January is always slow, but today is crazy-slow in the world of baseball. Really, not a substantive baseball happening since that Manny Ramirez story yesterday. This has left me to tweeting my close readings of Toto songs from the early 1980s and proposing liberal arts essays about it all. That’s pretty desperate and pathetic, even for me.
So, let’s look at what other people are writing about stuff that isn’t really news, which I have been reading so far today:
- In light of the Manny comeback news, here’s ESPN’s Jayson Stark and Tim Kurkjian discussing Manny’s Hall of Fame case. It’s interesting. While we can all agree he was a great player, his PED issues occurred in the post-testing world which makes me think he’s going to get way lower vote totals than any of the PED guys from the pre-testing era. And that makes sense. If we’re going to talk about character things, though, I’d say that PEDs are only the third worst offensive on Manny’s list. His alleged domestic violence incident and the time he attacked that Red Sox employee are the worst, followed by his transparent quitting on the Red Sox back in 2008;
- Mark Armour has been writing about baseball cards for the Society of American Baseball Research. Indeed, he has a whole blog at the SABR site solely about cards and SABR has a baseball card chapter now. His latest entry is about those weird, rare multi-player cards from the 1950s and 60s. I had the Hank Aaron/Eddie Matthews “Fence Busters” card when I was a kid. It was one of my favorites. Mark wants to know why they don’t make ’em anymore. It’s a good question.
- Did you know that Babe Ruth became great when he stopped throwing baseballs at random yaks? That 714 is more than 12? That Barry Bonds’ nickname was “Massive,” and that, if he tries to enter the Hall of Fame, the employees bang pots and pans until he is scared away? No? Well go educate yourselves with this statistical portrait of Babe Ruth. Buried lede: According to NASA, Chipper Jones is the second-greatest player of all time. Can’t argue with statistics.
Here’s hoping some news happens. If not, we’ll share more nonsense.
Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.
“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:
Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.
Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.
While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”
Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”
Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.
This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.
Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.
Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.
The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.