The party hasn't started until Canseco shows up

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I’m surprised it took him a day to find a microphone.  Anyway, you’ve been right more than you’ve been wrong about this Jose, so you’re probably entitled to a few minutes of the floor:

“I’ve got no problems with a few of the things he’s saying, but again,
it’s ironic and strange that Mark McGwire denies that I injected him
with steroids. He’s calling me a liar again.  I’ve defended Mark, I’ve said a lot of good things about him, but I can’t believe he just called me a liar. There is something very strange going on here, and I’m wondering what
it is. I even polygraphed that subject matter, that I injected him, and
passed it completely. So I want to challenge him on national TV to a
polygraph examination. I want to see him call me a liar under a
polygraph examination.”

Maybe Canseco is telling the truth about this, but allow me to ask: does anyone, even the most passionate anti-steroid crusader, care about the specific mode of injection?  I’m willing to live with a half-truth regarding one man injecting another in a bathroom stall. Aren’t you?  And I think Jose said too much with the national TV thing. His biggest weakness in all of his truth telling is that he’s been seen as being far more interested in making a buck and getting attention out of it than in doing what’s right for baseball.  He pretty much admits that here.

Canseco is also miffed at La Russa’s claim that he didn’t know McGwire did steroids until yesterday:

“That’s a blatant lie.  Tony La Russa was quoted as
saying that I was using steroids back then, and I was talking about it
in the clubhouse, openly. That’s a blatant lie. There are
some things here that are so ridiculous, and so disrespectful for the
public and the media to believe. I just can’t believe it. I’m in total
shock. These guys remind me of politicians that go up and just lie to
the public and expect to get elected.”

I’m with Canseco here. La Russa had one of the most steroid-happy locker rooms around, in two cities no less, with the most brazen user of them all in Canseco under his supervision.  He has always played dumb and no one has ever taken him to task over it.  If a manager is as ignorant about what goes on in his clubhouse as La Russa claims to have been he wouldn’t be able to fill out a lineup card because the players would be total strangers to him. Good for Canseco for saying this. I wish someone who wasn’t such a freakshow would repeat it.

Canseco also hates having to defend himself over all of the claims he has made:

“I’m tired of justifying what I’ve said. I’ve
polygraphed, I’ve proven that I’m 100 percent accurate. I never
exaggerated. I told it the way it actually happened. I’m the only one
who has told it the way it actually happened. Major League Baseball is
still trying to defend itself. It’s strange. All I have is the truth,
and I’ve proven that.”

To my knowledge, nothing Canseco has said has been proven wrong. At least nothing major, so he has a point.  Still, as all of today’s outrage over McGwire’s apology makes plain, to most of the media and to a certain vocal brand of fan, it’s not what you say, it’s how and why you say it.

McGwire catches hell for only apologizing because he wants a job and for not following the specific remorse regimen that the public allegedly demands. By the same token, Canseco only came out with his steroids stuff when he was at the end of his career, found himself in desperate financial straits and needed to make some money.  It’s a free country, so he can do what he wants along those lines, but he shouldn’t act surprised when he’s not embraced with open arms.

Finally, Canseco takes on the Hall of Fame:

“This is
far from over. There’s a list out there of [103] players. The last five
to eight years there may have been some players elected to the Hall of
Fame that were on that list. Nonetheless, if that list is not divulged,
there will continuously be players who are inducted into the Hall of
Fame who will probably be on that list.”

I wonder if this isn’t some backtracking on Canseco’s part. He has said in the past that there is definitely someone in the Hall of Fame who has used steroids. I agree that the odds favor a PED user in Cooperstown, but Canseco has always acted like he’s known the player’s name. Now it sounds like maybe he doesn’t.

Oh well. I think my headline is wrong here. Canseco showing up doesn’t represent the start of the party. At least not anymore. He’s now more like the fat lady singing. He may have hit the right notes a few times here — but it’s over. What else more is there to say?

Yankees decide to keep Luis Severino on regular rest, give Twins potential Wild Card preview

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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Yankees starter Luis Severino pitched last Friday, putting him on track to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins. The Yankees mulled the possibility of pushing him back to start on Friday against the Blue Jays after an off day on Thursday so that the Twins wouldn’t get an early look at Severino in a potential AL Wild Card matchup.

However, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that Severino will indeed start on Wednesday against the Twins instead of Masahiro Tanaka. Hoch adds that Severino’s preference is to pitch on regular rest.

Severino, 23, has been the Yankees’ best starter this year and would be the most reliable arm in a must-win game. The right-hander is carrying a 13-6 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 218/49 K/BB ratio in 184 1/3 innings.

Entering Tuesday’s action, the Yankees hold a five-game lead over the Twins for the first Wild Card slot. The Angels hold a 1.5-game lead over the Angels for the second slot. The Yankees are also very much in the AL East race, trailing the Red Sox by only three games with 12 games left in the regular season.

You should probably pay attention to Matt Olson

Associated Press
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The claim of “East Coast Bias” is often hurled as an accusation of smug superiority, and it’s often met with denial, but it’s a thing. It’s not the exact thing the west coast people think it is — it’s not hate, it’s just a function of time zones and TV ratings — but there are certainly factors that cause stuff that happens in California to get shorter shrift than that which happens back east, where most of the national media people are.

One thing getting short shrift this year: the performance of Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson, which one has to imagine would be getting all kinds of press if he played back east.

Wait, we don’t have to imagine that at all. Because Olson is doing basically the exact same thing Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez did last year, and Sanchez got tons of headlines for it while I’m guessing most baseball fans who either (a) live outside of the Bay Area; or (b) aren’t big fantasy players, attuned to all of the latest callups, haven’t heard Olson’s name much if at all . Their respective lines:

  • Sanchez 2016: 53 games, .299/.376/.657, 20 HR, 168 OPS+
  • Olson 2017: 54 games, .267/.360/.663, 22 HR 168 OPS+

Sanchez’s rate stats were better but Olson is doing it in tougher parks for hitters. Obviously Sanchez is catching and Olson playing the corner, but a dude coming out of the minors to put up these kinds of numbers in the final two months of the season is rare. That it’s happening again, in almost the same way, is quite the thing.

Part of the reason for the discrepancy in press is that Sanchez was making a strong argument for the Rookie of the Year Award despite playing less than half the season whereas Olson has no shot given what Aaron Judge has done this year. But I’m guessing more of it is simply a function of Olson’s games starting at 10:30 or so back east and most of us not seeing what he does unless we look at the box scores the next day.

Still, Olson, the A’s first round pick from 2012, is not someone to sleep on. And, given that he hit 23 homers in 79 minor league games this year — the last guy to hit 20 in both the bigs and minors in the same year was Giancarlo Stanton — he’s not a fluke. Indeed, he’s one of the few rays of sunshine for the Oakland Athletics. And someone to whom us folks back east should pay a bit more attention.