COMING AGAIN TO SAVE THE MOTHERFUCKIN' DAY, YEAH! It's interesting that we celebrate the independence of the United States by grilling meat and launching fireworks while scaring the shit out of our pets. Unfortunately, MLB didn't start their season in time for Independence Day, which would've been the most American thing of all.
In a sense, Independence Day is the mark of the year's midway point. Soon, you will have your children going back to school. Then, it'll be a parade of holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, then Christmas. So in a way, Independence Day is ushering in these cycles.
That's not a bad thing. After all, America is far from perfect, as proven by recent current events. However, many of us Americans would rather be shopping for some patriotic bacon than filling their carts with sauerbraten or crumpets. America. Fuck yeah.
It's summer camp time for baseball! We almost didn't have a season to begin with (we're still on the fence with the current COVID-19 situation not going away any time soon), so let's be thankful that it's back... for now. Here are a few things to expect for the upcoming baseball season.
Welcome to another edition of Blending Buddy, where I showcase what I make in the morning! This edition is what I like to call the "Hybrid".
Taking a trip down memory lane, I'm ranking some of my favorite animated ADULT shows from when I was a teen. Here's a breakdown of my favorite animated shows growing up.
I believe he can. The former MVP has been hampered by injuries in the past few years, namely to his foot and right shoulder. This has been due to an offensive line of Carolina's that either got injured too much or underperformed. As a result, Newton suffered from this.
New England is going to be shifting towards a run-oriented offense, judging by their off-season. This should take the load off Newton a bit. Speaking of run-oriented, that offensive line that's supposed to be creating running lanes should be better than Carolina's offensive line. There shouldn't be as many brutal hits as there was in Carolina. So Newton should reap the rewards in New England.
It will depend on how accurate and strong Newton's throwing arm is, of course. But this was the deal that plenty of experts were expecting. If Newton can thrive in New England's offense, the Patriots won't be going away any time soon.
During the 2000's, there was the "Big Four", consisting of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal. Currently, it's the "Big Six", with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur added to the mix. Surprisingly, this is Liverpool's first Premier League title, with numerous second-place finishes as recent as last season. So, is Liverpool in for a long haul of titles? Will they be the next big dynasty the way Manchester United was in the 1990's?
Looking at the rest of the league, Chelsea will probably be the biggest competition Liverpool will have in the next few years. Adding Christian Pulisic should help give the Blues more scoring power. Chelsea also got their transfer ban halved, which will help them return to the competitive landscape.
Manchester City MAY stick around for a bit, but it will depend on what Pep Guardiola. Rumor has it that Barcelona has their eyes set on Guardiola's services. Then there are squads such as Manchester United and Arsenal that have some shuffling around to do. Tottenham Hotspur has Harry Kane, but will that be enough? There isn't much from the rest of the field aside from maybe Leicester City.
As for Liverpool, they just locked in Sadio Mane with a five-year contract worth 26 million Euros last September. The Reds did the same thing with Mohamed Salah two years ago, giving him a five-year contract worth 52 million euros on July 2nd, 2018. They also have Roberto Firmino (eight goals, seven assists this season) a five-year deal worth 46.8 million Euros two years ago and gave Trent Alexander-Arnold (12 assists) a five-year contract for a good price of 10.4 million Euros a year ago. Even manager Jurgen Klopp is locked in until 2024. Basically, Liverpool has their core set for the future.
I'm going to say that Liverpool will dominate for the next few years in the Premier League. With so many variables possibly swinging in favor of Liverpool, the Reds won't be walking alone for the next few years. This season's title is their first, but it won't be their last.
The Cowboys-Steelers Hall of Fame Game was cancelled because of the coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci has suggested a "bubble format" for the NFL season due to the pandemic. There have been numerous NFL figures such as Robert Kraft that have stated that there will be an NFL season. So, will there be an NFL season?
I think there will be. After all, the NFL season doesn't begin until early to mid-September. HOWEVER, I don't think that there will be fans in attendance (or stadiums at full capacity, to say the least. The coronavirus has claimed normalcy from the other three major sports leagues, so it would be fitting for the NFL season to take some measures to ensure the safety of others. This includes extensive testing and additional rules such as no high fives or hugs (similar to what MLB has done).
