Mike Schmidt would like players to sign their autographs more clearly, please.

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I don’t know who gave Mike Schmidt an AP column, but I’m kinda glad they did.

It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you get the sense that he has a list of grievances he’s long been waiting to air and now, finally, he has the chance. Not major grievances. He’s never overly negative, but there are things that stick in is craw, and I picture him wearing half-glasses and nodding to himself as he types these out, happy that he has a forum in which to do so. There’s something kind of stately about Schmidt when he tells people to get off his no doubt well-manicured lawn.

Today’s topic: players these days don’t sign their name clearly when giving autographs:

My signature’s value has never changed over the years. Sure, I know there is a class system in the industry, certain signatures retain value and others don’t. In my case, one reason it has retained value is it’s neat and you can read it. It is legible, shows respect and looks as though I put some effort into the process of creating a collectible item.

I’m not in the class of Andre Dawson or the late Harmon Killebrew. Their signatures are artwork. Their slow, methodical signing technique shows immense respect for their names and the items on which they appear.

And Schmidt is right about autograph hounds, by the way. People who have turned autographs into pure commerce instead of using them as hooks for good memories and chance encounters.

Anyway, fun read. I disagree with Schmidt on a lot of things he writes about, but I find him kinda adorable anyway.

 

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.