The Hamels stuff has been fun today. The upshot, based on the comments: I’m a big wimp who never played baseball and I hate the Phillies and I should stop whining and Zimmerman did it too. Which is what I expected. I’m a big boy and can handle it. Of course I still haven’t seen any of the many Phillies fans in that thread say that they would take it with serene equanimity if someone intentionally threw at Ryan Howard, but why ask for miracles?
There have been some thought-provoking comments, however, including this one from commenter danandcasey, which gets at the idea that what Hamels was doing in throwing at Harper was upholding an ancient baseball ritual or Old School Code or something:
One thing – neither Drysdale nor Gibson would have mentioned it to the press after the game. If Cole wants to be Old School, he needs to keep his mouth shut.
It’s an interesting point. Not one I have a ton of buy-in to because I don’t think that referencing guys like Drysdale and Gibson throwing at batters is a satisfying defense (yes, they were wrong to do it too). But I obviously don’t hold the majority view there. To the extent there is a deep defense of Hamels here, it’s that he was acting in a grand baseball tradition.
But it is an open question as to whether he was even adhering to that tradition when he yapped about it afterwards. Again, I don’t care one way or the other because it’s the act of throwing at the hitter, not talking about it, that I think is wrong here. But isn’t it the case that, if you’re gonna play Old School you REALLY gotta play old school and play the “musta got away from me” card?
In not doing so, it’s almoslt like Hamels wanted to make damn sure that everyone knew he was acting Old School. Which, when you think about it, really isn’t an Old School kind of thing to do, is it?
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.