This appears on the front page of ESPN.com at 8:30 am Tuesday morning:
“Jason Heyward needed only one major league at-bat Monday to validate all the talk that the Braves rookie is on his way to stardom.”
If that’s the kind of headline we’re going for, here are some others from baseball news on Monday:
- Placido Polanco establishes himself as the Phillies’ best hitter.
- Josh Johnson shows why the Marlins shouldn’t spend money on their players.
- Joe Mauer thanks Minnesota for his $184 million dollar contract with 1-4 night, loss.
- Will the Dodgers lose every game this season?
SURPRISE, Ariz. – Ron Washington, the Texas Rangers manager, held a press conference yesterday to confess that he tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season. Team officials confirmed that Washington failed a drug test last year.
“I guess this explains some stuff,” shortstop Michael Young said when asked to comment on his manager’s reported drug use. “There was a flight we took from Seattle to Tampa where Coach paced up and down the center aisle for like four hours, talking about how he was an underrated middle infielder in his time, and that me and Kins [Ian Kinsler] are really important for middle infielders, like really important, and that we’ll know what he’s talking about someday.” Young shrugged. “Probably also explains that one lineup card.”
The lineup card Young was referring to was one Washington filled out against the Blue Jays on July 23rd, 2009 which looked like this:
1. Ian Kinsler
2. Josh Hamilton
3. Ian Kinsler
4. Josh Hamilton
5. Ron Washington
6. Ian Kinsler
7. Josh Hamilton
8. Ian Kinsler
9. Josh Hamilton
At the time, Texas bench coach Jackie Moore said it had been a typo.
Rangers management said they appreciated Washington owning up to his behavior, and that it explained why he gave Chris Davis 122 at-bats against left-handed pitching last season, a horrible decision made more understandable in light of hard core drug use.
I saw the second to last game ever at Shea Stadium, where Johan Santana pitched a complete game in the drizzle. Thanks to that ticket purchase, which had everything to do with Shea Stadium and nothing to do with my affinity for the Mets, this weekend I received a glossy flier advertising the 2010 Mets season. The slogan?
It's only March, but the Mets are already losing, apparently.
I’m not one to judge, rooting as I do for a team whose motto last season sounded like the slogan of a losing political candidate (“A New Day, A New Way” – Seattle Mariners 2009). But as my housemate pointed out, “Boy, the Mets seem to be admitting that they’re already losing.”
Should be a great season.
A link to an article I wrote on All Swings Considered about the idea of baseball returning to the Olympics.
Jayson Stark at ESPN writes that baseball (at least involving major league players) doesn’t belong in the summer Olympics. I disagree, and proceed to fantasize about great moments in sports involving tremendous acts of national pride which will never, ever happen.
I found a very interesting baseball statistic today, which I’m sharing with you whether you like it or not. Here are two pitchers from 2009:
Pitcher 1: 14-13, 231 innings, 245 hits, 43 walks, 181 K, 3.22 era, 1.25 WHIP
Pitcher 2: 13-9, 216 innings, 176 hits, 67 walks, 169 K, 2.71 era, 1.13 WHIP
Which pitcher would you rather have had on your team? Probably Pitcher 2. Well the Seattle Mariners are being lauded for their off-season moves, including trading for Cliff Lee. His 2009 season is Pitcher 1.
Pitcher 2, however, is the combined Seattle production of Jarrod “Overachiever” Washburn and Erik “Underachiever” Bedard. The Mariners essentially traded for Lee to replace Bedard and Washburn. But it will be a stretch to ask Lee to throw 216 innings in 2010 with such excellent results. That, combined with the difficulty in Felix Hernandez improving upon his 2009 season means that the top of Seattle’s rotation in 2010 may actually perform worse than it did in 2009.
I wrote essentially this over at All Swings Considered. But I’m sharing it with you fine people because, well, because it’s educational, that’s why!
Guys, the weed's on me tonight
Tim Lincecum of the Giants filed an arbitration claim for $13,000,000 yesterday. The Giants countered with $8,000,000. He is due for a big pay day, and there’s little to suggest that he isn’t worth that much.
But this is really bad news for players in general, as it marks a further decline in baseball’s willingness to employ a mediocre player just because he’s been around for ten years. I elaborate on this over on All Swings Considered.
Something occurred to me. We have such low expectations for athletes’ verbal skills. Example:
Reporter: How big was that home run you hit to win the game?
Athlete: It was big. I mean, I just went out there and played hard, and this is a big win for us.
Hmm. Come to think of it, we have pretty low expectations for TV sports reporters, too.
But when something like a steroids story comes up, then suddenly we expect athletes to be eloquent masters of rhetoric, and fault them severely if they don’t measure up.
That’s the gist of another post over on All Swings Considered. Basically, I want baseball players to talk like Curtis Granderson or Ichiro.
Still had a pretty swing
Mark McGwire admitted finally that he took steroids. I’ve always liked McGwire, and felt sorry that he took as much public abuse as he did. Here’s a link to an All Swings Considered post I wrote about the fantasy press conference I would want McGwire to hold with reporters.
My Imaginary McGwire Steroid Press Conference
Best McGwire story: He hit a 515 ft home run to left field off of Randy Johnson in the Kingdom in Seattle. After the game Griffey was asked about it. He said that the entire stadium fell quiet when McGwire hit the ball, and all he could hear from where he stood in center field was Jay Buhner over in right yelling, “Daaaaaaaaaaamn!”