John Lackey has certainly pitched poorly enough with the Red Sox that fans and media members would be extremely tough on him anyway, but he also didn’t help matters in last night’s postgame dealings with reporters.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe describes the scene, which started with Lackey replying “I don’t know, you guys are going to write what you want to write, whatever” to a question about gripping his pitches:
And that was that after 15 seconds of uncomfortable silence. The entire press conference lasted about 90 seconds. … None of those questions were antagonistic. To be honest, they were pretty much softballs. Answering questions in that fashion will only serve to make a tough season even harder on him. …
Lackey has 3.5 years left on his contract and they’re going to be brutal ones if he can’t come to grips with the atmosphere here. Whether it’s a teammate, his pitching coach, his manager or even Theo Epstein, somebody needs to get through to Lackey. This is headed down a road nobody wants to be on, least of all him.
Abraham also notes that Lackey chose to sign with the Red Sox as a free agent, presumably knowing what the media scrutiny in Boston is like to some degree. He obviously didn’t expect to begin his Red Sox career with a 5.06 ERA through 44 starts and I’m sure most people would react similarly if questioned about their poor job performance on a daily basis, but then again answering questions from reporters is part of what he signed up for to get $82.5 million for five years and he certainly hasn’t earned that money on the field so far.
In addition to naming the Spink Award winner this morning, the Baseball Writers Association of America voted today to make all Hall of Fame ballots public beginning with next year’s vote for the 2018 induction class.
As of now, writers are encouraged to make their votes public and, if they do, they are placed on the BBWAA website. They are not required to, however, and a great many Hall of Fame voters do not. While ballot secrecy is laudable in politics, the Hall of Fame vote brings with it a fundamentally different set of concerns and sentiment has increasingly favored transparency, as opposed to secrecy when it comes to the Hall of Fame.
While some in opposition to this move may claim that public ballots will only lead to criticism, our view is that if you can’t handle some reasonable criticism over your Hall of Fame ballot, you probably need to get out of the business of making history, which is what voting for the Hall of Fame really is.
RE2PECT: The Yankees just announced that they will retire Derek Jeter’s number 2 next season. The ceremony will take place on May 14, 2017 at Yankee Stadium.
With Jeter’s number 2 retired the Yankees will have retired 21 numbers. Twenty-two if you count number 8 twice, given that it was retired for both Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey. They also have retired 42 twice, once for Jackie Robinson, which every team has retired, and once for Mariano Rivera who donned 42 before the league-wide retirement of the number. The Yankees will also have put every single-digit number on the shelf. Except for zero, anyway, which no Yankees player has ever worn.
The retired pinstripes break down as follows:
1 Billy Martin
3 Babe Ruth
4 Lou Gehrig
5 Joe DiMaggio
6 Joe Torre
7 Mickey Mantle
8 Yogi Berra
8 Bill Dickey
9 Roger Maris
10 Phil Rizzuto
15 Thurman Munson
16 Whitey Ford
20 Jorge Posada
23 Don Mattingly
32 Elston Howard
37 Casey Stengel
42 Mariano Rivera
44 Reggie Jackson
46 Andy Pettitte
49 Ron Guidry
51 Bernie Williams