So I’ve mentioned Caryn Rose and Metsgrrl many times on this. blog. I can’t remember now how I happened upon her blog but when I did I was immediately hooked. I wouldn’t consider myself a Mets fan (although I find myself rooting for them more often than not) but Caryn’s writing pulled me in and kept me going back for more. Caryn’s love for the Mets and baseball mixed with her writing talent made Metsgrrl one of the only other baseball blogs out there that I made a point of visiting on a regular basis.
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So follow this link to Amazon.com and download “One Girl, One Team, One City: The Best of metsgrrl.com, 2006-2012″ for some quite enjoyable baseball writing.
(For the record, I’m only promoting this for two reasons 1. I like Caryn and 2. I think more people should read her writing – I get no compensation from this at all!)
Last night’s game was just another reminder of how as much as I love baseball, sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me.
For the second time this season against the Red Sox, Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was found to have a foreign substance on his person, presumably to help him pitch. (It was not the second time this season he was caught by cameras with the pine tar. His outing in Toronto was also enhanced by the sticky substance.)
After the first time against the Sox I felt pretty ‘meh’ about it. None of the players complained, good for him he got away with something. But last night irritated me on a few different levels. So let’s give thanks to Pineda for causing my first rant of the 2014 season.
Before the game John Farrell responded to a question about pine tar by saying “I’m sure I would expect that, if it’s used, it’s more discreet than the last time.”
Yeah, not so much.
I don’t have any idea if I should be mad that Pineda uses pine tar. Apparently everyone uses it and no one in the game usually cares. What annoys me is how everyone blows it off (including and especially the players) as if it isn’t a big deal when it is, regardless of how well it is hidden, against MLB’s rules. This isn’t stealing signs. This is something specifically against the rules. If you want the rule changed, you’re in a union, go talk to them. But the rule is there and if the only time it’s going to be enforced is when it’s so bloody obvious my legally blind father with a 10 year-old NON HD television can see it then I think that’s pretty ridiculous.
I’m also annoyed by the way the entire Yankees team was only too happy to throw Pineda under the bus the moment the game was over and the questions came out. Sure, he’s an adult, makes his own decisions, blah, blah, blah. And it was pointed out to me last night that dugouts between innings aren’t exactly libraries so it’s possible his manager, the coaches, his teammates and everyone else in there didn’t notice the giant, messy blob on his neck before he took the field in the second inning. But he’s done this at least two other times this season already. The media was all over it yesterday before the game. I absolutely do not believe that no one in the Yankees organization thought to maybe talk to this kid before the game and say “Gee, the spotlight is going to be on you, maybe cut the shit for one night, huh?” And if they did and he ignored them you would think that the reaction from, oh let’s say Joe Girardi would have been a lot more angry than it was. Girardi responded like it was no big deal (although in fairness Brian Cashman seemed a bit more miffed – probably just that his player was stupid enough to ‘hide’ it on such an obvious place).
The word ‘mistake’ has been bandied about quite a bit regarding this incident. No. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a purposeful decision. A stupid one, mind you I won’t argue with anyone that what Pineda did was ridiculously stupid, but a specific decision and not a mistake nonetheless.
As with most of my rants, I know I’m all over the place here. There’s a part of me that sympathizes with Pineda. He’s 25, English isn’t his first language, and he’s pitching for a team that, at least in theory, offers zero room for mistakes. Who knows what kind of pressure he’s feeling or what kind of support he’s getting? And what kind of mixed messages has he received? I mean,hell, if I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to be mad about pitchers using pine tar (given I keep getting told everyone does it), how is he supposed to know if he’s doing something wrong? He knows it’s “wrong” in the sense that it’s against MLB rules but as long as you conceal it well it seems to not be “wrong” among his fellow players, coaches and managers. So in a sense it’s easy to see why he thought he could get away with it.