If there was no NFL season, it would be a major bummer in America. What would we have to do around Thanksgiving time? Hopefully, it won't have to come to that point.
We got ourselves a baseball season, so we have to have a prediction for the champion. There are two teams that stand out and both teams are LOADED. Top to bottom, these two teams are set to take over the league this season with stud aces and potent lineups. These two teams are the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Yankees just acquired Gerrit Cole, taking Yankee fans back to the days where George Steinbrenner would effortlessly sign any free agent he wanted. With the Baby Bombers coming into fruition, the Yankees are set to take over the American League once again.
The Dodgers just acquired Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox, which will provide a great bat to the lineup. The former MVP should be a good leadoff and should set the table for the likes of Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy.
So I'm going to tell you that my prediction will be the Yankees and Dodgers for the World Series. Much to everyone's chagrin (excluding Yankee and Dodger fans), this would be the matchup that would probably save baseball from obscurity. So would this be the Year of the Dodger?
I'm going to say yes. In the simulated season from baseball-reference.com, Clayton Kershaw is having a Cy Young season. He's 9-0 with an ERA of 1.85, a WHIP of 0.86, an H9 of 6.6, and a BB9 of 1.2. His WAR's 4.3, which means he is on his way to an MVP season as well. If Kershaw can stand out in the World Series (even in the postseason), the Dodgers will finally get that World Series title they've been in the hunt for.
With the 2020 MLB season featuring a universal DH, this season will be like no other. Throw in the expanded playoffs and you have a unique season (honestly, it's due to COVID-19).
The universal DH has actually been discussed for a while now, with the cries to implement it growing every year. Baseball purists dislike the idea, saying that having a pitcher hit makes the game fun (see Michael Lorenzen and Madison Bumgarner). It also makes the National League unique to the American League and makes the game fun for casual fans. Here's why it'll happen anyways (and should).
The hopes of bringing in new fans will rely on trying to make the game exciting. I don't believe adding a pitch clock will make the game exciting, but a DH in the National League will. Why? You can still see long ball hitters like Nelson Cruz belt out balls in the likes of Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium on a regular basis. This also evens the playing field, especially since it's about time that MLB has a universal set of rules. This article from Royals Review sums up that part perfectly.
Also keep in mind that pitchers are at greater risk of getting hurt if they go out to hit. Yes, the pitcher is vulnerable to a line drive when he takes the mound. However, there's also tearing your ACL when running the base paths or getting beaned in the face to worry about as well. That could devastate a team's chances, especially during a playoff run.
There are also more opportunities for players to play in the league. Think of it as creating more "jobs" if the universal DH is implemented. Pitchers will still be employed and you will have more opportunities for hitters to get their shot. I know it sounds wacky and idiotic, especially with Bartolo Colon hitting an unexpected homer. But the MLBPA will certainly work with this.
You can argue about no pitch clock being implemented or the shift being taken away. That's fine. But you should consider what having a universal DH could bring to the table.
Rob Manfred and MLB have dodged a major bullet by implementing a 60-game season for 2020. With health and safety hurdles being cleared, all teams will report to training camp by July 1st and the season will start on July 24. That sounds nice for a sport that has spent the past few months trying to figure out the start to the season that included exclusively playing in Arizona at one point.
While this sounds nice, there is the elephant in the room: the CBA. I've mentioned in an earlier blog post about how devastating it would be to the game of baseball if no season was implemented. Even after Manfred gave negotiating with MLBPA chief Tony Clark a second go, there were still some disagreements. The current CBA expires after next season and there will be money-related issues to talk about. Arbitration, free agency, and other items will be on the table and it will be up to Manfred and the owners to save face and avoid a dragged-out squabble with the player's union. Otherwise, baseball's future will look bleak.
Am I excited for baseball to finally be back? Yes, I am. Was it worth the wait? Eh, it could've been done sooner. Do both sides need to work out their issues before baseball's future strikes out? Absolutely.
My life! Food, sports, school. It's what it is!