Ian Kinsler: Rays fans were too hung up on the umpiring

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Well, someone’s gotta be, right?

“It’s tough to win when you’re (complaining) about a call from the
previous day,” Kinsler said Friday at Rangers Ballpark, where the series
resumes Saturday. “It seems like they were still talking about the
Carlos Pena call, which is basically a non-issue because it hit the bat.
And it’s tough to be a good crowd when you’re worried about umpires. We
were able to take them out; they were interested in the umpires and it
worked out well for us.”

He’s right about dwelling on it. I may drop a comment here or there because I have a blog and all I do is empty my head into it all day, but I’m more or less moving on from the Posey call. Life’s too short and it’s a damn ballgame so just put your big boy pants on and get on with it, ya know?

Still, I’d be curious how much the crowd being in or out of it really matters to the players. I’ve seen some stuff recently trying to figure out if attendance has an impact on winning, but I’d really like to know if ballplayers actually perform better based on how pumped up the crowd is.

Sure, playing in a sensory deprivation tank like a Florida Marlins makeup game is awful, but do players notice a big difference between, say, 30,000 psyched fans and 30,000 conflicted, dwelling-on-the-past fans? Do they feed off the crowd the same way basketball players seem to do (and I don’t know if they really do either)? 

Screw “which pitches were working for you tonight, Bob.” If I was asking ballplayers questions I’d probably ask them stuff like that.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.