I haven’t watched the David Ortiz-produced “Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave” show on MTV2 for a couple of reasons. The biggest of which is that I’m not really the demographic they’re shooting for. “Off the Bat” is aimed at younger people and is an (admirable, in my view) effort to try to market MLB players in ways the league really hasn’t done much of before. Since it is speculated by experts that I don’t enjoy or appreciate baseball, all this fun and jocularity is all lost on me.
But I may have to change that policy this week, because this is happening:
According to the press release, “Yasiel Puig flips a bat for every occasion.” Which is pretty fantastic. In the likely event that I die before Puig, I would want him to do a bat-flip salute at my funeral. Maybe we could get Carlos Gomez to be a pallbearer too. Let him decide if he wants to do a slow strut to the grave or one of those fast sprints he sometimes does. Regardless, I’d probably pay Puig and Gomez $200/hr to walk and/or strut around my son’s birthday party and flip bats and things.
This week’s “Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave” airs at 11pm tomorrow night on MTV2. Ain’t gonna lie, I’m gonna watch this thing.
Yankees decide to keep Luis Severino on regular rest, give Twins potential Wild Card preview
Yankees starter Luis Severino pitched last Friday, putting him on track to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins. The Yankees mulled the possibility of pushing him back to start on Friday against the Blue Jays after an off day on Thursday so that the Twins wouldn’t get an early look at Severino in a potential AL Wild Card matchup.
Severino, 23, has been the Yankees’ best starter this year and would be the most reliable arm in a must-win game. The right-hander is carrying a 13-6 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 218/49 K/BB ratio in 184 1/3 innings.
Entering Tuesday’s action, the Yankees hold a five-game lead over the Twins for the first Wild Card slot. The Angels hold a 1.5-game lead over the Angels for the second slot. The Yankees are also very much in the AL East race, trailing the Red Sox by only three games with 12 games left in the regular season.
The claim of “East Coast Bias” is often hurled as an accusation of smug superiority, and it’s often met with denial, but it’s a thing. It’s not the exact thing the west coast people think it is — it’s not hate, it’s just a function of time zones and TV ratings — but there are certainly factors that cause stuff that happens in California to get shorter shrift than that which happens back east, where most of the national media people are.
One thing getting short shrift this year: the performance of Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson, which one has to imagine would be getting all kinds of press if he played back east.
Wait, we don’t have to imagine that at all. Because Olson is doing basically the exact same thing Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez did last year, and Sanchez got tons of headlines for it while I’m guessing most baseball fans who either (a) live outside of the Bay Area; or (b) aren’t big fantasy players, attuned to all of the latest callups, haven’t heard Olson’s name much if at all . Their respective lines:
Sanchez’s rate stats were better but Olson is doing it in tougher parks for hitters. Obviously Sanchez is catching and Olson playing the corner, but a dude coming out of the minors to put up these kinds of numbers in the final two months of the season is rare. That it’s happening again, in almost the same way, is quite the thing.
Part of the reason for the discrepancy in press is that Sanchez was making a strong argument for the Rookie of the Year Award despite playing less than half the season whereas Olson has no shot given what Aaron Judge has done this year. But I’m guessing more of it is simply a function of Olson’s games starting at 10:30 or so back east and most of us not seeing what he does unless we look at the box scores the next day.
Still, Olson, the A’s first round pick from 2012, is not someone to sleep on. And, given that he hit 23 homers in 79 minor league games this year — the last guy to hit 20 in both the bigs and minors in the same year was Giancarlo Stanton — he’s not a fluke. Indeed, he’s one of the few rays of sunshine for the Oakland Athletics. And someone to whom us folks back east should pay a bit more attention.