Myles Monday Meltdown: I Went to San Diego to See a Sweep

The title pretty much sums it up. But in case you didn't read it for some reason, I went to San Diego this weekend to see the Cubs take on the Padres at Petco Park.

I've had the opportunity to visit San Deigo a couple times, but I've never had the opportunity to take in a baseball game while I've been there. The weather was gorgeous. We saw good baseball. And now, the Cubs are in sole possession of 1st place going into the All-Star break.

Things are good.

Sooooooo many Cubs fans: 
When I watch away Cubs games on TV in places like San Diego, Milwaukee, or any other city where the fans seem to travel well, I'm always curious what it's like to be in that environment where the away team fans outnumber the home team fans. Milwaukee always makes sense simply because of the distance between the two cities and the overwhelming popularity of a Chicago team vs. a Milwaukee team. But San Diego isn't close to the Midwest. In fact, it's one of the farthest cities the Cubs travel to in a season. But still, I'd guess that, during all three games, 75-80% of Petco Park was Cubs fans (that's a conservative amount).

Everywhere (and I mean everywhere) you looked there was Blue. Inside the stadium, outside the stadium...everywhere. It got to the point where I told my better half that if I was a Padres fan, I'd skip coming to this series altogether. There was no point in even trying to contend with Chicago fans. You almost feel bad for them. Almost...

Javy:
In game 1 of this series Friday night, I was sitting in the right field bleachers. At one point in the top of the 10th with 1 out, Willson Contreras came to the plate with Javier Baez at first base. The game was tied 4-4 after Rizzo hit a very clutch double in the top of 9th to even the score. I decided when Willy came to the plate that I'd start doing a live video in case something cool happened. I never saw this coming:

They kept trying to do the wave:
It just wasn't going to be a thing this weekend.

I got a free t-shirt:

Zobrist and I are basically best friends:

Who ya got tonight?
When you're presented with an opportunity to answer a question with either "Javy" or "not Javy," you always, always take the "Javy" option. No different here. All love to Schwarber, but it's hard to bet against anything our main man Javy Baez is doing. Get it done!

 

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  • The Athletic has an article where they polled MLB players on the most X player in the game.
    Who is the most overrated player in the game?

    Top result: Bryce Harper (48.6%)

    Runners-up: Chris Davis (10.8%)

    Also receiving multiple votes: Javier Báez

    On Báez, one player said, “To a baseball player, a lot of the s*** he does is really risky and stupid. When you play against him, you f***ing hate watching him. But as a fan, I would want to watch him every single day. I get it.”

    I found this interesting. These exact sentiments have been echoed here in the comments by some of us.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I think the players votes and the comment smack of jealousy. Bryce Harper is an awesome baseball player. Overrated? I'm not sure if you are a top 10 player that you can consider him overrated.

    The comment about Javy is great and also drives home what many others say here. Basically he is making risky plays, some might look "stupid" compared to the old school fundamentals. The difference is that when Baez makes the decision he is more apt to succeed than the average player. I mean, the odds of Javy pulling off the risky play successfully are quite a bit better than for the average player. Thus, it is natural for the average to above average players watch what he does and get pissed off that he can do it's supposed to be a "risky, stupid" play. Of course there is some jealousy.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    "Overrated? I'm not sure if you are a top 10 player that you can consider him overrated."

    I'll grant that he's a top ten player as far as talent and potential. But the guy's been in the league since 2012 and has hit 5 fWAR exactly once (granted he did during a monster season). Take away his outlier season in 2015, and there's serious discussion whether he belongs in the top 100 in 2018 (to say nothing of the top 100 of all time - remember that stupid ranking in ESPN right after the 2015 season?).

    Bottom line, at some point in time you've actually got to produce on the field to be a superstar. And yes he's young, but guys who become regulars at the age of 19 tend not to continue getting better at 25. What you see, is what he is.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I don't think it's jealousy at all. They were asked who the most overrated players are, and they responded. The "you're just jealous" response never holds much water. If that were the case, why wouldn't they say Trout was the most overrated? Why would they be jealous of Harper or Baez specifically?

    On Harper, one guy commented something to the effect of "to say he's overrated isn't to say he's not good. He just hasn't shown the consistency that his hype warrants." I agree with that. Harper's a stud, but I do think he's overrated (although I'd say the MOST overrated player is Arenado).

