A few reactions to Roy Halladay's perfect game

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halladay throwing.jpgRoy Halladay captured the nation’s attention on a sports-heavy Saturday night, throwing the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history as the Phillies defeated the Marlins 1-0 in south Florida.  Let’s take a trip around the baseball world for some unique reactions to the perfecto:

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports noticed some rather deep counts and an amazing will to battle back:  “The difference between brilliance and immortality is one pitch, and
seven times Halladay ran the count to three balls only to bail himself
out.”

Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski saw it coming in the fifth inning:  “Halladay was so sharp, so on, so confident, so much in control, that he
turned the improbable into the expected, he made a perfect game feel
oddly routine.”

ESPN’s Jayson Stark points out that few great pitchers ever get a taste of perfection:  “There are 67 pitchers in history who have won a Cy Young Award. And
before Saturday, only four of them ([Sandy] Koufax, [Catfish] Hunter, [Randy] Johnson and David Cone) — not to mention Cy Young himself — ever managed to throw a perfect game.”

David Brown of Yahoo’s Big League Stew calls Halladay the “perfect pitcher” to throw a perfect game:  “I view Halladay like Quint looked at great white sharks in “Jaws.” He saw them as the perfect killing machines. Emotionless, except for a certain amount channeled of rage when they attack.

Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer remembers the last Philadelphia pitcher that recorded 27 straight outs, Jim Bunning:  “He estimated that additional commercial opportunities generated by the perfect game added $15,000 to his $30,000 salary in 1964.”

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez saw a different side of Halladay the moment he completed the perfecto:  “Before being surrounded by teammates, a usually stoic Halladay smiled
ear to ear and extended his arm to receive a warm embrace from his
catcher, Carlos Ruiz, who he gave a lot of the credit to for his gem.”

The Phillies have been in a highly publicized offensive slump as of late, but there’s no doubt that this club will be competing once October rolls around.  Halladay has been superb all season and, taking into account Saturday’s perfecto, is 7-3 on the year with a 1.99 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 86 innings.  He’s an early favorite for NL Cy Young Award consideration alongside the Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez, who made a little history of his own this season with a no-hitter against the Braves.  It’s not the worst time to be a baseball fan.

Andrew Miller for Lucas Giolito: WHO SAYS NO?!!

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 28:  Lucas Giolito #44 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the first inning during a baseball game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on June 28, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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The rumor mongers are churning up some good stuff about the Yankees and the Nationals maybe talking about an Andrew Miller for Lucas Giolito deal. It started with Jon Morosi saying that the Nationals were willing to trade Giolito, one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, to the Yankees for Miller straight up.

Taking two steps back, the idea of a Miller-for-Giolito deal seems like it’d be something the Yankees would jump at in a heartbeat. Giolito would, in the normal course, be worth more than a relief pitcher. Even a good one under team control like Miller is. So if the Nats were willing to do this, the Yankees would be fools not to accept, right?

Well, no. Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman are saying that the Yankees are looking for a massive return for Miller, more than what Cubs gave them for Aroldis Chapman. That deal netted New York prospect Gleyber Torres and three other players who have future value. Gioloto is worth more straight up than Torres, but the Yankees want another big package, not just one guy. Assuming those reports are true, are the Yankees being greedy?

Maybe not! Maybe it’s not about the Yankees’ eyes being wide. Maybe it’s about the nature of prospects and how all of our eyes get a bit wide over them, especially when national rankings are released each spring. We see Giolito or someone like him named the top prospect — or maybe a top-3 prospect — and immediately believe they are untouchable or, at the very least, close to invaluable.

But here, if the rumors are to be believed, the Nats are offering him for a relief pitcher. And the Yankees are saying “nah, we need more.” Maybe they both see something the prospect raters and coveters don’t. Maybe, in the abstract, they’re just as high on him as the raters and coveters are but maybe they don’t live in the abstract. Maybe they have the added benefit of (a) experience with the fortunes of young pitching prospects; and (b) a downside risk in loving them too much that the raters and coveters don’t have. No prospect rater risks being fired if the guy they rank #1 in any given year blows his shoulder out. Team employees have been.

I have no idea if there are legs to these rumors. I know that I like Giolito as a prospect, for whatever that’s worth, and the Yankees definitely have a need for young, projectable and controllable pitching talent. Likewise, given that they’re in a transitional period right now and given that they Have Dellin Betances, they could do without Andrew Miller if they needed to. He’s someone they could deal in order to get a guy in Gioloto who would instantly become their top prospect.

But it’s the deadline and people get a bit nuts. Teams ask for the stars, yes, but those of us on the outside tend to forget that a huge number of prospects, especially pitching prospects, never pan out. For all of the hype a deadline occasions and for as much as we see a beautiful future for each and every young hurler that comes down the pike, there are no clear answers about who is or who isn’t being unreasonable here. That is, if any of this stuff is true.

Enjoy the trade deadline, everyone. Just remember that no one knows anything and everyone, on some level, is making a bet.

Chicago woman pledges money to a domestic violence charity for each Aroldis Chapman save

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 28:  Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the White Sox 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Though never charged with a crime, Aroldis Chapman was involved in a domestic violence incident that involved the intimidation of his girlfriend. He allegedly smashed a window of a car in his garage and then fired a gun, sending his girlfriend cowering into the bushes. He admitted to that much anyway, saying he used bad judgment, particularly with the gun, and apologized as he accepted his suspension from Major League Baseball.

But though he apologized, Chapman has declined to make any efforts to combat or to raise awareness of domestic violence. He is not required to do so, of course, but his peculiar dismissal of the topic in the press conference introducing him as a Chicago Cub the other day continues to make many uneasy with rooting for a team which employs him, even if he makes them better and even if his talent is undeniable.

One such person is Cubs fan Caitlin Swieca. She decided to do something about it, however, and has found a way to at least begin to make Chapman’s presence on her favorite team at least a little less uncomfortable:

Swieca selected the Domestic Violence Legal Council of Chicago, which provides free legal services to victims of domestic violence. Chapman got his first save last night and her first pledge was made. Many others have taken her example as her pledge has been publicized. If you’re interested in getting involved, she has provided some additional domestic violence charities in the Chicago area:

If a young woman who is, presumably, not making $11.325 million this year can make such an effort, I wonder if Aroldis Chapman might see clear to do so too.