Ted Williams

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.

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.

Mets unhappy with Dodgers’ request to make outfield markings to position fielders

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  The 1986 New York Mets are honored before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mets have asked MLB for clarification on the Dodgers’ use of a laser rangefinder for defensive positioning over this weekend’s series at Citi Field. The Dodgers notified the Mets’ ground crew that they wanted to mark certain positions in the outfield grass after determining positions with the rangefinder. The grounds crew said they could leave two marks in center field and one in left field.

However, the grounds crew then went to their superiors and told them that the Dodgers threatened to dig holes in the outfield grass with their cleats, so the grounds crew was then instructed to “erase or obliterate” any of the Dodgers’ markings.

According to Rosenthal, Major League Baseball reinforced a few weeks ago that teams aren’t allowed to use markers to aid defensive positioning. The Dodgers haven’t been accused of doing anything nefarious during a game. Howie Kendrick was seen pulling something out of his pocket in the outfield, but Brett Anderson clarified on Twitter that it was just a piece of paper with notes for defensive positioning.

The series between the Mets and Dodgers has been heated, as Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing at Chase Utley on Saturday. Utley then responded by hitting two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. The Mets may have a legitimate concern, or it may just be gamesmanship.