Baseball, Columnists, Sports

On-Deck Circle: Early reactions from the 2024 MLB season

It has now been three weeks since the 2024 MLB campaign started, and there’s been no shortage of storylines from the diamond. 

Chloe Patel | Senior Graphic Artist

Here are four early reactions — or overreactions — from the early action on the young MLB season. 

The pitch clock is ruining pitchers’ careers and teams’ seasons. 

Many of the league’s best arms have seen their seasons shortened or even ended within this first month of the season. Among them is Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider, who underwent season-ending surgery last week. He was the National League Cy Young favorite, but his season is now over, and the outlook for the rest of his career is bleak. 

Besides Strider, Jacob DeGrom, Shohei Ohtani, Sandy Alcantara, Gerrit Cole and Framber Valdez headline the list of injured star pitchers.

Is this a direct connection to the pitch clock? No. 

Is it just a coincidence that the season the pitch clock decreased from 20 to 18 seconds between pitches and one season after the pitch clock was added, all these pitchers are getting hurt? No. 

I’m not advocating for the removal of the pitch clock — it was a great addition, especially since the MLB saw its shortest game in 14 years last night at Fenway Park.

But there has to be some middle ground where games play swiftly and pitchers don’t risk their careers. 

The new uniforms are as bad as people said they were. 

During Spring Training, fans and players alike “ripped” on teams’ new jerseys. 

Now, it’s gotten worse. 

On Tuesday, Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene slid into home plate. His pants ripped. 

Later, Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs slid into third base after hitting a triple and faced the same fortune. 

These two incidents go to show the low quality of these uniforms. A routine slide should not be enough to rip them.

But, the issues have continued off the field. 

Teams like Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers, were forced to use other uniforms after the delivery of other uniforms was delayed. Both teams expected to wear their City Connect jerseys last Friday, but Fanatics did not deliver the jerseys in time. Similarly, the Minnesota Twins were missing the bottom half of their uniforms. The St. Louis Cardinals were also forced to wear their usual uniforms after they did not get their alternate uniforms in time from Fanatics. 

The new Fanatics uniforms have been embarrassing — if they’ve even made it to the field. 

Jackson Holliday will be just fine.

After not making the Orioles’ Opening Day roster, Holliday was called up just a few weeks into the season. 

But Holliday has just one hit in 25 at-bats so far — a whopping .040 average, .077 on-base percentage and 14 strikeouts. 

His confidence probably was not the highest after he went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts in his first two career games, which came at Fenway Park. But I do not think Baltimore made the wrong decision in calling the 20-year-old up to the majors. 

The season’s first few weeks is the perfect time for Holliday to get his feet under him and settle in. After dominating the minor leagues, it will only be a matter of time before he’s a major league star. It may not come anytime soon or even this season, but his potential outweighs any bad start he might have.

He has a long way to go.

The 2024 World Series matchup will be the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the New York Yankees.

A hot start in Los Angeles was expected, as this team will continue to steamroll their way to the Fall Classic. 

The 13-6 start from the Yankees was more surprising, though. 

Adding slugger Juan Soto did wonders for the Yankees’ lineup. Still, the rise of Anthony Volpe, their young shortstop, will push them over the edge in the most competitive division in baseball. According to “Inside the Pinstripes,” Volpe has improved his whiff rate, chase rate, walk rate and his strikeout rate.

For a team still waiting on their ace, Gerrit Cole, to return from injury, the best might be yet to come. 

New York and LA were No. 1 and No. 2 in USA Today’s power rankings, respectively. It seems like these two historic clubs could be on a crash course for October. 

While it’s still early, teams are making the first strides in building their identities for this season. Will they be contenders? Or will they be on the back burner, wishing the year away?

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