The Yankees protest last night's game

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Beckett back.jpgUPDATE:  It appears I misinterpreted the use of the term “indication of injury” in the AP story.  The beef was not that Girardi thought there was no evidence that Beckett was injured.  Rather, he was protesting the fact that Delcarmen was called for before the umpires were informed that Beckett was injured (i.e. it was “indicated’ that he was injured).  My bad on misinterpreting that.

That said, it hardly matters. If the focus of the protest is the exact order of the switch — that the umps should have been told before the signal went down to the pen — we’re in the land of overly-legalistic b.s.  Technically wrong to do things in that order? Sure. But everyone knew what the situation was within the about 10 seconds, it was right to give Delcarmen as many pitches he needed because there was an injury, and there was ultimately no harm done to anyone as a result.

8:43 A.M.: One last bit from the Yankees-Red Sox game:  Joe Girardi finished the game under protest.  That never works, but it’s fun all the same.

The basis of the protest: Josh Beckett gave up a two-run double to Robinson Cano, after which Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell went out to the mound. Beckett and Farrell talked things over, but then Farrell motioned to the bullpen for Manny Delcarmen to come into the game.  Beckett then left with the trainer, as he was suffering from back tightness.  Because it’s an injury situation, Delcarmen got as many warmup pitches as he wanted.

The Yankees protested this because, according to the AP story, “there was no indication of an
injury to Beckett by that point.”

To which I ask, what “indication” is necessary?  Must Beckett hop around holding his toe as if a cartoon anvil fell on it?  Does Joe Girardi need to to see little animated lighting bolts and ouchy marks flashing around Beckett’s lower back?  The guy left with the trainer, and I’m sure someone on the field said something about an injury, if not immediately, then as soon as Girardi asked about it. While I suppose it’s possible that this was all a big conspiracy to cover for the fact that Francona didn’t get Delcarmen up in the pen fast enough, it’s not like Beckett hasn’t had back issues already this season.

The chances of this protest being upheld are virtually nill so who cares, but even as far as unsuccessful protests go, this one seems rather weak.  

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.