Stick to sports? Never.

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You’ve heard me go on and on about not sticking to sports for years. Sorry, never will.

While I will not go completely off the rails and start posting stuff about housing policy, campaign finance reform or political things that have no connection to baseball at all, I will refuse to pretend that the real world does not exist and that it does not touch upon baseball — and that baseball does not touch upon the real world — almost constantly. When the real world does intersect with baseball I will write about it. I always have, going back to the first baseball website I wrote for beginning 15 years ago.

It’s also worth noting that, to claim that baseball is a safe space where all of the real things which impact real people in real ways don’t exist is itself a political position. It’s a rejectionist one, in which the concerns of others who do care about things like, say, public financing of stadiums, racism, sexism, economic inequality, labor matters and the like are dismissed. You do not have to engage in such conversations or even pay attention to them in order to be a sports fan, but you have no right to tell others that it is illegitimate for them to do so. Or that their sports fandom is somehow lesser than yours because they do.

Today at the Columbia Journalism Review, Tony Rehagen takes up the subject of sports writers who do not stick to sports. I was interviewed for the piece and quoted extensively, as was Rob Neyer, Bob Ryan and Sarah Spain. The tweets of others like Jemele Hill and Richard Dietsch are included as well. The piece does a good job of explaining where folks like me are coming from.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: