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.

Divisions in baseball need to be benched by Jeff Passan, via Yahoo Sports

Hold on to your stirrups, baseball purists. It’s time for divisions in baseball to go away. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports points out the many benefits of abolishing the divisions from fixing the playoff seeding to the simplification of having two leagues. Although rivalries, division races, and division championships are fun, it’s hard to argue against a lot of his points. What are your thoughts on ditching the divisions, Nation? (Gangloff)

MLB home teams set mark by finishing 15-0 by ESPN News and services

It’s hard to imagine that for as long as baseball has been around, home teams have never gone completely undefeated in a given day. ESPN dives into the odds of this phenomena happening, looks at how close it’s come to happening before, and examines the day’s games that were included in the home team 15-0 sweep. (Gangloff)

MLB Hires Search Firm to Help Minority, Female Job-Seekers by Marc Lancaster, Sporting News

Over the course of this season I have posted several articles on the topic of diversity in baseball…or the lack thereof.  I have hit on issues with the dwindling numbers of minority players in the game, as well as front offices and coaching staffs…and the same goes for women candidates.  This article highlights a move made by MLB this week to help address the lack of minorities and women in front office throughout the league.  Currently, minorities and women compose less than 20 percent of all front office positions, and that includes some instances where individuals hold more than one title, thus actually inflating the already putrid numbers, case in point Ruben Amaro in Philly.  The article highlights steps that MLB will take this off-season to help better prepare candidates to interview for these executive level positions (Korte).

How a Childhood Idol and a Scouting Guru Landed Felix Hernandez in Seattle by Scott Miller, Bleacher Report

Baseball is a game told through stories, how could it not be?  A game that has been around over 100 years has certainly accumulated its fair share of tall-tales, myths and an equal number of untold stories.  I’m always curious to learn how things come to be; how a random series of events can lead to tectonic shifts in projected outcomes.  King Felix is one of, if not the best pitcher the game sports today…since his debut in big leagues as a teenager, he has provided Seattle fans countless memories of his dominance.  But what most people don’t know is that he could have been an Atlanta Brave, or New York Yankee, heck…they both offered him more money to sign out of Venezuela.  This article outlines the untold story of how the King ended up in Seattle, and how a the trade of a childhood idol helped to bring Felix Hernandez to Seattle (Korte).

Bottom Of The Ninth For Little League? by Stephen Romano, Long Island Weekly

This is a fascinating piece on some of the reasons behind the decline of Little League Baseball. More kids on travel teams, more kids playing video games, more kids playing soccer. One of the big problems, I believe (and which this article touches on), is the monetization and hyper-competitiveness of youth sports – and baseball in particular. Parents see kids competing at the highest levels, many of whom play on expensive travel teams, and think it’s what their kid needs/deserves, too. Greatness gets on TV. Greatness gets college scholarships. Greatness can be purchased for $6,000+ on a travel team. All of this, in my opinion, is not for the benefit of the kids themselves. It’s parets seeking to keep up with what their neighbors are doing. It’s parents competing and living vicariously through their children. And I could understand why some kids and families may not want to be part of it. (Ballinger)

Key ingredients give Cardinals look of rare beast: a modern Superteam by Tom Verducci, SI

BARF. I’ll spend the rest of this season rooting for two teams: the Reds and whoever is playing the Cardinals. (Ballinger)