MLB Game Day Recap Day 16: What is Fandom?

April 17, 2021

It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 16, that means it’s time to talk about fandom. We all learned about fandom when we were young, and in association we learned the loose definition of what a good fans was opposed to a bad one. Good fans don’t care if the team is good or not, they go to games. Good fans don’t care if the game is a blowout or not, they watch. The fans who buy the most merchandise? Those are good fans. You only follow the team when they’re winning? You are just a fair weather loser who can’t handle pain. However, the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized all these old adages are just that, old. You don’t need to watch every inning to be a good fan. Does ownership invest into every out? Nope, they just invest in the general idea of an entertaining team.

Climbing Up

Jeff Hoffman has the pedigree to be a star. The former Top 10 draft pick in the 2014 draft by the Blue Jays, Jeff’s entire big league career has been a struggle. His entire struggle took place in Colorado after being the main prospect involved in the Troy Tulowitzki trade to Toronto. Pitchers are universally given a mulligan for their time in Colorado, and Hoffman should be no different. There stuff is clearly there, so why is there no post-hype hype for Jeff? Short answer, he was in Colorado for too long and went to Cincinnati, another notorious hitters ballpark. The real answer, we forgot about him. Hoffman has strong great in 2 of his 3 starts this season, and that’s what you should expect out him. That’s rosterable, so go roster him.

Letdown

Logan Allen was Jeff Hoffman’s counterpart today in Cincinnati, and it was a rough start. The weird thing is he only allowed 3 hits and 0 walks across 2.0 innings, but the first 7 hitters all scored in the 3rd inning, with 5 of them being charted to Logan. Yours truly was hyping Allen up big time once he won a rotation spot in Cleveland, as they’ve turned water into wine more than any other franchise in recent memory. Sadly, Allen looks like he was just water tonight. He had two solid starts prior to tonight, so managers can still deploy him with confidence, just maybe about road starts.

Who’s Hot

Josh Harrison should not be good. He’s in his age 33 season and while his 2020 was decent, his 2018-2019 was a far larger sample that had far worse results. Instead, Harrison was slashing .533/.588/.800 coming into today and saw yet another multi-hit game. Batting average is hard to come by in the modern fantasy landscape, and Harrison seemingly has found new life in Washington. The Nationals are a contender and it appears Harrison is the everyday second baseman while he’s hot, so get him in your lineups. There are far worse hitters to fill out your average than someone who’s hot in the Nationals lineup. Josh is not a full season add, but he’s definitely a short term one.

Who’s Not

Carlos Martinez has certainly struggled this season. Similar to Patrick Corbin, he might be cooked and until he proves otherwise he does not deserve any fantasy consideration. However, that doesn’t mean announcers should drop some not so subtle suggestions Martinez is lazy and a worse, very white, pitcher could perform better with his stuff. Carlos could find some rejuvenation in the bullpen, or perhaps it’s just a bad month. Regardless, until he puts together a strong outing he should not get any roster consideration. He’s a cut, wait, and then see.

The Emilio Bonifacio Award

Jazz Chisholm picked ups his second Bonifacio Award of the season tonight picking up a solo homer and a single in the Marlins 4-1 win over the Giants. While that’s a relatively tame game for Bonifacio award winner status, today was our first relatively tame game slate of the season. Chisholm is also a great case for what our titular topic is about, fandom. When the Marlins dealt Zac Gallen for Chisholm in 2019, Marlins fans certainly felt they got rocked with the way Gallen performed in 2020. In 2021, we are seeing those fans with patience are showing this trade was anything but lopsided, and Chisholm looks like a budding star. If my fandom wasn’t tied to bitterness from the 1997 World Series, a Chisholm jersey would soon be en route to my collection.

The James Shields Award

We’re not going to talk about Max Scherzer or Zack Eflin’s starts today. They were great. Instead, let’s discuss Jose Urena who went 7.0 innings strong, allowing 2 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks with 8 K’s. That’s a good start? Yusei Kikuchi went 7.0 innings allowing 5 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks with 3 K’s. That’s an okay start? Baseball has become more and more a game of bullpens. It’s weird to look at a slate of relatively low scoring games and see only two pitchers going deep. The sport has evolved to look nothing like it did in 2010. Is that good? I’m not sure. Is it entertaining? No, it’s not. New arms every inning is the most efficient way to run a team, but it’s not the most efficient way to entertain. That’s why this award highlights pitching length. It’s part of the baseball I fell in love with, and want to remain, even if it’s going to vanish.

The Brad Lidge Award

Devin Williams allowed one run all last season. It was a solo homer by Colin Moran in the 2nd game of the season. Tonight he allowed another homer to a Pirates lefty, this time a 2 run shot by Gregory Polanco. Williams also allowed a run in his first and second outings of the season. He isn’t the same shutdown reliever he was last year, and frankly he was over drafted everywhere, my teams included. It’s difficult to let someone go when they were never projected to be the pure closer, but Williams belongs on the waiver wire. There are plenty of shut down relievers who can do exactly what Williams did last year, and you need to find this years Williams and not chase last years. It’s time to move on.

Conclusion

The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball and fandom. Fandom is a tricky thing. It can be borderline obsession, and unlike obsession with anything else, this obsession is marketed as ‘good’. It’s truly crazy. Anyone who is loyal without any critical thinking isn’t operating rationally. Fandom is not supposed to be rational, especially when you’re a child. But as an adult? Critical thinking is key. Fandom and blind fandom are the same thing, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Root for the uniform, but not without critical analysis. Also if you want to turn a blowout off, you’re not a bad fan. It’s okay, there’s a lot of games. I’ll be watching one every night, but you don’t have to.

Goodnight.

MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 11: Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Devin Williams (38) catches the ball during a Major League Baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers on August 11, 2020, at Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)