A letter Bud Selig recently wrote is making the rounds this morning. Why? Because in it he says “I really believe that Abner Doubleday is the ‘Father of Baseball,'” and makes reference to “some historians who would dispute this though.” You can see a copy of it over at Deadspin.
Of course, the story of Abner Doubleday creating baseball has been conclusively proven to be hogwash. It was a finding by a committee that was tasked by one A.G. Spalding to find that very thing in the early 20th Century. See, it had become known that baseball was really just an evolution of any number of British sports such as cricket, rounders and bat and trap, and in those heady, jingoistic days, it just would not do to have our National Pastime be the bastard child of a bunch of limey schoolyard games. Better to create a story in which a Civil War general created it in a pastoral setting rather than to have had it develop over several messy decades among filthy Irishman kicking around New York City slums.
You’d figure Bud would know that. But then again, you’d figure that he’d realize that eight playoff teams were enough by now too. Or that maybe the umpires could use some help on close calls. Or that it doesn’t take two years for a committee of experts to figure out if it’s better for the Athletics to play in their empty, awful stadium in Oakland or to move into a nice post one in San Jose.
But really, I don’t think Selig is that dense. He can’t be to have gotten where he’s gotten in life. The fact is, he’s a politician. He’s someone who would do anything to avoid taking a definitive stance on an issue when someone — say, someone who wrote him a letter and whose own feelings on a matter are less than clear — asked him to. Because the last thing he’d want to do is to upset someone.
And, as is usually the case, his efforts to avoid upsetting someone have upset everyone.
The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.
It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.
Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.
The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.
While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.