Chipper Jones is involved in a Twitter war

48 Comments

Chipper Jones is filling his retirement with activities. Like getting involved in a Twitter battle. The short version:

No one looks great here. Gaines likely never would have taken a gratuitous shot at Jones if he wasn’t famous and, like a lot of internet commenters and folks on Twitter, likely felt, on some level, like his words don’t matter as long as the target is big enough or there remained a fair chance they wouldn’t be read. At least Gaines’ admits in his column that he behaved poorly.

But Jones’ stuff — particularly the shot at Gaines’ fiancee — was low rent, uncalled for and, above all else, inexplicable.  You’re a big famous ballplayer. If someone is being immature and rude, how about ignoring them? You took jeers from the worst of the worst for 20 years and you decide to go off on some guy on Twitter? Really?  And even Jones’ defense — that he was just dishing back what was given him — rings hollow given that Gaines was just being an ass to Jones while Jones — after returning the favor to Gaines — decided to escalate by picking on the guy’s fiancee.

The Internet: yes it’s newish to some. And yes it has changed a lot. But it doesn’t, as far as I know, trump the “don’t be a jerk to people” rule. Amazing how many people forget that.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
5 Comments

A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.