A message from Ted Williams

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Hi, I’m Ted Williams, The Greatest Hitter who Ever Lived.

My time is brief — I’m here thanks to a passing chrono-synclastic infundibulum and it’s gonna take me back to Baseball Valhalla soon– but I had somethin’ I wanted to talk to you all about before I go.

I know a lot of you are concerned right now that this Miguel Cabrera fella may win the Triple Crown and still not win the MVP Award. You’re worried that all of those kids with the calculators and the fancy statistics are gonna make the case for this Mike Trout kid.  Boy, howdy, that will be an unpleasant few weeks of arguin’. Everyone talkin’ about “WAR” and whatnot. Let me tell you something, I fought in two wars and if I never hear the term again, it won’t be too soon.

But let me let you in on a little secret: I won the triple crown twice: in 1942 and again in 1947. And you know what happened? Yessir, I lost the MVP award. Both times. The first time to some second baseman who led the league in strikeouts. I bet that even though that guy is also in the Hall of Fame, most of you couldn’t even come up with his name without checkin’ first. Go ahead, give it a try. Ha ha, I knew it.

The second time I won the triple crown I lost it to a fella you have heard of: Joe DiMaggio. Now, don’t get me wrong, Joe was a helluva player. But go take a look, my friends: he didn’t lead the American League in any significant statistical category in 1947. Heck, I had over one hundred points on him in on-base percentage. He had a lot of good teammates that year, no question, and his boys won the World Series like they always did, but that may have been his seventh best season in a thirteen year career.

Not that old Ted gettin’ overlooked was anything new. 1941 was a humdinger of a year. I hit over .400! No one has done it since. That’s over 70 years now, and only a couple of fellas have even sniffed at it. And it wasn’t empty average, either: I led the league in slugging percentage, on-base percentage (.553, my friends), batting average, runs, walks and home runs.  And guess what? That’s right, old Joe won that MVP award. All because he had a 56-game hitting streak. And heck, I even had a better average during his hitting streak than he did!  You can look it up.

But I’m not tellin’ you all of this to get your sympathy. I don’t need it. My legacy is secure. No one thinks less of me as a ballplayer. And Ted here is comfortable in his own skin. Probably more comfortable than old Joe is. No, I’m tellin’ you this because I want you to know that, from what I can tell about this Cabrera fella, he’s gonna be alright if you don’t give him the MVP. Probably more than alright. And if I’m bein’ honest, I don’t think he should win it anyway, triple crown or no.

I’m no math whiz, but I can tell that this Trout kid has had a better year than Cabrera. He’s not been the hitter that Cabrera has been. Close, sure, but not quite. But the thing about that MVP Award is that you have to look at both offense and defense. And when it comes to defense Cabrera can’t hold a candle to the kid. The kid is a fantastic center fielder. Cabrera is a bad third baseman. If you need to look at some numbers to tell you that, well, you’re beyond helping. Same goes for his base running, too, and that matters a whole lot.

I bet Cabrera knows all this.  And what’s he gonna do, complain about it? When he knows that Old Ted was jobbed way worse than he ever could be?

Oh well, it looks like it’s time for me to be goin’. But I’m glad we had this talk.  Think about it a little. And when everyone starts to fussin’ and fightin’ over the MVP award, ask yourself: will the world really end if a triple crown winner doesn’t get it?  I think you coulda figured that out even if I hadn’t talked to you today.

Bye, friends.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.