As we have reported ad nausuem, the new Arizona immigration law has created a ruckus in baseball
circles. Most of that ruckus has surrounded the 2011 All-Star Game, scheduled for Chase Field. Multiple players have gone on record against the law with some — including the Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez — saying that they’d boycott the game if the law was in effect.
Today comes a new development along those lines: the U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit challenging the law an unlawful usurpation of federal power. This will do absolutely nothing to calm the general controversy over the law. Quite the opposite, actually, as lawsuits tend to focus the ire of partisans on both sides of a given issue.
But is should solve baseball’s little P.R. problem. That’s because the feds are asking for an injunction suspending implementation of the law until the lawsuit is decided. Such injunctions are almost always granted, especially with respect to laws — like this one — that aren’t even in force yet.
The lawsuit is likely to last a long damn time. Certainly longer than a year, which will give baseball plenty of time to get the 2011 All-Star Game in while giving all sides the chance to say “it’s in the courts, play ball.” The game will happen and baseball will set its sights on Kansas City in 2012.
Now let’s talk about what truly matters: who manages the 2011 NL All-Stars given that 2010 World Series champ manager Bobby Cox will be retired?
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.