Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to start Juan Francisco at third base in last night’s interleague matchup against the Pirates while moving Brett Lawrie over to second base. It’s not an ideal alignment from a defensive perspective, but he’s trying to keep Francisco’s bat in the lineup with the designated hitter unavailable.
While Gibbons’ reasoning is understandable, Lawrie didn’t sound thrilled about the temporary position switch when talking with John Lott of the National Post:
“I’m a third baseman,” he said. “I’m not a third base/second base type of guy. I’m a third baseman and that’s my position.
“I’m not necessarily going over thinking I’m going to be Chase Utley tonight. I’m going to try to make the routine play and try to roll a double play if we can. It’s for the team and if we can get an extra bat in there and it gives us a chance to win, then that’s what it has to be.”
Of course, Lawrie originally began his pro career as a second baseman in the Brewers minor league system before making the move over to the hot corner. He played six games at second base last season after the Blue Jays were hit hard with injuries.
The Pirates will send left-hander Francisco Liriano to the hill later today, so Francisco should sit while Lawrie will be back at third base. However, we’ll likely see Lawrie at second base again on Sunday with right-hander Edinson Volquez slated to pitch in the series finale.
A Solar Eclipse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.
Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.
Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union — launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.
Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:
“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”
As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.
I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.