Colin Cowherd

Colin Cowherd wonders how baseball can be considered “complicated” if Dominicans can understand it

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Colin Cowhered was on his ESPN radio show today talking about criticism of Dan Jennings getting the job as the manager of the Miami Marlins. For his part, Cowherd rejects the notion that a guy with Jennings’ lack of experience can’t manage in Major League Baseball. Why? Because he does not buy the argument that the sport is “too complex” as so many people like to say.

He probably has something of a point about that. I didn’t care for the Jennings hire but, separate and apart from that, there is a somewhat annoying tendency of inside-baseball people to almost, I dunno, fetishize baseball’s complexity. Sure, you and I couldn’t play or manage and there’s a lot we don’t know. But I sometimes think that sentiment goes too far and rests a lot on arguments from authority as opposed to real facts. Maybe Dan Jennings won’t work out, for example, but at the same time, I question whether the magic keys to managing are really SO magic that any number of front office people couldn’t, if given the chance, do just fine.

But that’s another conversation altogether. And maybe it’s one Cowhered will decide to have one day. But today he decided that it’d be a better bet to simply illustrate baseball’s alleged lack of complexity by arguing that, hey, a bunch of durn foreigners do it!

“It’s too complex? I’ve never bought into that ‘baseball is too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic.”

The video of him saying that is over at Deadspin and it cuts off right after he says it. I cannot at the moment find a longer video of his comments (the show just went off the air for the day), so it’s possible that he went on to explain what he’s saying here and that it’s NOT a baldly racist slam at Dominican people. I just can’t for the life of me imagine what it could be. If someone was watching or listening and Cowherd somehow saved himself after this, by all means, let us know and I’ll update.

Short of that, however: great hire Fox. I’m sure the baseball players who are asked to do in-dugout interviews and stuff will love it if you incorporate him as a part of your baseball productions once he makes the move from ESPN.

UPDATE: Reader Mathias Kook was good enough to send me more of the audio from Cowherd’s thing. I don’t think the added context helps him. Here’s Cowherd in context:

“It’s too complex? I’ve never bought into that ‘baseball is too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world class academic abilities. A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport. It’s mostly instincts. A sportswriter who covers baseball could go up to Tony La Russa and make an argument and Tony would listen and it would seem reasonable. There’s not a single NFL writer in the country who could diagram a play for Bill Belichick. You know, we get caught up in this whole ‘thinking-man’s game.’ Is it in the same family? Most people could do it. It’s not being a concert pianist. It’s in the same family.”

After a break, presumably after he started to catch flak for his comments, Cowherd tried to backpedal, it seems, going on about how ALL baseball players are dumb. Arguing that only four percent of the sport has college degrees and that a third of the players don’t speak “the primary language of this country, so communication can be tough, but everybody plays it and gets along fine.”

Not that he fixed it well. He went back to the idea that “baseball is massive in countries where there are, you know, third world living conditions. Rough academic situations. Where young people don’t have the opportunities American kids have. Yet they come to the sport and they flourish. They dominate it. Because it’s a sport on instinct, it’s individual instinct. You know, so stop the fake controversy.”

There are some truths in there about the academic level achieved by baseball players and the tough conditions in non-U.S. countries. But his whole point began with Dan Jennings and managing, not Dominicans and playing, so I’m not sure where he was going with this. And the whole “pure instinct over intellect” stuff is classic racial garbage to begin with.

And, of course, all of this is apart from the fact that Cowherd clearly doesn’t understand baseball. And that a HUGE part of it is game theory, in terms of knowing what pitches are coming next and which pitches to throw next, the study of film and opposition tendencies and being able to keep any number of options in mind when on the basepaths or the field in terms of what to do if the ball is hit where.

But it’s Cowherd we’re talking about here. And Colin Cowherd, has not been known in my lifetime as having world class academic abilities.

Chapman has trouble remembering convo with Cubs management about off-field behavior

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CHICAGO — Star closer Aroldis Chapman joined the Cubs on Tuesday, arriving to a mixed reaction in Chicago and saying he couldn’t remember what management told him about off-field expectations and behavior.

