From today’s Tacoma News-Tribune Mariners-Orioles game story by Larry LaRue:
For the second day, none of the players would talk to The News Tribune
in the wake of a players-only meeting that followed a report that Ken
Griffey Jr. was napping in the clubhouse during a game last week.
Are there any grownups working for the Seattle Mariners, or do Mike Sweeney and Ken Griffey, Jr. run everything now?
I mean, fine, be as mad as you want about LaRue’s reporting, but the spectacle of 25 ballplayers shunning someone who’s job it is to cover the team is a pathetic one, especially in light of the fact that the team’s denials of his reporting were tepid and equivocal. Unless the Mariners are seriously accusing LaRue of making his story up out of whole cloth, two of those 25 people shunning him LaRue told him what he reported. If the Mariners have a problem with the substance of it, they should be looking within, not lashing out a beat guy from Tacoma.
Either Don Wakamatsu or Jack Zduriencik needs to tell the Mariners players to get over it and be the bigger men. Larry LaRue isn’t the first reporter to write something negative about this team, and he most certainly won’t be the last, especially given how poorly they’re playing. If the team can’t handle that, how on Earth can they be expected to handle the A’s, Rangers and Angels?
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.