I’ve said it before, but one of the best things about Peter Gammons is how he’ll be writing about topic A and then, in the course of it, he’ll drop some background factoid that completely blows your mind.
The best thing is that he doesn’t do it in a way that screams “check out this scoop!” It’s so casual, as if everyone knew it already and he’s just giving it voice. I really love it. Draws you inside in a way that those dudes who do backflips to show you just how inside they are can never touch.
He did it again today in his column about Theo Epstein’s departure from Boston. Lots of conventional state-of-the-team stuff and then this:
There was a burnout factor in Epstein’s desire to leave, which he was going to do regardless after the 2012 season. It was as if he were stuck on an elevator between the ninth and 10th floors. His wife, Marie, and son, Jack, could not live normal lives. There often was an unmarked Brookline police cruiser at the end of his street because of a stalker and concerns about the family privacy.
I had never heard this before, that’s for sure. Not that anyone would publicize it, of course. But man, that’s just nuts. The GM of a team gets a stalker? A baseball team? Unbelievable.
People need help out there. There are nuts walking the streets all the time and we don’t realize that there are as many as there are.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.