After Chapman’s awkward introductory news conference, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein insisted Chapman understands what the Cubs expect of him after an offseason domestic violence incident.

When the Cubs announced the trade with the New York Yankees on Monday, the team released a statement from Chairman Tom Ricketts saying they were aware of his 29-game suspension to begin the season under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy.

Ricketts said he and Epstein talked by phone with Chapman before the deal was completed and “shared with him the high expectations we set for our players,” adding that Chapman was “comfortable” with them.

But when asked repeatedly about that phone conversation before Tuesday’s game against the crosstown White Sox, Chapman said through an interpreter that he couldn’t recall details because he was taking a nap at the time the call came in.

The question was asked several more times. A Cubs spokesman once asked the question himself to the interpreter, coach Henry Blanco.

“It’s been a long day,” Chapman said. “Trying to remember.”

Asked again several minutes later during the group interview if he could now remember what Ricketts said, Chapman shook his head.

“I still don’t remember,” he said in Spanish.

Epstein called it a misunderstanding and that Chapman was “pretty nervous” as he faced seven cameras and more than two dozen reporters.

“I was on the call, Tom was on the call, Aroldis was on the call and Barry Praver, his agent, was on the call. It happened and it was real,” Epstein said before the Cubs’ 3-0 loss to the White Sox.

Chapman was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing eight gunshots in the garage of a Florida home in October. The woman later changed her story and no charges were filed.

“You learn from the mistakes that you make,” Chapman said.

The case caused the Los Angeles Dodgers to back out of an offseason trade for Chapman. Cincinnati eventually traded him to the Yankees, and after his suspension, the 28-year-old Cuban converted 20 of 21 save chances for New York.

The Cubs have long boasted of stocking their roster with high-character players, helping earn the “lovable losers” label they’ve carried for decades since their last World Series title in 1908.

But the Cubs (59-40) have retooled their roster under Epstein and have the best record in the major leagues despite Tuesday’s loss in which Chapman didn’t pitch. Chapman, who threw a 105 mph fastball last week, fills perhaps the team’s largest hole as he replaces Hector Rondon as closer.

The Cubs sent four players to the Yankees, including shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, to get one of the game’s top relievers. Epstein said they wouldn’t have made the deal if not for the phone call he and Ricketts had with Chapman.

“Tom laid out the exact same standards that he lays out to everyone in spring training,” Epstein said. “He said, extremely clearly, `Look, Aroldis, I tell all the players this in spring training and it’s important you hear it and I need to hear from you on this. We expect our players to behave. We hold our players to a very high standard for their behavior off the field. And we need to know you can meet that standard.’

“Aroldis said `I understand. Absolutely, I can.'”

The Cubs activated Chapman before Tuesday’s game and designated left-hander Clayton Richard for assignment.

Reaction to Chapman’s acquisition in Chicago has been tepid. While there were supportive fans on talk radio, the Chicago Tribune carried a front-page column Tuesday criticizing the move. The back of the Chicago Sun-Times tabloid read “Spin City” over a picture of Epstein.

Chapman said he expected a “good reaction” from Cubs fans. He was also asked during the 20-minute meeting with reporters in the visiting dugout at U.S. Cellular Field if we would consider working with organizations looking to prevent domestic violence. Chapman said no.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon defended Chapman.

“He did do a suspension, he has talked about it, he’s shown remorse,” Maddon said. “Everybody else has the right to judge him as a good or bad person. That’s your right.

I want to get to know Aroldis. I think he could be a very significant member and he’s got the potential, yes, to throw the last out of the World Series. And if he does, I promise you I will embrace him.”

Report: Padres working on trading Andrew Cashner

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Starter Derek Norris #3 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Padres are working to trade starter Andrew Cashner. He notes that a deal may be consummated before he takes the hill for Tuesday’s start in Toronto against the Blue Jays. The Marlins, Orioles, and Rangers have had reported interest in Cashner.

Cashner is 4-7 with a 4.79 ERA and a 61/27 K/BB ratio in 73 1/3 innings. He missed over three weeks between June 11 and July 2 due to a strained neck.

The right-hander is earning $9.625 million this season and will be eligible for free agency after the season.