Even though the all star break is two weeks away, each team is at or around the half way point in terms of games played. After watching games during this period, I have some thoughts and observations.
First of all, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been in a couple bench clearing brawls. One of which lead to a collarbone injury to pitcher Zach Grienke. Brawls need to go away. I am all for retaliating for a hit batsmen. Hit an opposing batter(nothing at or near the head) or make a hard slide in the basepaths. An eye for an eye. End it there! Bench clearing brawls are primitive and assinine. Teams invest too much money in players and when they get in a fight, a season or career can be ruined. Rant over!
Looks like the status for the 1962 New York Mets as the worst team in modern history is safe. This year's top candidates, Houston Astros and Miami Marlins, to threaten this mark both have reached the 30 win mark. Even if they trade a couple players away, they will win more than the 40 games that the 1962 Mets did.
Pittsburgh Pirates are the first to win 50 games and has the best record in baseball. I am happy for the fans. Pittsburgh is a good baseball town with a long history. Also happy to see Kansas City and Cleveland doing well and teams who weren't expected to compete like San Diego and Colorado do well also. These small market teams competing with the larger ones is an added benefit of the elimination(or mostly) of steriods. During the steriod era, the home run was rampant and the big market teams were the ones who could afford the slugger and ended up winning more games. Now that home runs are down, small ball is used more which allows smaller markets to win more games.
Pitchers J.A. Happ and Alex Cobb both took liners off the head this season. I hope baseball finds a solution so this happens less. It is very scary and hope it doesn't end a career in the future. Best solution is probably some protective gear for the pitcher. I don't see any adjustments to balls and bats. Runs are down to level of well before steriod era, this would cause more elimination of scoring.
With scoring down, it is probably why we are seeing more extra inning games this year, especially the long marathon ones. I am also surprised to see a lack of a no hitter this year so far. Anibal Sanchez and Yu Darvish came the closest and expect at least a couple to be thrown during second half.
Speaking of second half, I expect the announcement of suspensions from Miami Biogenesis clinic to be named soon after All-Star break. The All Star game is a celebration of the game and players and MLB doesn't want suspensions to be the talk during this time. MLB will announce it soon after and move on. Media will soon cover trade deadline talks and pennant races. Steriods will then will be shoved to the side.
Well, those were my thoughts of the first half. I am looking forward to some exciting pennant races and great individual performances. Good luck to your favorite team and players.