Pascual Perez fight

Two of Pascual Perez’s greatest hits

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Still bummed over the news of the death of Pascual Perez.  When I first started thinking about him I, and probably a ton of other people, immediately first thought of him being lost on I-285, desperately looking for the ballpark and ultimately missing his start because of it. A ballpark that was not, it should be noted, situated on or anywhere near I-285.

But there were a couple of other memorable Pascual Perez moments. Two that come to mind were rather ugly, but time and, sadly, uglier things, make us look a bit more fondly on them.

First was a brawl. Not the one you’re thinking of. That one is below. The one I’m thinking of took place on August 25, 1981 when Perez’s Pittsburgh Pirates faced the Los Angels Dodgers. Chris Jaffe wrote a full rundown last year.  The upshot: Perez plunked a couple of Dodgers. Reggie Smith took umbrage and made motions toward the Pirates dugout.  Nothing happened until …

After ending the inning, Perez motioned to Smith he’d meet him under the stands—pronto. Smith and Perez both raced through their clubhouses and into the tunnels, meeting up behind home plate under the stands. Both dugouts emptied following them. Players came, coaches came, even managers Chuck Tanner and Tommy Lasorda came.

The fight, like most fights, wasn’t much of a fight. Some stadium officials said there was some shoving, but no punches thrown. By the time the umpires tracked everyone down, the incident was already over. There were no ejections, and Perez pitched one more inning.

That’s pro wrestling stuff right there. Other than when Prince Fielder rushed the Dodgers clubhouse a few years ago, I can’t recall such a thing happening.

The second one is that famous brawl. A brawl the likes of which you never ever see in the majors anymore. Guys make too much money and know too many other players for things to escalate like this, I reckon.  But back in 1984 it was a different story.  It started when Pascual Perez hit Alan Wiggins. Which led to retaliation by Ed Whitson against Perez when he came to bat, which led to a huge fight. A fight which, if you watch the video below, you note that Perez just strolled away from without having a punch thrown at him:

In all, there were brawls in the second, fifth, eighth and ninth innings of this ONE game. One of them involved Champ Summers — who just passed away himself in recent weeks — with a Leeroy Jenkins rush of the Braves dugout. Though we’d all be horrified at such a thing happening in a game today, with nearly 30 years of distance, the whole affair was almost glorious in a perverse way.

Both the 1981 Dodgers and the 1984 Padres went to the World Series, so maybe Perez was a galvanizing force.

RIP Perimeter Perez.

Catching up with Professor Ben Cherington

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 12:  Ben Cherington, general manager of the Boston Red Sox, leaves the field before a game with the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on June 12, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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There is a general consensus that the bad free agent signings of the later Ben Cherington years in Boston were ownership diktats, not things that were Ben Cherington’s idea. Whether that consensus is accurate is hard to say, but that’s how it sort of felt to most outside observers. The reality was probably messier. Where ideas start and where they end up in organizations involve a lot of weird passive-aggressive dancing, with power being exercised in some cases and merely anticipated in others, causing people to do things in such a way that blame is a nebulous matter. I’m sure baseball teams are no different.

Whatever actually happened in Boston will likely always be somewhat murky, but Cherington is the one who took the fall. Where he ended up after all of it went down, however, is an interesting story. The place: on the faculty of the sports management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. The story about it is told by Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. It’s an interesting one.

Cherington is still a young man with a lot of undisputed accomplishments under his belt. It would not surprise me at all to see him have a second act as the head of a baseball operations department some day. For now, though, he’s doing his own interesting thing.

It’s OK to not like someone on the team you root for

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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There were a series of interesting comments to the Yadier Molina story this morning. The first commenter, a Cardinals fan, said he’s never really cared for Molina. Other Cardinals fans took issue with that, wondering how on Earth a Cardinals fan could not like Yadi.

While I’ll grant that Molina is a particularly popular member of the Cardinals, while I personally like his game and his overall persona, and while I can’t recall ever meeting a Cards fan who didn’t like him, why is it inconceivable that someone may not?

Whether you “like” a player is an inherently subjective thing. You can like players who aren’t good at baseball. You can dislike ones who are. You can like a player’s game who, as a person, seems like a not great guy. You can dislike a player’s game or his personality for any reason as well. It’s no different than liking a type of music or food or a type of clothing. Baseball players, to the fans anyway, are something of an aesthetic package. They can please us or not. We can choose to separate the art from the artist, as it were, and ignore off-the-field stuff or give extra credit for the off-the-field stuff. Dowhatchalike.

No matter what the basis is, “liking” a player on your favorite team is up to one person: you. And, as I’ve written elsewhere recently, someone not liking something you like does not give you license to be a jackass about it.

A-Rod’s mansion is featured in Architectural Digest

Alex Rodriguez
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For a couple of years people worried if A-Rod would sully the Yankees Superior Brand. Given how they’re playing these days I wonder if A-Rod should be more worried about the Yankees sullying his brand.

He resurrected his baseball career last year. He’s cultivated a successful corporate identity. He’s in a relationship with a leading Silicon Valley figure. It’s all aces. And now it’s total class, as his home is featured in the latest issue of Architectural Digest:

Erected over the course of a year, the 11,000-square-foot retreat is a showstopper, with sleek forms and striking overhangs that riff on midcentury modernism, in particular the iconic villas found at Trousdale Estates in Beverly Hills. Unlike Rodriguez’s previous Florida home, the Coral Gables house is laid out on just one story so the interiors would connect directly to the grounds. Says Choeff, “Alex wanted to accentuate the indoor-outdoor feel.”

There are a lot of photos there.

I don’t think I have much in common with Alex Rodriguez on any conceivable level, but I do like his taste in architecture and design. I’m all about the midcentury modernism. Just wish I had the paycheck to be more about it like my man A-Rod here.

Video: Yadier Molina does pushups after being brushed back, gets hit

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The best part of this sequence is not that Molina successfully evaded an inside pitch or that, in doing so, he hit the dirt and did some pushups. It’s not even the part where, after that, het got back up and knocked a single to left field.

No, the best part is the applause from the crowd. Very respectful fan base in St. Louis. They’d even applaud an opposing player who showed such a great work ethic. Or so I’m told.