As we mentioned last week, R.A. Dickey (and Kevin Slowey, but no one seems to want to mention him) has been chronicling his ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro for the New York Times. He has just put up another installment. This one is important. He has reached the peak.
Doing so wasn’t easy. As the climb reached the end exhaustion set in. Dickey explains how he did his best to put it out of his mind:
I thought of my family back home playing games, and what the kids were doing in school. I began to think of the money we were raising to help the Bombay Teen Challenge. I visualized pitching to the all the teams in the N.L. East, batter by batter. I thought of anything I could to distract me from the misery I was in.
True fact: the Atlanta Braves’ lineup sees so few pitches that his visualizing of them only took him up 50 vertical feet, so I presume that the Phillies, Marlins, Nationals and his family did most of the heavy mental lifting for him.
Congratulations, R.A. Careful coming back down.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.