Monday, June 30, 2014


I don’t like Mike Napoli.  I think he fell into some luck signing with Boston and winning a championship. I think he’s clutch when he needs to be, and injured more than he's clutch.  I also think that he spoke out of turn calling Masahiro Tanaka an “Idiot” for him throwing Nap a fastball the other night… a fastball that Napoli deposited into the seats.  But one thing Napoli doesn’t seem to understand is this; He's enraged a Yankee fan base for attacking our Golden child.  Sure, the Yankees may be losing right now, and we might be down… but we, as a team, as a family are not out! He has angered us.

Napoli said this of Tanaka... and this comes from the Sporting News report:

"After ripping a solo home run off Masahiro Tanaka in the ninth, Napoli celebrated in front of Boston's dugout. He can be heard exclaiming "What an idiot!" to his teammates in reference to Tanaka's decision to throw the fastball that sealed the Yankees' fate."

Now, let’s be fair, this is the third guy that has something derogatory or negative about Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka.   Jose Bautista suggested early on that Tanaka was “no big deal”Adam Jones asked the press why don’t’ they ask Tanaka about Jones? I laughed at that.  

Napoli is not a great baseball player. He’s a guy who’s having a nice streak. I'll go further;  I think Napoli is showing selfishness here. I think he’s jealous of the fact that he’s never truly been part of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. You know, the way it used to be, because let’s be honest… this rivalry seems stale to me. New faces, losers, stupid beards and arrogance reeks in Beantown. Napoli leads the morons. He needs to settle down.   Hey, maybe Napoli is just trying to rev up the Yanks and make them angry.  Or maybe he’s just stupid.  One thing I do know, Yankee fans are mad.  We don’t like lip aimed at our guys.  Now a dude who's Japanese born is in his first season in the Majors and getting attacked… why?  I mean, think about it… it’s baseball. Tanaka probably trusted his stuff enough to throw a fastball past fatso Napoli.  The only problem was Napoli cranked it. That’s the game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Tanaka was probably disappointed, but Tanaka forgot about it… until, of course he was called an idiot.  

Now, Tanaka is a professional, and he won't make a big deal about it. But, trust me, he's a ballplayer. He’ll keep it in the back of his mind. In fact, all the Yankees will. Because it’s my guess that the next time we face Napoli, we should seriously consider putting one in his ear.  

Baseball players don’t forget disrespect.  Napoli did something foolish… and he needs to pay. That's the bottom line.  Who knows… maybe it will fire up the Yankees.  Maybe it will wake us up.  After all, it’s time.

Hopefully it does… and hopefully Napoli will end up with egg on his face… and maybe even an imprint of baseball laces on the side of his head.

Hey Douchebag… this means war!

Tug on this, Junior.

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If we are going to be honest with ourselves, we have to admit that the Yankees have not been a solid team all season. I define a solid team as one where there is a clearly defined core, and that they are playing up to expectations. Too many key players are out due to injury and too many players are playing hurt. It makes you wonder, who is watching over the players’ physical well-being?

The manager is the one who is ultimately responsible for the overall health and success of the team. However, I am looking at the coaches. They are the ones directly responsible for the health and conditioning of the players on the team, and they have a direct responsibility to address players’ issues. So when we look at the last 3 years of injuries and sub-par performances, how is there no scrutiny on the quality of Larry Rothschild’s work? Last year the Yankees fired strength and conditioning coach Dana Cavalea, yet the injuries and subpar play continues.

There has been a lot of talk about how brittle the players are because they are all old. Not true of the pitching staff. Ivan Nova is 27 years old, and he suffered a partial UCL tear. I am not a medical professional, but the speculation is that it may have been due to stress caused by the motion of the arm. The motion of the arm, and the health of the arm, is something that the coaching staff is supposed to be directly managing. If this was the only example, you might be tempted to say that the coaches can only do so much, that injuries happen from time to time. It is not the only example.

Another example is Michael Pineda, who is only 25 years old. He is missing time on a back/shoulder injury caused by inflammation. You are not supposed to have nagging injuries that young. Some players are made of glass, granted, but we are starting to see a pattern emerging. What about C.C. Sabathia? Sabathia will turn 34 in a few weeks, so he is not old enough to be subject to regular injuries. Jonathan Papelbon, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren are all within a year of C.C.’s age and productive at their respective stages of their careers. How his legs get hurt as often as they do, and knock him out for as long as they do, is baffling. He is now recovering from an injured knee. Last year, his season ended early due to a hamstring injury. The year before, he pitched his last game against the Tigers in the playoffs and he was dreadful – and we found out later that he might have been playing hurt. Coaches are supposed to be on the lookout for things like throwing across the body, or problems with the overall mechanics of the pitching motion. So where was Larry Rothschild in these cases?

