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.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has had a tough month of May. Opposing pitchers have become increasingly unwilling to throw hittable pitches in the strike zone for him, and he’s had trouble adjusting. Entering Thursday’s action, Harper was hitting .194/.454/.306 with two home runs in 97 plate appearances this month. 31 of those plate appearances ended in a walk, nine intentionally.
Harper finally got a pitch to hit in the sixth inning against Cardinals starter Mike Leake. Leake threw a 1-1 curve and Harper promptly launched into the upper deck at Nationals Park. It’s Harper’s 12th homer of the year.
Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was unable to continue his hitting streak on Thursday night, going 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot against the Rockies in an 8-2 loss. He hit a deep fly ball to right field in the first inning, missing a home run by a few feet. He hit another deep drive in the fifth, but it was caught in front of the wall in center field at Fenway Park by Charlie Blackmon. In his final at-bat, Bradley weakly grounded out on the first pitch from Jon Gray to lead off the eighth inning.
Bradley’s 29-game streak tied Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest streak in Red Sox history. Dom DiMaggio still has the longest in club history at 34 games.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was able to extend his hitting streak streak to 19 games. He went 1-for-3, hitting a line drive single in the first.
Softball legend Jennie Finch will make history on Sunday when she will serve as a guest manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League. She will become the first woman to manage a men’s professional baseball team.
In the club’s announcement, GM Jamie Toole said, “We are really excited to have Jennie come out and manage the team. She is an incredible athlete and a wonderful person, and we hope our fans will enjoy seeing her in a Bluefish uniform for the day.”
Finch won the 2001 Women’s College World Series with the University of Arizona. She won the gold medal with Team USA in the 2004 Summer Olympics and silver in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Finch is only managing one game, but it’s still a positive step for inclusiveness in professional sports. Hopefully, in the future, we see more women in sportswriting, broadcasting, coaching, and front office positions.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has been placed on disabled list with a torn right ACL, the club announced on Thursday. He is expected to miss the rest of the season, per MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Outfielder Brett Eibner has been recalled from Triple-A Omaha.
Moustakas suffered the injury colliding with teammate Alex Gordon attempting to catch a foul ball. Gordon suffered a fractured scaphoid bone, which will keep him out of action for three to four weeks.
It’s a tough break for Moustakas as he missed time earlier this month with a fractured thumb. He lands back on the DL hitting .240/.301/.500 with seven home runs and 13 RBI in 113 plate appearances.