    Regarding Baez, i'll echo what I've said here a lot before. He's overrated. Up until 2018, he's been incredibly overrated, as he's been just a league average hitter. But the defense and baserunning, and specifically the flair, talent, and propensity to pull off the unthinkable have planted him at the forefront of exciting players. His production in 2018 muddies that "overrated" label quite a bit, as he has actually been incredible. But now rather than thinking an average player is great, people are saying a great player should win the MVP. So I guess he's still somewhat overrated in my mind.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I guess for me also despite the growing pains offensively in previous years I just always saw from a scouting/evaluation the incredible talent that he possessed in all facets of the game and while he showed inconsistency with the bat, I always kinda had a sense that he would figure things out at the plate because he's our best hitter on pitches within the strike zone he just gets himself out too much with his approach but even that's improving incrementally in my eyes despite the fact his walk rate is still low. Disagree strongly that he's not at least an MVP candidate I'm not saying I'd put him at 1 but he's a top 5-10 player in the NL to me this year no question about it and I don't think he'd done progressing at the plate. I get that some of us are more stats oriented evaluators then others and I place a lot of value in the numbers in the majority of my analysis but I definitely don't think Javy is overrated today I can see how someone can arrive at that viewpoint years ago but not today.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Also want to add that Jason Stark on the athletic posted his MVP rankings and Freddy Freeman was 1, 2. Arenado, 3. Lorenzo Cain, 4. Javy Baez, also included max scherzer, ozzie albies, matt kemp, brandon crawford, aaron nola, brandon crawford. I think Javy is at least top 3-4

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Javy is the MVP of the team with the best record in the National League. In my simplistic view, that should make Javy the NL MVP leader.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    The OBP guys on this site are going to freak out at me for saying this but I think Javy is a legit MVP candidate if not the MVP and I don't think that's me being a homer he's actually listed on a lot of midseason MVP lists as a candidate on every single list so there's no case of any of us having a Javy bias on this one. I know I for one wouldn't even consider trading Javy for Freddy Freeman or Lorenzo Cain and I wouldn't even do it for Arenado I love the latter player but his stats maybe somewhat inflated playing in Coors. And really Freddy Freeman maybe the MVP thus far and an overall better hitter but would you really rather have Freddy Freeman than Javy when you account for the differences in their defensive and baserunning value? I think Javy is going to get hurt in the MVP voting because of the stats oriented voters that are going to penalize him because of his OBP but I really hope that these voters actually watch the games to see just how many ways he affects a game. I know that I take Javy any day in a big game over Freeman or Lorenzo Cain but that's just me and I think when you analyze the NL MVP race there's nobody that you can point to as being clearly more impactful than Javy this season.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I don't know if you can even call the plays risky when the guy constantly makes them.

    All I know is he's about got defenses pooping themselves every time there are guys on 1st & 3rd and he's the guy on third.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I personally think a lot of players like some fans from other cities that call Baez overrated are box score analyzing and using OBP as an excuse to call Baez overrated because nobody that watches Javy play every day sees things that way you always only hear this stuff about Javy from people that don't watch him regularly. I truly believe that you have to watch him on an every day basis to realize just how good he is because that's the only way that you truly get a feel for all the little things that he does to effect a game on an everyday basis it seems that he makes one pivotal play every game whether it's from a hitting, baserunning, or fielding perspective. What stands out for me from a baserunning perspective is by appearance he looks reckless out there at times and with that risk there's usually going to be some reward but you're also going to run yourself into outs when you take those aggressive chances as well. What's amazing about Baez and what I'm sure a lot of these voters didn't factor in is that Baez isn't just excitement he has incredible generational type fielding and baserunning instincts to the point where he takes these risks yet almost never ever runs himself into outs it's truly amazing to me. And I'd guess most of these voters probably aren't aware of just how efficient he is in relation to how aggressively that he plays. And I understand that too anyone else for the most part would be running themselves into the occasional out playing that aggressively but somehow Baez basically never runs himself into an out.

