This Week in Baseball

-Taylor Ballinger, Matt Korte, Jeff Gangloff

Good morning, Nation. We’re back with our weekly installment of “This Week in Baseball”, where Taylor, Matt, and Jeff will highlight interesting and/or important stories happening throughout baseball. As always, hope you enjoy – and let us know what you’ve been reading by posting in the comment section below.

MLB All-Star Voting Takeaways: Royals Domination Makes Mockery of Process by Zachary Rymer via Bleacher Report

The talk of the baseball world the past two weeks has been how the Kansas City Royals fanbase has successfully reached the pinnacle of fandom.  Let us keep in mind that “fan” is short for fanatic and the Royals loyal following has lived up to that very definition.  If the all-star voting process was concluded today, Royals position players would be starting at 7 out of the 8 positions, with only Mike Trout cracking into one of the three outfield spots.  Commissioner Manfred has already said he would be willing to further evaluate the process of electing starters to the all-star game…I on the other hand love it.  In fact, after I finish this post, I am off to create no less than 20 emails accounts and vote over 600 times to see Marlon Byrd in the All Star game!  If the Royals fanbase, or any other fanbase wants to take over all star weekend, more power to you…but please Commissioner, dont make home field advantage in the World Series based off of the winner of the Mid-Summer Classic. (Korte)

The Bang-for-your-buck team: Baseball’s Best Bargain Contracts by Ryan Fagan via Sporting News

Earlier this year I featured an article that built a team from the worst contracts in baseball…a list of aging players, playing for big money and paid on past accomplishments.  A list that gets GM’s fired or hired based on how these mega-deals pan out.  This article does a 180 on that previous list; building a team out of the best contracts in the game.  This team is highlighted with a nice mix of up and coming stars like the Cubs Kris Bryant, young power arms like the Yankees Dellin Betances and more established players like the D-backs Paul Goldschmidt who are just playing on their original big league deals.  The young talent on this list is staggering and is only a snippet of some of the potential stars who are cracking the big leagues this year.  Unfortunately, I read over this list twice and in both cases, no Reds.  Oh well…maybe the next list. (Korte)

Red Sox bench Pablo Sandoval for using Instagram during game by Gordon Edes, ESPN.COM

We’ve all been there. You go to your favorite stall, get real comfortable, pull out your phone and check social media. The bathroom on the third floor of your office building maybe a little bit different than the clubhouse during an MLB game, but at the end of the day, is it really that big of a deal? Do you agree or disagree with Red Sox manager John Farrell’s suspension of Pablo Sandoval for “liking” a picture on Instagram during Wednesday’s loss to Atlanta? (Gangloff)

Fastballs, faith, and family: Pat Neshek on Father’s Day by Eddie Matz,

Just in time for Father’s Day, Eddie Matz’s story on closer Pat Neshek touches on the heartbreak of losing a child, the life of an MLB journeyman, and how Neshek used the game of baseball as a tool to heal his insufferable loss. (Gangloff)

Steroids or no, A-Rod is worth celebrating as he nears 3,000 hits by Cliff Corcoran,

Cardinals owner blames ‘roguish behavior’ for hacking scandal by Scooby Axson,

I love these two stories because it exposes baseball for what it is not. It is not a game of honor and integrity. It is a game where, for over a century, teams, players, and managers have blurred the lines of fair and foul for any advantage to win. How many extra home runs and base hits did steroids get A-Rod? How many home runs and base hits did opposing pitchers on steroids cost him? Frankly, I don’t care. A-Rod has been a great baseball player. I don’t look to him for moral or ethical guidance. Similarly, I don’t model my life after the vaunted “Cardinal Way”. Because the “Cardinal Way” is bunk. I love to see it come crashing down. I don’t believe this was ‘roguish behavior’ on the part of a few members of the Cardinals organization. Employees get their cues from managers and from corporate culture. You know what the Cardinals are dedicated to? Winning. Just like every other team in professional sports. (Ballinger)