The Urena Express: 7/6/21

Steven Urena

By Steven Urena 

All-Star Game
Am I the only one sick of fans determining who gets to play in the All-Star Game (ASG)? Yes, I am a little salty that Walker Buehler and Justin Turner did not get voted in. Quite honestly, Julio Urias and Kenley Jansen deserved a helluva look too. Max Muncy is the best first baseman in baseball this year, but he’s not starting because MLB fans hate the Dodgers. Fact!!! However, my blue blood is not the issue. I would much rather see MLB get it right than see Dodgers get to play in the ASG. 

I love Mookie Betts and Mike Trout, but they DO NOT deserve to play in this year’s ASG. Let’s face it, the ASG is a popularity contest, and it’s been that way for a very long time. Honestly, the average MLB fan doesn’t care about who’s the best. They want to see their favorite or hometown players get the call. 

The Baseball Writers Association of America, The Associated Press Baseball Writers, MLB coaches, and MLB players should vote who gets to play in the ASG. They cover these guys, and the players play against each other. Give them a vote each, and I guarantee the results will be so much better. Sure, rules will have to be in place, especially for players and coaches, but I trust these men far more than I trust a 10-year-old boy from St. Louis voting for his guys 100 times. It’s time MLB, make it happen!

Home Run King
I recently ran a poll on Twitter and Instagram. I wanted to know who my followers thought was the Home Run King. Option #1 was Barry Bonds. Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2003. His knock? He took steroids. Option #2 was Roger Maris. Maris hit 61 in 61. Unfortunately for Maris, his feat was not honored until 1987 when Commissioner Frick determined that there would not be two separate records for players that played in 162 game seasons and 154 game seasons. Option #3 was Babe Ruth. Ruth slugged 60 homers in 1927. If Ruth had eight extra games, he almost certainly would have had more home runs. Option #4 is Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani currently leads the MLB in home runs with 31. Let’s say he finishes with 62. That would give him the nod over Maris and Ruth. He could still, and will most definitely, fall short of Bonds, but Bonds took steroids. Who’s your vote?

Currently, my vote is for Roger Maris. Since 1961 no man, with a clean reputation has hit more home runs in a season than him. Sure, it may have been an easier game then than today but, 61 home runs is 61 home runs, and Maris took care of business. I would love to see Ohtani make a run at his mark, and I would unofficially crown him the Home Run King if he did hit more than 61. What Bonds did was remarkable, but unfortunately, we all know he took performance-enhancing drugs. If he did not take the drugs, he would not have hit 73 in 2007 and would not have finished with the all-time record of 762. I know everyone was taking PEDs back then, but only one man took possession of baseball’s most cherished records.

The poll was all over the place. Most people voted for Barry Bonds to be dubbed the Home Run King. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I just can’t get over the PED usage. Without PEDs, that record will NEVER be broken. It’s not humanly possible to hit 74 home runs in 162 games. Besides, if anyone gets close, they would crumble under pressure. 

Sticky Stuff
Spin rate is down, and batting averages are up. Shocker…not.

All-Star Bank Accounts
I already mentioned that Trout (injury) and Mookie (performance) do not deserve to play in this year’s game. I also feel Nolan Arenado should not be there. What do they have in common? They all own three of the richest salaries in baseball. 

Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Francisco Lindor and Giancarlo Stanton. What do these guys have in common? You guessed it, they are also making A TON of money this season and are not playing in the ASG. You would think the wealthiest players are the best players, but that does not seem to be the case. Clayton Kershaw is another highly paid player not on the ASG roster, but you could make a case for why he should be voted in. Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera also own two of the richest contracts in baseball and are not All-Stars, but I’ll cut them a little slack since they are out of their prime.

LA Dodgers
The Dodgers have been such a headache this season. Despite the frustration, they still have one of the best records in baseball. Three questions remain. The first is Trevor Bauer. If you’re a Dodger, you gotta be a little worried. Losing Bauer might be too much to overcome for the Boys in Blue. The second is the starting rotation. Well, more like Tony Gonsolin. We know Bauer, Kershaw, Urias, and Walker Buehler are going to take care of business. Gonsolin has big shoes to fill. He looked good last night. The last is will the Dodgers fire on all cylinders when everyone is back? Two losses in a row to the Marlins is not a good look, but it’s baseball, and they were due. 

Crow Baked in Humble Pie
I made my predictions before the season. Let’s see how I’m doing at the halfway points.

NL West
My Pick: Dodgers
Currently in 1st Place: Giants
Prediction: The Dodgers. The boys in blue will find their groove and win the west again. The Giants and Padres are putting up quite a fight, but we got talent and experience. That’s a great combo.

NL Central
My Pick: Cardinals
Currently in 1st Place: Brewers
Prediction: I was dead wrong! The Brewers have one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball (WoodRUFF and Burnes) and are running away with the division. The Cardinals are below .500 and don’t seem to be the Cardinals of old. 

NL East
My Pick: Mets
Currently in 1st Place: Mets
Prediction: I don’t see the Braves pulling ahead of the Mets. If they do, it won’t be for long. The NL East has easily been the most disappointing division in baseball this year. A lot of folks out there thought they would be the best division in baseball. I was not one of them. 

NL Wild Card
My Pick: Padres
Prediction: The Padres are so streaky! Hot and cold, just like Katy Perry. They will finish strong and get in the dance, sorry Giants!

AL West
My Pick: Astros
Currently in 1st Place: Astros
Prediction: The A’s seemed to have a firm grip on the division, but the Astros caught fire and have not looked back. The Astros got the experience, talent and they got a chip on their shoulder. They win the West.

AL Central
My Pick: Twins
Currently in 1st Place: White Sox
Prediction: LOSERVILLE – Population: Me. I was way off! I picked the Twins to win the division, and they are in dead last. I want my crow baked right into my humble pie! The White Sox will win the division. They will be dangerous in October if their pitchers stay healthy. 

AL East
My Pick: Yankees
Currently in 1st Place: Red Sox
Prediction: The Red Sox and Rays were duking it out for a few weeks, but the Red Sox remain on top. Not one soul out there picked the Red Sox to be in this spot right now. The Yankees have been a big disappointment. I picked them to go to the World Series. At the end of the season, it looks like they are going home. 

AL Wild Card
My Pick: Blue Jays
Prediction: I took a shot here. It was a gamble but one that I was willing to take. It looks like the Wild Card will be between the Rays and the A’s. No room for the Jays. 

Joke of the Day
What song do Dodger fans sing in the 7th inning? None. They leave before that.

The Urena Express appears every Wednesday at
Contact Steve Urena at:
Twitter/IG: @theurenaexpress

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