Good morning everyone! In a somewhat controversial piece yesterday, Jayson Stark noted that baseball is lacking the star power that other sports have. I’ve been interning in the sports radio industry for the past several months and my experience there leads me to agree with Stark’s conclusion. However many people disagree with him.
Stark is right, ultimately. People don’t swoon over Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Clayton Kershaw the way they did over David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, and Manny Ramirez. The cause of that is up for debate. The latter three played in major sports media markets on the east coast. Those two cities are lacking established stars right now. Noah Syndergaard and Mookie Betts are very good, but they’re young and largely unknown by the baseball-agnostic public.
Baseball is a very regional sport though. You’ll find fans of the Golden State Warriors just about anywhere you go. The same can’t be said about the Chicago Cubs or the Kansas City Royals. People don’t latch onto amazing teams the way fans of the NBA and NFL do.
Baseball players also have a significantly smaller impact on individual games compared to NBA and NFL players. Russell Westbrook and LeBron James can carry teams deep into the playoffs by themselves. But Mike Trout plays on a horrible team and Bryce Harper’s squad has never won a postseason series. Pitchers only play in 20% of games.
Stark is right, but he’s also not. Does baseball need a national face? The sport is doing just fine. There are young superstars scattered all across the country. Those superstars come from a whole host of different places around the globe.
Baseball isn’t designed for the lazy sports fan. It never will be. Every once and a while a Derek Jeter or a Pedro Martinez will show up and rise to national prominence. But the sport can succeed without them. Baseball doesn’t exist to please those who are already bored by it.
Now, let’s check out what else is going on in the sports world.
In Mariners news...
- The Tacoma Rainiers season is getting underway today, but there’s some bad news to report.
@RainiersLand open season Thursday at Sacramento. RHP Cody Martin expected to miss a month because of elbow injury.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) April 6, 2017
- Todd Milles at the Tacoma News Tribune made a hype piece for Tyler O’Neill, who will make his Triple-A debut tonight.
- Since today is Opening Day for the minors, here are some Mariner probables for you.
MiLB Opening Day Starters.— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) April 5, 2017
Rainiers: Sam Gaviglio
Travelers: Andrew Moore
Nuts: Nick Neidert
LumberKings: Ljay Newsome
Around the league...
- Craig Calcaterra counters that baseball likely won’t have a “face” of the game for a very long time.
- At least Nick Franklin stayed in the Seattle family, sort of.
INF/OF Nick Franklin claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay and expected to report on Friday. RHP Michael Blazek designated for assignment.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 5, 2017
- David Schoenfeld at ESPN thinks Lance McCullers could be a sneaky candidate for the Cy Young award this year.
- Schoenfeld also lists the most exciting players on every roster.
- According to Win Probability Added, Zach Britton is more valuable than almost every starter in the American League. Sky Kalkman at The Hardball Times explains why.
- Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter are in the running to purchase the Marlins.
- Kate Preusser appeared in Short Relief with Baseball Prospectus to discuss Stephen Piscotty getting hit by baseballs.
- Marshawn Lynch is mulling over a return to the NFL -- with the Raiders.