So yesterday Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason of 660 WFAN went crazy on me for calling Yankees fans “classless and ignorant” for booing Javy Vazquez on Wednesday. The audio of that is here, beginning at around the nine minute mark. It starts with Carton calling me a “jackass” and it goes downhill from there. Good times!
Always a fan of great theater, I decided to call in to the show this morning. I had no illusions that Carton would change his mind on the matter, and he most certainly did not. But rather than defend the booing on the merits — which I don’t think even he can — he decided to unload on me for being a blogger, not having a journalism background and all of that. Anyone who follows the media very much knows that’s the last refuge of someone with no argument, but there he went anyway. When I told him that Mike Lupica has a journalism background and he sucks he pulled a Francessa on me and hung up. Great theater — and basically what I expected — but telling all the same.
Carton’s main point from yesterday — that it’s the God-given right of Yankees fans to boo whoever they want to — is absolutely correct. But he has no answer for the notion that you look totally bush league when you boo a guy over six year-old failures six months after winning the World Series. There are all sorts of things you can do if you want to. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
All that said, I would like to thank Carton and Boomer for having me on. The easy thing to do would be to ignore me. There are things that are more fun in the world than being hammered by talk radio guys, but (a) it was actually kind of fun on some level; and (b) the worst day of being hammered by talk radio guys about baseball stuff beats the best day in a law office defending the indefensible.
UPDATE: Here’s my segment on WFAN from this morning. I’ll leave it to you to decide who comes off better.
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.
Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.
Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:
The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a FanGraphs.com metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.
In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.
This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.
Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.
Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:
We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.