We had quite a lively debate yesterday about whether Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. I’d have to guess, however, that even the most ardent Rose haters — of which I am not one, no matter what a lot of you think — would agree that Rose has a better claim to Cooperstown immortality than Eric Bruntlett’s sweaty jersey:
There actually have been more perfect games — 18, including the postseason — than unassisted triple plays . . . That is why the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum asked Bruntlett for a piece of memorabilia from the play.
Bruntlett is sending his jersey.
This isn’t a slam on Bruntlett or his feat — I took care of that yesterday. I just don’t get the obsessiveness on the part of the Hall for this kind of totem. I get truly historic jerseys, and I even get more directly symbolic things like a guy’s spikes for a stolen base record or something. But the shirt a backup second baseman was wearing when something cool yet kind of flukey happened? How isn’t preserved video or a photo sufficient? What does the jersey actually add to the historic remembrance of it all? Maybe the glove would be better. Bruntlett probably doesn’t want to part with that in the middle of a season, of course, so maybe the Hall should just wait for that.
Don’t get me wrong — this is not a complaint as such. Just kind of a head scratcher regarding why it is we actually preserve artifacts like this. Is it to remember an event? Does the Hall do this out of a sense of mere inertia?
Probably worth a visit to Cooperstown to ask someone.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.