mike adams phillies getty

Phillies learn Mike Adams and Jeremy Horst are out for the year

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Losing at least two critical members of your bullpen for the final two and a half months of the season has to be disheartening to the Phillies, who consider themselves contenders in the NL East at 48-48, 6.5 games out of first place. The news on Mike Adams and Jeremy Horst comes via the Inquirer’s Matt Gelb:

Mike Adams did not respond to the conservative treatment for numerous tears in his shoulder. He will likely undergo surgery that could sideline him for the beginning of 2014. Adams is owed $7 million next season.

Lefthander Jeremy Horst’s season is likely over. Soreness in his elbow recurred during a rehab stint at triple-A Lehigh Valley. He visited noted orthopedist James Andrews for a second opinion and was injected with a platelet-rich plasma shot. He will not throw for at least six weeks.

Gelb also mentions that right-hander Michael Stutes is still experiencing soreness in his biceps and will be shut down for at least another two weeks.

The Phillies have the worst bullpen ERA in the National League at 4.39. After getting rid of veterans like Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes earlier in the season, the Phillies have been relying on a lot of young, unproven pitchers like Phillippe Aumont and it hasn’t worked out. Their awful ERA has been caused in large part by a league-worst 10.2 percent walk rate and a 19.8 percent strikeout rate, which ranks as the fifth-lowest among all 30 bullpens. Additionally, they have allowed hits on balls put in play at the highest rate in the league at .315.

GM Ruben Amaro said last week he is shopping for a center fielder and at least one reliever, but it doesn’t seem like just one reliever will do the trick.

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs scratches his beard as he walks back to the dugout at the end of sixth inning after giving up a three run home run to Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner and author of two no-hitters, considered quitting baseball a few years ago when he was bounced up and down between the major leagues and the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.

At the time, Arrieta was having trouble living up to his potential as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. He started on Opening Day in 2012, but finished the season with a 6.20 ERA and was very quickly moved back to Norfolk after four mediocre starts to begin the 2013 season.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Arrieta was considering quitting baseball so that his family could have a regular life.

We were at a point where I had other things that I could segue into and establish a career elsewhere. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I didn’t want to continue to go through the things we were going through and moving from place to place in the minor leagues at 25, 26 years old.

Baseball is something that I’ve loved to do since I was a little kid, but it’s not everything. I had to reevaluate some things. I knew I could always pitch this way, but there were times where it seemed like maybe I wasn’t going to get to that point.

It’s just part of life that we had to deal with.

Mooney also points out that Arrieta had a business background having gone to Texas Christian University and would have done something in that field if he had hung up the spikes.

This has been brought up because Arrieta’s teammate Tommy La Stella considered quitting baseball as well recently, as the Cubs demoted him to Triple-A. Though La Stella received a lot of criticism, Arrieta can relate to La Stella. The right-hander said, “I know that there were things that he was going through and dealing with (that) we may not agree with and understand.”

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.