Dallas Green

Dallas Green speaks about the loss of his granddaughter


As you certainly remember, Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed during the shooting rampage in Tucson last month, was the granddaughter of ex-MLB manager Dallas Green and the daughter of current Dodgers scout John Green. Yesterday, Dallas Green, who works as a consultant for the Phillies,  spoke to the media about his family’s loss.

I’m struck by Green’s bluntness. We’re so used to hearing cliches when someone dies, especially children. About God’s plan, and little angels looking down and all sorts of things that, while understandable for those grieving to cling to, have become somewhat empty and, in a strange way, desensitizing.  Green’s sense of loss and his concern for his son and his family is far more palpable than we’re used to hearing in these situations and thus more affecting:

“Baseball helps me.  You sink yourself into your work and you don’t see a little girl with a hole in her chest as much … This isn’t about me.  It’s about my son, John, and his family. They are hurting desperately. It’s a terrible thing on John, Roxanna and Little D. I can get through it, but they’re going to hurt like the devil for a long time … This is still the best country in the world to live in.  You would hope there would be some understanding that there are crazies in the world.”

There are crazies in the world.  And, as Springsteen sang, there’s a meanness. And more chaos than we dare admit. We try to convince ourselves that there is not. That there is an order to things and purpose.  Part of that unsavory business in which so many felt the need to cast the Tucson shooting into political terms is part of that. There must be a cause, we tell ourselves.  Our orderly universe cannot just unravel like that without a purpose and intention.  Someone — someone who isn’t mentally deranged like the shooter — is to blame.

And while often there are many thing that, on a very basic level contribute in some small way to such incidents — someone who missed a warning sign, some law, some song lyric, some video game, some novel or some inflammatory rhetoric — these things rarely if ever truly own or deserve anything approaching a substantial chunk of that blame.  It’s craziness, sickness, meanness and chaos that is the true culprit.  We don’t want to believe it because it doesn’t bring much comfort to admit it, but it’s true.

Keep a good thought in your heart today for the Green family.  And always make sure that the people you love know that you love them.  It’s the most effective bulwark against the chaos of our world.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.