Nevertheless, let us not just pick on the pitching coach. How are the hitters faring? They are not performing much better. The Yankees are still 12th out of 15 in the American League in runs scored. They are also below the league average in both hits and home runs. In fact, there is a disturbing trend in the team hitting stats. In 2009 when they won the World Series, the team hit .283 with an OPS of .839. The next three years saw those number drop to the .260’s and .780’s, respectively. This year, the team is hitting .253 with an OPS of .698. They are on pace to hit the fewest home runs in a full season since 1989, when they hit only 130.

Some of it has to do with personnel changes. Some of it is just a drop in productivity. Mark Teixeira is hitting 35 points below his career average. Brian McCann is 50 points below his career average. Is McCann really this poor, or is the coaching problematic? Even with struggling hitters, it is the coach’s job to work with them to get them back on track. So why is there not more scrutiny on Kevin Long?

Injuries are a tricky thing to manage. Sometimes it is just hard luck. That was the popular opinion on the team last year. However, when it starts becoming a regularly occurring event, you have to wonder. Add to that the drop in productivity, and you have to start applying some pressure to the coaching staff. They are not paid to sit on the bench and high-five hitters when they hit home runs. They have a job to do, and when you don’t see the desired results, it is time for some accountability.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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We just can't keep up, ladies and gentlemen...

The Yankees fall short a lot.  Do you notice that? Couple that with the fact that we just lost 2 of 3 to the Red Sox, hardly a dominant team... and now we're about to play the Tampa Bay Rays. We've got problems, my friend. Today, June 30th... I'm not sure how we fix this, but it's clear something needs to be done. 

Look, I understand teams lose, but our mighty Yankees are not mighty at all.  We don't look good despite how we look on paper.  No one on the club is batting .300. Jacoby Ellsbury was left on base 3 times last night.  Brian McCann is still hovering around .220.  Teams have figured out Chase Whitley. CC Sabathia is still not back.  And we rarely score 6 runs a game. RARELY.

What we need is a strong talking to.  What we need is a firing.  Maybe it's time Larry Rothschild goes.  Maybe we show Kevin Long the door. How about Girardi? How about we release someone cold just to prove a point?  Maybe we shake it up a bit, just to show that we are the Yankees and we mean business.  I don't like what I see ladies and gentlemen. As a kid growing up under the Steinbrenner era... this is unsettling. 

The Yankees scored 5 last night to the Red Sox 8.  Once again, the leak had to do with our starter.  This time it was Whitley.  He went 4, giving up 8 hits and 5 runs.  The pen, while they gave up the other 3, were pretty solid.  Yet, I need to tell you, while using 5 relievers to shut down a team is sometimes necessary, it's not always necessary.  In the back of my mind I feel as though Girardi is just not trusting relief to go too long, he's opening the binder way too much.  Sometimes you need to go with your gut.  Anyway...

The Yankees run scoring went like this:

In the 3rd, Jeter singled.  That allowed Ichiro to score.  In the 4th, both Teixeira and Beltran homered.

Both were solo shots. In the 5th, Brett Gardner doubled knocking in Ichiro again. Then Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out softly and that allowed Gardy to score.

In the end, no matter how hard you think the Yankees played, we fell short and it's a loss. 

Ladies and Gentlemen... Yankee brass needs to open their eyes... when did "getting by" qualify as Winners? When?

Final: Red Sox 8 - Yankees 5

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Sunday, June 29, 2014


Did you know that the Yankees are "heavily scouting" David Price?  When I first read about it, I laughed out loud. I mean how often do rival teams really trade players with each other?  But then I was thinking about the future and wondered if, something down the road could happen. Don't know what I mean? Keep reading...

Look, it was reported this week that the Yanks were looking at Price.
Now,as you can see, it's not like the Yankees are front and center here... there are a ton of teams involved... many are NOT division rivals... the Yankees are already behind on this trade rumor.

Then Brendan Kuty of wrote this:

"The Yankees need starting pitching, with starters CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova each on the disabled list. Fill-ins Vidal Nuno, David Phelps and Chase Whitley have mostly filled in admirably, but each have been rocked at times. Price might be the piece the Yankees need to keep it together."

