As I watched David Ortiz’s grand slam last night, the first thing I noticed was the cop raise his arms in triumph. Almost instantly I thought that it would be an image we’ll be seeing for years and years:
That’s the Getty Images version. Stan Grossfield of the Boston Globe got an even better one.
ESPN Boston caught up with him after the game. His name is Steve Horgan. He’s been on the Boston police force for 27 years. His beard is a playoff beard in solidarity with the Red Sox and their beards. After the game he met Sox owner John Henry and ESPN Boston snapped a photo. Pretty cool stuff.
Not gonna lie: As soon as the excitement of the moment died, I wondered whether the cop would get in trouble for cheering like that. I mean, god, that would be awful, but in a world where ushers in ballparks and media and any number of others working a game in an official capacity aren’t supposed to cheer when they’re on duty, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if we heard later that the guy was reprimanded or something. Tell me you can’t imagine the whole thing playing out too: the initial controversy, the backlash, the guy becoming a hero of fans and radio hosts and things. Followed by the retraction of the discipline? It would be a total drag, but in a world where un-fun folks seem to pop out of the woodwork, it wouldn’t be shocking.
Thankfully that’s not happening. His boss was nearby too and, according to the story, told him he’s not to shave his beard. And, presumably, Horgan stands in that same position for Red Sox games for the foreseeable future.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.