There is a rule on the books — Rule 3.09 — which prevents players from talking to each other and being friendly while in uniform. It’s a widely-ignored rule that, for reasons which are known only to Joe Torre, the league asked teams to start paying more attention to back in 2011. They didn’t of course because the rule is dumb.
Buster Olney mentioned in his column today that the rule may be axed for that very reason. Just taken off the books.
Which: good. There is nothing wrong with showing fans that it’s OK to like and respect their competitors. That the game is the game and that, when it is over or in a lull, it does not have to extend into some intense personal rivalry as well. That these are human beings, not gladiators, and they can and should be allowed to express friendly feelings toward one another because, in reality, most of them are friendly with one another.
Seeing two guys chatting at first base or talking to each other as one team comes out for batting practice as the other leaves always makes me feel better about baseball. I’m glad that baseball doesn’t enforce its rule against that and I’ll be happy if they remove the rule altogether.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer homers in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.
Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.
Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:
The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:
Rest in peace, Fernández.