Now, that's all fine and good, but what the hell do these writers think us fans are... stupid?  I mean, what are the chances of Price coming to New York? It's my opinion that chances are slim as hell. I mean he's already talked about how he hates the trade talk:

"I mean, obviously I think about [a possible trade]... That's why I've been in a bad mood the last week and a half. I think about it. You guys know that. And it's nothing I really want to talk about."

Right, plus, I think I remember Price saying he didn't want to come to New York because of the beard policy. You remember that stupid story right? We wrote about it in  IF THE DEAL'S RIGHT, YOU'LL SHAVE, Price said then, "I wouldn’t stay there very long then... I wouldn’t sign a long-term deal there. Those rules, that’s old-school baseball. I was born in ’85. That’s not for me. That’s not something I want to be a part of." Read HERE.

Look, the whole thing's silly.  Sometimes I wish that these stories didn't come out.  All it does is peak the interest of Yankee fans... usually for nothing. I mean, yes, it's interesting... but it's my opinion that this is all about nothing.

Now, if you're asking me if I want Price on the Yankees... of course the answer is Yes.  But I believe, that that only happens in a free agent situation.  Don't get all excited ladies and gentlemen... I just don't truly see this as a story.

Do you? Comment.

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...and I can't believe we're still talking about this...

If you read BYB enough, you know that I read Jason Keidel's piece the other day about Tino Martinez.  It was titled I Love Tino, But There’s No Way He Belongs In Monument Park. It was pretty critical of Tino being honored with a plaque in the Yankees' Monument Park.

I quickly pointed out the simplest reasoning for the Yankees decision when it was announced. It was my opinion, of course: "The Yankees have had great players over the years.  The best part of these great players is, when the time comes each year, the Yankees will sit down and decide who gets honored. When they do that, and a name pops up you love, you will once again, pay money to go see them get honored.  The Yankees are a machine. This idea was strategic... don't over think it.  The best part is, these players come back to the stadium, they get a proper honoring and then if they are worthy, they also get a plaque. It's the new Yankees.  Sure, the retired numbers are running out, but that's not what this is about.  This is about giving the nod to other great Yankees... just not great enough to have their number retired.  It's an acknowledgment. It's a "Thank you"..."

That was before Keidel's piece came out and it made perfect sense, plus, the understanding is clear; Tino was a great Yankee. No, his number will never be retired, so instead, they honored him. When the announcement went down, some were critical of Tino being put into Monument Park. Again though,  it's about "moments"... it's about Yankee greats at the time.

It's about Tino and his 4 World Series wins.  It wasn't about Tino being benched in 1996 for Cecil Fielder, as Keidel wrote.

Not, let me state that I love reading Keidel.  He touches a nerve and makes me think and I am NOT crticial of Keidel as a writer at all. I'm a fan, we just disagree... and so do some fans apparently.  I wanted to share these 2 comments since I wrote  IF IT WAS "KEIDEL MONUMENT PARK", TINO WOULDN'T BE THERE:

From computermaximus:

"Jason Keidel is clueless. Tino's moments make him a Yankee great. Timely hits over his time here. Tino might have had a postseason batting average of .233, but he had some huge hits. The grand slam in game 1 of the 1998 World Series, the huge game tying HR in the game 4 of the 2001 World Series. Also a bunch of defensive stops over the years that boggle the mind. Keidel thinks that monument park is for legends in time. That is the issue. It is for legends, Yankee legends. You may hit .250 in a Yankee uniform but if that one hit every four at bats was a huge, clutch hit, you earn yourself a spot in monument park."

From Michael Pacholek:

"Plus, Tino won 5 Pennants and 4 rings. The guy he replaced at first base? Zip. Yet he got the full treatment: Plaque and number retired. We are the Yankees: We have a different measure of such things. 

(In Photo: Jerry Grote)
Let the Mets honor their Ed Kranepool's and their Jerry Grote's in their team hall of fame, we should be about winning, and Tino was a winner."

In the end, that was really what it was all about in the Yankees' decision to choose Tino to be honored. No, he wasn't a .300 hitter, but what he offered while he was here, big, timely hits and a solid first basemen, got him picked.

Tino has fans and Tino, while I never thought of him as one of my favorite Yankee first basemen, deserves the nod.  Thanks for your comments guys...

Go Yanks...
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It was a battle of pitching talent last night.  On paper, and with the season he's had, you just expected Masahiro Tanaka to win it.  It was close the whole way through, but in the end, the also talented Jon Lester pulled out the win and now, with Yankee panic happening, some are wondering if the Tanaka-train has lost his chug. 

