Just about every Hall of Fame column you read these days has some variation of the following: “I used to love voting for the Hall of Fame, now I hate it and find it difficult and oh, my stars and garters, what am I ever to do with this Herculean task?!”
Criminy, put your big boy writer pants on and deal with it, will ya? Vote in the ‘roiders. Don’t vote in the ‘roiders. I may disagree with you, but for cryin’ out loud, quit bellyaching about how hard your job is and make a stand. This stuff is important in the context of baseball, but we’ve had presidents wring their hands less over deploying the freakin’ army than some BBWAA members do over who gets a plaque in an old building in some sleepy little town upstate.
Anyway, the latest woe-is-me Hall of Fame voter is Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Daily News. After a bunch of that stuff he gets to the primary source of his consternation this year: Jeff Bagwell:
I’ve listened to the argument that Bagwell should be a Hall of Famer because there is no proof he used the same performance-enhancing drugs that inflated the heads, bodies, and resumés of some of his peers. I suspect, however, that there are a lot of players who cheated and never were caught … Here are the guys who got my vote: McGriff, Barry Larkin, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell.
See? How hard was that? By virtue of my use of elipses, I was able to show just how direct one can be when giving credence to rumor over fact and fostering the whole McCarthyite guilt-by-association thing. No need to for all of that protesting. When you’re gonna be unfair and judgmental like that just do it and go on to the next thing. Saves everyone some time.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.