The State of the Races

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AL EAST

The spread: The Yankees had a less-than-fabulous weekend in Anaheim yet they extend their lead over Boston to three and a half. Which tells you everything you need to known about Boston’s weekend in St. Petersburg.  The Red Sox now lead the Rays by a mere three and a half in the wild card. And they have four games remaining against one another.

The skinny: If the Rays catch and beat the Sox, there are not enough bookend analogies in the world available to describe the horrifying beginning and end of Boston’s season.

AL CENTRAL

The spread: The Tigers keep winning and the other guys don’t. They’re up 10.5 over Chicago, eleven over Cleveland.

The skinny: “Verlander and Fister and pray for a twister …”  Eh, needs work.

AL WEST

The spread: No change over the weekend. Texas’ lead is two and a half.

The skinny: September 26-28th, Texas vs. Anaheim. Here’s hoping it’s still close.

NL EAST

The spread: The Phillies continue to lay waste. It’s a 12 game lead. The Braves are in desperate need of the Heimlich Maneuver. Their wild card lead over St. Louis is a mere 4.5 after getting swept.

The skinny: Philly lost yesterday, but really, it’s almost comical how much better they look than anyone else in the NL.

NL CENTRAL

The spread: The Brewers dropping two of three three of four to Philly combined with the Cards’ sweep of the Braves reduces St. Louis’ deficit to six games. But really, St. Louis is shooting for Atlanta.

The skinny: The Cardinals face the Phillies this weekend. First time I’ll be rooting for the Phillies all year.

NL WEST

The spread: The Diamondbacks extend their lead over the Giants to eight and a half games.

The skinny: The Giants are activating Barry Zito. That’s like putting your freshman quarterback in the game to get some reps. In other words, the competitive portion of this contest is over.

The Jose Fernandez statue may be in jeopardy

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Last November it was reported that the Marlins planned to build a memorial for Jose Fernandez, likely including a statue. The effort was said to be a pet project of the Marlins owner, Jeff Loria, who was close with Fernandez.

Today the Miami Herald reports, however, that those plans are in limbo due to the sale of the team:

The planned statue to honor Jose Fernandez, which was departing owner Jeffrey Loria’s idea, is now very much in question because it will not be erected before Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter take over, and it will ultimately be the new owners’ call. That matter has not yet been discussed, with the sale agreed to only in the past few days.

There’s nothing in the report suggesting that they’re opposed to the statue — it’s possible this was placed in the Herald by people close to the new group in order to test the waters — but there always was the sense that the idea was something of a priority for Loria personally. One wonders how much momentum it will have once he’s gone.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Fernandez was eventually found to have been under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and was behind the wheel of the boat at the time of the accident that claimed his life and the life of two others, making any memorial to him suspect in the eyes of some people.

Thankfully we don’t spend a lot of time and energy discussing the ethics of statues in this country, so I’m sure it’ll have no bearing on the matter.

A couple of links: The story behind uniform numbers and the best players at each height

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There are two articles circulating this morning that are good time-killers. I’ll link ’em both here for the sake of efficiency.

The first one is a fun little thing from Jay Jaffe at Sports Illustrated, picking the best player at each height. Random, yes, but in a year where two of the top AL MVP candidates are Jose Altuve (5’6″) and Aaron Judge (6’7″), it seems timely.

The second one is from ESPN. They talked to a whole bunch of players and asked them how they chose their uniform numbers. Some are pretty obvious: Xander Bogaerts was a Derek Jeter fan, ergo he’s number 2. Some were just given their number. Others picked birthdays and things.

There are two weird bits that stick out, though. First, from Anthony Rendon, who doesn’t much care for his number six and thought about switching to number 24 for this year. He didn’t for financial reasons:

“I was going to switch for this year. I could’ve taken 24, but MLB makes you buy all of the inventory, and it would’ve been like 40 grand. I told them, ‘Don’t make any more then. Just sell it and get the total down, and maybe I’ll change it next year.'”

That’s kind of weird. I had no idea MLB made guys who changed their number buy up uniform stock. Seems like something a coal mine owner would do back in the 20s.

Then there’s Adam Ottavino of the Rockies, who wears the number zero. He couldn’t wear it in St. Louis, though:

Ottavino is the only pitcher to ever wear zero. He said it’s an “O” for his last name, and he has worn it since little league. His former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, would not let him wear it, but the Rockies said yes.

I suppose I can see having a policy of no players wearing zero. Like, it would make no sense on the merits, but I could understand that such a policy might exist for whatever reason.

The Cardinals, however, had a player — journeyman outfielder Kerry Robinson — who wore zero in 2002-03. I don’t suppose they’re holding that for an eventual retirement ceremony in Robinson’s honor, so it must mean either that (a) the Cardinals changed their policy about that at some point in the past 15 years; or (b) they were just messing with Ottavino. I sort of hope it was the latter, just for the yuks.

Anyway, happy reading.