"Muzzling" the "mouthy" Jimmy Rollins? Why bother?

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The New York Post is doing its best to try and turn Jimmy Rollins’ prediction of the Phillies in five into some big controversy, calling Rollins “mouthy,” saying the Yankees are prepared to “muzzle” him and doing whatever they can to get any actual members of the Yankees to go on record with something controversial. Not surprisingly, no one comes close to taking the bait. In fact, Johnny Damon basically says the only reasonable thing one can say in such a situation: “What do you expect him to say and what do you expect Phillies fans to expect? I wish he had predicted it the other way, but then there would have been a lot of angry Phillies fans.”

In other words a tempest in a teapot.  Faux outrage from a paper who lives to stir this kind of stuff up.  Fun to some degree, but ultimately meaningless.

Why the Post is bothering baiting people over Rollins I have no idea given that it is great at stirring up its own controversy from whole cloth.  Did you read yesterday’s cover story Bob was talking about?  Yeah, the “Frillies” stuff was cute, but the sheer Philly hate was something to behold. Some man-on-the street quotes from the article:

“Philly fans are a bunch of whiners and should learn how to dress. They should try reading GQ.”

“I don’t have hate for Philly exactly — they are like our redheaded stepchild. It’s like a nothing city. It’s just insignificant in comparison to New York.”

“Their fans are whiners, the food is lousy and there is nothing to do. New York is all about being on top, with no excuses — just like the Yankees.”

“The big meal there is a steak with cheese and onions on a hero, but they don’t even call it a hero. It’s a hoagie. What the hell is a hoagie?”

I’ve been to Philly before. Between my experiences there and the comments I get whenever I dare say a negative thing about the Phillies, I’m 100% certain that Philly fans can give it back to New York in equal or greater measure.  That the Post didn’t send a reporter to Philadelphia to get competing quotes was probably a function of them not wanting to pay thousands of dollars in emergency room bills.

So forget Jimmy Rollins and his predictions. Let’s focus on the real competition here: the competition to see whether New York or Philly fans can do the most to shock the nation.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.

Raines to wear an Expos cap, Pudge to wear a Rangers cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

1990:  Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos in action. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
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There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.

Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.

Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.

With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.

Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.