The players need to clean up their own mess. It sounds a bit hypocritical to hear John Farrell and John Lackey and others essentially saying the only reason they brought the umpires into it was because of how blatant it was. Suddenly we have to defend the integrity of the game (or our own egos) just because everyone can see it? So if CC is hiding something between his fingers tonight and none of us ever get a look at it, does that make him better than Pineda because he hides his cheating better?* How’s this work? Do players get the rulebook and note the asterisks next to some of rules? “Pay no attention to the red asterisked rules, fellas. Those are just there for show.”
*In case a CC fan happens to read this, I’m not accusing him of cheating. But if everyone else is right, apparently chances are he probably is.
In an ESPN.com article about this debacle, Ian O’Connor amusingly wonders if this will “sink” the Yankees season. But that isn’t the most entertaining thing about the piece. Normally, I avoid the comments but in some instances the schadenfreude is too much to pass up. My favorite comment came from someone named Joseph who wrote (and this is all cut and pasted, typos and/or misspellings aren’t mine):
I’m very disapointed in Cashman at the moment. i think he is letting the yankees get pushed around again. He shouldn’t have come out defiant. He should have denounced Farrell’s ploy for what it was: gamesmenship. He should have promised retalalition. Not say your sorry because Pineda’s only crime it seems was to try and get a grip of the baseball. The rule was designed to prevent people from doctoring the baseball not prevent a pitcher from being able to grip the ball on a cold night because that’s a safety hazard. Let’s be honest here John Farrel doesn’t give a darn about the rule. He just cares about giving his team an edge whether it is in the rules or not. Somebody should ask him if he thinks that Jon Lester should be suspended. Or if he thinks Clay Bucholtz should be suspended? My guess is that he’ll say no even though there is actual video proof that these guys cheated. If you suspend Pineda you have to suspend those other pitchers as well. Otherwise leave the kid alone.
Aside from old Joseph not knowing how to spell Farrell or Buchholz, he misses the point of why Pineda will be suspended and Lester and Buchholz only got spoken about in the media. No one on the opposing team called out Lester or Buchholz during the game (I almost wish they had. I mean I’d be interested to see how the umps reacted to the stuff on Clay’s arm and in Crabby’s glove.) which means there were no reprimands. Which brings me to another thing that makes no sense to me in MLB…why is it on the teams to police themselves? Why didn’t one of the umps approach the mound (or the Yankees dugout) and say “Yo, what up with the neck gunk?” It seems to me that MLB is as accepting of this practice as the players are – as long as the pitchers aren’t obvious enough to get caught.
The mixed message is annoying. If I’m going to be outraged, dammit, tell me why I should be!
I’d rather the media focus on how amazing the Red Sox pitching was last night – especially John Lackey. For schadenfreude, how about Derek Jeter’s absolutely horrendous defense or Mark Teixeira’s Golden Sombrero? All interesting baseball stories. Instead we get to listen to the likes of Karl Ravech say things like “There is no joy in Pinetarville” (he really said that – and then went on to say that John Farrell couldn’t really enjoy beating the Yankees last night because he knows his pitchers “cheat” too). And tonight we’ll be subjected to discussions about the length of Pineda’s suspension (10 games, equalling 2 starts – the iron hammer of Joe Torre seems a little weak) and concerns that the Red Sox opened a can of worms that their pitchers will have to pay for.
I mean hell, I’ve written almost 1500 words about the damn subject and I don’t even really know how I feel about it. I don’t like cheaters and I’m a bit of a good two-shoes when it comes to rules…so in theory I should be mad that Pineda pulled this again. But really I just wonder, if it really is being done by all of them, why more pitchers don’t get caught.
I’ll say this much, the theater of John Farrell coming out of the dugout, the umpire practically strip searching Michael Pineda and Joe Girardi almost dismantling an ESPN dugout camera wouldn’t have been quite as amusing had the Red Sox lost last night’s game. So I thank John Lackey for being outstanding and really wish the rest of it would just go away.
