If you Google any sports figure for almost anything you’re bound to get a bunch of hits from Bleacher Report, as they have mastered the dark art of search engine optimization. This can sometimes be annoying, but it can sometimes be enlightening too. For example, I learned this morning that Miguel Cabrera needs to win a World Series ring in order to “send him to baseball immortality,” cement his legacy and write his name in “historical lore.”
One would think, wouldn’t one, that a story about the World Series and Miguel Cabrera’s legacy would at least mention the fact that he already has a World Series ring thanks to his tenure on the 2003 Florida Marlins.
Perhaps Cabrera wasn’t a major part of that World Series title (although he did hit a two-run homer off Roger Clemens in Game 4). But even if one were to make the argument that it didn’t mean much since he wasn’t the leader of that team or something, one would have to at least acknowledge that it occurred and explain why winning one with the Tigers would be different and more significant. This writer doesn’t seem to even be aware of it.
I don’t offer this in order to mess with Bleacher Report specifically. I offer it more as a comment on the people who engage in the even darker arts of judging players’ legacies. We’ve seen an awful lot of that this postseason already with the A-Rod business, but it happens every year. People leave out that which doesn’t fit their preconceived ideas and preferred narratives. They emphasize things which do. If it means pretending that some history doesn’t exist, so be it. And it’s not just Bleacher Report writers who do it.
I understand that desire to make stories with beginnings, middles and ends — and with richly-drawn characters, morals and the rest — out of sporting events. But, just, cut it out. Sports don’t work that way.
The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.
The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.
The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.
Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.