Are you kidding? Let's not do that ladies and gentlemen... you can't look at this loss and wonder what has happened to Tanaka.  It's baseball.  What you do is tip your cap on a really great pitching duel, and you look forward to the next game. It's not like Tanaka gave up 15 runs last night... he gave up 2.  Now, clearly the long ball hurt Tanaka, but he's not the old Phil Hughes... he just needs to harness it, because 1 thing is clear, the guy has 11 wins on the season... he will be fine.

Tanaka went the full 9, giving up 7 hits and 2 runs.  I think he's completed 3 games this season.  How often do we hear that in Yankeeland? Not much.  Last night Tanaka struck out 8.

The Yankee run scoring off Lester wasn't great.  1 measly run and 5 hits.  That run came when Derek Jeter grounded out and Brian Roberts scored in the process... that's it.

Final: Red Sox 2 - Yankees 1

We'll get'em back today.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014


Dear Baseball Gods,

I would like to thank you for the phenom this year named Mark Teixeira. I know some people may read that word "phenom" and laugh at me and think I have lost all of my marbles. While I acknowledge this is very possible, it is still none the less a true statement. When I look at the Yankee lineup lately I go through stages of grief. I think he is the only one who isn't causing me to violently twitch.

I don't think I can write up a funny and informative story here dictating all of the flaws I see in the lineup that would be less than 50 pages. So instead, I choose to praise the one person who seems to have some spark left in the lineup. Now I may be slightly biased here because let's face it....I do call him my favorite, but look at what is happening lately in the games. Seems like every good play the Yankees make (and there haven't been many lately) Tex has been in it.

Maybe Tex has been bitten by a radioactive spider or something, because he is putting up numbers we haven't seen in awhile and he has been the one consistent hitter in the lineup. I wish that spider would bite everyone else. 

So far he has 14 home runs and has an .829OPS and .352 OBP, he hasn't seen numbers like these since 2010. Maybe he is eating his Wheaties... maybe his funny talk segment "Foul Territory" has put some extra energy in him. I don't know, but I WISH he could spread that to the rest of the team because I think they took Geritol.

I know Tex has already had his injury problems this season, that always seems inevitable with him but he is still producing. We are close to the halfway point and he is trending toward the numbers we expect every year and the power is there. The opening game of the Red Sox series it was nice to see him hit up the middle and out of the evil jaws known as "The shift" that he seems to be victim to frequently. Plus, he is actually hitting the ball and putting it in play... a novel concept these days.

Now, I know this is a little more snarky for me, but it is true. Right now, Tex is the spark in this team. He is the heavy hitter, the reigning MVP, old reliable... insert any cliché you want here. He is doing his part but we need the rest of the guys to do theirs. So anyone who has been doubting Tex, it is time to rally behind him because without him this would be uglier than it already is. I can't handle that right now.

So baseball gods, please help Tex keep this up! Oh and please keep up the "Foul Territory" skits too because Casey was right....I am REALLY enjoying those and you have to give the people what they want right! So, we need wins and comedy too. Yankee nation depends on this and we will officially owe you one.


Jeana Bellezza

 --Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ


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I'm about to get real. I love the rivalry against the Boston Red Sox, but in the interest of my oldest sons and what they REALLY want to do last night... I picked the "Transformers: Age of Extinction" movie instead. My thinking was simple; "Vidal Nuno's pitching. I don't feel like being heartbroken tonight."  No, it's not a true fan mentality... but it was mine last night.  I had 2 kids that really wanted to see Optimus Prime kick ass. You do what you gotta do. I know you understand.

The movie was better than expected. Wahlberg was bad ass, Nicola Peltz was hot, and after alittle dialog with Orioles fan and BYB Reader, Rob on the social networks, I was pleasantly surprised when Mark Wahlberg himself "Favorited" my Tweet. 

Then I realized something... there would be no followup dialog... that's because Mark Wahlberg was probably watching the Yankees, Red Sox game...

I followed the game on my phone and for the BYB readers, I woke up super early this morning to watch it through. I am happy to report that the Nuno that's been missing so far this year was back... and I was thrilled to see him dealing!

Nuno went 5.2 innings. He gave up only 2 hits and zero runs.  There was only 1 more hit given up by Yankees pitching and it was off of Dellin Betances.  The rest of the pen did what they did best... hold down the opponent. 

