There are rules to talking trash, messers. Phillips and Sanchez

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First Brandon Phillips couldn’t back up the smack he spewed at the Cardinals, and now the Giants are unhappy with Jonathan Sanchez for his prediction that San Francisco would sweep San Diego next weekend:

Manager Bruce Bochy said some Giants were giving Sanchez a “hard time” about his statement,
and not in a good way. The teammates were said to be annoyed that
Sanchez made his bold prediction after he lasted only four innings and
allowed four runs in a 6-3 loss to the Braves on Sunday.

Trash talk is complicated business. My first impulse is to dislike it because I’m just wired that way, but I eventually come around to the idea that this is still a freakin’ game and a little color makes it way more enjoyable for everyone. Phillips and Sanchez aren’t putting my but on the line by whatever they say, and unless you believe that ballplayers are way more moody and fragile than all reason suggests they really are, it doesn’t mean the difference between winning and losing.

But I think we can all agree that there are rules about it. Rule number one: if you’re going to talk smack, you had better back it up (note: Phillips went 0 for 5 last night). Rule number two: when you just crapped the bed (Sanchez lasted only four innings against Atlanta) you had best save your talk for a couple of days.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.