All posts by James Thomas

How the MLB’s revisions improve the game

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At the beginning of September, Major League Baseball announced three new changes that will alter how the game is played. Starting next year, the MLB will implement a pitch clock, increase the size of the bases, and enforce limits on the shift.

The new pitch clock will make it so that pitchers must begin their motion within 30 seconds between batters, 15 seconds for batters with no runners on base, and 20 seconds for batters when there are runners on base.

Pitchers will have two disengagements (pickoffs and step-offs) per batter, and if a third pickoff is unsuccessfully attempted, the runners will advance a base. However, if runners advance, the pitcher will get 2 more “disengagements.”

With a similar pitch clock in Triple-A ball this year, the average play time decreased by about 21 minutes.

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The MLB has been trying to make the game shorter for years and, in trying to do so, has made the game worse with the implementation of runners starting on second base in extra innings.

However, they have finally figured it out with the new changes. The new pitch clock will only increase the pace of play while keeping traditional aspects of the game, and this simple revision will make the games quicker and more exciting.

The MLB will also increase the size of the bases from 15 square inches to 18 square inches. This adjustment should lead to fewer injuries and more stolen bases.

With bigger bases, the injuries to players as they run to 1st base or slide into 2nd or 3rd base should be less frequent. Bigger bases also mean that the distance between bases is less, so there should be more attempted and successful stolen base attempts.

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This adjustment can only be beneficial to the players and fans of baseball and is another great change made by the league.

The final modification made is the new limits enforced on the shift. Teams will now need four infielders, with two on each side of 2nd base. Teams can add additional infielders by moving outfielders to the infield, but they must have four players within the outer boundary of the infield and two on each side of 2nd base.

Whether or not the league should enforce limits on the shift or not has been one of the most polarizing debates in recent years. However, implementing a limit on the shift allows for pull hitters to be better.

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Being able to hit everywhere on the field is a special skill that makes some hitters special. This change is bad for the league as it encourages players to not work on the craft of hitting everywhere on the field and lowers the skill level of the league.

However, implementing these restrictions on the shift should lead to more hits, making the game even more exciting.

The three revisions by the MLB will make the league more exciting and safer and generally good for the league. While implementing restrictions to the shift will reduce the consequences of being a pull hitter and lowers the skill level of the league, the other changes are significant for the league as they make the games shorter, safer, and more exciting.

Jimmy Thomas is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

What does it mean when we say ‘Mount Man?’

Mount St. Joseph students enjoy the camaraderie of attending a game at Plevyak Field. Photo credit: Mount St. Joseph High School

A lot of pride comes with being a “Mount Man.” While wearing my uniform, I have heard adults tell children I deserve acknowledgment because I am a Mount Man. But what does that mean? Why does being a “Mount Man” deserve so much respect?

Senior Braylon Sims

“Being a Mount Man is really about doing everything you can for the Mount St. Joseph community,” Braylon Sims said. Sims, a senior at MSJ, is a part of the track team and is a former Fresh/Soph Basketball player. “Just being present in the community and really giving back to what it’s giving you.”

At the same time, Sims said that people at the Mount live by the ‘classmates for four years, brothers for life’ motto that is so commonly used at the Mount. “And that’s really giving back to what people have created here before and what you’re going to leave behind after you graduate.”

Mr. Michael Stromberg

MSJ teacher and alum, Mr. Stromberg, shares a similar view to Sims. Being a Mount Man is “realizing that you are part of such a larger thing than yourself and thinking about all the guys who have graduated here in the past, all the guys that are going to graduate with you, and all those that are going to graduate after you,” Mr. Stromberg said.

Both Sims and Mr. Stromberg indicate that the true meaning of being a Mount Man is taking in what alumni have left behind at the Mount and leaving something behind for future Gaels to take in. But what about the MSJ students who don’t participate much at the Mount? Is everyone who goes to the Mount a ‘Mount Man,’ or is it exclusive to those who leave their names behind on banners and boards?

