Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse for Jason Bay in New York, he’s gone 0-for-20 without an RBI in six games this month. Hitless in 23 at-bats overall, he’s now down to .207/.307/.279 in 140 at-bats for the season.
Because Bay missed the first three weeks of the season with a strained oblique, he’s a little shy of qualifying for the batting title at the moment. However, if he did, he’d rank 164th of 171 players in average and 167th in slugging ahead of only Alcides Escobar, Chone Figgins, Miguel Tejada and Daric Barton.
The slump now likely qualifies as the worst of his career. He had a lousy second half of 2007 for the Pirates and finished that year at .247/.327/.418. Still, he hit 21 homers. In 2009, he had a terrible month and a half with the Red Sox, hitting .185 with three homers in a span of 124 at-bats. But this one has outlasted that one.
The Mets would appear to have little choice other than to stick with him and hope for the best. Bay is owed another $35 million after this year and has a full no-trade clause. With the suspicion being that he’s never truly recovered from last season’s concussion, it’s hard to imagine any team taking on a substantial portion of that salary.
There’s also no obvious bad contract to try and pair him with. Maybe Figgins in Seattle, but Figgins is guaranteed a relatively paltry $17 million after this year. A healthy Bay would look like a great fit as a right-handed hitter to stick in between Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in Cincinnati, but it’s hard to imagine the Reds having interest with things as is.
The Mets will either have to keep playing Bay or make up an injury for him so that they can send him on a rehab assignment for a week or two. Tonight, though, it’s Jason Pridie in left field and Bay on the bench.
Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.
Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.
Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.
Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.
This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.
UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.
1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.
It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.
We’ll update when we hear more.
There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now
Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?
He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:
Maddon assumed the Cards played the infield in, in the 9th last night basically in response to him challenging play at first in blow out
God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?
Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.