The Urena Express: 6/16/21

By Steven Urena

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I have mixed feelings about the sticky stuff scandal. 

On one hand, I feel that every pitcher that puts any foreign substance on the baseball is cheating. It’s in the rulebook! You can’t put anything on the ball. The substance gives the pitcher better grip, control, velocity and movement. Without it, the pitcher loses their edge. I don’t care if everyone is using something. You are breaking the rules to gain a competitive advantage. Don’t give me this “well, now batters won’t get hit on the head” bologna. That’s not why pitchers are using it. They are using it to get outs.

On the other hand, it’s absolutely absurd how many guys are using it and admitting to it. If you did not see Tyler Glasnow’s interview, you should. I attached it below. Glasnow blamed his elbow injury on not being able to use rosin and sunscreen. I believe every word of what he said. Grip the ball harder and differently and you know it’s going to hurt in places it normally does not hurt. Glasnow is just so casual about his usage of sticky stuff and he seems really upset that he can no longer use it. It’s almost like blaming the teacher for not letting you cheat on the final exam when he or she has allowed you to cheat the entire semester. Players are not afraid to come out and say they are doctoring baseballs. It’s nuts. 

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=31640809

I sympathize with these pitchers a little. They’ve been encouraged to use sticky stuff on the ball since they first got into pro ball. Letting go is not going to be easy. From what I gathered, balls in the show are really slick. It takes time and preparation to get a feel for the balls. 

My final verdict…stop using it. You think Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds were happy when they had to stop using steroids? No way Jose! The steroids gave players an advantage and once they lost it, their production went down. Level the playing field. I get it, quitting cold turkey is never easy. I just can’t see a world where MLB agrees to letting players put substances on baseballs. As a hitter, I would be furious. Why are pitchers allowed to gain an advantage and I can’t take steroids or use video cameras to tell me what pitch is coming? Burn.

Greenies. Remember those? These little speed pills were a part of the game for a long time too. Players often said they felt “naked” when they played without greenies. I remember Daryl Strawberry saying that when he was on greenies the ball looked like a beach ball coming towards him. I know guys that played pro ball in the 90’ and early 2000’s that said they used to pop them like candy. Dock Ellis (threw a no-hitter on LSD in 1970) said he used to try and take as many greenies as he could before a start. From what I know, eventually greenies were used less and less.

You didn’t hear it from me, but Adderall is another well kept secret in baseball. This little guy is a stimulant that increases attention and helps one stay focused. Word around the campfire is many players seek prescriptions and use the drug to deal with the rigors of a long baseball season. Stay tuned on this one.

Jacob deGrom

This guy is lights out. If he stays on this pace, deGrom will top Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA (best in the modern era), win the Cy Young and the MVP. I have not seen anything like him since Pedro Martinez’s 1999 campaign. I really, really hope he stays healthy. The only time I will root against him is if he’s playing my Dodgers. Did you know deGrom has recorded more hits (5) than earned runs allowed (4)? He also broke his leg once and walked it off. Another time he slammed a revolving door. I also heard he popped a wheelie on a unicycle! What am I getting at? Jacob deGrom is unreal. 

Young Guns

Vladdy Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and Ronald Acuna Jr. There’s nothing quite like being young. You can do anything because it has not occurred to you that you can’t. These three young stars are off to great starts. It’s really fun to watch. They remind me of Ken Griffey Jr. Many of us were not Mariners fans but “The Kid” was everyone’s favorite player when I was growing up. Baseball is a war of attrition. It’s a long season. Baseball chews you up and spits you out if you are not a mental warrior. Let’s see if these three have what it takes to stay consistent all season.

Giant Surprise

I hate to admit it, but the San Francisco Giants keep on winning games. I don’t know if the hate for the black and orange is just ingrained in my LA DNA but I don’t see them running with the division. I still think the Dodgers will find their groove and win the West. That does not mean the Giants still don’t have my respect. They took it to us not too long ago (after we swept them). 

Sad Diego

The Padres have been playing lousy. I know I am an LA homer and my vision can sometimes be blurred. With that being said, I wonder why the Padres are constantly in the top 5 of the MLB Power Rankings but have been in first place for all of one week. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve balled out. They have had some moments. Look at the standings though, and they are rarely at the top of the West. Especially since their recent bad stretch of games. 

Los Doyers

I expect the boys in blue to win every game they play. Period. Expectations are high, sometimes too high. Nonetheless, nothing hones your skills like necessity. LA is not going to be happy unless we bring home some more hardware. I’m still not sold on us but I am more enthusiastic as time passes. Shoot, I was happy to see Kenley come in the game the other day to close it out. What is this? Bizarro World?!

Albert Pujols

Forrest Gump would say that Pujols with the Dodgers is like a duck in water. Whatever that means.

Mookie Betts

It was nice to see Mookie have some big hits last night. We are paying him a lot of money. He needs to be the guy more often.

Dead Wrong

Tune in next week so you can see how wrong I was about my playoff predictions, Cy Young and MVP picks. It’s always important to admit when you are wrong. 

The Urena Express appears every Wednesday at JoeTorosian.com

Contact Steve Urena at:

Email: theurenaexpress@gmail.com

Twitter/IG: @theurenaexpress

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