    I appreciate the info though Kramerica interesting post but for me at least it's hard for me to place much value in players opinions that don't see him regularly. I moreso trust front office executives and scouts that watch tape and see him in person on a regular basis for these types of votes. I do think there's some truth in Bryce Harper though I love him as a player but he's inconsistent on a year to year basis compared to say Mike Trout who he's compared to.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I don’t know how Javy can be over rated... He was just voted to the All star game for the 1st time.... doesn’t get paid astronomical salary, $657,000 for 2018, & up until last year didn’t even have 500 plate appearances, let alone a regular position... How is he over rated again? And who is over rating him for him to be considered over rated by these goofy players? Some of the homers here in Chicago are praising his play, but he’s earning that praise... Crazy.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Milk stout I'll tell you exactly what it is because I know a lot of non cub fans that don't watch games regularly and I see the comments from other fans on sites like the athletic. Pretty much anyone that calls Javy overrated are fans that don't see him on a regular basis and there's a ton of out of state baseball fans that say this on the athletic and it's always other teams fans who you know don't watch the cubs regularly. These fans tend to box score analyze and you know the stat geek oriented fans are gonna point to his OBP and conclude that he's overrated. Give me Javy's .330 OBP versus another guys .360 OBP any day of the week with the impact he makes on the basepaths frankly. These fans just can't understand the every day impact that Javy makes in all facets of the game and how he seemingly makes at least one big play every game in some facet to contribute to a cubs win. How can you really understand the all around value and unique gifts and instincts that Javy brings to the table unless you watch him every day? The answer is you can't and some fans are going to take short cuts in their analysis and point to numbers that they retrieved from their computers from this year and past years to jump to a conclusion that doesn't paint Javy in an accurate light. I really don't care I wouldn't trade him for almost anyone in the league even say Jacob Degrom and I'm glad he's on our side because give me any player in a playoff game and to me he's maybe as impactful as anyone in that type of ballgame where defense and aggresive baserunning can make a huge difference in winning a ballgame. I think practically anyone that watches Javy on a regular basis knows just how special he is and I don't think we've seen his best year yet as good as he's playing this season he's a special talent regardless of what some of the numbers say and his numbers are pretty special this year anyways in their own right he's really kind of just coming into his own offensively

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Preach. This is the best cubs era ever and "fans" are talking about how baez is overrated based off some article and his risky plays that he rarely if ever gets gets out on. Who cares? The kid is having a breakout season enjoy the ride.If it wasn't for baez in the 1st half the cubs would be in trouble, just like if it wasn't for baez in the '16 postseason who knows what the outcome would of been because he was the most consistent cub when it mattered most.Too many on this blog are critical of baez , when other players don't perform as consistently and don't even get half the criticism(bryant). Baez is fun to watch I don't care about on base % he's a big time player and makes game changing plays period.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed Bolla and for me I know many intelligent baseball fans that are well read on metrics value the numbers and for good reason I myself and every front office in baseball value the numbers because they're not only valuable but they eliminate bias. But I think some fans have this impression that the numbers are always the end all be all with player evaluation. I think Theo Epstein who values the numbers as much as anyone sees that he's different also and that's why you've seen him refuse to trade Javy for all of these years despite the rumors and despite the fact that Theo obviously places a ton of value in having a lineup full of high OBP hitters. Sometimes people need to use their eyes and evaluate just how unique a players skillset is and for me I've been expecting this type of breakout by Javy for years based off my untrained scouting eye and it's scary to think how good he may become if his approach continues to progress which I think is very likely as he gains experience he's already been making incremental progress for years even if he's not walking. Agreed on his OBP too I care about OBP overall no doubt about it but I think if we use an example and let's say as an example if Billy Hamilton had an OBP of .320 then he is maybe more valuable then a slow guy that's in the .340-350 range with SIMILAR power because of his impact on the basepaths. That's how I feel about Javy he may not get on base as much as some players but he's terrorizing pitchers and finding ways to score runs when he does get on and now he's providing as much slugging as high as anyone which to me somewhat mitigates the OBP issue offensively. Either way we can have this debate with people all day but I think we're both happy that he's on our side and not the other side and I'm just going to continue to let Javy prove his doubters wrong as he's done time and time again throughout his career.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I agree 100% and I believe baez can and will improve with his plate approach and have an on base % in the 340 range in the future.

    the eye test says forget the sabermetrics he's a gamer who makes a difference.I'm glad I get to watch him on a regular basis on the cubs.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I've said for a long time I have a ton of respect for WAR and OBP and I think front offices understandably place a lot of value in these stats but I've long said that Javy is the type of player whose overall value is undervalued by these metrics BECAUSE these metrics place such a high weight on OBP and not as much on your all around game even though they do factor defense and baserunning. I have no issue with the way the stat is generally measured I think OBP is obviously one of the more valuable stats in baseball but I think Javy is the one of few maybe one of the only players in the league that can make a significant offensive impact despite holding a lower OBP because of his generational type baserunning and defensive instincts, slugging/power and efficiency of avoiding outs despite his aggresiveness on the basepaths. Typically, being one of the top 5-10 guys in terms of runs scored is reserved for higher OBP players yet Javy is still I believe 6th in the NL in runs and 1st on the cubs in runs. Runs isn't my favorite stat because it's somewhat out of an individual players control and yes part of the reason Javy's run totals are so high is playing on a good offense. That being said, I don't think anyone can even question that his baserunning prowess is also as big of a reason as any as to why his season run totals are so high. His WRC+ is an outstanding +132 and he's on track for almost a .300 season with 30-40 home runs 120 rbis and almost a .900 OPS. So while OBP maybe used against him in the MVP rankings, he's still playing at an MVP level in my eyes even though it's likely his WAR and OBP will prevent him from winning the MVP in the eyes of some voters.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I am not sure I would call Baez WRC+ of 132 "outstanding". It is good, it is good enough to tie for the team lead with Bryant. It is also almost top 30 in baseball. Now Mookie Betts WRC+ of 202 is outstanding.

