There was some random speculation that Joe Girardi would sit Derek Jeter in tonight’s game against the Indians. Partially to rest him but — tin foil hats on please — also to make sure that he doesn’t get his 3000th hit on the road by going 4 for 4 or better.
Stop that. It could happen. He’s done it twice this year.
Anyway, Girardi has thrown caution to the wind and has Jeter in tonight’s lineup. Which, to be honest, I’m happy to see. Manipulating the playing time in order to ensure that a milestone is reached in front of the home crowd is weak sauce. I mean, even though everyone hates Bowie Kuhn and everyone loves Hank Aaron, I’m happy that Kuhn made the Braves play him on the road in early 1974. The game is greater than the records.
Unless Girardi and the Yankees seriously doubt Jeter’s ability to get four hits in an entire weekend series before the All-Star break, and are hoping he gets one or two tonight an in effort to make the home milestone more likely. The Yankees do open up the second half on an eight game road trip. How awkward would it be if, after a day off today, Jeter couldn’t get four hits in the four-game series against the Rays this weekend?
OK, I’ll stop now. This is turning into a Mobius strip or an M.C. Escher Infinite Staircase of a post. All about Jeter and 3000 hits.
I probably need to get out more.
On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.
We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.
Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:
Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.
Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.
Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.
I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.
“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.
Four. More. Years.