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.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.