Accusing Cliff Lee of cheating probably isn’t the smartest thing ever

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I’ve been kind of out of it today thanks to spending a good chunk of it at an Ohio Bar Association seminar on media law. My role: defending the entire blogosphere against accusations that we’re ruining the newspaper industry. It would have been less fun if I knew in advance that I would be doing that, so I’m glad no one told me. But unaware as I was, you’ll be happy to know, my dear readers, that I did not give in.  I fully admitted to the fact that we’re ruining the newspaper industry and told them that maybe the newspaper industry should figure out what to do about that, because it’s kinda not my problem.  They weren’t quite sure where to go with that. Before they could figure it out, I split. I declared victory in my car while driving home and listening to the Pogues. All in all a good day.

The point of all of this is that I really didn’t read much news today (In those newspapers! Hmm. Maybe I shouldn’t ruin them after all!) As such, I missed the little dustup about Cliff Lee’s cap.  Seems that Michael Kay of YES is accusing Lee of cheating by putting resin on his cap, mixing it with sweat and doctoring the ball with it. I have three thoughts about this:

1) Joe Maddon — who’s really savvy — never complained about this during the ALDS, nor have any of Lee’s opponents that I’m aware of.  I don’t know if Lee was doing anything wrong, but I’m a bit skeptical of this kind of thing when it first comes up on talk radio.  Let’s wait and see if Joe Girardi complains — which he might, because hey, maybe Lee is messing around a bit here — but let’s wait for someone who isn’t, you know, Michael Kay or a WFAN caller to say something about it before we go too nuts;

2) Maybe this is not the most important thing in the world — a nine figure contract tends to trump wagging tongues — but given how badly everyone in New York wants Cliff Lee to sign with the Yankees, is it the smartest thing for Kay (a Yankee employee) and all the talk radio people to be leveling these kinds of accusations?  If Lee has his choice of destinations, might he not prefer to go to a team whose broadcasters and fans didn’t spend October calling him a big fat cheater?; finally

3) Assuming that consideration doesn’t enter into it — which it probably wouldn’t — in the event Lee lands in New York, can we expect Kay to ever say a single thing about Lee’s cap and resin and all of that?

I’d bet a year’s salary that he doesn’t make a peep.

Giants closer Mark Melancon is heading to the disabled list once again

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The Giants have placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list with a right pronator strain.

This is the same injury that sent him to the disabled list last month. He came back from that quickly, but it can’t be great that this is happening again. You have to assume he’ll miss more time given the recurrence of trouble. He’s going to get an MRI too. Sam Dyson is expected to serve as the Giants’ closer while Melancon is sidelined.

Melancon has a 4.35 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances this year. He signed a four-year, $62 million deal with San Francisco last December.

The Cubs visited the White House. Again.

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Last January, the World Champion Chicago Cubs visited the White House. It was a bit unorthodox, as World Series winners typically wait until the following summer and make the trip during a road series in Washington or Baltimore.

They did it, however, because when the Cubs won the Series, then-President Obama asked the Cubs to visit before he left office. He’s a White Sox fan but a Chicago guy and said he was rooting for the Cubs. So the Cubs visited.

Today they’re back again. It’s been characterized as an “informal” visit. No suits and ties or big official photo-ops in front of the White House. It was even unclear until this afternoon if they’d even meet with President Trump. The visit was inspired in part by Maddon’s longtime friend, U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta, and partially by the Ricketts family’s ties to the Trump administration. The Ricketts are significant Republican donors and one of the Cubs’ co-owners, Todd Ricketts, is Trump’s deputy commerce secretary.

So to the White House the Cubs went. At least some of them. Many decided not to go for a number of reasons, ranging from “no-comment” to game preparation considerations (the visit just happened, much later in the day than usual White House visits). At least one vocal Trump supporter, Jake Arrieta, did not go. Another, John Lackey, did go, but declined to give any comment on it, expressing concern that his quote would be used for political purposes. I’ve yet to see anyone say they weren’t going specifically because they do not support Trump, though I presume some felt that way. The man isn’t exactly popular at the moment.

Nevertheless, the political overtones of all of this are hard to ignore. The Cubs already had their official White House visit, so a second one has to mean something, right? Teams don’t just get invited to the White House whenever they happen to be passing through town. Some of this is probably about the Trump administration smarting a bit over Obama swooping in for that visit in January. Some of it is probably about the Ricketts family either wanting to send the team for a non-Obama visit, to do a favor for Trump or some combination of those things.

Joe Maddon was defensive about it all yesterday, saying it wasn’t political. Trump obviously didn’t hear him as he used the time when the Cubs were standing next to him for photos to take questions about the health care legislation and slag on Obamacare:

Maybe Maddon and the Cubs wanted to keep out of politics, but politics makes no such agreement with anyone.