FC alerts us to an English language version of a story from Venezuela which reports that the guys who kidnapped Wilson Ramos were a bunch of amateurs. Like, literally amateurs. As FC notes, the more expansive Spanish language version of the report notes that only two of the six kidnappers had criminal records.
They were also amateurs in execution of the plot. They didn’t wear masks, allowing composite sketches to be made. A car was found, helping authorities ID the suspects. The time of day of the kidnapping meant that there were lots of witnesses. Master criminals they were not.
You know, as soon as the Ramos kidnapping was reported, a lot of people were tweeting and emailing me “Big Lebowski” quotes. That kind of thing was obviously in poor taste because Ramos was in real peril so I wasn’t about to give them voice around here. But now that he’s back safe and these guys were caught, I’m starting to think that, however inappropriate those comments were, they weren’t necessarily wrong.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