UPDATE: It’s Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell. Details here.
8:25 AM: Gloria Allred is someone with whom you’re familiar even if you don’t know it. She’s the extremely high-profile (mostly) civil rights lawyer who will, almost always, land some client or another in connection with whatever massive tabloidy and/or entertainment story is dominating the media at any given time. Whether it’s O.J., Princess Diana, Scott Peterson, Borat our countless other arglebargles or fooforaws, you can bet your bippy Allred is involved somehow, usually with a peripheral character, but not always.
My favorite Allred moment was actually a fictitious one. In a “South Park” episode she represented Big Gay Al when he sued the Boy Scouts for discriminating against homosexuals. Then, when Al tries to drop the lawsuit, she accuses Al himself of being a homophobe. An over-the-top portrayal? Just barely, God love her.
In any event, baseball is going to get all they want of Ms. Allred today, as TMZ is reporting that she’s going to hold a press conference this afternoon in which she’ll accuse a major league coach — identity unknown at the moment — of making anti-gay slurs at a male fan and then, when the man complained about such language being used in front of his nine-year-old daughter, allegedly said “kids don’t f***ing belong at the baseball park.” There were allegedly threats made after that, but I’m sure Allred will explain it in more vivid detail than I could ever hope to.
If true, this could be the most explosive verbal assault from a baseball coach since that reporter asked Tommy Lasorda what he thought of Dave Kingman’s performance.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.