Eli Whiteside hit a home run off Roy Halladay in the seventh inning of last night’s Giants-Phillies game. According to Matt Gelb of the Philly Inquirer, that caused some Giants fans to chant “overrated!” at Halladay. I suppose if anyone can talk smack to Roy Halladay it’s the fans who root for Tim Lincecum, but calling Roy Halladay overrated is crazy.
Fan weirdness in Kansas City too as Royals fans booed Mike Sweeney when he pinch hit for Seattle last night. Sweeney was the Royals’ best hitter for a good while and I understand that Royals fans are a bit miffed that he got a big contract and fell off a cliff at almost the exact time the team decided that Carlos Beltran wasn’t worth trying to keep around, but that’s on an inept Royals front office, not Sweeney. Sure, it’s hard to boo a front office seven years after they did something dumb, but booing a nice guy like Mike Sweeney is a decidedly un-Midwestern thing to do. Midwesterns are much bigger on passive-aggressiveness than open hostility. There’s a thin veneer of politeness to it which makes us think we’re better than everyone else.
And since I’ve taken it upon myself to tell fans all over the country who they can and can’t jeer, I may as well go one presumptuous step further and tell them exactly how they should receive players like Halladay and Sweeney.
In San Francisco, the fans should, after getting the best of a guy like Roy Halladay, offer wild applause for their own guys, and a zipped lip (though exuberant inner-joy) at the misfortune of Halladay, knowing full well that (a) you got the best of one of the best; but (b) it ain’t likely to happen the next time your guys meet up with him.
For Sweeney? Tougher, because that business with the $55 million bust of a deal is really old news. Maybe Royals fans should get creative and, rather than boo him, they could all meet outside the stadium after the game, pool their resources, figure out where former General Manager Allaard Baird lives and leave a flaming bag of dog poo on his porch.
Much more constructive if you ask me, and really, a lot more satisfying.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.