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Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka Is Not An Ace And Shouldn’t Be Considered One

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Sometimes, no matter how much you say something is a certain way, it just isn’t.

I can sit here and tell you about a dozen times throughout this post that I am 6,4, but it doesn’t change the fact I am 5’11.

Therefore it makes the practice of me saying I am 6’4 numerous times in this article, pointless and futile.

The same can be said in regards to the New York Yankees or anyone else who continues to state that Masahiro Tanaka is an “ace”.

The counter to that point may have been; “but he’s an ace in the Yankee rotation”. For a time, that could keep your argument afloat, but he’s not even the best pitched in the rotation today.

So we all need to stop referring to Tanaka, who came to the Yanks along with a ton of fanfare and hype, as anything other than what he is and stop trying to convince us that he is what he clearly isn’t and hasn’t been.

Tanaka is not an ace nor is he the best pitcher in that rotation.

End of story.

Fast forward to Sunday, when the headline was Derek Jeter’s number being retired by the Yankees.

Enter Masahiro Tanaka, who took the mound against the Houston Astros and immediately got torched.

Tanaka surrendered eight earned runs over just 1.2 innings pitched as Houston destroyed a pitcher who seems to slip more and more each season.

The 2017 version of Tanaka has been forgettable. His ERA ballooned to 5.08, his WHIP to 1.44 and a 5-2 record that doesn’t tell the true story.

Despite a game or 2 where Tanaka has been “on”, Tanaka has been horribly off. Each broadcast it seems the narrative is that Tanaka is in search of his groove, his stuff, and he might be a tad “off”.

But Tanaka being “slightly off” has led to being shelled. It has forced an electric Yankee offense to save their over-paid, flailing “ace” so that the headlines don’t reflect the reality of Tanaka on the mound.

The reality is that Tanaka is compromising the Yankees more than he is helping them.

And this season pitchers like Luis Severino and Michael Pineda have been better than Tanaka and much more deserving of the spot Tanaka takes in the rotation.

Tanaka is a far cry from the pitcher that burst on to the scene during the 2014 season and posted a 13-5 record with an impressive 2.77 ERA.

Tanaka is not even close to who he was in 2016 when he went 14-4 with a respectable 3.05 ERA.

Whatever “it” is for Tanaka, he hasn’t found it and when he does, he can’t seem to hold on to it.

Maybe there is an injury to blame. Maybe it’s a confidence thing.

Whatever it is, the Yankees better figure it out quick because Tanaka, when he is “on”, is capable of greatness, capable of living up to his hype and capable of being worth his contract.

Tanaka may be better taking a backseat to Pineda and Severino while he gets back on track and maybe that kick in the butt will get him sorted out.

But the Yankees, who have an important financial decision to make regarding Tanaka this season, need to figure out who Tanaka is and how the 2017 version of him fits into the Yankee rotation.

For now, let’s stop calling him an ace.

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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MLB

Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith

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The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.


“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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Chicago Cubs

MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

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Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.

Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.

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MLB

Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team

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Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.

Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.

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