Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Addison Russell’s wife will not talk to Major League Baseball

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Earlier this month the wife of Cubs shortstop Addison Russell posted an Instagram photo, the caption in which she said that Russell cheated on her. Later, in a comment on the post, a friend of Russell’s wife alleged Russell had been physically abusive toward his wife.

The post was deleted, but it was circulated widely. It also spurred in an investigation into Russell by Major League Baseball pursuant to its domestic violence policy. That investigation may not go far, however, because Russell’s wife has filed for divorce and her attorney has issued the following statement, reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

“Mrs. Russell has declined the invitation from Major League Baseball to be interviewed relative to social media postings and allegations of domestic violence,’’ according to a statement released from Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP, the firm representing Russell in her divorce. “It is her desire to pursue a resolution that is, first and foremost, in the best interest of the parties’ son, and which occurs in a swift, amicable, and private fashion.’’

It’s certainly her right to not cooperate with Major League Baseball, for any number of reasons. It’s likewise her right to focus primarily on divorce proceedings instead of a disciplinary proceeding initiated by her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s employer. For his part, Russell has denied the allegations.

I suspect that this will be the end of the matter as far as Major League Baseball is concerned, barring Russell’s wife changing her mind on the matter.

Max Scherzer takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning, loses the game

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Max Scherzer has been hotter than the sun lately. Coming into today’s game against the Marlins he had won four of his last five starts while striking out 58 batters in his 40 innings. His stuff has looked electric and you get the sense that he could no-hit the opposition any time out.

He looked that way again against the Marlins, no-hitting them through the first seven innings of the game. He struck out ten batters through those seven innings and then led off the eighth by making Derek Dietrich victim number 11. With A.J. Ellis and the bottom of the order coming up after that, Scherzer looked to be in control.

Baseball, however, had other ideas.

Scherzer got two strikes on A.J. Ellis, who hit a comebacker to the mound. Scherzer reached up for it, but only got a piece of it, deflecting the ball upward with his glove. It arced back to shortstop Trea Turner, but slowly. He would’ve had to barehand it perfectly to throw out even the slow Ellis, but he couldn’t get a handle on it. Ellis reached and it was ruled an infield single. It was the right ruling.

That was a nice effort for Scherzer, but the game was not over yet. The Nats only led 1-0 at the time. While Scherzer was up over 100 pitches by then, Dusty Baker stuck with him. Probably because he believed Scherzer had something left in the tank — which was fair given that Ellis did not hit him hard — but also because, one suspects, the Nats bullpen has been extraordinarily unreliable lately and Scherzer was still his best bet to win the game.

Then this happened:

  • JT Riddle grounded out, advancing Ellis to second;
  • Pinch hitter J.T. Realmuto grounded to short. Trea Turner’s throw to first was not great, but first baseman Adam Lind should’ve scooped it up. He didn’t, Realmuto was safe and Lind was charged with an error. It was the right call. Ryan Zimmerman gets that ball. In any event, runners were on the corners, with Jose Urena pinch running for Ellis;
  • Scherzer was visibly frustrated by now, and he was also getting tired. He hit Dee Gordon on the foot with a pitch to load the bases;
  • Then Scherzer uncorked a wild pitch and Ureña scored, tying the game;
  • Giancarlo Stanton singled to left, scoring Realmuto to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Gordon was thrown out on the play after the run scored.

In the top of the ninth the Nats got a single, but that was it. The final batter, Lind, struck out on a called third strike to end the game. The pitch was almost in the right-handed hitter’s batter’s box. Scherzer barked at home plate umpire Dana DeMuth, clearing saying that DeMuth hadn’t called that pitch all game.

Life comes at you fast. One moment you’re five outs from a no-hitter, the next you get the L. Tough break, Max.

Karl Ravech to replace Chris Berman in calling the Home Run Derby

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ESPN announced today that Chris Berman will not be hosting the 2017 Home Run Derby. In comes Karl Ravech, ESPN’s longtime “Baseball Tonight” host, to take over.

The move is part of Berman’s general scaling back of broadcast duties at ESPN, which was announced in January. ESPN’s release did not mention it, but it’s also worth noting that Berman tragically lost his wife in an automobile accident last month.

Whatever the impetus, the move is likely to be well received by viewers. Berman may be a sports broadcasting legend, but his “Back-back-back” calls and often cringeworthy references have long been a source of displeasure for those watching the Derby.

Here’s hoping Ravech doesn’t feel the need to introduce schtick into the proceedings.