“The thing is, you take part in this community even when you don’t realize it,” Sims said. He says that just by going to MSJ, you participate in this community and that everyone that goes to the Mount is a Mount Man.

“I think you have to buy into the experience at St. Joe. But I do. I think if you are walking across that stage as a graduate, I think you are a Mount Man,” Mr. Stromberg said. He says it isn’t about being the ‘perfect person’ or being dedicated to the Xaverian values, but about striving to be the best, we can be.

Classmates gather for a reunion here at The Mount. Photo Credit: Mount St. Joseph High School

However, this still doesn’t answer why Mount Men draw so much respect. “We get to take our experience at St. Joe out into society and hopefully instill that little bit that we were able to receive here as a gift,” Mr. Stromberg said. Mr. Stromberg suggests that we deserve respect because we are contributing to the world through our experiences at St. Joe.

A Mount Man takes part in the MSJ community, strives to be the best person they can be, and takes their experience at MSJ into society. It’s not about being involved in the most clubs and activities at the Mount. It’s not about just knowing the Xaverian Values. It’s about taking all the lessons, striving to follow them, and sending them out into the world.

Jimmy Thomas is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Are the Ravens cursed?

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In the final preseason game of the year, Poe, the Ravens mascot, got injured in a mascots versus kids game. Following a season plagued by injuries, an injury to the team’s mascot can be seen as a bad omen. Is this a bad omen for the Ravens? Will the Ravens be cursed by injuries once again? Or am I just a crazy kid reading too far into the injury of someone wearing a costume?

Last season, the Ravens dealt with an absurd amount of injuries to essential pieces. Before the season started, the Ravens lost their top 3 Running Backs, former All-Pro Cornerback Marcus Peters, rookie Wide Receiver RaShod Bateman, Offensive Guard Tyre Phillips, and starting Defensive End Derek Wolffe. A solid running back group quickly turned into a trio of misfit free agents and a practice squad player. The Receiving corps and cornerback group were weakened after losing top guys, and all the pressure fell onto Hollywood Brown and Marlon Humphrey, respectively.

However, these preseason injuries were only the beginning of the madness. By week 18, Superstar Quarterback Lamar Jackson, Star Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley, Rookie Edge Rusher Odafe Oweh, linebacker LJ Fort, cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett, and safety DeShon Elliot had all joined the list of injured players.

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Many believe that Baltimore would have been a playoff, or even a Superbowl contender with a healthy roster last season. In the 3 years before last season, the Ravens made the playoffs with relatively healthy rosters, and the Ravens had only gotten better. Only the absurd amount of injuries the Ravens suffered could deter such a talented team from making a playoff run. 

What is odd about the number of injuries the Ravens dealt with last season is that they have had the same head strength and conditioning coach for 7 years and haven’t had too many injury issues in the years before last year. In 2020, the Ravens didn’t deal with many injuries despite quarantine taking away their ability to train the way they usually do. Yet, with every passing week, more and more Ravens continued to get injured, and more and more backups were forced into starting roles.

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After such a disappointing season, Ravens fans can only hope that the team is not cursed with injuries. In the offseason, the front office sought to address this issue and bring in more depth. The Ravens bolstered their offensive line by signing Right Tackle Morgan Moses and drafting Center Tyler Linderbaum and Tackle Daniel Faalele. They also signed Safety Marcus Williams, Cornerback Kyle Fuller (injured Week 1 and out for the season), and drafted Safety Kyle Hamilton and Cornerback Pepe Williams to strengthen the secondary.

With multiple starters already out due to injury and the injury to the team’s mascot, it appears as if the Ravens may be cursed. Were the Ravens just cursed last season? Is the injury to Poe a sign of another injury-plagued season? The Ravens are set to be playoff contenders again as long as they stay healthy, so the only question now is whether or not they will remain healthy.

Jimmy Thomas is a senior member of the multimedia journalism class.