Comment of the Day: Curt Flood Jr. talks about the Stan Musial restaurant story

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Yesterday I highlighted Murray Chass’ poorly-sourced hatchet job against Stan Musial. The leadoff in that hatchet job was Chass’ claim — based on a story Curt Flood allegedly told Marvin Miller who told Chass — was that Flood was refused service at Stan Musial’s restaurant some time in the 1960s because Flood was black. Chass’ wrapup to that was to assert that Musial is “someone who discriminated against blacks,” and is thus unworthy of our adulation. His headline: Stan Musial is “no man of honor.”

Last night, a commenter shed a little more light on that story. And I’m inclined to feature his comment because that man’s name is Curt Flood, Jr.  His comment:

Let me say at the outset that I have been in Musial’s company on several occasions. I once even sat next to him at a Cardinals Old Timers Game” in the dugout at the old Busch Stadium for about an an hour. He was warm, gracious and said things about my father that were beautiful. He also graciously signed everything that i could find that was not nailed down. Stan Musial is a good, decent and honorable man.

I have not read Mr. Chass’s blog, however, the incident DID in fact happen to my father and my mother. But according to my parents, Mr. Musial was not in the restaurant. His doorman that night called Mr. Musial by telephone, but by the time it could rectified, my parents were pretty much fed up with not being fed up.

Best,

Curt Flood, Jr.

Shabby treatment of a black man at that time in our history is, regrettably, not surprising. That Chass used a third-hand telling of that story to conclude that Stan Musial “discriminated against blacks” — and that he did so while failing to contact either Stan Musial or anyone who could tell Curt Flood’s side of it, such as Curt Flood, Jr., for example — is reprehensible.

Thank you, Curt Flood, Jr., for telling us more in a simple email than Murray Chass — an alleged journalist — did with his “reporting.”

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.