RIP Bruno Sammartino

Bruno Sammartino died earlier this week.  Long ago when I watched pro ‘rassling on black-and-white television sets, Bruno Sammartino was the champ and the guy who beat up all the bad guys who were “terrorizing” the rest of the ‘rassling cast.  He was 82 years old.

Rest in peace, Bruno Sammartino. had a report yesterday saying that Cubs’ first-baseman, Anthony Rizzo, said on the local ESPN Radio station that he thinks the season is too long and there is too much baseball.  In a show of self-awareness and candor, he also said that he knows that would mean salary reductions for the players; yet, he thinks a shorter season makes sense.  He has obviously thought about this concept for more than a moment or so because he said that there would have to be a transition period from today’s environment to a shorter season to accommodate all the guaranteed contracts out there.

He is clearly not enamored with starting the season in Chicago in early-April.

“I think playing in the cold sucks … When you think of Cubs and Cardinals, you think of a beautiful Saturday at Wrigley Field.  You don’t think about playing in 20 degrees.”

He also said the season could be shortened on the calendar by scheduling double-headers prior to scheduled off-days.  I have advocated both shortening the season and adding double-headers to the schedule to fit the season into a more climatically-friendly part of the calendar.  I realize that my idea has little chance of happening – – and Anthony Rizzo agrees with me on that point too.

Even in a part of the country where bleak weather conditions are not threatening the health and questioning the sanity of local baseball fans, there are some “attendance issues”.  Recently, the Miami Marlins hosted the NY Mets on a weeknight and according to the Marlins drew fewer fans that night than did their AA affiliate, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.  Granted, it was the home opener for Jax; nonetheless, the Jumbo Shrimp drew 6960 fans while the Marlins drew 6150.

  • The AA team drew 13% more fans than the MLB team.

Let that sink in and recognize that the Marlins had a miserable year at the gate in 2017 drawing a meager 1.58M fans for the season.  This year – with new owners and a completely gutted roster, the Marlins are on track to draw only 1.07M fans and that is the lowest in MLB.  Even on Opening Day, the Marlins did not come close to selling out; they only drew 34,000 fans for that event.

For this year, the Marlins say that they are going to report attendance only as the number of tickets sold.  According to reporting by the Miami Herald, last year’s attendance figures of 1.58M fans included tickets that were given away and that the ‘paid attendance” for the Marlins season was less than 900K fans.  Logically, Miami should be a viable MLB market given the popularity of baseball in Caribbean nations and the large Hispanic community in the Miami area.  The fact is that has not been the case.  Previous owners – Wayne Huizenga and Jeffrey Loria – have been blamed for the Marlins’ “image issues”; now the new owners fronted by Derek Jeter are taking heat for dismantling the core of a good young team.  All in all, this viable baseball market seems to have been squandered…

One of the players the Marlins sent elsewhere was Giancarlo Stanton.  Stanton has not set the world afire in NY for the Yankees so far.  Consider:

  • In 16 games, he is hitting .197
  • He has 13 hits and 3 homeruns
  • His OPS is only .702
  • He has struck out 29 times.

It is the strike out stat that stands out to me.  He is averaging 1.8 strikeouts per game and that would project to 294 strikeouts for a season.  That is an outrageous number even when you temper your reaction to it based on the small sample and the large extrapolation.  When compared to another great Yankee outfielder, Joe DiMaggio, those strikeouts are even more alarming:

  • In the 1941 season – the year of the 56-game hitting streak – DiMaggio played in 139 games and had 622 plate appearances.  He struck out a total of 13 times.
  • In fact, DiMaggio had 7 seasons where he struck out 30 or fewer times.

DiMaggio struck out a total of 369 times in his 13 season in MLB.  Stanton has been in MLB for 8 years and a month and has already struck out 1169 times.  Wow…

Finally, Richie Incognito seemingly announced his retirement from the NFL – and then he rescinded that announcement – and then he said he would report to the Bills’ OTA – and then he said he wanted out of Buffalo – and then …  I have no idea if or where Richie Incognito will play football this year or in future years, but in the midst of all the announcements, Brad Dickson tweeted this comment:

“Richie Incognito is retiring. The NFL’s loss is dwarf tossing’s gain.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………