Terrence Moore of MLB.com would like you — and every single development in baseball since, I dunno, 1965, to get off his lawn:
No question, baseball’s home run records are tarnished by those who spent part of their careers with artificially enhanced bodies, or have been suspected of it. That said, why don’t folks talk much — if at all — about that other great evil in this regard called the designated hitter?
I’m all for bashing the designated hitter. It’s fun! But to suggest — as Moore does here, at length and with his tongue decidedly not in his cheek — that an honest-to-goodness on-the-books-for-nearly-40-years baseball rule “tarnishes” hitting records is preposterous.
The story of baseball is all about changes in context. Baseball in 1865 was different than baseball in 1895 which was different than 1915, which was different than 1925, which was different than 1935, 1945, 1965, 1977, 1988, 2000 and on to today. The ball has changed, So too have the parks, the bats, the rules, the mounds, the players and a host of other things. The only consistent thing about the conditions in which baseball is played and in which records were set is their inconsistency.
Yet, despite this, Moore brings up the idea of “asterisks” in the event Alex Rodriguez breaks the home run record as a DH with a straight face. Insanity.
Observation: if we let go of the notion that there was a time when baseball was in some Garden-of-Eden state, only to later become tarnished and corrupted, most of the crap that riles people up about it would simply melt away.
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.