Day: March 16, 2012

Johan Santana

Johan Santana gives up five runs but feels good


Johan Santana thinks there’s no reason for concern after he gave up five runs — four earned — in 2 2/3 innings Friday in a loss to the Tigers.

ESPN’s Adam Rubin has the quotes:

I was able to throw some fastballs with more intensity this time. And I’m feeling good. It’s a process. And I’m building up.

I feel fine. It was a tough day. It was a challenge out there. These guys were swinging. I tried to locate some pitches that I wasn’t able to. But that’s what we’re here for. … I wasn’t consistent throwing my fastball for strikes. That’s something you work on.

Santana, who is coming off shoulder surgery, showed his best velocity of the spring, hitting 90 and 91 mph on the gun more frequently than he had in his previous two starts. That didn’t lead to any strikeouts today, but it’s still a good sign. He’s still penciled in for Opening Day.

Won’t somebody think of the fish?

Fish tanks

Two years ago, when we first learned that the Marlins were installing fish tanks in the new ballpark, PETA got mad.  It’s gotten to the point, however, that people tend to tune out PETA when they get mad. Oh well.

But that doesn’t mean animal activists aren’t still concerned about the state of the fish in those tanks in that ballpark. Because they are:

“I can tell you even if the glass doesn’t shatter, [stadium noise is] going to cause a tremendous vibration and disturb and upset the fish,” Animal Rights Foundation of Florida spokesman Don Anthony told the local press.

To minimize vibrations from a stadium full of rowdy fans, the temperature-controlled aquariums are suspended on a flexible material called neoprene, but activists think that isn’t sufficient. “No matter how many shock absorbers they build into the system, if there are thousands of fans screaming and jumping during a sporting event it’s going to affect the fish in there,” Anthony said.

Not that anyone seems all that interested in heeding the warnings.  But I suppose if a bunch of fish go belly-up from shock, those fish tanks are going to turn into planters pretty darn quick.

The Mets are mulling the medicals on C.J. Nitkowski

Image (1) Mets%20Logo.png for post 3903

David Lennon of Newsday reports that the Mets are “mulling over medicals” on lefty reliever C.J. Nitkowski.

Which kind of freaks me out. Because unless I’m missing something or unless is lying to me, Nitkowski hasn’t pitched in the majors for seven years and has been out of organized baseball since 2008. And that was playing in Japan. Indeed, the last we heard from him was when he talked about PEDs and surgery and stuff in a rather provocative and interesting fashion.

So is this a real thing? If so, it’s way more amazing to me than the Andy Pettitte comeback.

Shaun Marcum may begin the season on the disabled list

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum bobbles a bunt from St. Louis Cardinals' Jon Jay in the 1st inning of Game 2 of the MLB National League Championship Series baseball playoffs in Milwaukee

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke admitted today that Shaun Marcum is running out of time to recover from his shoulder inflammation by Opening Day, telling Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “the days are getting short.”

Marcum threw a bullpen session today and reported no problems, so he’ll move on to throwing live batting practice Sunday.

Roenicke pointed to Marco Estrada as the likely fill-in if the Brewers need a replacement starter for the first turn through the rotation, although it’s possible they may go with Marcum on a shortened pitch count if the shoulder problems are no longer an issue.

Any disabled list stint can be backdated, so Marcum wouldn’t necessarily have to miss more than one start even if he doesn’t start the season on the active roster. However, he’s had plenty of previous arm problems and faded badly down the stretch last year, so Marcum’s status is definitely a big worry.

Legacy? Who cares about Andy Pettitte’s legacy?

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 3

Whenever a once-great player holds on too long or comes back too often, there is talk about his legacy.  Or, shall I say, his legacy.

The italics are important. They denote the magical nature of this magical concept. A concept that is hard to describe. What makes a legacy? Do a man’s accomplishments make it so, or is it something else? Something more?

I’m inclined to say it’s the latter. That a player’s legacy is more a function of the narrative that surrounds his accomplishments than the accomplishments themselves. And that narrative is mostly a media creation.  A player leaving on a high note. A player holding on too long. Those things are a function of the stories we tell about them, not a function of their greatness itself.

I’m thinking about all of this because I just read Jon Morosi’s column about Andy Pettitte’s return and how it could negatively impact his legacy:

Posada didn’t hurt the Yankees last year. In fact, he batted .429 against the Tigers in the American League Division Series. But the story of his season, on and off the field, underscored the difficultly in shepherding a franchise icon into retirement without bruising his psyche.

Pettitte managed to get it right the first time, walking away after two quality starts in the 2010 postseason. Just before retiring, the ol’ lefty burnished his image as the most reliable October starter of his generation.

It’s a nice legacy – quite perfect the way it is. Now he’s taking it out of the display case. He must be careful not to drop it.

I understand the value of avoiding an ignominious end — who wants to look foolish? — but I question how much such ignominious ends truly matter to the players in question. And whether they should matter to us at all.

Posada had a couple of bad moments last year. Poor play. That tantrum about where he was in the batting order.  But that stuff vanished pretty quickly after the season ended and the retirement press conference happened. Sure, I remember it because all I do is think about baseball all day, but the vast majority of fans have already banished those thoughts from their memories and when they think about Jorge Posada, they’ll think about the good stuff, not the bad.

And you can bet your bippy that Posada will remember the good stuff too.  Almost all players do.  When I met Willie Mays last week, he was walking around in a Giants cap talking about his exploits from the 50s and 60s, not his last year with the Mets.  Same goes for anyone else. They think about the events and happenings, not some amorphous concept that is their legacy. And even if they do, you can bet that the same healthy egos that allowed them to become superstars create a legacy in their minds that is untarnished.

Back to Pettitte.  He might not pitch well this year. Heck, he could have a total meltdown. He could go 0-8 with a 12.56 ERA, accidentally injure Robinson Cano while covering a bunt and poop his pants on the mound on a muggy August night.  And man, that would suck pretty bad.

But will that erase all of the good stuff he’s done?  Will that make his amazing body of work go away? Will it keep Pettitte from sitting in a rocking chair one day and thinking about how great a pitcher he was?  Of course not. His legacy is already solidified, no matter what he does in 2012. Indeed, it can only really be enhanced if he does something amazing, because most people’s memories are pretty good at pushing out the negativity as the years go on.

Well, maybe not if he actually poops his pants. That may be something he can’t shake, I’ll grant you. But I think you know what I mean.