches 😊

…A Train Wreck of a trade for the Yankees was trading Jordan Montgomery for a player who has yet to reach the field in Pinstripes (Harrison Bader). Montgomery has been sensational 5-0, 1.47 ERA and the Cards have won all 6 of his starts. Further, as one watches the Cards, you realize that the Cards had younger, cheaper Outfielders on the way up and could replace Bader with a cheaper version of the same model. I’m still puzzled why the NYY ownership would trade for an injured player??! Well….maybe the Yanks would like pitcher Alex Reyes now?  He’s on the 60 day IL…he’d fit right into the NYY plans for waiting weeks/months for traded players to return to the field, right? 😊

….A Fender Bender of late for the Cardinals has been Miles Mikolas. Since August 1, in 8 games (5-3) he has an ERA of 5.40 runs/game. The Cards need his sharpness & depth into a game for post-season success.

…Avoiding a train wreck and making into a Fender-Bender are the NY Mets. Missing both of their “aces”—Jacob deGrom for 4 months & Max Scherzer for 7 weeks, the Mets have continued to stay in playoff position. Now in 2nd place behind the Braves, the Mets have the highest Wild Card record in the NL with an 87-62 record with both back in the rotation.

….Seeming like a Train Wreck for both teams—the Brewers trade of closer Josh Hader to San Diego for 4 “up &coming players”. It seemed strange!  Immediately, the Brewers released 1 of the 4 players! Milwaukee has gone 14-18 since the trade and seen their division lead of 3 games has turned into an 8.5 games deficit behind the Cards. Meanwhile, Hader is holding a  17.55 ERA in 9 appearances and has lost his closer role. Ironically, the Brewers & Padres are both fighting for a Wild Card spot.

…Hopefully this read hasn’t been a Fender Bender or a Train Wreck for you😊 Want to catch up on former blogs…go to www.bobryansportsblog.com. YOUR thoughts are always invited – put them directly on my Facebook page or send to me & I’ll post it for you. Thanks for the read!  

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