To glove or not to glove, that is the question

71 Comments

I was sitting here in the press box, slowly losing track of the many mid-game substitutions and watching my scoresheet turn into a mess of misspelled names and inaccurate notations when — suddenly! — a ball was fouled back behind the third base line. A fan reached up and … it clanged off his glove.  This was that fan:

source:

His name is Tyler Jack and he hails from South Lake Tahoe, California. The jersey he’s wearing is a sweet Matt Williams number.  But the real issue is that glove on his left hand.

My reason for seeking Tyler out in the stands was because the issue of grown-ass men wearing gloves to ballparks has long been debated around here. I’d by lying if I said, however, that anything other than a small minority thinks it’s OK for anyone besides (a) kids; or (b) the actual players to wear gloves to the ballpark. Still, I don’t know that we’ve given the issue a full and fair hearing, and I wanted to get Tyler’s side of the story. And what we learned was, I think, pretty critical.

Seems that Tyler usually takes a glove to the park.  I asked him if he had ever gotten a foul ball.

“Yes,” he said.

“Where?”

“In Anaheim. At an Angels game.”

“Ah, cool. So you had the glove then too? It worked out for you?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “I didn’t have the glove then.”

Just as he said that another foul ball went into the stands farther down the third base line.  Another grown-ass man with a glove reached up for it and … missed it.

I just feel like there are life lessons to be learned here. I feel like this is sort of a turning point for human progress. And I worry that we’re making choices that are dooming us.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

Getty Images
1 Comment

The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

Getty Images
5 Comments

Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.