Monday Notebook: Hitting .400, 40 Is Bad For Jokic, B12 Need A Pause?

Miami Marlins v San Francisco Giants

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Unless you are one of the six people watching Florida Marlins' baseball games, you might not even know who Luis Arraez is. These days he plays second base after the Marlins traded for him from Minnesota AFTER he won the American League batting title. Why would the Twins trade a batting champ at age 25? That's a great question but baseball experts say the January trade made sense for the Twins since they were getting top pitching prospect Pablo Lopez as well as two other minor leaguers. 

Arraez is now hitting .392 and is just the second player in the last decade to be hitting over .390 after 200 at-bats. Justin Turner did it in 2017 but finished the year hitting .322. Arraez has a long way to go, but can he or anyone ever chase .400? 

In the last 50 years only three players have flirted with .400. In 1977 Rod Carew hit. 388. George Brett batted .390 playing in 117 games in 1980. And the great Tony Gwynn came the closest in 1994 when he hit .394 while playing in 110 games during the 1994 season, a year shortened over a labor battle between owners and players.

I do wonder what the media coverage would be if Arraez was within range of the magical mark. Would ESPN carry every at-bat? Would it be a big story covered on network news? Would sports fans even care? I sure hope so but I do wonder. Arraez is not a known star in MLB. The Venezuelan born player is 26 and has played in Minnesota and now Miami where national headlines are rare for baseball players. He's not Mike Trout, Aaron Judge or Bryce Harper- where the coverage would be off the chart. 

In a pitching dominated world, the odds of Arraez chasing .400 is unlikely. Yankee DJ LeMahieu hit .364 in the COVID shortened 2020 season. Then 36-year old Chipper Jones hit .365 in 2008. 

Arraez hit .316 last year and won a batting title. He hit .294 in 2022 so this would be a huge jump. But I do wonder if of all the records people say are unbreakable, I am not sure anyone will hit .400...

Nuggets: Speaking of Nuggets, the Nuggets lost to the Heat last night to even the NBA Finals. Nikola Jokic scored 41 and Denver is now 0-3 in the postseason when he scores 40 or more and 13-1 when he scores less than 40. He was held to just four assists and Miami hit shots they missed in game one. The Heat went 17-35 from three. The quartet of Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin went 11-21 from three. Miami also got another big offensive game from Bam Adebayo who went for 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists. It's a long series, just relax and enjoy...The Big 12 wrapped up spring meetings in West Virginia last week. The conference handed out a lot of money to schools and then most of the attention turned to commissioner Brett Yormack and his talk about expansion. Yormark made no secret about studying and talking expansion with his members and his view of a national conference. I like Yormark and think his work on getting a media deal done makes him worthy of commissioner of the year. But I don't get the continued openness to expansion. He holds all the cards and truly sit and wait to see if the Pac 12 implodes. The whispers of Colorado jumping get louder and the thought is if Colorado jumps at least one other school from the Pac 12 follows. Yet there is talk about UCONN as a full member and continued mentions of Gonzaga as a basketball-only school. Yormark has talked about the value of the league's basketball roster and how it could generate more money in media deals. But he can't sell basketball on its own until the new media deal expires in 2031. Who knows if Gonzaga is still the same power in 2031 and if Mark Few is still coaching there. I think Yormark might be using UCONN and Gonzaga rumors to force the few Pac 12 schools on the fence to make a decision. What is also interesting is if Colorado and Arizona made the move, would Arizona State follow? And if they did what happens to Oregon and Washington who have been waiting for a Big Ten invite that might not be happening. The Ducks and Huskies have said they believe they have the biggest value to the Pac 12 but what is their value if their league turns to raid the Mountain West?...Finally, I was running on Sunday and saw a lost pet sign someone posted. It was a picture of a cat and the sign say $1,000 reward. So what if someone finds the cat and calls the number but says they want $2,000 for the cat?...

Final note: In 1941 when Ted Williams, the last to hit .400, hit .406 he was walked 145 times and he struckout only 27 times the entire season.

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