The Padres pitchers are very tall

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The San Diego Union-Tribune has a fun article today about how their pitching staff has grown over the course of the season:

Remarkable as it is that he’s not even the Padres’ tallest pitcher
— that would still be 6-10 veteran Chris Young — [Adam] Russell isn’t that
much taller than five others on the staff. Mat Latos, Ryan Webb and
Aaron Poreda are listed as 6-6, one inch taller than Mike Adams and
Clayton Richard. None of whom, Young excepted, was on the Padres roster on Opening Day. Young, Latos and Adams were the only ones among the aforementioned
seven who were Padres property.

When the Padres traded Jake Peavy to
the Chicago White Sox on July 31, all four of the pitchers who came to
the San Diego organization were 6-5 or taller, and three of them are
now with the Padres.

“We traded away a point guard,” said Young, “and got four forwards in return.”

There’s the usual talk in there about how it’s hard for a tall pitcher to get all of his parts moving in synch for purposes of his delivery.  I know tall guys have a hard time with this in practice, but I’ve never understood exactly why this is.  They’re still proportional, right? Why can’t they do what short guys do only, you know, bigger?  That aside, I’m surprised that more of them don’t do the Randy Johnson thing and adopt a simple-as-simple-can-be windup, even if they have to come down low to do it. 

The other bit of bothersome conventional wisdom in the piece comes when Ryan Webb mentions that he wanted to be a shortstop, but when he tried out for the position in junior high school, his coach told him he couldn’t because at 6’4″ he was too tall.

I suppose things have worked out for Webb — he’s in the majors after all — but why anyone thinks a 6’4″ dude can’t play short is seriously lacking a grasp of baseball history.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.