Link-O-Rama: Not every lineup is a work of art

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* Mark Newman of MLB.com talked to future Hall of Fame managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony La Russa about the art of filling out a lineup card, and Torre provided my favorite quote: “With our current lineup, you know where [Matt] Kemp, [Andre] Ethier, Manny [Ramirez], and [Rafael] Furcal will be. Those guys will be in the top four or five spots.”
Torre has recently come to his senses by finally using Kemp near the middle of the order, but overall this season the guy with the second-highest batting average and third-best OPS on the Dodgers has been “in the top four or five spots” just 38 times in 139 games. By comparison, Kemp has batted sixth (24), seventh (46), eighth (21), or ninth (3) a total of 94 times. And this is a career .302/.349/.485 hitter who’s batting .306/.363/.506 this season. That’s some art.
* Yesterday the Nationals were thinking about shifting Cristian Guzman to second base in an effort to overhaul their infield defense. Today the Nationals “plan to revamp the bullpen” this offseason. Translation: Teams that lose 100 games in back-to-back seasons are often motivated to make lots of changes.
* Mike Cameron’s strained hamstring is expected to keep him out until at least Friday, causing Adam McCalvy of MLB.com to write that “the Brewers are well-covered in the outfield, with Corey Patterson, Jody Gerut, and Jason Bourgeois all available to play center field.” You know something is structurally wrong with a sentence when “well-covered” and “Corey Patterson” are used in tandem.
* By making his 28th start of the season yesterday Josh Beckett triggered his $12 million option for 2010.

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.

Jeremy Jeffress will enter rehab after Friday’s DWI arrest

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 23:  Jeremy Jeffress #23 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 23, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Texas 3-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was arrested on Friday for driving while intoxicated (DWI). According to a report from WFAA-TV in Dallas, Jeffress changed lanes without signaling and almost hit a car. While he was undergoing sobriety tests, he could not keep his balance or stand on one leg. His blood-alcohol content registered at .115.

Major League Baseball has opted not to suspend Jeffress as he has voluntarily chosen to check into an inpatient rehabilitation clinic, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. He’s expected to spend about a month at the clinic, which is based in Houston. There is still a possibility Jeffress can rejoin the Rangers in time for the postseason.

Jeffress issued a statement, which Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provided:

This is not the first time Jeffress has had trouble with substance abuse. He was suspended 50 games in 2007 after testing positive for a second time for a drug of abuse, which was marijuana. He tested positive again in June 2009 and was suspended 100 games. It was later revealed that Jeffress suffers from juvenile epilepsy and he was self-medicating with marijuana.

Hopefully, his time in rehab helps him recover from substance abuse. Substance abuse is an issue about which people have a shortage of empathy, especially when it comes to celebrities, including athletes.

The Rangers acquired Jeffress along with catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers at the August 1 trade deadline. They sent prospects Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named to Milwaukee. In nine appearances with the Rangers, Jeffress has a 4.00 ERA and a 6/5 K/BB ratio.