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MLB 2017 Home Run Derby Winner Aaron Judge Has a Shocking Performance

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MLB 2017 Home Run Derby Winner Aaron Judge Has a Shocking Performance

It is the All-Star break again which means that it is time to see the big bats of the League hit some Home Runs.

To start things off I think I should mention a few things.  This year’s Derby has a few Rule changes.  There is a timer of 4 Minutes instead of the 10 Outs for missing Home Runs.  This makes a huge difference as the Batters can hit an unlimited amount of baseballs.  It also means that the old records are up for grabs

Records like Josh Hamilton‘s 28 Home Runs in one round.  Some critics would call the Home Run Derby a glorified Batting Practice and I would agree with them that that’s exactly the way it feels at first.

The hype around it at first seems manufactured/forced and I felt while watching it that it really felt that way, like they were forcing it.  But after the first pairing, I began to realize just how difficult this must be to go 3 Rounds power hitting for 4 Minutes each.  It seemed to quell that argument and showed just how important the Home Run Derby is to the fans.  Last night was a real whopper and it was amazing to watch, even with the forced hype.

So before things got started they had a concert first, of course.  Every event these days seems to have a concert before it.  And while I waited for Pit Bull to finish is the latest song on curvy girls, while the dancers were shaking their booties.  I was thinking to myself who is going to win this year.  Believe it or not, I called out Miguel Sano as my dark horse pick for making it to the Finals of the HR Derby.  I also picked Aaron Judge as the winner in the Finals of the HR Derby.  Seeing as how he became the first player ever to hit 30 Home Runs before the All-Star break.  I felt like he was destined to win this one.

The First pairing was slow with Sano getting the win.  He just took his time with it.  Taking a lot of hits but slowing the pace down so that he would have enough endurance to go 4 Minutes, and 30 Seconds for the bonus (If you hit 2 HRs 440 Feet).  He survived the Round by 1 Home Run.  The next pairing was just as good as the first with Gary Sanchez winning it by 1 Homer.  When the 3rd pairing started to swing the bats you could tell that they were naturals.  With an uppercut swing Rookie, Cody Bellinger took it to go to the Semis.  One Homer ahead of Charlie Blackmon.

Then Justin Bour came up and hit a whopping 22 Home Runs.  It looked daunting but of course, he was facing Aaron Judge.  Judge would go on to hit 23 absolute bombs.  I mean seriously it was incredible!  He was on fire, and several of them neared the 500 feet mark.  One went 503 feet.  I was on the edge of my seat during his performance.

And you know what?

He made it look effortless like he was just warming up.  In point of fact, he was just warming up.  Sano and Judge would go on to meet in the Finals.  In fact, both of them would hit monster Home Runs.  Sano hit one high and deep while lightning flashed outside the Stadium Windows.  It was stunning.  Then Judge came up and during his outs, he had hit the roof of the Stadium at least twice, and those didn’t count as Homers even though they were going out.

It was ridiculous the way he was hitting!

His best Homer went 513 Feet and that was pretty much icing on the cake as he would go on to beat Sano [11-10].

The excitement was in the air and was palpable whenever anybody hit a dinger.  I feel as though after watching it that it really was something special, and I hate to contradict myself but it really did live up to the hype.  Aaron Judge looks like the real deal and he is someone to watch for in the second half of the Season.

“This Home Run Derby is for the Fans,” just as Aaron said after receiving his Trophy.

I'm a self published writer and illustrator. I follow Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, some Golf and some eSports.

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ScienceBall: How Major League Baseball Took Steroids

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As Bill Nye’s theme song told us: Science rules and inertia is a property of matter. So why don’t we get a little scientific?

There have been whispers of conspiracy surrounding Major League Baseball and the inordinate increase in home runs, in recent years. We all know that the MLB conducts thorough and scrupulous drug tests; PED’s are presumed to be out of the question. So what could have caused this increase in dingers?

The term “juicing the ball” has been thrown around loosely, almost in a satirical manner. This has come from the media. The MLB has made no formal, nor vociferous, statement concerning any deliberate tampering with their baseballs. But the truth is out there…

These allegations, surrounding the home run spike, come on the coattails of a numbers problem for the MLB: The TV ratings are bad. We the old-heads may still be watching, but the hip-youth are turning elsewhere for their sports entertainment. Preseason football killed Red Sox games, and it almost invariably beat local MLB broadcasts around the country. Wouldn’t it make sense for commissioner Rob Manfred and baseball brass to look for a way to stimulate TV ratings with the younger demographics? And what does everybody appreciate and find entertaining: Power.

Here’s where I have to admit that I have a tinge of a conspiracy theorist in me: I do. But, this “juiced-ball” ball phenomena is redolent of the steroid era. That’s alarming. Hitters are inexplicably hitting more home runs. Yeah, yeah I get the “whole evolution of the athlete theory”. This spike is too extreme to be attributed to improved mechanics and players being more educated. It just doesn’t make sense. Especially when juxtaposed with the not so far-gone PED age of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Moneyball

At this point in the 2017 MLB season, home runs per game (HRPG) are higher than they have been ever before. That’s right, even when Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were swinging it, they weren’t swinging it like this. HRPG has rapidly shot up since the 2015 season. If you look at 2-year intervals, the increase that we’re appreciating, since just 2 years ago, is much greater than any difference we’ve ever seen in such a span.

