Jon Heyman wrote one of those New Year’s Resolutions-style columns, in which he put voice to what he wishes 50 baseball figures would think heading into 2011. Here’s his entry for Bert Blyleven:
I will consider myself fortunate when I am voted into the Hall of Fame, and understand that while I had a great career, I am not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton but rather Don Sutton and Phil Niekro, near-great pitchers who were borderline candidates that gained enshrinement, and I will thank the small coterie of Internet zealots who kept calling attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity and durability and helped me rise from 14 percent of the votes in my second year of eligibility to more than 75 percent and act gracefully upon hearing the expected good news.
Yes. Blyleven should act gracefully. Mercy.
UPDATE: Heyman has been defending the above passage over at his Twitter feed. His claim: he was merely comparing Blyleven to Sutton and Neikro and, my word, how can that be a slam, because those guys were great? In this he’s missing the point entirely. We see this by merely changing what he wrote from the first person of Blyleven to a third person account reflecting what are obviously Heyman’s own feelings. Ask yourself: what would you think if Heyman had written this:
Memo to Blyleven: consider yourself fortunate that you’re getting voted into the Hall of Fame, and understand that while you had a great career, you are not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton but rather Don Sutton and Phil Niekro. You — like them — were a near-great pitcher who was a borderline candidate that gained enshrinement. You should thank the small coterie of Internet zealots who kept calling attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity and durability and helped you rise from 14 percent of the vote in your second year of eligibility to more than 75 percent. And you should act gracefully upon hearing the expected good news.
That’s nothing short of obnoxious. And it’s nothing different than what he wrote in the first place.
The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.
Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.
The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.
The Pirates and Cardinals will switch things up for Sunday’s series finale, moving from the spacious PNC Park to the renovated Minor League confines of BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Normally the home stadium for the Phillies’ Short-Season Single-A Williamsport Crosscutters, Historic Bowman Field will set the stage for an unusual — and unprecedented — matchup between the NL Central rivals as they take the field for the first-ever MLB Little League Baseball Classic.
The game will cap a packed day for Major League and Little League participants alike, as four Little League double-elimination games will be played in the morning and afternoon before the Pirates’ Ivan Nova and Cardinals’ Mike Leake face off at 7:00 PM ET. Despite drawing national attention, the Classic will be invitation-only, and its projected 2,366 attendees will comprise the lowest capacity attendance figure in Major League history.
The event is designed to spark more interest in the sport, especially among young players, and Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny called it “grassroots marketing at its finest.” “We all fell in love with the game and started dreaming about playing on a field like this at the age of these kids we’re going to go see in Williamsport,” he told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. “I hope there are some kids that we can encourage and maybe give a different look of the game and create some lifelong baseball fans that might not have been there otherwise.”
Judging by the excitement that infused the pregame festivities among the players, it looks like they’re already on the right track.