Alex Rodriguez

Let’s leave the frontier justice in the past, OK?


Don’t give me garbage for ripping on another writer here. The writer in question, Gregg Doyel of CBS, invited me to. Indeed, we talked about it on Twitter like civil gentleman. Turns out we both live in Ohio too, and we’re gonna meet for lunch sometime. It’ll be quite the scene. We’ll talk about why Heyman hates me so much and why Scott Miller — who may be the single most polite person I’ve ever spoken with in baseball media — has sorta lost his crap lately over A-Rod and Puig. It could be informative.

And I’m not ripping as such. This is all Doyel’s opinion and he’s entitled to it. I just take issue with part of its premise.  The upshot: he thinks it’s great that Ryan Dempster threw at A-Rod and applauds this “policing of the game” as he puts it:

Ryan Dempster threw at Alex Rodriguez the other night, and kept throwing at him until he hit him, and baseball suspended him for it and the Yankees hated it and I loved it.

That’s OK to say, right? That I loved the way Dempster went after A-Rod? … Liking what Dempster did to A-Rod feels sensible. Because what Dempster did to A-Rod looked sensible. It looked right.

Again, his take to which he’s entitled. I don’t think he’s alone either, as a lot of people felt that way while watching on Sunday, even if they weren’t nearly as excited about it as Doyel seems to be.

What I do take issue with is his belief that this sort of thing is harmless:

I’m not talking about beaning the guy. I’m not talking about throwing a pitch at his head. I’m talking about the kind of thing pitchers do all the time, burying a fastball in an offending player’s butt. It happens. Part of the game, all that.

source: Getty ImagesTo that I’d merely ask Doyel to look at Jason Heyward, who is sitting in a hospital room with two plates freshly implanted in his fractured jaw today. Jon Niese obviously was not trying to hit Heyward in the head. He was aiming at the strike zone or, at the very most, somewhere a bit inside. But if a fastball intended to go into the catcher’s glove can get away from a good pitcher and inadvertently sail into another guy’s head, a fastball intended for “an offending player’s butt” could do so even more easily.

Put another way: given how insanely damaging a baseball can be when it hits a batter’s body, why on Earth should anyone be advocating for it to be done on purpose?

If you want the game “policed” fine, let it be policed. Let it be policed by the Joint Drug Agreement, the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the players and league officials who put it in place.  But let’s leave the frontier justice in the past where it belongs.

The Cubs clinch World Series berth with NLCS Game 6 win

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.

The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).

Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.

With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.

Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.

With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.