Beer in the clubhouse and the dugout? In Yankee Stadium? Yes!

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The beer drinkers in Boston? Amateurs. Pikers. For real beer drinking, you gotta read this New York Daily News story about the Yankees, based on reports from “insiders”:

According to one of the insiders, Jason Giambi and Roger Clemens would routinely drink beer on the dugout bench when they played for the Yankees, passing back and forth what Giambi called his “protein shake,” code for a cup of beer, the source said. And they weren’t the only ones who partook. “Rally beers are big in the clubhouse,” one insider said. “Guys would drink them all the time, on the bench, in the clubhouse, in the training room. It’s common.”

But you gotta take all of that with a grain of hops, because the next anecdote quoted from this source — about Jose Canseco hitting three homers on beer-power while with the Yankees — was debunked by ESPN’s David Schoenfield earlier today.

My guess: the story is largely true — ballplayers like beer and will drink it whenever — even if the details are exaggerated for dramatic effect.  Which makes it like most Daily News stories, most likely.

Either way, I continue to not be shocked by any of the allegations that come out of Boston. And continue to not think any of them are that big a deal.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.