A.J. Burnett

David Ortiz, A.J. Burnett eschew cliche following last night’s game

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ANSWER: “We gotta play ’em one day at a time. I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ballclub. I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.”

QUESTION: “What are ‘things A.J. Burnett and David Ortiz could have chosen to say after last night’s game but didn’t?’ Alex.”

And it’s to our benefit of course, because life is always more interesting when ballplayers decide to go off script.  First, here’s Ortiz, when asked about Joe Girardi’s mildly negative comments following Ortiz’s bat flip following the home run he hit on Tuesday night:

“I don’t care what Joe Girardi says. Take it like a man. I’m done with that …  I got almost 370 bombs in the big leagues and everybody wants to make a big deal because I bat flip one of them. [Expletive] that [expletive], man. If I have to make that video on my [expletive], let’s see how many bat flips I got on this [expletive]. Good night.”

That ire, focused way more on the media for asking the questions about it than Giradi’s comments themselves, is fairly understandable. I mean yeah, when you sign on to play in Boston or New York you have to expect nontroversy-fueling questions from the media, but at some point I’m sure everyone gets sick of it.  The guy just hit another homer a few hours ago and the Red Sox took over first place and these guys all want to talk about something silly from the night before that was mostly their own creation in the first place. Your F-bombs are excused in my book, Big Papi.

A.J. Burnett also eschewed the land of cliche when asked about why the Red Sox seem to kill him now when, back when he pitched for Toronto, he owned them:

“I’m not in Toronto (anymore), so I’m tired of hearing about all that. That’s just retarded. If anything was different I made pitches when I was with Toronto, and I didn’t make pitches tonight. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

I’m guessing someone will jump on that this morning, particularly Burnett’s use of the word ‘retarded,’ which is so increasingly frowned upon an actual organized movement has been formed to wipe it out of the language.  I’m doing my best not to call stuff ‘retarded’ all willy-nilly because the case against its casual use makes sense to me personally, but even I can’t get myself worked up about Burnett’s use of the term here. When frustrated people find themselves in frustrating and stressful situations, you’ll have it.

But no, I don’t imagine that will stop either of these subjects from being tongue-wagging fodder today.

Tigers activate James McCann

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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The Tigers have activated catcher James McCann from the 15-day disabled list. He’s been out since April 11 with a sprained ankle.

Whether he has a position is an open question. In his absence Jarrod Saltalamacchia has put up a .947 OPS. That’s weighted somewhat heavily by slugging and some fluky power, but he’s done a good job. At the very least it will cause Brad Ausmus to ease McCann back into the lineup more slowly, possibly in a split role as opposed to a backup/starter relationship.

Catching up with Professor Ben Cherington

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 12:  Ben Cherington, general manager of the Boston Red Sox, leaves the field before a game with the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on June 12, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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There is a general consensus that the bad free agent signings of the later Ben Cherington years in Boston were ownership diktats, not things that were Ben Cherington’s idea. Whether that consensus is accurate is hard to say, but that’s how it sort of felt to most outside observers. The reality was probably messier. Where ideas start and where they end up in organizations involve a lot of weird passive-aggressive dancing, with power being exercised in some cases and merely anticipated in others, causing people to do things in such a way that blame is a nebulous matter. I’m sure baseball teams are no different.

Whatever actually happened in Boston will likely always be somewhat murky, but Cherington is the one who took the fall. Where he ended up after all of it went down, however, is an interesting story. The place: on the faculty of the sports management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. The story about it is told by Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. It’s an interesting one.

Cherington is still a young man with a lot of undisputed accomplishments under his belt. It would not surprise me at all to see him have a second act as the head of a baseball operations department some day. For now, though, he’s doing his own interesting thing.

It’s OK to not like someone on the team you root for

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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There were a series of interesting comments to the Yadier Molina story this morning. The first commenter, a Cardinals fan, said he’s never really cared for Molina. Other Cardinals fans took issue with that, wondering how on Earth a Cardinals fan could not like Yadi.

While I’ll grant that Molina is a particularly popular member of the Cardinals, while I personally like his game and his overall persona, and while I can’t recall ever meeting a Cards fan who didn’t like him, why is it inconceivable that someone may not?

Whether you “like” a player is an inherently subjective thing. You can like players who aren’t good at baseball. You can dislike ones who are. You can like a player’s game who, as a person, seems like a not great guy. You can dislike a player’s game or his personality for any reason as well. It’s no different than liking a type of music or food or a type of clothing. Baseball players, to the fans anyway, are something of an aesthetic package. They can please us or not. We can choose to separate the art from the artist, as it were, and ignore off-the-field stuff or give extra credit for the off-the-field stuff. Dowhatchalike.

No matter what the basis is, “liking” a player on your favorite team is up to one person: you. And, as I’ve written elsewhere recently, someone not liking something you like does not give you license to be a jackass about it.

A-Rod’s mansion is featured in Architectural Digest

Alex Rodriguez
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For a couple of years people worried if A-Rod would sully the Yankees Superior Brand. Given how they’re playing these days I wonder if A-Rod should be more worried about the Yankees sullying his brand.

He resurrected his baseball career last year. He’s cultivated a successful corporate identity. He’s in a relationship with a leading Silicon Valley figure. It’s all aces. And now it’s total class, as his home is featured in the latest issue of Architectural Digest:

Erected over the course of a year, the 11,000-square-foot retreat is a showstopper, with sleek forms and striking overhangs that riff on midcentury modernism, in particular the iconic villas found at Trousdale Estates in Beverly Hills. Unlike Rodriguez’s previous Florida home, the Coral Gables house is laid out on just one story so the interiors would connect directly to the grounds. Says Choeff, “Alex wanted to accentuate the indoor-outdoor feel.”

There are a lot of photos there.

I don’t think I have much in common with Alex Rodriguez on any conceivable level, but I do like his taste in architecture and design. I’m all about the midcentury modernism. Just wish I had the paycheck to be more about it like my man A-Rod here.