Jeff Shultz of the AJC spoke with John Smoltz today to see if he’s retiring or not. Smoltz wouldn’t use the word, but placed his odds of pitching again at 50-1 and said “My desire to work out every day is still there. But my desire to throw 50 to 70 times a day isn’t.” So yeah, I’d say he’s done.
While he’s probably my least favorite of the Braves’ Big Three, and certainly wasn’t the best, there’s an argument that John Smoltz was the most important in many ways. He was traded to the Braves by the Tigers just after my allegiances had shifted from the Braves to the Tigers in 1987, so he’s obviously an important figure in my fandom as well. Still, I don’t think I’ve yet worked out all my feelings about John Smoltz yet — his retirement, such as it is, was a bit less anticipated than Glavine’s or Maddux’s — so I’ll save the career eulogy for a spell while I think on it.
Short version: yes, Hall of Famer, but that’s not terribly interesting to me. I’m more interested in what he meant to the Braves and their fans. What he represented in that tenuous way players can represent anything. I’ll dive into it more when I gather my thoughts.
Rick Morissey of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on Sunday giving a bit of insight into Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. When Epsten was younger, he dabbled in sportswriting, but quickly realized the trade wasn’t for him.
As Morissey details, when Epstein was 19 years old writing for Yale’s student newspaper, he wrote an article suggesting the school’s football coach should be fired during what would become a 3-7 season. Epstein was told during the meeting that one writer would defend the coach and one would call for his job. “It was a lesson in the way that the world of journalism sometimes works. It was an eye-opener for me. I regret it, and I’ve happily moved on.”
Epstein continued, “I realized I didn’t want to be a sportswriter when I was interning with the Orioles back in ’92, ’93, ’94. I did do a lot of media-relations stuff, and I saw that the life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself in the press box, go back to the hotel bar. Not to generalize.” He added, “But I really respect writing and respect sportswriters.”
He’s not wrong, and he seems to have found his calling as a front office executive. His Cubs are back in the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.