Cardinals pitching staffs of the past, particularly under former pitching coach Dave Duncan, were famous for the prodigious rate at which they generated ground balls. The 2013 staff, however, will be known for young arm after young arm hitting the upper 90’s and even the 100’s on the radar gun. When closer Trevor Rosenthal shut down the Red Sox in 1-2-3 order in Game 2, he threw 11 pitches. All of them were fastballs. One was 95 MPH, one was 96, four were 97, four were 98, and one was 99. Good luck with that, hitters.
Illustrating just how hard Cardinals pitchers throw, ESPN’s Jayson Stark provides us with this:
[Molina] laughed and reached into his locker. He dug out his mitt. He held it up for his guests to see. At the top of the pocket, where his palm would be when holding it, the leather was so worn, it was torn. Ripped. Split.
And, he was asked, has that ever happened before — that he chewed threw two game mitts in the same season?
“Never,” he said. “First time.”
He had to ditch the first one at the All-Star break, he said. And that’s a first, too.
“It is,” he said. “These guys are throwing 98-99 [miles per hour]. But I don’t care about that.”
Stark adds in the article that six Cardinals pitchers averaged 93.5 MPH or higher on their fastballs according to Pitch F/X data: Rosenthal (97.3 MPH), Carlos Martinez (96.7), Kevin Siegrist (95.2), Joe Kelly (94.9), Shelby Miller (93.7), and Michael Wacha (93.5).
There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.
The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.
I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.
But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.
Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was arrested on Friday for driving while intoxicated (DWI). According to a report from WFAA-TV in Dallas, Jeffress changed lanes without signaling and almost hit a car. While he was undergoing sobriety tests, he could not keep his balance or stand on one leg. His blood-alcohol content registered at .115.
Major League Baseball has opted not to suspend Jeffress as he has voluntarily chosen to check into an inpatient rehabilitation clinic, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. He’s expected to spend about a month at the clinic, which is based in Houston. There is still a possibility Jeffress can rejoin the Rangers in time for the postseason.
Jeffress issued a statement, which Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provided:
This is not the first time Jeffress has had trouble with substance abuse. He was suspended 50 games in 2007 after testing positive for a second time for a drug of abuse, which was marijuana. He tested positive again in June 2009 and was suspended 100 games. It was later revealed that Jeffress suffers from juvenile epilepsy and he was self-medicating with marijuana.
Hopefully, his time in rehab helps him recover from substance abuse. Substance abuse is an issue about which people have a shortage of empathy, especially when it comes to celebrities, including athletes.
The Rangers acquired Jeffress along with catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers at the August 1 trade deadline. They sent prospects Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named to Milwaukee. In nine appearances with the Rangers, Jeffress has a 4.00 ERA and a 6/5 K/BB ratio.