Good bet that something's wrong with Pedro

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The Mets have a pretty glaring hole in that number five starter slot. Pedro Martinez is still available for the taking. Mets GM Omar Minaya
loves Pedro. Mets fans love Pedro. The front office has a history
(usually) of being very cognizant of what the fans want. So that
equation should equal Pedro back in Queens, right?

That this hasn’t happened yet, or if it doesn’t happen after Tim Redding
struggles in Pittsburgh on Thursday, is probably a good indicator that
Pedro isn’t physically right. Because if he was, given Minaya’s
infatuation with the player and his tendency to jump at an available
commodity that he cherishes, Pedro would be in the Mets rotation, $5
million a year or otherwise.

Ollie Perez struggled mightily (maybe not a strong enough word)
before landing on the DL, and a setback in his rehab means he’s still
weeks away from returning. They gave Jon Niese a shot early in
May, but after a nice outing against the Pirates, he was ripped by the
Braves and sent back down. Redding pitched well in his first try in LA,
but has been vintage Redding over his past two starts (8.2 IP, 13 ER, 2
L) and more of the same should be expected. Plus there’s the curious
case of Livan Hernandez, who has shockingly been pretty damn
good in five of his last six (3.03 ERA, 4-2 team record) . The Mets
shouldn’t be banking on that to continue.

So why not Pedro? He couldn’t be worse that Ollie or Redding or
Niese, right? Teammates all love the guy so he wouldn’t be causing any
dreaded chemistry problems. That $5 million price tag isn’t $5 million
anymore now that we’re almost a third of the way home. Plenty of Mets
fans are begging to see him pitch again – including this one, who, for
mostly sentimental reasons, wishes Pedro could get a crack at a
postseason with the Mets, since his signing was a huge driving force
behind the Mets becoming relevant again.

The risk of signing him doesn’t appear to be that high, so we’ll
take a guess that it’s either the shoulder or the toe or the hammy or
something that is probably still jacked up (or if it isn’t now, is on
the verge of disintegrating). Or maybe Omar has a trade in the works
for more of a frontline starter (Peavy? Oswalt? Other?).

But if someone does sign him, hopefully it’s not the Phillies. Don’t wanna have to root against the guy.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.