Matt Wieters is not omnipotent

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In the beginning Matt Wieters created the heavens and the Earth.

No, that’s not true. But if you listed to all of the hype since spring
you’d be forgiven for thinking so. It’s been years since a rookie has
been talked up as much as Wieters has been. Even his teammates contributed to the circus.

But a funny thing happened on the way to immortality: Wieters has proved human.

Twenty-one games into his big league career he’s at .243/.300/.405.
Yesterday he dropped a ball at home plate, turning a sure out into a
run for the Nationals. Overall, he’s thrown out just two of 15 base
stealers and has committed three errors in less than a month. As Dan
Connolly of the Baltimore Sun notes, Wieters isn’t even the best rookie on his team. In fact, he may not even be the second best:


The way things are going right now, Wieters (.234 average, two
homers, six RBIs) is not the Orioles’ best candidate for Rookie of the
Year. Outfielder Nolan Reimold (.286, 9 homers, 20 RBIs) is, with
pitcher Brad Bergesen (5-2, 3.76 ERA) also ahead of the backstop.

Connolly believes that Wieters will start hitting and playing better
defense soon. So do I, because the kid is just too good not to. But his
early struggles are an excellent reminder that baseball is a really
hard game with a learning curve to which almost no one is immune.

Not even deities.

Video: Phillies rookies dance to “Greased Lightning”

Rich Schultz/Getty Images
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As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.

The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.

Video with sound is not currently allowed to be embedded, so click here for that.

As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”

The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:

Video: Aaron Judge hits 47th, 48th homers, now one shy of tying Mark McGwire’s rookie record

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.

After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.