posey catching

Buster Posey schadenfreude? No, that’s taking it too far


I said in the recaps this morning that I think the tone of mourning that has surrounded Buster Posey’s injury is a bit much. But in my mind it’s preferable to this, from the AZ Snakepit blog:

But, let’s be brutally honest. While on one level, it’s a terrible thing, there’s a dark corner of just about every non-Giant fan which woke up this morning, read that Posey could be out for the season and gave a little fist-pump. Because their team’s chances of dethroning the Giants as World Series champions just got a little bit better.

There is a lot of ground between the extremes of sappy “we’re all Giants fans today”-style blather and “fist bumps” over a guy’s leg being bent like a piece of licorice. Like say, the intellectual acknowledgment that, yes, the Giants’ competitive position took a hit on Wednesday night and a raised eyebrow of optimism at, say, the Diamonbacks’ or Rockies’ chances. Which happens to be true and does not require any value-judgment about a person’s injury.

I think the difference between those two things is not so much about being a good person or being a bad person as much as it is having some sort of distance between one’s emotions and one’s rooting interest.  Which is to say, I don’t think this writer or anyone else who goes the “fist bumps” route is doing so because they’re evil. Rather, they’re simply doing so because they’re way too invested in their baseball team to allow for basic decency to enter into the equation to trump the tribalism on display in the linked piece.

There’s nothing less appealing in sports fans than when they fail to realize that there’s a life outside of who they root for. Don’t be that guy, OK?

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.