MLB Network’s Richard Justice discusses the return of MLB, future of DH, VFL Todd Helton and shares MJ in baseball story

Yan Gomes – Nationals / Credit: UT Athletics

By Vince Ferrara / @VinceSports and MLB Network’s Richard Justice was a guest with Heather Harrington and me on Sports 180 recently.

He discussed a variety of subjects with us.

Below are just some quick quotes followed by the full interview with much more that you should listen to.

On selecting VFL Todd Helton as the best month of May MLB hitter performance he’s ever seen:
“He hit .512 in May 2000. First batting title. You say, ‘Oh, Coors Field.’ That’s right. He hit .548 at Coors Field (in May.) He hit 4-something (.407) on the road. It was when a lot would look at Todd Helton and say, ‘This guy’s not a good player. He’s a great player. He makes the game look easy.”

On how MLB will handle the DH with realignment proposals and an imbalance of AL and NL teams within the new divisions:
“I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a universal DH. My feeling is, for the first time ever in my life, there’s such a cultural line in the sand in both leagues. ‘We want it. They don’t want it.’ I think we’re headed towards having a universal DH in 2021. I could be wrong with that, but this is the first step.”

On Willie Mays and his game-used bats at home:
“Willie had a carousel of bats. Willie would pick up a bat and go, ‘Yeah, I homered off Drysdale on this date’ or ‘I homered in the all-star game with this bat.’ That tells you the expertise of these guys.”

On Willie Mays vs. Hank Aaron:
“The Willie Mays-Hank Aaron rivalry was real. I mean, it was real. They paid attention to what the two were doing.”

On covering Michael Jordan when he played baseball:
“I saw him say in the documentary, ‘I don’t have a gambling problem. I have a competition problem.’ Oh my god. Nothing he’s ever said could be more true. I’m in Birmingham with him, Chattanooga with him. He would play two rounds of golf in the morning, come in and start hustling card games with his teammates then take batting practice. He is a junkie in that way. Obviously, he burned a different fuel.”

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