New York Yankees pitcher Soriano flips a ball during a workout at the team's spring training camp

Rafael Soriano’s media snub is a legitimate problem


UPDATE: Our long national nightmare is over: Soriano has apologized.

9:34 AM: There is a lot of back and forth on the Internets this morning about Rafael Soriano’s decision to dress quickly and leave the clubhouse before the reporters could get to him after last night’s debacle. Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Joel Sherman of the Post and many others have gone after Soriano for the snub.  Brien Jackson over at IIATMS and most of the commenters over at BTF think this is much ado about nothing. The media making itself the story, the tempest-in-a-teapot nature of the New York press or what have you.

Nine times out of ten I side with the guys at IIATMS and my friends at BTF because, you know, they’re almost always right. But this time I have to differ. I think Soriano’s bail-job is a legitimate issue, not a media-created one.

There was a situation with the Mets a few years ago in which Billy Wagner spoke out about how certain players wouldn’t face the media after a bad game and how it left others to do the talking. He wasn’t mad because the snub of the media created a silly controversy. He was legitimately mad at having the snub for its own sake.

Yes, it’s the Mets and there is always rancor there, but players legitimately dislike it when the people who the reporters really will want to talk to — especially goats of the game — pull a disappearing act. Track down some of the game stories from last night’s Yankees-Twins game. There were several “I guess” or “you’ll have to ask him” kinds of things said when Yankees players talked about Soriano and the eighth inning disaster. I could be imagining it, but I sense some low-level aggravation there. Aggravation that players don’t need when they’re already upset about the loss and their own failures in the game.

The Yankees have made a point to give their players media training. A big part of this is facing the music after a bad game. When Soriano doesn’t do that he’s both ticking off his teammates and not going along with the team’s program. That’s a problem.  Maybe not as big a problem as it will get blown up into today, but it’s real.

Astros err in letting Scott Kazmir start sixth

Scott Kazmir
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Scott Kazmir went winless with a 6.52 ERA in six September starts. He allowed 41 hits, eight of them homers, in 29 innings, posting an 18/11 K/BB ratio. When the Astros got five innings of two-run ball from him Friday against the Royals, they should have thanked their good fortune and moved right along to the pen.

And they knew this. They must have. Josh Fields got up in the pen after Kazmir issued a one-out walk in the fifth. The left-hander got out of the frame, making himself eligible for the victory in what was then a 4-2 game, but it was still very surprising to see him come back out for the sixth, particularly with the switch-hitting Ben Zobrist (.926 OPS against lefties) and right-handed Lorenzo Cain due up.

Kazmir retired Zobrist, but he gave up a double to Cain. He was then pulled, even with the left-handed Eric Hosmer coming up. Manager A.J. Hinch had committed my biggest baseball pet peeve: he sent his starter back to the mound with the idea of pulling him after his first mistake.

It worked out terribly. Oliver Perez gave up a pair of soft hits to Hosmer and Kendrys Morales before walking Mike Moustakas. Fields then entered and walked the unwalkable Salvador Perez to tie the game at 4. The Astros gave up another run in the seventh and lost the game 5-4.

Maybe that’s the way it would have worked out anyway. Kazmir did give up just the one baserunner. It might not have even harmed the Astros if Perez had better luck.

Still, the thinking that went into the decision was disturbing. It’s always better to bring that reliever in with no one on base when you can. That’s especially the case with this Astros pen, which lacks a double-play specialist, much less a Wade Davis. But anyone in that pen would have been a better choice than sending Kazmir out to face Zobrist and Cain for a third time. Hinch needs to be more aggressive going forward.

Cardinals’ giveaway incorrectly claims ownership of 2001 division title

cardinals logo

The Cardinals have won so many division titles, it’s tough to keep track of them all. At least, it would be tough if it weren’t for Baseball Reference.

40,000 rally towels were given away to fans at Busch Stadium ahead of Friday’s NLDS Game 1 against the Cubs. The towel listed all of the years the Cardinals won the NL Central… and 2001. That year, they tied with the Astros for the best record in the National League at 93-69. However, because the Astros won the season series 9-7, they were awarded first place and the Cardinals took the Wild Card.


Video: Josh Donaldson and Keone Kela exchange words, benches clear

Josh Donaldson
The Associated Press

The Blue Jays’ and Rangers’ benches emptied in the bottom of the 13th inning after Josh Donaldson barked at reliever Keone Kela. Donaldson had smoked a Kela offering home run distance but foul, then sent a salvo of not-fit-for-TV words in the right-hander’s direction. Kela barked back and both benches emptied. There was no violence and no ejections.

Donaldson apparently believed Kela was trying to quick-pitch him, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That the pitch was quickly thrown didn’t seem to bother him any, considering the type of swing he put on the ball.

Here’s video of the incident at

Quick pitching has been one of a handful of unwritten rules getting more attention, it seems, this year. In August, Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa took issue with Mets reliever Hansel Robles quick pitching.