Please, Lupica. Girardi has no choice but to start Pettitte tonight

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I do my best to avoid Mike Lupica whenever possible, but my buddy Jason alerts me to the latest bit of wisdom from the New York Daily News’ alpha dog:

Joe Girardi knows the deal as well as he knows his way out to the mound. He’s right about using only three starters in the postseason if the Yankees win, tonight or tomorrow night. He’s right if Andy Pettitte does the job in Game 6 on three days’ rest that A.J. Burnett didn’t do Monday night. Or he’s right if this thing plays all the way out and CC Sabathia carries everybody across the finish line. Girardi just better be right about three days’ rest for these guys after being up three games to one.

As most of you know, I’m a lawyer by training and trade, and it’s times like these that I wish I could mix the law and baseball. If I could, I’d put Lupica on the stand and cross examine him:

Lawyer: So, Mr. Lupica, is it your position here today that Mr. Girardi should start Mr. Gaudin — who hasn’t pitched in a month — or, say, Mr. Chamberlain in Game Six of the World Series?

Lupica: [mutters something unintelligible]

Lawyer: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your answer, could you speak a little louder so the jury and the court reporter can hear your answer?

Lupica: I said, um, no. Pettitte’s a better choice.

Lawyer: So you’d agree with me, then, that Mr. Girardi is making the right decision to start Mr. Pettitte tonight?

Lupica: Yes.

Lawyer: So, if Mr. Pettitte doesn’t perform, it’s not because of Mr. Girardi’s poor decision, is it?  It’s because of something else such as poor roster construction?

Lupica: Yes

Lawyer: Your honor, at this time I think Mr. Lupica may wish to retract his “Girardi had better be right” statement because such rhetoric is clearly not supported by the witness’ own beliefs.

Of course, I suppose it’s possible that Lupica really does think it’s better to start Chad Gaudin. He doesn’t say either way in his article. Which is a shame, because if he said Gaudin was the man, we’d be able to dismiss Lupica as certifiably insane without going through all of this hassle.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.

Yadier Molina says Adam Jones “has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people”

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After the U.S. won the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night, Adam Jones told a reporter that he and his teammates were motivated in part by the fact that Puerto Rico already had championship t-shirts printed up and plans for a parade/celebration in Puerto Rico in place beforehand.

Which, OK, whatever you need to motivate you, Adam, but all of that seems complicated by the fact that (a) ALL teams playing for a championship have pre-printed gear, thus enabling them to be put on moments after the final out; and (b) Puerto Rico’s celebration plans were not contingent on winning or losing. In fact, they went ahead and had a parade/celebration even though they lost. The WBC was a big deal to them in ways it simply wasn’t to the U.S., so it makes sense.

Yadier Molina of Team Puerto Rico did not take kindly to Jones’ comments. He tells ESPN Deportes this:

“Adam Jones … is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made . . . He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people,” Molina said. “Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn’t know what this means to [our] people.”

Kind of a messy little controversy, eh?

My feeling about it is that Jones probably didn’t know the whole story about Puerto Rico’s plans and misinterpreted celebration for arrogance. I also suspect that most players motivate themselves in all manner of irrational ways like this, but we just don’t hear about it all that much. Jones can do whatever he wants to psych himself up, but it changes the equation a bit when you talk about it to the press. Perceived slights that an athlete uses internally can seem petty once exposed to the light of day.

Either way: Jones does not have a reputation for being insulting or disrespectful, so I seriously doubt that was his intent here. I also think that, while Molina has a right to be miffed, the “he must apologize to the Puerto Rican people” thing is laying it on a bit thick. Maybe Jones can just text Molina and some P.R. players and say he was sorry, followed by a “we’re all good, man” and this can end? That makes the most sense.

If not, well, the Orioles do play the Cardinals in an interleague series this summer, so maybe we’ll see some fireworks.