Tony La Russa and the Cardinals have been vocal about mid-afternoon start times recently. It started back in the regular season, actually, but this week we’ve once again heard about how the shadows that fall across the field at around 4PM Central time make it difficult for the Cardinals. I suppose it makes it difficult for both teams, but let’s not concern ourselves with that.
We’ve heard the complaint enough that, understandably, some people have accused La Russa and the Cardinals of using the shadows as an excuse. Of — dare I say it? — whining. Well, La Russa takes exception to his team being called a bunch of whiners. If you’re less charitable than me,* you might even characterize it as whining:
Sensitive to characterizations of his players as “whining” over visibility issues during Game 3 Tuesday afternoon, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa used blunt language to admonish media members for their presentation of the issue … “If you don’t answer the question, then you’re not cooperative. If you do answer the question, you come out like excuse-makers,” La Russa asserted. “That really (angers me). If there’s one thing this team is not it is excuse-makers. … The only thing that can not be ignored, it can be dangerous.”
He later added, “Anyone who would accuse this team of whining has not been around it. That’s an insult to me and to them.”
I get La Russa’s point here — sometimes you can’t win — but at some point you just gotta zip it, because you can’t complain your way out of being accused of being a complainer.
*Oh, wait. Sorry.
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.