Take Two for October 16, 2013

Sports Roundup: Dodgers must win, Puig under fire and more

NLCS - St Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers

Harry How/Getty Images

Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after grounding into a double play in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

The Dodgers have been pushed to the edge, it's Hollywood vs. Midwest values and is the game of baseball facing a critical crossroads? This means it's time for sports with Andy and Brian Kamemetsky, who have covered sports for the ESPN and the L.A. Times.  

The Dodgers must win today to stay alive in their series with the Cardinals. First pitch is this afternoon at 1 p.m. Is the warm California sun setting on the Dodgers season or is everyone heading back to the Gateway Arch home of toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake for a Game 6 on Friday? 

Regardless of what happens today, this series has brought up some interesting cultural debates. Before the series began, legendary Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote:

 "When the Dodgers meet the Cardinals on Friday with the Gateway Arch framed in center field to start the National League Championship Series, we'll see a clash of baseball worldviews and a collision of regional cultures, too. The Cards have always hugged Midwest virtues while the Dodgers loved movie stars in the box seats and star power on the field, but this year both teams are such extreme versions of their traditional selves it's just delicious.

Is he right? Are both teams extreme versions of their traditional selves and what does that mean?

I remember this same kind of argument when the Lakers and Boston Celtics play in the NBA Finals. In the sports reporting business, we look for juicy storylines but is city comparison and contrast always the flimsiest one?

Now to the touchier side of the debate because the Dodgers Yasiel Puig has ticked off members of the Cardinals with his...demonstrative style. Puig is emotional and does not hold back. 

In game 3 he hit a ball to right field that he thought was a homerun, he raised his arms, styled a bit then started sprinting when he realized it was staying in the park. He wound up celebrating at 3rd base with a triple. Some Cardinals players complained that Puig doesn't know how to act on the field.  

All season long, Puig has been at the center of a lot of anger thrown his way for the way he plays. Where do you think this anger comes from?

Singer Mark Anthony, born in NY East Harlem, was ripped for singing God Bless American during the MLB All Star Game. Some of the comments ranged from "Shouldn't an American be singing God Bless America?" OR "Why is a Mexican singing, doesn't he know this is America's song?" Earlier this year we spoke to ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez who got heat for interviewing Latin ballplayers in Spanish on the English broadcast. How much of all this do you think this has to do with race?

Brian you've been in plenty of locker rooms with Latin ball players, in your experience how trusting are these guys at being themselves around white America?

How much of this can be attributed to the unwritten rules of baseball?

Major League Baseball has been lagging way behind the NFL and NBA in terms of coolness with young sports fans and young people in general. Isn't this the kind of stuff that will keep it firmly behind the other two leagues in the hipness rankings?  

MLB commissioner Bud Selig has said he will step down after next season. It feels like baseball is at a huge crossroads in how the sports will define itself going forward. Will it stay the same? Radically re-invent itself? It feels like there's a lot at stake doesn't it?


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