I have preferred the TBS playoff coverage to the FOX coverage over the past couple of years for two reasons: (1) Unlike FOX, TBS’s producers don’t appear to have ADHD and can keep to a single camera shot for more than a half second, resisting the urge to cut from closeup to closeup to closeup between pitches; and (2) in the grand scheme of things, Chip Caray + Ron Darling > Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Based on last night’s game, however, these assumptions may no longer be operative.
The direction in the Twins-Tigers tilt was practically seizure-inducing. If there was a woman in the Metrodome stands holding her hands together in prayer that the cameras didn’t cut to in between pitches I’ll be utterly shocked. Also, Tigers’ third base coach Gene Lamont needs to give his publicist a raise, because whatever it is he’s doing to get his client more camera time while he sits uncomfortably in his too-tight uniform in the dugout while the Tigers are in the field is obviously working. Between the fan shots and Lamont-o-vision it was rare to actually see a catcher give the signs and the pitcher come set in the late innings.
Caray has reached a whole new level. The one everyone is talking about today is his call of Nick Punto’s “Line drive! Base hit!” to left in the 10th inning. It was the first line drive base hit I’ve ever seen result in the batter being out and the runner being killed at the plate following a tag-up. But that wasn’t Caray’s only delightful moment. Every foul ball was “fisted”. Every fair ball was a “hot shot!” In a game where there was no shortage of organic drama, Caray tried to infuse every call with instant phony drama rather than let the game speak for itself. By the time we were in extra innings, Ron Darling was spending more time trying to cover for Caray’s screwups than he was offering analysis. Which, while entertaining in its own right, almost makes one pine for Buck and McCarver. At least we’ve had more practice tuning them out.
There are three games today, all on TBS. The only saving grace is that Chip Caray can only call one of them.
Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.
“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:
Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.
Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.
While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”
Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”
Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.
This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.
Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.
Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.
The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.