Joe Girardi had about four hours to think about what he was going to say after getting tossed in the second inning on Sunday’s Yankees-Red Sox game. His response to Ryan Dempster seemingly intentionally throwing at and hitting Alex Rodriguez: “I wish he had to hit. That’s what I wish.”
So, basically, Girardi is saying that if Dempster had come to the plate, CC Sabathia would have drilled him in retaliation. At least, that’s what I’m gathering here. This despite the fact that:
A) Dempster is a terrible hitter and it’d be a stupid idea to take a sure out off the board and give the Red Sox a free baserunner with the Yankees needing to capitalize on every possible opportunity if they hope to make the playoffs
B) Sabathia would have been ejected immediately for throwing at Dempster and probably would have gotten a suspension on top of it
C) Sabathia and the Yankees pen had all night to retaliate against any one of nine Boston hitters they so chose, yet didn’t take it
We do hear this kind of thing once in a while, more so in years past when Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens were accused of headhunting. They’d never do that if they had to hit, right? But, of course, pitchers do hit in the National League, and it’s very rare to see them get thrown at. Did the Nationals target Braves pitchers when they were ticked off about Bryce Harper getting hit over the weekend? No, they drilled Justin Upton. NL pitchers have been hit by pitches 12 times all year, once every 323 plate appearances. The rest of the league gets hit once every 105 plate appearances.
On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.
The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.
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 disintegrating. 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.