Quote of the Day: 'My urine, my blood, my stool'

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Raul Ibanez, responding to a blogger’s speculation that his career-best numbers may be due to performance-enhancing drugs:

I’ll come after people who defame or slander me. It’s pathetic and
disgusting. There should be some accountability for people who put that
out there. Unfortunately, I understand the environment we’re in and the
events that have led us to this era of speculation. At the same time,
you can’t just walk down the street and accuse somebody of being a
thief because they didn’t have a nice car yesterday and they do today.
You can’t say that guy is a thief.

You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool … anything you
can test. I’ll give you back every dime I’ve ever made [if the test is
positive]. I’ll put that up against the jobs of anyone who writes this
stuff. Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than
some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother’s basement. It demeans
everything you’ve done with one stroke of the pen.

I’m in complete agreement with Ibanez when it comes to the
increasing number of people willing to just toss out steroid
accusations like it’s nothing. However, why in the world is he
responding to some random article written by someone who goes by “JRod” on a blog that seemingly has a minimal readership?

“Ibanez
rips blogger” makes for a juicy headline and the mainstream media loves
nothing more than a good blog-bashing story, but why is this even on
Ibanez’s radar? Or perhaps more accurately, why did someone in
Philadelphia put it on his radar? There are thousands of blogs, just as
there are thousands of radio shows and newspaper columns and fans
talking at bars. Throw a rock and you’ll hit someone accusing a player
of steroid use.

Why does this particular unsubstantiated
accusation matter compared to all the rest? Credibility shouldn’t be
about the platform you’re on, it should be about whether or not the
things you say and do are, you know, credible.
There are plenty of mainstream media members with huge audiences who’re
miles from credible and there are plenty of little-read bloggers who’re
extremely credible, and there’s everything in between. I’m not sure why
Ibanez would pick this battle to fight or why there’s even a battle at
all.

With all of that said, I do appreciate Ibanez’s efforts to
keep the “blogger typing in his mother’s basement” meme alive, because
I was worried that it was falling too far into the parody realm to live
on at this point. Also, as long as he’s getting into the “responding to
bloggers” business, someone ought to tell Ibanez that there’s no
“stroke of the pen” involved. We use keyboards in our mothers’
basements now.

Yankees decide to keep Luis Severino on regular rest, give Twins potential Wild Card preview

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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Yankees starter Luis Severino pitched last Friday, putting him on track to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins. The Yankees mulled the possibility of pushing him back to start on Friday against the Blue Jays after an off day on Thursday so that the Twins wouldn’t get an early look at Severino in a potential AL Wild Card matchup.

However, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that Severino will indeed start on Wednesday against the Twins instead of Masahiro Tanaka. Hoch adds that Severino’s preference is to pitch on regular rest.

Severino, 23, has been the Yankees’ best starter this year and would be the most reliable arm in a must-win game. The right-hander is carrying a 13-6 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 218/49 K/BB ratio in 184 1/3 innings.

Entering Tuesday’s action, the Yankees hold a five-game lead over the Twins for the first Wild Card slot. The Angels hold a 1.5-game lead over the Angels for the second slot. The Yankees are also very much in the AL East race, trailing the Red Sox by only three games with 12 games left in the regular season.

You should probably pay attention to Matt Olson

Associated Press
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The claim of “East Coast Bias” is often hurled as an accusation of smug superiority, and it’s often met with denial, but it’s a thing. It’s not the exact thing the west coast people think it is — it’s not hate, it’s just a function of time zones and TV ratings — but there are certainly factors that cause stuff that happens in California to get shorter shrift than that which happens back east, where most of the national media people are.

One thing getting short shrift this year: the performance of Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson, which one has to imagine would be getting all kinds of press if he played back east.

Wait, we don’t have to imagine that at all. Because Olson is doing basically the exact same thing Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez did last year, and Sanchez got tons of headlines for it while I’m guessing most baseball fans who either (a) live outside of the Bay Area; or (b) aren’t big fantasy players, attuned to all of the latest callups, haven’t heard Olson’s name much if at all . Their respective lines:

  • Sanchez 2016: 53 games, .299/.376/.657, 20 HR, 168 OPS+
  • Olson 2017: 54 games, .267/.360/.663, 22 HR 168 OPS+

Sanchez’s rate stats were better but Olson is doing it in tougher parks for hitters. Obviously Sanchez is catching and Olson playing the corner, but a dude coming out of the minors to put up these kinds of numbers in the final two months of the season is rare. That it’s happening again, in almost the same way, is quite the thing.

Part of the reason for the discrepancy in press is that Sanchez was making a strong argument for the Rookie of the Year Award despite playing less than half the season whereas Olson has no shot given what Aaron Judge has done this year. But I’m guessing more of it is simply a function of Olson’s games starting at 10:30 or so back east and most of us not seeing what he does unless we look at the box scores the next day.

Still, Olson, the A’s first round pick from 2012, is not someone to sleep on. And, given that he hit 23 homers in 79 minor league games this year — the last guy to hit 20 in both the bigs and minors in the same year was Giancarlo Stanton — he’s not a fluke. Indeed, he’s one of the few rays of sunshine for the Oakland Athletics. And someone to whom us folks back east should pay a bit more attention.