The Yankees hitting and run scoring went like this;  It was amazing... it was the old Yankees we know and love!  In the bottom of the first, Mark Teixeira sacrificed home DJ. In the 4th, there were back to back homers from Kelly Johnson and Brett Gardner.

Johnson's was a 2 run shot knocking home Brian McCann.  In the 8th, Brian McCann homered as well knocking in 1.

It was in assault from the Yankees last night... as we fought evil and saved the world!.... Wait a minute... now I'm confusing the movie with reality.  I mean... the Yankees beat the Red Sox, defeated evil at the stadium last night. At the same time, I was in a crowded theater with 2 kids fascinated with the cool special effects and amazing story line of Transformers... as they too, defeated evil... a good night for all I'd say.

And Vidal Nuno? Mighty Nuno? He did great.  As I texted to fellow BYB writer last night Suzie Pinstripe... "Good for him."  You know, I've said this about baseball in general, and it applies to when you play, as much as when you root;  Sure, there's a rivalry here between the Sawx and the Yanks, but it's still a game.  Sometimes you need to step back, smell the roses... or, in my case, watch a Michael Bay flick... and come back later... you may be pleasantly surprised. I know I was... good job Vidal Nuno... way to go Yanks!

Final: Yankees 6 - Red Sox 0... Oh... and Optimus Prime won too... he always wins... bad ass.

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Friday, June 27, 2014


My friend and I were talking about what it means to be a good reader. While sometimes we may breeze through some articles, books and passages with such ease, other times we labor through texts as if they were wads of gum tugging onto our favorite shoes. I then said that sometimes Shakespeare was both to me- sometimes clear and practical and other times laborious and lackluster. Then I thought about the Yankees and decided that they were more like Shakespeare than ever. Humor me for a moment; think about this quote from the Shakespeare classic play Much Ado About Nothing,

“For it falls out
That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us
While it was ours.”

What does this mean? It means that something that we valued once as a prized possession, we now take for granted. And when it’s not there anymore, we long to have it back- we miss it and we didn’t even know its worth when it was with us everyday, until it was gone. Some could say the same about the Yankees and winning. Frankly, I would be one of those people. I miss winning. I miss winning consistently. I miss having confidence that we will score runs; that we can come back into a game. I long to have the powerful offense on the field doing its job and the defense that I know we are capable of having based on the statistics and history of the guys we have assembled to win. I miss winning. So, what can we do? Well, there are two specific strategies we can employ to get back what we lost. We can go out shopping and we can shuffle our players currently in the system, both here in the majors and down in the farm and we can take a closer look at our team mindset.

First, let’s go shopping. Who should we pick up? I have said it more than once but it is worth stating again: WE NEED TO PICK UP JEFF SAMARDZIJA NOW. He is young, he has a good ERA, he is injury-free and has a fresh arm, he is used to playing for a major market team, the spotlight doesn’t bother him, he wants to pitch with Mashahiro Tanaka, he is a competitor, he is confident and he wants to win. In an interview with ESPN’s Dan Patrick at the beginning of the season, Samardzija made his intentions very clear. “I want to win. I know how old I am. I know my when my prime years are. I don’t enjoy rebuilding. When you play at the highest level, you should be devoted to winning every year. I want to win. That is my No. 1 goal when I go on the mound.”

As Post-Tribune reporter Mike Hutton reports this week, “If he (Samardzija) leaves, it’ll be for a contender, and he can get back to doing what he did at Valparaiso High School when he led the team to a state runner-up finish in football and for Notre Dame, when he helped them get to two BCS bowl games. Winning.” I have made my point.

But let’s shuffle.  Alfonso Soriano needs to go to Triple-A or be released.  Love him, but it is time to go. Now, I am not going to long for him to come back like the Shakespearian quote above eludes, instead I think he is taking up valuable space on our team. We need a bigger bat.

I say, let's bring up Pete O'Brien from the minors and try him out.  "O'Brien, 23, has hit a whopping 25 homers and 55 RBIs between Class-A and Double-A. He's also posted a .266 batting average while shuffling between catcher, first base and DH," according to an article in  He is also playing in this year's Futures Game on July 13th at Target Field, kicking off All Star Weekend.  He and his teammate, pitcher Luis Severino are our two hottest prospects playing in this year's Futures Game and we need to make room for them in the Bronx. Severino is only 20, so he may have a couple of years, but why not bring up O'Brien now?

