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Former big league pitcher receives $2.3 million verdict after being attacked by man on LSD

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Remember Greg Reynolds? The former Rockies and Reds pitcher was the second overall pick in the 2006 draft. Colorado chose him ahead of Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, and Max Scherzer, among others.

Despite the pedigree, his big league career didn’t turn out that well. He played only three major league seasons — 2008, 2011 and 2013. He pitched in only 33 big league games — 21 as a starter — compiling a 7.01 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 53/42 in 123.1 innings. In 2014 he spent a year in Japan and that turned out no better, as he posted a 5.46 ERA for the Seibu Lions.

Then something interesting happened that offseason: on January 16, 2015 he was attacked by a dude on LSD.

The dude — one Domenic Pintarelli — was at a party at the home of Reynolds’ next-door neighbor, one Connor Pope. Pope and Pintarelli dropped acid and Pintarelli wandered next door to Reynolds’ house, where he attacked the former big leaguer. Reynolds punched him in self-defense and broke his pitching hand. That knocked the then-unsigned Reynolds out for the 2015 season. He tried to come back and pitch again in 2016, having been signed by the San Diego Padres, but he didn’t make the club out of spring training and, after a brief minor league stint, was released. He has not played baseball since.

Reynolds sued both Pintarelli for the assault and Pope on the theory that his out-of-control party was what led to it.  The verdict came back earlier this week. Reynolds won:

At 5:00 p.m. on Monday, a San Mateo jury returned a verdict for former MLB pitcher Greg Reynolds of $2.3 million. . . . Reynolds testified that the hand injury cost him the ability to make the baseball move and control it. The jury found Pope responsible for hosting a party with illegal drugs. Pintarelli was found responsible for attacking Reynolds. The $2.3 million verdict included $300,000 for Megan Reynolds, Greg’s wife.

I wonder if the defense made some argument about how, based on how he did for the Rockies and Reds, the idea that Reynolds could move and control the baseball before the attack was not clearly established. If so, they did a poor job of it. Maybe they needed a better baseball analyst on the trial team. Oh well, their loss.

Now Reynolds is in for the biggest challenge of his life: trying to collect $2.3 million from a couple of dudes who drop acid at parties and randomly attack people. Guys like that tend not to have deep pockets in my experience, but good luck, Greg.

(h/t Brandon Isleib, whose book you should buy)

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.