The Baseball Report Volume IV Issue 9
July 27, 2000
From The Editor,
The trading deadline is this Monday, July 31st. The Baseball Report will cover it in full!
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Flying High as a Cardinal by Emily Liner
The St. Louis Cardinals had a great first half this season. They have a .586 winning percentage and are leading the Cincinnati Reds by eight games in the National League Central standings. Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, and Rick Ankiel have been in the limelight with their terrific seasons, but they are not the only ones contributing to the Cardinals' success. Right handed starting pitcher Darryl Kile has also played an important role in the Cardinals' flight to the top.
Kile started his major league career with the Houston Astros. He pitched seven seasons, from 1991 to 1997, on the hard turf of the Astrodome, winning seventy-one games and losing sixty-five with a respectable 3.92 ERA. 1993 was a terrific year for him. In that year he won fifteen games and lost eight with a 3.51 ERA, won nine straight decisions from May 29th to July 31st, was named to the NL All Star team, and pitched the ninth no-hitter in Houston Astros' history on September 8, 1993 at the Mets' Shea Stadium in New York City. He had another All Star season in 1997, winning nineteen games and losing seven with a 2.57 ERA, and holding opposing batters to a career-best .225 batting average.
In 1998 Kile signed with the Colorado Rockies as a free agent. During his two-season stay at Coors Field he lost his control, winning twenty-one games and losing thirty with a 5.91 ERA. His 1999 season, his worst, was cut short in late September with a shoulder injury. His 7.44 home ERA that season was the highest in the majors. He gave up a career-high 109 walks. Opposing batters hit .298 against him, also a career-high. Speculation arose that his best days were behind him. In 2000 the Rockies traded him along with closer Dave Veres and a prospect to the Cardinals for Manny Aybar, Rick Croushore, Jose Jimenez, and a prospect.
Says Kile, "I went out there every five days and tried to do what I could do, but things just didn't work out."
St. Louis has changed Kile's tune. With the help of Cardinals' pitching coach Dave Duncan, and perhaps the change in altitude, he is improving at a large rate. In the first half of this season, he has eleven wins, behind only Randy Johnson in the NL, and five losses with a 4.51 ERA. He has held opposing batters to a .308 batting average, ninth best in the NL. He has 115 strikeouts and thirty-three walks, which makes him tied for the NL's sixth best strikeouts to walks ratio. Contrary to his projected season pitching statistics, 180 strikeouts and seventy-five walks, he is on pace for 230 strikeouts and sixty-six walks. His best outing so far was opening day, in which he pitched six innings, struck out four, and allowed only two hits and one earned run. These numbers earned him his third NL All Star nomination. He pitched sixth in this year's mid-summer classic, and in two innings of work he allowed two hits and no earned runs.
Kile still had trouble at Coors Field on April 13th when the Cardinals visited the Rockies. In 1.2 innings he gave up eight hits and allowed eleven runs, eight of which were earned. Luckily, that was the only series the Cardinals had at Coors Field this season.
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Bring Back Rose by Josh Murphy
For the last decade, Pete Rose has been banned from professional baseball. Even though Rose can be reinstated by the Commissioner's office, Bud Selig refuses to even attempt such an action. This leaves baseball fans everywhere asking the obvious question: "Why not?"
Selig argues that Rose signed a contract that bans him from baseball for life and now Selig has no choice but to honor it. If only it were that simple for Selig. The truth, though, is not so black-and-white. Indeed, Rose did sign the contract banning himself for life, but the contract included a stipulation that allowed him to apply for reinstatement a year after the immediate ban took place. Therefore, there is an opportunity for Rose to be reinstated. The only problem is that Selig has all but denied Rose this fair and legal opportunity.
True, Rose admitted that he was a compulsive gambler, that he bet on baseball games, and that he even bet on games involving the Reds, whom he managed at the time of his ongoing scandal. However, there is no proof that he bet against the Reds, nor is there any proof that he fixed any games in order to win bets. So, in that case, what is the problem? Is it that he bet on games, breaking an MLB rule?
In fact, that is the problem. He violated a rule that forbids baseball personnel from gambling on baseball games, even though it probably had little to no effect on his baseball career, other than ending it. But the problem is, Major League rules have been severely broken many times, and the penalties handed down from the Commissioner's office have been far less severe than complete and utter expulsion from the game.
For instance, numerous ballplayers have been fined and suspended for doing drugs. As far as the majority of the population is concerned, drug use is a far greater offense than gambling, yet drug users get second chances, third chances, et cetera, and a gambler gets banned for life. True, there is the argument that drug use is a disease, a mental disability, and it is. However, so is compulsive gambling.
Darryl Strawberry is a prime example of a repeat drug offender. Strawberry is a cocaine addict, and is currently suspended for the whole 2000 baseball season. This is Strawberry's fourth suspension for drug use. Give Strawberry credit for at least trying to overcome his addiction, but the point still stands: He'll get another chance next year, even though he's been suspended four times for drugs, and Pete Rose is still not getting a second chance.
The problem that the Commissioner's office has with Pete Rose and his gambling is that nobody in baseball wanted another Black Sox scandal. The scandal involving Rose looked more and more like the Black Sox scandal as time went on, and the results of both scandals ended up matching each other: certainties for the Hall of Fame getting banned from baseball forever.
The problem with getting banned from baseball and the Hall of Fame is that the Hall is where the greatest baseball players are recognized and enshrined for having a terrific career. Obviously, Rose had a stellar playing career, amassing a record 4,256 hits, leading his team to three World Series championships, and playing with a hard-nosed style that few ballplayers, if any, can match, earning him the nickname 'Charlie Hustle.' However, Rose and his amazing career are not enshrined in Cooperstown and may never be, simply because of something he did off the field.
Many people are in the Hall of Fame, or will be heading there, that are not role models by any means. Albert Belle could be Coperstown-bound, and he is no Richie Cunningham by any means. Even Mickey Mantle played games while drunk. The list goes on and on.
Sure, Pete Rose made a mistake. He admitted it many times. Everyone makes mistakes. The worst mistake Rose could possibly make was to gamble and cheat on his income taxes as a result. Gambling is a mental disorder, and he has been treated for it. He has paid for his sins, and he has suffered long enough. So have his fans, who have longed for justice. It is time for justice to be served. He has paid his dues as a compulsive gambler, and now it is time for him to be rewarded as a baseball player. Let Pete Rose back into the game where he belongs.
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Q: What exactly is a Baltimore Chop? Where did the term originate from?
A: A Baltimore Chop refers to a ball hit off the ground that bounces high in the air. The second part of the question will be answered in next issue, as we will submit it to the readers as this week's trivia question.
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