Lastly, let's talk mindset.  An assistant superintendent of a school district said to me recently that she wished she could take all of her budgeted professional development money and buy positive mindset for her entire teaching staff.  Brilliant idea, if she could.  Having a growth mindset is the first step to actualizing one's goals and the Yankees don't have it.  And we need it to win.  Perhaps some of the changes we make, using my suggestions of picking up Samardzija and shuffling our minor and major league players will help shift our mindset, but maybe, just maybe, we need some empowering presence in our dugout.  Presence in the likes of Mariano Rivera hanging around the team, quotes around the dugout that remind our players where they come from, opportunities for guys to spend time reflecting on their performance and remaining open to new strategies in hitting, pitching and fielding.  We never stop learning and we should never be so set in our ways that we refuse to be open to something new. This kind of fixed mindset keeps people from realizing their goals.  This kind of fixed mindset keeps teams from winning.

So, am I a good reader? Sometimes.  Can it be complicated to read sometimes? Yes.  Are the Yankees so complicated that they make me crazy? Yes.  Are they lackluster some days and engaging other days? Absolutely.  Much like Shakespeare, the Yankees are what they are- classic but sometimes just a bit overwhelming. But let's not fret over what we have lost.  Instead, let's go out there and get it.  Let's win.  Don't sit idle, Brian Cashman.  Now is our time to make a move toward our future.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @suzieprof


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Nearly ten days after his father’s death, Tony Gwynn Jr. returned to the Philadelphia Phillies lineup Tuesday night and received a standing ovation from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park.

Gwynn Jr.—who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth—held back tears as fans showed their love and respect for his family and father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who died from cancer on June 16. It was Gwynn Jr.’s first at-bat since June 13.

The heartwarming moment was punctuated by the thoughtfulness of Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who walked to the pitcher’s mound to give Tony Jr. time alone at the plate to gather his emotions.

In his post game interview, Gwynn Jr. expressed his love for baseball fans for showing support for his family. “It was really hard,” Gwynn Jr. told reporters. “Really hard. I was fortunate enough to get two balls to regroup a little bit, but I’ve never been through anything like that before. Under these circumstances, it was even tougher, but like I said it was much appreciated.”

The standing O was one of those stirring moments that reminds you why baseball is so special. Tony Gwynn was not only an exceptional hitter, but was also an exceptional person who loved the game and his fans. And in this difficult time, baseball fans are returning the love for him and his family.

--Alexis Garcia, BYB's "Eye on MLB" Columnist
Twitter:  @heylexyg

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Do you remember the line drive Tampa Bay Ray's Alex Cobb took to the head?  You can watch the terrifying video HERE. It was scary for everyone involved. It was scary for me just watching it. Of course he isn't the only pitcher to have ever taken a line drive to the head. JA Happ of the Blue Jays took a pretty nasty line drive to the face that fractured his skull. It's extremely unsettling when it happens.

Last Saturday, Alex Torres became the first pitcher to wear the protective hat designed for pitchers. The cap that the MLB approved in January is designed to keep pitchers safe in case of a line drive come backer. Torres came in after Cobb on that day last year. He knows how terrifying it could be to watch your teammate go down, and wonder if he will be okay. He might look a little ridiculous, but after what he witnessed first hand, I cannot blame him at all.

The safety of professional athletes has become a major issue in in sports in recent years. In the MLB alone we have the new home plate collusion rule. With new information regarding the seriousness of the repercussions of concussion being released, along with a number of lawsuits by players against the NFL, pro-sports is taking player safety serious.  These pitchers hats are just the next step. Of course they aren't mandatory yet. There is no telling when, or if they will become mandatory. This isn't the first change to head gear.

Batting helmets became mandatory incredibly late in the history of baseball. Even after the death of Ray Chapman, batting helmets had yet to be in use. The Dodgers used them in 1941 after two players were injured. In 1953 Don Zimmer took a pitch to the temple that knocked him unconscious. He had to undergo surgery, and remained unconscious for two weeks. Still they did not become mandatory until 1971.

I know some people take issue with these pitchers hats. But I'm sure there were people who took issue with batting helmets, catchers face mask, and chest plates, and a number of other protective measures. I understand that some fans, particularly older fans that are used to players without batting gloves, and pitchers going all 9 innings, believe that this softens the game. But I do hope that with time everyone will see this for what it is. A way to keep these players as safe as humanly possible without wrapping them in bubble wrap. My enjoyment of the game is not more important that the physical well being, and overall safety of these players. Again, it remains an option, it is not yet mandatory. There are some flaws in the hat that need to be perfected, but I think it is a great idea to implement these hats, and make them readily available for pitchers.

--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer 
Twitter: @e_morales1804


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