Dominican Republic fans cheer in the stands as their team met the U.S. during a 2013 World Baseball Classic game in Miami

Who in the heck was upset about fan enthusiasm at the WBC?


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.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

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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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.