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Mike Schmidt makes public statement regarding the Odubel Herrera controversy

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Phillies broadcaster Mike Schmidt criticizing outfielder Odubel Herrera, saying that the 2016 All-Star can’t be a team leader because of the “language barrier.” Understandably, Schmidt received criticism for his comment, made during an appearance on local sports radio.

Schmidt called Herrera personally to apologize, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. And Schmidt made a statement to the public, as CSN Philly’s John Clark reports:

It’s been made known to me that my answer on a radio interview this morning to the question, “can the Phillies build a team around Odubel Herrera” was disrespectful to Herrera and Latin players in general. I’m very sorry that his misrepresentation of my answer occurred and may have offended someone. I assure everyone I had no intention of that. Odubel is a dynamo on the field, and as he becomes more comfortable with the language, his leadership skills will improve, and no doubt he will be a centerpiece in the Phillies future.

This is not exactly an example of a good apology. Schmidt starts off with, “It’s been made known to me,” which shows us that he still doesn’t see the issue with what he said; rather, he’s going by other people’s reactions to it. A good apology would include recognition of the issue and accepting responsibility.

Schmidt wasn’t taken out of context, either. He was asked if Herrera was a player the Phillies could build around, and the outfielder’s ability — or perceived lack thereof — to communicate was an important factor to Schmidt.

Later, he refers to the blowback as a “misrepresentation of my answer,” which shifts blame from him saying something problematic to other people. Schmidt then says that that misrepresentation “may have offended someone.” So not only are other people at fault for misinterpreting what he said, but they’re also wrong for being offended by it.

Lastly, Schmidt says that Herrera’s leadership will improve “as he becomes more comfortable with the language,” which is basically restating what he said on the radio that got him into trouble in the first place. While Herrera isn’t 100 percent fluent in English, he speaks enough of it to get by, just like thousands of other players who have played the sport. Some of those, like David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre, have become the leaders of their teams. One need not have English as a first language to become a leader.

Clark also reported Herrera’s response. “I don’t agree with his comments. It’s disappointing,” Herrera said.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.