Ken Rosenthal’s story following last night’s US-Dominican Republic game is a good one. And what’s described in this paragraph is both sad and predictable:
Some American fans on Twitter actually objected to the constant horn-blowing of the Dominican fans and the on-field celebrations of their players in the ninth. Some old-school baseball types object, too, as if the only proper way to play the game is in staid, humble fashion.
I believe the Twitter stuff because people will object to anything on Twitter. If you tweeted something about giving everyone in the world free pie someone would tweet about how you’re a no-good cake-hater. Twitter was built for contrary cranks, which is part of the reason I love it so.
But who are the “old-school baseball types?” I’m just speculating here — and if I’m wrong I expect Rosenthal would tell me so — but I bet he’s referring to press box cranks who were sitting near him during the game.
It’s easy to spot a curmudgeon baseball writer when he writes in a curmudgeony fashion, but there are a lot more of them who write things straight up while acting like total curmudgeons in person, especially in the box. Sometimes it takes the form of great, misanthropic wisecracks which, frankly, can be wonderful and hilarious. But you often see simply joyless cranks too. Guys who complain when a game gets exciting late because it’ll make their story harder to write. Guys who actually complain when it’s noisy in the park because they’re trying to talk to someone on the phone. You can’t cheer in the press box, obviously, but you wonder if these guys actually like baseball very much.
I can picture it from last night: crowd going crazy, Dominican team celebrating. Actual baseball drama and emotion in March! And some dude saying “Jesus, you’d think they cured cancer or something.” Which is about the saddest thing I can imagine.
Horrible news: Miami Marlins ace starting pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boat crash off of Miami Beach late last night.
No details have been released yet, apart from the fact that Fernandez was one of three people killed. The Marlins have issued a statement confirming Fernandez’s death, stating that the organization is devastated and that their thoughts and prayers were with Fernandez’s family. Today’s Marlins game against the Braves has been canceled.
Fernandez was only 24 years old. Though only in his fourth season in the majors, he was easily one of the best and most exciting pitchers in the game. In his four seasons he won 38 games and posted a fantastic ERA of 2.58 while striking out 11.2 batters per nine innings. He was an electric presence on the mound and was poised to become one of baseball’s most highly-paid and entertaining superstars.
His baseball exploits seem trivial now, however. His loss at such a young age, tragic. Our thoughts today are with Fernandez’s family, the Marlins organization and those who knew and loved him.
Another day, another division title in the bag. The Nationals coasted to a 6-1 finish over the Pirates on Saturday evening; coupled with a Mets’ loss later that night, the NL East title was theirs for the third time since 2012.
The Nationals put up a three-spot in the first and fourth innings, scoring five of six runs on productive outs while Washington starter Joe Ross tossed 2 ⅔ innings of one-run ball in his second start off the disabled list. Prior to the game, manager Dusty Baker seemed reluctant to delegate a set number of pitches to the right-hander, opting instead to base Ross’s workload on his performance.
Washington’s bullpen carried the team the rest of the way, combining for 6 ⅓ scoreless frames to preserve their five-run lead. When Anthony Rendon snared a liner from Andrew McCutchen to end the game, all eyes turned to the clubhouse TVs:
Murphy had sufficient cause for worry: After trailing 10-0 through four innings, the Mets returned with an eight-run drive that culminated with Jay Bruce‘s solo shot in the ninth inning. Had Bruce hit the home run after Philadelphia closer Michael Mariot issued a pair of walks, and not before, the Mets would have edged out the Phillies, 11-10. Instead, their late-game rally ended on a fastball down the middle, and the Phillies’ 70th victory confirmed the Nats’ place atop the NL East.
While Max Scherzer donned his two-toned goggles and Bryce Harper braved the champagne showers in U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky’s swim cap, Baker was already thinking about Sunday’s start. Against the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow, Baker announced his plans to start 24-year-old A.J. Cole, whose seven starts have yielded a 4.68 ERA and 0.2 fWAR in 32 ⅔ innings this year.
Cole hasn’t displayed the sharpest stuff in his sophomore season, touting a high 3.03 BB/9 and 1.93 HR/9, but with the division locked down and the Cubs in sole possession of home field advantage through the NLCS, the Nationals have bigger concerns as the playoffs draw near.