Baseball and building is a weird combination when you think of the United Kingdom. It’s understandable to be a baseball fan if you are a builder in America, but when you are a builder in the United Kingdom you are expected to be a fan of many different sports, including rugby or football. In fact, if you are a builder in the United Kingdom, then you would be accepted as being a fan of American Football. But baseball in England is seen as a bit of a fake sport that you shouldn’t consider a real sport. If there is no contact involved, then in England it isn’t considered a sport at all.
However, some of us that are fans of the sport on the site always talk about it and I feel like we enjoy the sport more than they enjoy football or rugby. Usually they have things to moan about, or they always have something that they hate. But when we sit around, and we talk about baseball we always seem to talk positively. We always talk about the sport and we always have something good to say both about the players of the teams we support, and the players of other teams.
I also really like my job. I know that this blog is about baseball and not about building, but plenty of the carpenter London city has tend to like other sports. But we can all agree that being on the site is just as much fun as watching any sport. We have a great laugh and to be honest I like the amount that we get to use our hands. We are constantly about and most of the time we feel stronger for all the heavy lifting, which is nice strangely enough. Many people hate that type of work, but I guess that is why so many of us tend to drift towards this job.
By far, one of my favourite players that I have ever watched was the 2001 MVP of the AL, Ichiro Suzuki. Unlike many baseball fans, I love it when a foreign player comes into a sport and absolutely smashes it. It happens a lot in football, or what many would call soccer. It doesn’t happen much in American sports such as Basketball and American Football, but when it does happen it always feels like a spectacle rather than what is natural. However, when Suzuki started playing, it was clear that he wasn’t a token foreigner playing nor a spectacle, but rather a natural talent.
Suzuki was very enjoyable for me to watch and it is no surprise that he became such a mega star of the support both in Japan and in the United States. Here in the United Kingdom, we may have loved him just as much as the Japanese did, as we have a very large soft spot for all foreign sports athletes who do well in a foreign country. So, when he became the MVP, we were all ecstatic for him. I personally see him as a future hall of famer based on the way he was playing in the past. Although this could be considered quite hyperbolic when judging his whole career.
Unlike many sports stars that go on to be global stars, Suzuki was never what you would call a “golden boy”. He started the first two seasons of his career very badly and it was thought that he would become nothing more than just an average player. That was until he was given a real chance, and very quickly he became a record breaker. It was a pleasure to see him while he was at his best, as I fear that if he was ever ignored for his time in Japan, he never would have made it properly.
I’m going to spend the next few blog posts talking about some of my favourite players over the last 25 years. I want to start off with Sammy Sosa, who was the national league MVP in 1998. Sammy Sosa was a weird type of player, especially as if everyone was to be truly honest, no one had expected him to become an MVP. That isn’t an insult on his talents at the time, it’s just about how he went from being an average player to a superstar within the game. Baseball is the type of player you never would have expected to have such a high and low story, especially since not many players have that type of career within Baseball itself.
One of the things that really bring down Sosa’s career was the suspicion of steroid usage. Now, I don’t know too much about the subject and I’m not sure anyone, but Sosa knows the truth of the story, but I am inclined to believe that he still had the talent to take him to the heights that he had reached. I think until the story is truly clear and he confesses or denies with absolute proof, he cannot be inducted into the half of fame. This might be a tough subject to consider, but I believe while it is impossible to determine if a career was tainted by drugs or not, it would be unfair to clean athletes.
I do think that if the stories regarding the steroid usage aren’t true, then he should be given the benefit of the doubt. He still had a great career and was a superstar within his prime but reaching the Hall of Fame is a true pinnacle of any career. Hopefully, the true story comes out and we can have the true story, although chances are he probably did take them!
The 2017 season for the Houston Astros was probably the best season for them. They have been playing in the MLB for about 54 seasons now, and while they have always been a fun team to watch, they have never really achieved great things or considered a giant among the league in all honesty. They are one of the small teams that are considered either underdogs, or those considered to be among the bottom percent. They absolutely destroyed their AL West division competition, ensuring that they would then go onto the ALDS. They had beat the Red Sox in four games, which is considered almost an upset at the time. They then went onto the ALCS and had defeated the Yankees afterward. While the Yankees aren’t the same team they used to be, this is still an amazing feat for a team as small as the Astros are. This was also only their second league championship in the history of the franchise.
What is the most important however, is the world series title. They had beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3, making them the 2017 World Series champions and this has been the only time within their history to ever win the title. The regular season was set with records for them, including the highest batting average, on-base percentage and even slugging percentage. Their second basemen Altuve even won the AL MVP and SI sportsperson of the year. These are huge honours for the Astro, since only Jeff Bagwell in 1994 had won the AL MVP as a player for the Astros. While none of this sounds like a big deal to most fans of other franchise teams, this is a huge deal to the Astros because this may be the peak of the Astros franchise, and the best they will ever see. So we should enjoy it while it lasts.
From 1993 to 2017, the world of baseball has seen some dramatic turnaround. Looking at the world series alone, it is hard to remember that the Atlanta Braves were the world series winners in 1995 and 1996. Back in the day that wouldn’t seem too crazy because they even won the world series back in 1992. But now, it would be considered lucky for them to even get into the world series, let alone win the thing. Even the Astros, who won in 2017, had yet to win a world series since who remembers when. But these things always seem to happen in sports. As a football fan too, I remember how crazy it was that Leicester City had won the Premier League title, and even went to the quarter finals of the Champions League the next season. You rarely see such turnaround in teams that are considered the better ones, but this only seems to happen in Football and Baseball, which is part of the reason I love baseball so much.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the Mets in 2019 more than anything however. I’m not a fan of the team, and there is a part of me that would like to see them lose more than they currently are, but they still have a good team that I think can still entertain. Another team that I have been surprised about are the Astros. The face that they even made it to the world series in 2017 was amazing, especially winning the thing. It is so rare to see that type of upset in the baseball field now, and I really would like to see them go all the way again next year. They had such a great roster too.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this post was a bit of a home run for you! I hope you are all doing well!
Not much to talk about in my first post, I just hope everyone who is based in Manchester that likes baseball gets a chance to read!