Everyone complains about the weather, but …

12 Comments

Actually, I could understand it better if it was the weather that was being complained about.  In Mike Vaccaro’s column, however, there is this vague sense that all of the rain on the east coast — or at least the inconvenience it caused — was somehow Major League Baseball’s fault.  That’s underscored by the headline — which Vaccaro likely did not write — which reads “Baseball really soaks fans this time.”

The stories from the fans who stuck out last night’s Yankees-Orioles game are interesting enough (note to Freddie Palmeiri: you either should have gone home with your girlfriend or else you should dump your girlfriend). But the “boy, they got you over a barrel” stuff in the piece is kind of misplaced in my view. Yes, the game was late and inconvenient and uncomfortable, and no, the Yankees did not stop selling merchandise and concessions to the people who stuck it out, but what’s the alternative?  Cancel a game that, however crappy the conditions, ended up being able to be played?  Screw with an already compacted schedule even more?

Now, don’t get me wrong: there is a bit of history in baseball — and I hear the Yankees have done this a lot on the past — of waiting and waiting and waiting to call games in order to collect as much parking and concession money as they can, even if they knew the game was going to be called.  They did this to me at a spring training game in Tampa in 2010, and all the Yankees fans there knew what as goin’ on.

But that’s not what went down last night. And I’m not sure the Yankees or Major League Baseball could do anything other than simply play the game if it was able to be played. Which it was.  Rain happens. Part of the deal, ya know?

Bruce Maxwell is the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem

Getty Images
34 Comments

Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

Getty Images
2 Comments

This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.