Let’s go back to 1998. Steroids are just starting to circulate through clubhouses. Ah, what a time to be alive! My dad always says “go look at Barry Bonds’ rookie card, then look at him in the late 90’s.” To say the dude put on some weight would be a massive understatement. He looked like he ate himself. But by the numbers, the HRPG for the 1998 MLB season was 1.04. By the 2000 season, in 2 years, it was jacked up to 1.17. Steroids are a helluva drug. That’s a 13% increase in home runs. After public outcry and the commencement of a witch-hunt, HRPG precipitously dropped back to 1.04 by 2002. Now, stay with me here.

In the 2015 season, the average for home runs per game was a normal 1.01. Fast-forward to now, with the 2017 regular season schedule all but completed, the HRPG is at 1.27. Much like the steroid era disparity, in 2 years the average has increased by 26%. That is twice as severe of an increase than the one we saw back when the players were juicing. So, clearly, someone, or something, has to be juiced here.

Scienceball

I brought this topic up casually to a nerdy know-it-all friend of mine, and he made an interesting suggestion. Very placidly and definitively he said, “they’re dehydrating the baseballs”. Of course, this sounded stupid, at first. I’ve had dehydrated fruit, and it’s pretty good, but why would anyone want dehydrated baseballs? He explained that, by dehydrating the baseballs, one could manipulate what is scientifically referred to as the “coefficient of reciprocity” or COR.

In laymen’s terms: It would make the ball “bounce” more violently. Every object on Earth harbors a certain amount of moisture. A water-logged ball does not bounce as well as a dry ball. The more dehydrated a baseball becomes, the greater it will bounce. Remember Sammy Sosa’s corked bat? Little did he know that he was influencing the COR of baseballs, only with a different piece of equipment. You’ll hear announcers say when the air is dry and hot, that the ball will “fly” during the game. That’s when the ball is naturally dehydrated.

Another piece of information, that expounds on this hypothesis, is the so-called “blister epidemic” in the MLB. This year, venerated pitchers such as Jake Arrieta, Rich Hill, and many others have complained of the mysterious formation of blisters on their fingers. These guys are not rookies. They’re forming blisters, years and years into their respective careers, in ways they’ve never formed them before. Hypothetically if the ball was dehydrated, it would have a more coarse and abrasive texture. The ball would have a surface that could easily induce blistering, after re-gripping and throwing it 100+ times per game.

Think about it: You would see no superficial change in the baseball’s appearance if it was dehydrated. MLB “ball-handlers” (for lack of a better term) would simply toss the baseballs into a baseball oven, before each game. Sadly there’s really no way to corroborate this theory unless you’re employed by the MLB and you can testify to doing this. If so please speak up. That would be cool.

In Reality

Again, this is all unconfirmed and is an unresearched conspiracy theory. The unfortunate thing about “eras” is that fans (and sometimes even players) don’t know when they are in one. We watch for the love of the game, and sometimes it’s best not to know how the sausage is made.

For now, we can say that it has been an exciting and action-packed season. Giancarlo Stanton is on track to be the first player to hit 60 home runs, since 2001. And it’s been fun to watch him as he attempts to accomplish this feat. But we can’t ignore suspicions. The spike in home runs, that we are appreciating this year, is not unprecedented. It is just much greater than its predecessor.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Batting or Pitching More Concerning?

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Red Sox

Red Sox Batting or Pitching More Concerning?

Tonight NESN will be broadcasting the game in virtual reality (for those who care). Wow, how futuristic! But before we let NESN get all virtual reality on us, let’s take a more realistic look at this exasperating Red Sox team. Most recently, they’ve been questionable on both sides of the baseball. But which element will ultimately be more detrimental to our hunt for postseason glory: The arms or the bats?

We are now in the month of September. Playoff baseball lies near on the horizon. There are only 24 games left on the schedule, and we are up by a tenuous 2.5 games on the Yankees. The heartbreak of losing that series, this past weekend in the Bronx, still lingers in the minds of fans.

It is undeniable that the Red Sox have faltered as of late. They are a measly 7-8 in their last 15 games. Our guys have been underperforming. And this is certainly not the time to ease off the gas-pedal. Despite the lead in the division, we have not secured a playoff birth just yet.

Both our pitching and our hitting has waxed and waned, like a candle in the wind. There appears to be an emotional dichotomy in this clubhouse. Some games, this Sox team takes the field clamoring to hear the words “play ball”. But almost just as often, we see a bunch of players who appear to be disinterested and defeated out of the gate. It makes you wonder if they have what it takes to be successful on the biggest stage.

Don’t get it twisted: Dave Dombrowski wants to win immediately. He’s not here for an unglamorous “rebuild”. Over the past 2 years, Dombrowski has assembled a competitive postseason team. He’s done this through aggressive trading, with a tenacious business approach. He’s surrounded our homegrown talent with bonafide star-power. On paper, we have one of the most formidable teams in the MLB.

We’ve all performed the eye-test. The Red Sox making a playoff run in 2017 should be safely presumed, right? Sure. But just how far should we expect them to go in October?

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Boston Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It certainly has been a scintillating week in Boston sports. We saw the completion of the biggest Celtics trade since the Big 3. The Sox went on a tear, then proceeded to get torn asunder in the Bronx. Our, Super Bowl winning and perfection projected Patriots are preparing to play their season opener next Thursday. How are we gonna tackle all of this news?

Don’t fret: It’s Friday. That means it’s time for “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.

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