And with this quote from Ron Gardenhire about Francisco Liriano, we officially begin to transition from the hot stove season to the “Player X is in the best shape of his life” season:
“I just got a report that
he’s throwing the living fire out of the ball down in the Dominican
(Republic). He threw eight innings the other
day, and his fastball was 92 to 94 (mph) and his slider was filthy.
That’s a really good thing, because he can be the bonus if we can get
him on track.”
I hope Gardenhire is right, because I like Liriano and want to be optimistic about him.
But let’s make no mistake: just like the hot stove season, the “best shape of his life” season is about 71% baloney and 23% wishful thinking (6% of the time a player is actually in the best shape of his life; you can look it up).
The only difference is that we know most trade and free agent rumors are baloney or wishful thinking within a day or two. When someone talks about how great an injured, old and/or washed-up player looks during the offseason, we don’t realize it’s hooey, hope or both until April.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was once again ejected from an NLCS game, this time in Game 4.
In the top of the eighth inning, closer Wade Davis found himself in a bit of a pickle. He gave up a leadoff home run to Justin Turner, cutting the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Davis then walked Yasiel Puig. He was able to get Andre Ethier to pop up, bringing up Curtis Granderson. Granderson worked the count 2-2, then fouled off a pitch. And then he appeared to swing through a curve that bounced in the dirt. Catcher Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out, but Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, so it was a foul ball.
Wolf conferred with the other umpires. After a brief delay, the strikeout was overturned and Granderson was given new life in the batter’s box. Only… replays showed that Wolf got it right the first time.
Understandably, Maddon was livid. On the broadcast, one could see Maddon gesturing to the umpires to look at the replay on the video board behind the stands in left field. The argument fell on deaf ears and he was ejected. Thankfully for the Cubs, justice prevailed and Davis struck out Granderson on the next pitch.
It’ll be interesting to see if Maddon makes any political comparisons after the game. He likened the slide rule, the impetus behind his Game 1 ejection, to the soda tax.