Doug Glanville was merely a decent outfielder during his nine-year career with the Phillies, Cubs, and Rangers, but since retiring following the 2004 season he’s become an excellent writer for the New York Times.
In the wake of the whole Tiger Woods “situation” Glanville’s latest column describes how signing a professional contract instantly transformed him from “kind of nerdy” in high school to someone who had little trouble attracting women. You should really read the whole piece, because Glanville is willing to share plenty of personal details in addition to being a smart, compelling writer, but here are a couple particularly interesting excerpts:
I was a diligent student, kind of nerdy, the son of a teacher, and as interested in baseball and computers as I was in girls. Still, I was told I had potential in the social department, if I applied myself. But something magical happened before I had to do much work. I signed a professional baseball contract as a junior in college and went away to my first spring training as a member of the Chicago Cubs organization.
Because I had a few shells to bust out of, I put my toe in that party water, too. I was just 20 when I was drafted and it didn’t take long to understand that a new kind of woman was interested in me: the sort of woman who in the past had stirred my insecurity. It was like a kid finding Batman’s belt in the lost and found. No point in giving it back until you’ve tried all your new powers. But we forget to ask, will I be able to stop once I’ve tasted these powers?
My problem? I don’t even have a belt.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.