Breven’s Blog: 2019 Summer Recap

Panoramic view of Petco Park in East Village with a sunset backdrop

What a long and eventful summer it has been for San Diego’s sports teams. Let’s run it back.

It all began with San Diego State pole vaulter Bonnie Draxler finishing her Aztec career on a high note with a silver medal at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

Another Aztec made headlines the following week. Men’s Basketball player Jalen McDaniels was drafted in the second round by the Charlotte Hornets.

Former Aztec Kawhi Leonard won his second NBA championship and NBA Finals MVP with the Toronto Raptors as they beat the Golden State Warriors in six games. One month later, he joined Paul George and signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

The San Diego Padres continued to build hype with the duo of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. on the left side of the infield. Tatis Jr. impressed fans, coaches, and media personnel with his acrobatic plays both at shortstop and on the base paths. However, the Padres lost Tatis Jr. to injury last week and he might be done for the season. Padres’ fans and members of the organization liked the aggressiveness and tenacity he has had, thus far in 2019. Also, first baseman Eric Hosmer has continued to find his stroke and is hoping to finish the season strong. He is currently second in the National League among first baseman with 139 hits (as of Aug. 19).

The Padres traded away a clubhouse guy in Franmil Reyes for Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect Taylor Trammel before the July 31 trade deadline. The Padres’ fans will always love you, Franmil.  

Even Major League Baseball’s famous rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees took the field for the first game ever played in Europe. I appreciate how professional sports (i.e. MLB, NFL, NBA, etc) are expanding internationally as people are becoming more accepting of American sports.

In addition, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates brought back memories to their Little League days by playing in Williamsport, Pa.

The MLB All-Star Game took place in Cleveland and Padres’ closer Kirby Yates represented the team. Although the National League did not win, Yates had the opportunity to hang out with some friends and enjoy a game with the best players in the sport.

Back to the Aztecs, men’s basketball player Nathan Mensah needs surgery to heal an injured hand. He is expected to make a full recovery before the season begins in November. 

SDSU Football is in full swing with their first game on Aug. 31 against Weber State. They have moved to a spread offense, so the formations; however, what stays the same are the plays. The spread will help the lineman know who to block faster, especially for the running backs like Juwan Washington and Chase Jasmin. 

In the world of golf, former Aztec Xander Schauffele qualified to play in one of the sport’s most historic events, the President’s Cup. He has continued to play exceptional heading into the final tournament of the year, the PGA Tour Championship, this weekend. He finished eighth in the FedEx Cup Standings. 

Although this summer is finally coming to an end, the major sports teams did not disappoint and kept fans on their toes. It was fun and I can’t wait for what the 2019-20 school year has to offer.

Written by: Breven Honda

Breven’s Blog: MLB All-Star Snubs

The 2019 MLB All-Star starters and reserves were announced this past week for the annual Midsummer Classic. Every year, there are those that do not get in, but deserved to. They are called snubs.

Typically, there are a few snubs, but this year, there was an unprecedented amount. And they affected more than just the San Diego Padres. The Padres’ closer Kirby Yates, who has an MLB-leading 27 saves (entering July 1), was the only one who made the team. This means no Fernando Tatis Jr., no Manny Machado, no Eric Hosmer and no Hunter Renfroe.

Even if Fernando Tatis Jr. missed a month due to injury, he changes the hometown team from good to great. He does it all. Speed. Strength. Power. Awareness. Energy. The energy that he brings to his teammates, his coaches, the fans and to this organization is electrifying and attracts people to watching him and this team play. Even MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal said Tatis Jr. is an All Star, while CBS Sports has called him “special.”

In his first year, Tatis already has a 3.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), has scored from third base on a fly ball to the second baseman and scored from first on a single to right, and he became the first rookie shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra to record ten home runs and ten stolen bases before the All-Star Break. These are remarkable achievements in baseball, and it is unfortunate that his talent (including the other Padres that did not return) cannot be seen to the rest of the sport.   

Throughout MLB, there were snubs all across the league.  

In the National League, one of the biggest names besides Machado to not make the team is Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, who signed a 330 million dollar contract this past winter. 

There is also Los Angeles Dodgers’ infielder Max Muncy, who hit a walk-off homerun in Game 3 of last year’s World Series. Muncy is tied sixth in the NL in WAR and 18 of the top 21 position players made the roster. 

Furthermore, Milwaukee Brewers’ starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff did not make the team and his numbers are one of the best so far in 2019. Woodruff leads the National League in wins with ten and is also in the top spot in WHIP (Walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) with a whopping 1.14. 

The American League is much of the same, whether a team is in a big-market city or not. 

That includes the New York Yankees. First Baseman Luke Voit, who suffered an abdominal injury last weekend during the London Series, was one of the biggest snubs on the American League side. Voit was outlasted by Chicago White Sox’s Jose Abreu and Seattle Mariners’ Dan Vogelbach. What makes this surprising from this is that Abreu is one of three White Sox (pitcher Lucas Giolito and catcher James McCann) to make the team, despite only having a 39-42 record. 

A couple other snubs comes at the shortstop position with Boston Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts and Yankees’ Gleyber Torres. Both players are hitting over .290, getting on base more than 36% of the time and slugging at least 54%. Torres, along with Voit, were playing and not one to get hurt, like most of their teammates.  

The Minnesota Twins, one of baseball’s surprises in 2019 with a 53-30 record have two All-Stars.  

That was starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi and shortstop Jorge Polanco. However, a couple others from the team had the potential to also be on the team. One of those is outfielder Max Kepler. He already has a career-high 21 home runs. 

It is surprising that the Twins, who are in first place of the AL Central by eight games to the Cleveland Indians, the host team, and 13 games to the Chicago White Sox, only have two players going, but the Indians and White Sox each have three members.  

Even though the reserves were announced this past Sunday, players that had already received the invitation, have the option to decline and not participate in the game for any reason (injury, personal, etc.). Most likely, a couple of players from each side will back out opening it up for some of these players to make a dream turn to reality and be a part of a showcase with the game’s best players. 

Written by: Breven Honda