Pete Rose still believes baseball needs him

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The all-time hit leader says stuff like this every six months or so. And it rings a little bit more hollow every time:

“I’m going to tell you something right now, whether you believe it or not,” Rose told WFAN’s Steve Somers on Wednesday. “Baseball is a better game if I’m in it. OK? Because I care about the game and I’m a teacher of the game. And I care about young players.”

By every measure other than market share, baseball is more successful than it has been at any time in its history. And it is played at a higher and better level now than it has been at any time in its history. Amazingly it was able to do this without Pete Rose around “caring” about the game in his own, peculiar way. The only thing that is suffering due to Pete Rose’s ban is Pete Rose’s ego.

I’d put him in the Hall of Fame — history is history — but I wouldn’t let him near a young ballplayer in a million years.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.