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.
The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.
The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.
The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.
Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.