  • In reply to bolla:

    My comment above was meant for kkhiavi.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I am enjoying the ride, I'm glad Baez is a Cub, and I love watching him. And I still think he's overrated. Can't I do both?

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I think that's fair personally as a Baez fan and I can at least see your perspective on why you'd come to that conclusion especially based off his previous offensive years. I disagree with the assertion that he's overrated this year he's catching the eyes of many around the league too as illustrated by the fact that all the midseason award lists view him as a legit MVP candidate.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    That's perfectly fine,I don't see why you think he's overrated though.Baez is a good player with some flaws but not overrated.Nobody is calling him a superstar and he leads the cubs in war,rbi's,runs,hits,sb's,ops and hr's. Baez is on pace for a 30/30 100+ rbi season, he's been absolutely great this season.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yes, I agree. That’s why I don’t understand where the “over rated” is coming fun.

  • I haven’t had the fortune of seeing that many different MLB parks.....old Busch, old Comiskey (have NEVER been in where they are now).....old Riverfront, Joe Robbie and the Trop and of course Wrigley....
    The Trop is terrible, everyone knows that but in others opinions what are the worst left where it just doesn’t feel like a good place to play?
    Pittsburgh and SF look really nice though.
    San Diego just looks Triple A to me...

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Ahhh Atlanta too.....seemed small

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    San Diego is honestly a great place to take in a game. There's not really a bad seat and it's super fan friendly. Plus, after the game, there's a ton to do/see.

    I've seen a live game in Tampa. It's awful. The lights make it hard to see somehow. It's depressing. And in a really dumb area. 10/10 would skip.

  • In reply to Myles Phelps:

    Yes. SD is a really good stadium. PIT & SF are AWESOME. ATL is near those without being on the water as the surrounding area isn’t all that. But Sun Trust is a fanatic stadium.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    SD is a lovely stadium and especially after an afternoon game a lovely walk along the water and plenty to do afterwards.

    For me, NYM and MIA are awful stadia with poor atmospheres and equally bad fans. I wasn’t overkeen on Turner Field but the new ATL stadium has great seats and lots to do around it as well.

    However, we are spoiled - there is no place like home.

  • Petco is a great spot to watch a game. Any time I have a conference at the SD Convention Center, I try to get to a game or two.

  • On the other hand, I purchased tickets for the day game in Los Angeles last week. I found out that most of the handicapped parking was moved away from the parking that borders Dodger Stadium. We arrived two hours early , I was told to park in lot D. When we got to lot D we were not allowed to enter. I'm 70 and disabled, however that did not deter , this white trash jerk from challenging me to a fight and giving me dirty looks because I had the nerve to don a Cub hat. Our seats were expensive, but we were surrounded by tattooed low life that scared the life of me.I will never go back to Dodger Stadium again.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Sorry to hear that........may be wrong but I think there have also been fans seriously beaten there because of the Giants rivalry.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I told my Doctor about my bad experience in Dodger Stadium and he said he wouldn't take his family there either, it isn't safe.
    There are too many white trash and gang or former gang members in attendance looking start trouble.
    I will NEVER go to another game at Dodger Stadium.

  • fb_avatar

    I admit I have only been to a couple of ballparks but was in KC for a wedding and took in a game at Kaufmann Stadium. FANTASTIC place to go with kids. The team was terrible so I was able to walk up to the box office and get the best seats available: About 10 rows from 1B for something like $40/ticket, maybe less, no service charge. The game was a ton of fun (Greinke pitched for the Royals) and it went to extras against the Tigers. My wife and I took note that there was plenty for a little kid to do at the game. I have also been to BOB (or whatever it is called now in Phoenix) and the Twins field in Minneapolis (blanking out the name now) and was not impressed. So much potential and the stadiums are both pretty "blah."

    Sometimes it is fun to go to a game and not really care who wins, but just enjoy watching an MLB game.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I’ve been to Camden Yards for a game. That was a good experience for us midwesterners. Fans were great. We cheered for the Orioles so that might have helped... they were playing the Red Sox. On our way home from that vacation, Nomar was traded to the Cubs.

  • Machado is getting traded to the dodgers. Rosenthal just tweeted it's a done deal.They will play him at ss

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