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When 99 percent is not 99 percent

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I figure the Matt Garza-to-Texas trade is going to happen. There’s certainly been a lot of talk about it. But really, I don’t know. We’ll hear when we hear. But I can’t help but laugh when, twice a year — during hot stove time and now, just before the trade deadline — I am once again reminded how silly the business of reporting on trades and signings in.

The Matt Garza-to-Texas deal was reported yesterday to be “99 percent done.” Late last night, however, we get reports that the deal is breaking down. The snag: the teams can’t agree after discussing “varying packages for the 29-year-old starter.” Translation: Texas and Chicago can’t decide which players are going to be traded for Garza.

Now, call me crazy, but when half of the deal is not yet agreed to, calling the deal “99 percent done” seems a bit off. That’s like saying I’m 99 percent done with buying a car but that I just haven’t picked a car yet. It’s like saying I’m 99 percent married but I just can’t find the right woman. It really does take two to tango with these things.

I understand that trade rumors are weird things. People lie to reporters. Reporters misread information. Things change quite quickly. As such, it’s not at all reasonable to come down hard on guys who report things like deals being done 99 percent unless they are habitual offenders. I’ve been told myself that things are done-deals only to see them not done at all. Things happen and occasionally you look stupid through no fault of your own.

But it is something to remember between now and July 31. It’s worth reminding ourselves over and over that no deal is done until it is done. Before that, it’s all just chatter. Fun chatter, but chatter all the same.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrate. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.