Apologies to those who know this already, but John Updike’s “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu” is one of the best and most influential things ever written about baseball. It was occasioned by Ted Williams’ final game, which took place 50 years ago tomorrow.
Updike was in the crowd — he was supposed to meet a woman for an extra-marital tryst on Beacon Hill, but got stood up and went to the game instead — and was inspired to write about it all in the ensuing days. Less than a month later it was reprinted in The New Yorker, and the careers of a generation or three of baseball writers was born.
If you have the time today — and I suggest you make time — the essay can be read over at the New Yorker’s website. You won’t read anything better today. Or most days, actually.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.