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. Jeff got married last weekend (at least, that was the plan) and is off on his honeymoon – so it’s just Taylor and Matt this week. As always, hope you enjoy – and let us know what you’ve been reading by posting in the comment section below.

Where the Dugout Is a Stage and Baseball Is a Reason to Sing, Andrew Keh, NY Times

This year, I’ve posted a few articles that highlight baseball in South Korea – and I think this one is my favorite. I’m not sure how much I would like these sorts of “cheermasters” at every game. Part of what I love about baseball is the leisurely pace and the dead time that allows for contemplation and quiet conversation. This seems a lot like the atmosphere that exists at many European soccer matches or at college football games, and some great chants/cheers/yells would be interesting during big moments of big games. (Ballinger)

Reds Mist: The Perfectionism and Historic Production of Joey Votto, Jonah Keri, Grantland

Somewhat lost in the Reds disappointing 2015 campaign has been the otherworldly production of one Joseph Votto. This piece was written in the aftermath of Votto’s ejection and subsequent histrionics last week, and highlights one of my favorite things about him: his passion and focus. (Side note: After seeing video of the ejection, my wife asked me why he got so upset. I told her it’s probably because if Votto thought the pitch was a ball, it was a ball. K-zone was pretty clear. It was a ball.) He’s on pace for the 6th-highest post-All Star break OBP in history. The only guys ahead of him: Barry Bonds and Ted Williams. We’re fortunate to watch Votto day in and day out. (Ballinger)

MLB Needs to Radically Realign It’s Divisions, Jesse Spector, Sporting News

My friends are probably sick of hearing this from me, but I have been preaching to the six or seven people who will listen that MLB needs to change its divisions as well as change its playoff format.  For years I have thrown models against the wall of what these new divisions will look like just to see what sticks.  In this article, Spector lays out what I see as a great plan; one that changes divisions to base things on geographic breakdowns and rivalries…creating some new interesting rivalries while also celebrating traditional rivalries from the past.  After he lays out his newly organized structure, he explains what the new playoff format will look like.  Someone do me a favor and forward this article to the office of the commission. (Korte)

Mat Latos Designated for Assignment by the Dodgers, Scott Polacek, Bleacher Report

Sometimes in life you just sit back, look at a situation, smile…and have a good laugh.  What happened here?  Mat Latos, literally 12 months removed from being considered “ace” material has been DFA’d by the Dodgers only weeks after trading for him for their pending playoff run.  Oh how the mighty have fallen…and for Reds fans, while you never want to basque in the failure of others, maybe just once we can make an exception.  Here is a guy, who when traded proceeded to dump on the organization…if you had any belief in karma…or if you didn’t…maybe this is the perfect time to accept it does exist.  Latos is a free agent this summer, and his actions and performance over the last year have certainly cost him tens of millions of dollars. (Korte)