So after promising myself I’d be blogging every day, I’ve failed yet again. But it won’t last long! After this week I’ll be on a better schedule with more time to devote to this place and the Red Sox!
Coming up THIS week will be a recap of Fenway’s Opening Day and my first contest giveaway of the season!
I’m currently listening to the rain pouring down and being happy that it held off as long as it did last night. After their lousy weekend I think the last thing this team needed was a rain delay.
Go enjoy the day, folks! And remember the Sox start a little earlier tonight at 6:10 instead of 7:10.
I am heading to Fenway today (this morning actually…making a very long and fun day of it) and while this isn’t the first time I’ve been to Opening Day and it’s the second time I’ve been to a World Series ring ceremony, I’m still pretty damn giddy.
Holy cow. Did you read what I just wrote? I’ve been to a World Series ring ceremony and am going to another. And I know folks who will have been at all three. Every so often, like just now, it hits me how incredibly fortunate we are as fans to be witnessing this in our lifetimes. If you aren’t a sports fan you don’t get what a pleasure this is (then again, if you aren’t a sports fan the chances are very good you aren’t reading this blog so never mind!).
The Red Sox come back to Fenway today having won the first series of the season (and as an added, meaningless bonus, the Sox are in first place and the Yankees in last). I hear birds singing, the sun is starting to peek out and I know it’s going to be a good day!
I hope everyone gets to find a place to watch the ceremony today. I’d love to say “take the day off” but I know that’s tough for some people so I’ll just say “try to work around it!”…we need this ray of sunshine after this long freaking winter, don’t you think?
Happy Opening Day, folks!
I know that the nature of blogging (and microblogging on Twitter) is to judge. Everyone loves to have their opinion heard…and I’m not different. Sure I can say I don’t judge, but I do. We all do in one way or another, right?
So here I am, ready to judge (or, really, I suppose I’m judging the judgers). Everyone else has written about it so I figured because I’ve written a lot about him in the past, I should mention this ongoing Jerry Remy drama. The Providence Journal printed today what I believe to be the best editorial I’ve read on the RemDawg’s situation with the payoff being in the final paragraph:
I couldn’t not post this photo. I just couldn’t.
I defy anyone to find another person as charismatic and lovable as David Ortiz. Especially someone rich and famous. He’s just amazing.
I have nothing to really add to today. I thought the President’s speech was wonderful. So personal and so much about the City not just the team. So because it was a long day but I still wanted to post…I give you my favorite part of the speech, courtesy of whitehouse.gov:
Nearly one year ago, hundreds of thousands gathered on a beautiful spring day to run and cheer the historic Boston Marathon. But a senseless act of terror turned celebration into chaos, and joy into anguish. Four young people lost their lives. Hundreds were injured. The city was rocked. But under the guiding hand of somebody who I consider one of the finest public servants that America has known, Mayor Tom Menino of Boston, who is here today, and his lovely wife. (Applause.)
Boston stood resolute and unbowed and unbroken. And as the smoke cleared, we gained inspiration from the injured who gamely tackled their recovery — those who are running and walking again, including the young woman who has returned to professional dancing with a prosthetic leg. And we took heart from the first responders who put their lives at risk and bravely ran toward danger — people like Officer Richard Donahue of the MBTA Transit Police, who was shot and nearly killed that night. After months of rehab, Richard is walking again and keeping up with his 18-month-old son, and we’re so proud to have Richard here today. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Today, our hearts are in Boston again. We’ve got the families of firefighters Michael Kennedy and Lieutenant Edward Walsh, who gave their lives protecting others from a massive blaze last week. And their sacrifice, like the sacrifice of those made last year, remind us of the selfless courage of everyday heroes who put their lives on the line to help others. The first responders, the brave citizens, the resolute victims of these tragedies — they’re all Boston Strong. And ultimately, that’s what this team played for last season, and every man behind me did his part to keep the team rolling.