We keep hearing that the Red Sox and the Cubs are continuing to negotiate a compensation deal for the Cubs’ hiring Theo Epstein, but according to Buster Olney, Bud Selig wants this stuff wrapped up before the World Series starts on Wednesday so it doesn’t distract from baseball’s big show.
I get his concern because that’s the sort of thing baseball commissioners are always concerned about, but that whole “it distracts from the World Series spotlight” notion seems like an antiquated one. It’s not like it was 25 years ago when the baseball press was only able to handle one big baseball story a day due to column inches and travel and communication limitations and stuff. Fifteen things can happen on the same day and they’ll all get covered.
No one who is predisposed to watch the World Series is going to avoid it because of a story about negotiations over an executive. And let’s be honest: baseball is a local game: people in Chicago care way more about Theo Epstein and the Cubs than the World Series. Especially when the World Series involves the hated Cardinals.
Embrace the cacophony, Bud. People talking about baseball, no matter the subject, is a good thing. We can handle more than one thing going on at once.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.