Leave Matt Holliday alone (and other supplemental observations)

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Matthew and Bob did an excellent job of recapping yesterday’s games, but I have a couple of random observations knocking around my head:

— Look, I know all you Cardinals fans want to kill Matt Holliday right now, but (a) your guys may not have made the postseason without him; (b) he did hit a homer in the game last night; and (c) after the error, in order to lose that game, Ryan Franklin still had to walk Casey Blake, give up a single to Ronnie Belliard, walk Russell Martin, give up a single to Mark Loretta and deal with a passed ball. And it’s worth noting that Tony La Russa let that slow-motion car crash all unfold. Does that absolve Holliday? No. Dude messed up; no gettin’ around that. But rather than make him the biggest goat since Bill Buckner, maybe the allegedly smartest and bestest fans in baseball should acknowledge that last night’s ninth inning collapse was a  team effort.

As Matthew noted, Red Sox Nation is none too happy with the umpiring of last night’s game, particularly as it came from C.B. Bucknor. It’s worth repeating however, that (a) none of those mistakes led directly to Angels runs; and (b) none of those mistakes added any velocity or movement to the 114 John Lackey pitches that the Sox’ batters couldn’t do a damn thing with.  If it was a close game, sure, I’ll listen to some complaints, but you don’t get to moan about umps when you get shut out like this.

Also, from the AP game story:

Despite the Angels’ ominous playoff history against the Red Sox, the noisy Orange County crowd didn’t seem to be anticipating
disappointment while clacking its ThunderStix and easily drowning out
the surprisingly small Boston fan contingent on a slightly chilly night.

Holy crap, they’re still doing the ThunderStix thing out there? I went
to an Angels game in 2003 and it was played out then. Angels fans, take
it from a Braves fan: you don’t want to continue to be identified in the
world by a group cheering thing that, while possibly amusing when it
started, grows more and more ridiculous as time goes on. No,
ThunderStix will probably never be as bad as the Chop, but you don’t
even want to be half as bad as that, OK?

— Finally, congratulations to Cole Hamels on becoming a dad. Yeah, running out of the stadium to head to the maternity ward makes for a stressful day, and yeah, he got roughed up a bit before he ran out, but as a father, I can tell you that no bad day at work can make you feel as bad as a good day with your kids can make you feel good. And even a bad day with your kids is better than a good day at work.  Added bonus:  Hamels now actually has a use for that minivan he’s been driving around in for the past few years.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.