Yesterday reader Jack Marshall said what I thought slamming ESPN’s focus on the Manny Ramirez storyline to exclusion of, you know, the baseball game being played between the Dodgers and Red Sox on Sunday night. Last night, in an interview with WEEI’s Sam Dykstra, Peter Gammons agreed.
When asked whether it doesn’t make sense that there is still a pretty strong Manny Ramirez fascination in Boston, he said “I guess so” but added “I’m not celebrity-driven. I tend to be baseball-driven so it
really didn’t fascinate me at all.” Gammons took a more direct swipe at the Worldwide leader, debunking the notion that David Ortiz misses having Manny Ramirez in the lineup, saying “that whole story is a fable that people on ESPN like to tell.”
He then went on to list all of the reasons why fixating on Manny Ramirez makes little sense, including the fact that he’s just not a special player anymore. Indeed, Gammons said that if you take away the post-trade, pre-suspension time with the Dodgers, he’s basically been Billy Butler for the past four years. An interesting guy on some level, and likely a Hall of Famer, but not worthy of the hype in 2010.
I couldn’t be in greater agreement with Gammons on this point. The biggest problem with nationally televised baseball these days is the obsession with cramming dramatic narratives and storylines into the proceedings, likely on the assumption that a sporting event in and of itself is not enough to hold the fan’s interest.
Make a note of the guy’s tenure in Boston during his first at bat. Put up a little factoid graphic if you must. But then let it freakin’ go.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.