David Price, Evan Longoria

Dirk Hayhurst implies “pillow-case-sized” bag of weed taken in 2011 Evan Longoria-David Price robbery


Dirk Hayhurst’s latest piece for Sports on Earth doesn’t name any names, but it hardly needs to. In it, he indicates that the March 2011 incident in which a house shared by Rays players Evan Longoria, David Price and Reid Brignac was robbed also featured a “pillow-case-sized” bag of weed, something that never made it into the press.

Hayhurst never says Rays nor mentions the players, but it’s obvious who and what he was talking about:

While I was in spring training with the … You know what, I’m not going to tell you. Too many potheads still in action there. Let’s just say that while I was in spring training with a certain organization, a group of guys on the team got robbed. They were all staying in a house together, splitting the rent through the course of the spring, their luxury rides all parked out front in a row, leaving at the same time every day. It wasn’t hard for the local criminal element to figure out who they were and the schedule they kept. When these criminals decided to hit the house, they made off with all manner of high-end accessories, televisions, gaming systems and other tech toys.

Hayhurst’s final spring in professional baseball was with the Rays in 2011. He never pitched in the majors for the club, but he did pitch that spring and for Triple-A Durham for the season.

In March 2011, it made the news that a house shared by Longoria, Price and Brignac was robbed, with criminals taking a 60-inch television, three iPads, a laptop and several watches. A few hours later, it was reported that the criminals also stole an AK-47 that belonged to Longoria. Apparently, Hayhurst missed that part hitting the news.

What didn’t make the news was the other stuff that got taken. I may have been naive enough to believe the news reports, but then you start to hear things on the locker-to-locker information superhighway. First, one of the guys really liked his firearms and had a couple of automatic assault rifles, including some AK-47s. Next, a large collection of porno DVDs had gone missing. Finally, the pillow-case-sized bag of weed that had been sitting on the kitchen table, next to its accoutrements. All of it gone, none of it reported.

According to Hayhurst, the Rays coached the players on how to talk about the incident. Which rings true. Longoria deflected the conversation when asked about the AK-47:

It’s a personal item. Obviously they’re going to say things that are taken. I think everything within the house is personal and we’ll just leave it at that.

Longoria and Price, of course, are still with the Rays and might be among the “many potheads still in action there.” Brignac is serving as a utilityman in Philadelphia, though he’s currently on the DL with a sprained ankle.

The Yankees were booed last night. Did they deserve it?

Masahiro Tanaka

The boos came raining down from the Yankee Stadium faithful last night. They started when Brett Gardner grounded out in the eighth inning. More came later. A lot of it was, no doubt, based on Gardner’s disappointing performance late in the season. A lot of it was because, around that time, it seemed like the Yankees had zero shot whatsoever to mount a comeback. Which, in fact, they didn’t. A lot of it was pent-up frustration, I assume, from a late season skid which saw the Yankees lose their lead in the AL East and wind up in the Wild Card Game in the first place.

Anyone who buys a ticket has a right to boo. Especially when they buy a ticket as expensive as Yankees tickets are. It’s obviously understandable to be disappointed when your team loses. Especially when your team is eliminated like the Yankees were. And last night’s game was particularly deflating, with that 3-0 Astros lead feeling more like 10-0 given how things were going.

But isn’t booing something more than a mere manifestation of disappointment? Isn’t a step beyond? Booing isn’t saying “I’m sad.” It’s saying “you suck!” It’s not saying “I’m disappointed,” it’s saying “you should be ashamed of yourselves!” And with all respect to Yankees fans, the 2015 Yankees have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

This was a club expected to miss the playoffs, full stop. Maybe some people allowed for an if-everything-breaks-right flight of fancy, but hardly anyone expected them to play meaningful games late in the year, let alone a playoff game. They were too old. Too injured. There weren’t enough young reinforcements to fill the gaps. Some even went so far as to claim that they were about to spend years in the wilderness.

But then A-Rod broke out of the gate strong. And Michael Pineda had a really nice first couple of months. And Mark Teixeira put up numbers that wouldn’t have been out of place for him several years ago. The bullpen did what it was supposed to do and more, Masahiro Tanaka held together somehow and, eventually, a couple of young players like Greg Bird and Luis Severino came in to reinforce things. The not-going-anywhere Yankees were contenders. And they led the division for a good while. Of course they stumbled late. And of course they lost last night, but by just about any reasonable measure, this was a good team — better than expected — and, unlike a lot of Yankees teams in the past, was pretty darn enjoyable to watch.

Then the boos. I just can’t see how this Yankees team deserved that.

I realize a lot of people in the media have duped a lot of people into thinking that a team with a high payroll is supposed to be dominant. And I realize George Steinbrenner duped a whole lot of people into thinking that anything less than a World Series championship for the New York Yankees is failure. But that’s rhetoric and branding, not reason. In the real world where baseball players play baseball games World Series titles are rare, even for the Yankees. At the end of the season all but one of 30 teams are either at home for the playoffs or went home after suffering a gut-wrenching playoff loss. The Yankees are the most dominant franchise in the history of American professional sports yet they still have finished their year without a title over 75% of the time.

With that as a given, fans are left to judge their team’s performance based on its talent, its health, its heart, its entertainment value and the strength of the opposition which ultimately vanquished it. The Yankees weren’t nearly as talented as many, yet made the playoffs anyway. They were a walking hospital ward, let limped on. They never quit and never got pulled down into the sort of muck a lot of New York teams find themselves in when things start to go sideways. And, ultimately, they were simply beat by a better team. By any reasonable measure the 2015 Yankees were a good story, a successful enterprise, a resilient bunch and no small amount of fun.

It’s OK to be sad that it ended as it did. But that doesn’t deserve to be booed. Not by a long shot.

Collin McHugh will start Game 1 of the ALDS for the Astros

Collin McHugh Astros
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After using ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel to get past the Yankees in the Wild Card game the Astros will turn to right-hander Collin McHugh in Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Royals.

McHugh had an up-and-down year, posting a 3.89 ERA compared to his 2.73 mark last season, but thanks to good teammate support he had a 19-7 record and his 171/53 K/BB ratio in 204 innings was solid. He was particularly good down the stretch, posting a 2.89 ERA and 69/20 K/BB ratio in 72 innings after August 1.

McHugh will match up against Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in Game 1. Houston hasn’t named a starter for Game 2 yet, while Kansas City is going with Johnny Cueto. And then the Game 3 matchup figures to be Dallas Keuchel versus Edinson Volquez.