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.

What Finland Can Teach America About Baseball by Brian Costa, Wall Street Journal

Recently, pace of play in MLB games has been a hot topic of discussion. Baseball’s front office has acknowledged they have a problem and have even changed certain rules in order to improve pace of play, but could they learn a thing or two by studying one of Finland’s most popular games, and baseball copycat, pesäpallo? (Gangloff)

As All-Star Game arrives, can MLB infuse new blood off field as well as on? by Joe Lemire, USA Today

It’s a worn out topic, baseball’s aging fan base and it’s lethargic grip on the national sports stage, but what’s the real problem when it comes to baseball connecting with a younger generation and having the spotlight ahead of other professional sports? Many think it’s the marketability of the games young stars. Joe Lemire of USA Today explains why the All-Star Game presents the perfect platform for MLB to showcase its young talent to help bridge the gap between younger and older generations. (Gangloff)

2015 Anti-All-Star Team, Position by Position by Scott Miller, Bleacher Report

As those in the Queen City gear up to host the mid-summer classic, baseball fans everywhere get a chance to celebrate the best the game has to offer.  Talents like Mike Trout take the field with hometown hero Todd Frazier for our enjoyment…but what about those with pre-season expectations that haven’t lived up to the hype (or their contracts) so far in 2015.  If you read this column weekly, you know I am huge fan of “lists” and this one is no exception; a position by position breakdown of the “anti-all-stars.”  Scott Miller even lists coaches and executives that have fallen short this season…I’ll save RedLeg Nation the drama…the Reds are represented more than once on this list (Korte).

Imagining a 2015 MLB All-Star Freshman vs. Sophomore Game by Jacob Shafer, Bleacher Report

Continuing with my All-Star themed entries this week, much has been made in recent years of ways to improve the All-Star game and weekend.  Changes to the Home Run Derby this year have been widely celebrated by fans…as a baseball junkie the Future’s game always entertains…but how about other ways to improve the event?  There have been many calling for a World Vs USA game which I personally welcome…why not find another way to pit America against the world?  But what if baseball took a page out of the NBA playbook for the All-Star weekend and played a Freshman vs Sophomore game? With the game getting younger and younger, this game would showcase all of the fresh faces impacting the game.  Just take a look at the lineups that Shafer rolls out in this mock game…incredible talent at all positions…that is a game I would pay to watch (Korte).

Defying Time and Space, by Dan Barry, New York Times

Bartolo Colon, 42 years old and nearly 300 pounds, has been a fixture in Major League Baseball since 1997. This story highlights the man, his home, his family, and his interesting career. It also includes the phrase “Fred Flintstone body type”. If any of you are like me and enjoy watching clips of Colon’s helmet flying off when he’s at the plate, or seeing him saunter from the bullpen to his spot on the mound, then I think you’ll enjoy this piece. (Ballinger)

Bill Murray, Cubs fan, says Cardinals are ‘Satan’s messengers on Earth’, by Chris Littman, Sporting News

Amen, Bill. Amen. (Ballinger…though, come on, this one basically wrote itself)