There’s a player who is helping a team with its playoff push. That player is having his best year from a power-hitting perspective of his career at age 35. That player was recently given a 50-game drug suspension. That player is represented by the ACES agency. Given all of that you’d think he’d be public enemy number one among the PED police, but he’s gotten little if any scrutiny. That player is Marlon Byrd.
Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today talks to Byrd about all of that. Nightengale writes that “there are people out there convinced he’s cheating, that somehow, someway, he has found a way to circumvent the system,” but I really can’t recall anyone actually questioning Byrd this year. For the most part it’s been “nice season” and “hey, what a good free agent pickup by the Mets.” I can’t recall anyone talking about him as if it was certain he was cheating or anything.
Which, good. Byrd got caught last year and did his time. He’s been tested this year and has passed them all. It’s nice that, at least in his case, people are willing to let the past be the past and allow the drug testing system, as opposed to their irrational convictions, decide if the player is clean or not and if he’s deserving of vilification or not.
Not sure why some players get treated fairly like Byrd is and some don’t, but it happens all the time.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.