Last week Brian Cashman said that the Red Sox were probably the better team on paper. Yesterday, Red Sox President Larry Lucchino downplayed that. For those of you who don’t think the Yankees-Red Sox thing isn’t icky enough, I give you “hormonal satisfaction”:
Although Larry Lucchino admitted to taking “hormonal satisfaction” from the Red Sox outdueling the rival Yankees this winter, neither the team president nor chairman Tom Werner put much stock in New York GM Brian Cashman’s remarks last week that the Sox are the better team. Werner even labeled it “reverse psychology.”
Said Lucchino: “They’re always the favorites. C’mon, they’re the New York Yankees. They’re in the biggest market in the world. We’re happy to be the guys that they worry about looking over their shoulder.
The only thing less appetizing than thinking of a baseball rivalry in terms of “hormonal satisfaction” is listening to Yankees and Red sox brass argue over who the bigger underdog is.
Oh, and in case you’re interested, Lucchino’s comments come in the course of an article about Josh Beckett being in much better shape. It wasn’t quite strong enough for a BSOML headline, but if some of you guys get hormonal satisfaction over that meme I’ve tried to beat into the ground, it may scratch the itch anyway.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.