A look back at Baseball in May.

This is the second monthly look at baseball I’ve done and hopefully the last. I’d like to do baseball more often. I should have more time now that the NBA season is coming to a close. I also decided to quit my regular job so that should also give me more time.

The Hottest Teams

1. The Arizona Diamondbacks are rolling right now. They’ve won seven games in a row 15 of the last 17 games. The Diamondbacks are on the very definition of a hot streak. Just two and a half weeks ago the Diamondbacks were last in the division with a 17-23 record. It looked like the D’backs that we were all familiar with. They were able to put together a string of games that showed exactly what kind of team they are. Arizona has a decent rotation lead by David Hernandez who posts a 1.85 ERA in 3 games pitched. The D’backs also boast a steady offense ranking 5th in runs scored per game. Arizona scores 4.78 runs per game. Arizona is now in 1st place in the NL West.

2. The Milwaukee Brewers are 8-2 in their last ten games. It didn’t hurt that they played a series against the Nationals. I think they’re going to get swept in this series with the Reds to be honest but that doesn’t mean that the Brewers aren’t a good team. Milwaukee has a pretty shoddy pitching rotation if you ask me but, they are supplemented with an extremely potent offense. Ryan Braun is batting .318 on the season with 12 home runs and 39 RBI. Prince Fielder  has 11 homers with a batting percentage of .291. The Brewers will always have an opportunity to be one of the best teams in baseball because of how well they play at home. The Brew Crew is just 14th in the league in average runs per game  with 4.24 runs per game but, when they’re at home that number jumps to a stunning 5.54 runs per game.

The Parity in Baseball

Is parity a good thing in sports? Which is better, dynasties or unpredictability? I personally think the parity is the best. When every team has a chance to win on any given night, it means that you have to watch the games to know who will win. No longer is it a foregone conclusion that Yankees beat the Rays despite the fact that the Yankees payroll is roughly 5 times larger than theirs. A lot of this has to do with teams being smart. Teams that don’t have the deep pockets are far more responsible. They scout more carefully and focus on their farm systems a whole lot better.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau there are 24 teams within 5 games of the division leader or wild card. The last time this happened since 1999. I think having parity in a sport is a good thing. It draws new fans who want to hear what the buzz is about as well as old fans who always thought that their team had no chance. It is refreshing when everything isn’t about the Yankees and Red Sox.

Should there be a Buster Posey rule?

Another big thing in the month of May was the injury of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Posey was injured in a bang-bang play at home plate when he and Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins collided. There was a debate that arose from that play. A play that left Posey with a broken ankle and an ended season. The debate circled around wether or not a play like that should be legal. Should a runner be able to “crash” into a catcher at the plate? No matter how you look at it a collision in any sport is potentially dangerous. Especially in a sport like baseball which is not particularly known for its physicality. Realizing this, I still believe that it should be a legal play for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that players are not seriously injured on that play often. Posey’s injury was a freak accident. I’ll admit that when I’ve seen collisions since that I do in fact cringe but, running into the catcher at the plate is one of those plays where 9 times out of 10 both guys get up just fine. The second reason is that a rule against this would change the game too much. This is one of the signature plays of baseball. Running into the catcher to stop him from getting you out or to break up a possible double play is as routine as anything in the sport. Having a runner hesitate for fear of hitting a catcher would not be good for the sport and it would hinder that particular athlete from doing all he can do to score.

What happened to Posey was truly regrettable. Cousins felt bad about it afterward as well. Posey is one of the best hitters on the team and without him it will be an uphill battle for the World Series champs to defend their title, but I don’t think there should be a rule change because of it.

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