Lupica

If you’re so sick of A-Rod, why are you writing about him, Mike Lupica?

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It’s one thing to be a sports fan who is sick of Alex Rodriguez to lament how much coverage he’s getting. I mean, yes, you can avoid that coverage if you want, but I do appreciate that that can be difficult at times and it can seem like such things are impossible to escape. For reasons I gave on Saturday I think people overstate the severity of “A-Rod fatigue,” but I do sympathize to some degree.

It’s another thing altogether if you’re Mike Lupica and you lament how much coverage A-Rod is getting. Like he does in his latest column:

[Mariano Rivera] will bounce back because he always does and always has. But what was just as striking over the past week wasn’t the single that Adam Dunn got off him in Chicago or the ball that Cabrera tried to hit out of sight late Friday night.

It was this:

His last baseball summer has been hijacked by Rodriguez.

If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, and Rodriguez doesn’t get hurt again before game No. 162, it means that so much of the precious little time that Mo has left — and even with all the ways teams around baseball have found ways to honor him — will involve the drama and controversy and the under-the-big-top circus that that might be the end of Rodriguez’s career as well.

If you’re Mike Lupica you have the biggest column in one of America’s largest circulation newspapers, you host a prestige show on ESPN each week and you have, presumably, free reign to talk about whatever you want to talk about in sports. Yet, here you are, choosing to talk about Alex Rodriguez in a column that is ostensibly about Mariano Rivera. You don’t have to do it. You can write a thousand words on Mariano Rivera if you want to. You really can.

That aside, he’s dead wrong too. Mariano Rivera’s summer has not been hijacked by Rodriguez. Neither has the Pittsburgh Pirates’ great season, Miguel Cabrera’s drive for a second straight MVP, Clayton Kershaw’s crazy-good pitching, the Phillies’ time at the crossroads, the races in the AL East and AL West, the Braves gigantic division lead and any number of other fantastic stories about the quite enjoyable 2013 baseball season. 

It may be hard for people to find as much coverage of that stuff as they’d like because of A-Rod news, but Mike friggin’ Lupica has no excuse. He is — or at least was — an agenda-setter in the sports writing world. For him to to sit back now and cynically milk A-Rod outrage to fill column inches while simultaneously lamenting the column inches such outrage fills is both a joke and an abdication of his responsibilities.

Want people talking about Mariano Rivera? Write about Mariano Rivera. It’s not that hard.

Yordano Ventura killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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UPDATE, 12:07 p.m. EDT: The Royals have confirmed reports of Yordano Ventura’s death with an official statement. No further details pertaining to the accident have been divulged.

Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.

Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).

Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.

While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.