Is K-Rod old school, or is he being abused?

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Francisco Rodriguez 3.jpgI have a lot of friends in academia. When they talk about the things they love about that world, they talk about the free exchange of opposing viewpoints. The ability to lay one’s intellectual cards upon the table and engage with those who subscribe to competing philosophical creeds in pitched, but respectful battle. What they love the most is that, though tempers may flare from time to time over the issues of the day, collegiality reigns supreme, because they are all ultimately there for the same purpose: to further the Knowledge of Man.

Which is kind of what it’s like at the New York Post:

In many ways [Francisco] Rodriguez really does have the soul of those old-time
stoppers, the ones who growled for the ball every day and pitched as
long as they needed to. Someone asked K-Rod if he’d be available to
pitch tonight, against the Braves, despite the five outs and 25 pitches. “Of course I am,” he said, in a tone that surely would’ve made
the Goose proud.

That’s the Post’s Mike Vaccaro, practically lionizing K-Rod for getting a five-out save against the Cubs last night.  But wait! Who’s that strolling into the lecture hall?  Why, it’s Professor Sherman!

Jerry Manuel is desperate . . . Manuel already has used Fernando
Nieve in 11 games, the most in the majors. That is a pace of 111 relief
appearances for the season. Manuel also ridiculously had Francisco Rodriguez warm up between 8-10
times last Saturday in the 20-inning game against the Cardinals and
then asked for a five-out save last night against the Cubs.
Pushing relievers now will cost the Mets at some time this season.

They clearly disagree on last night’s K-Rod save. I’m leaning Vaccaro’s way, because I think it’s ridiculous that anyone would pay a relief pitcher what Rodriguez makes and never ask him to pitch more than one inning. But I suppose reasonable people may differ on this point, and I tend to agree with Sherman’s points about Fernando
Nieve.

But isn’t that the beauty of academia? We can argue about these points all day long and, even if we never come to agreement, we are all enriched by the process of debate.  Kudos to the New York Post for allowing itself to serve as the marketplace of ideas!

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.