Craig Calcaterra

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 16:  A sign is posted in front of a Marriott hotel on November 16, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Marriott International announced plans to purchase Starwood Hotels & Resorts for $12.2 billion. The deal would create the world's largest hotel company.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Baseball writers love staying in Marriotts

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People say a lot of things about baseball writers and the baseball writing lifestyle. They say that baseball writers love Bruce Springsteen. That they like to wear Dockers, preferably pleated ones. That they are all addicted to Diet Coke. That, if they’re gonna quote a movie, that movie will be at LEAST ten years old. If you spend a lot of time on Twitter following baseball scribes, you’ve heard all of these, I’m sure.

To be clear, they are generalizations. I know at least two baseball writers who don’t like Springsteen and who prefer jeans to Dockers. But just two. Otherwise, it’s 100% accurate. It’s not nice to stereotype.

Another thing you hear about baseball writers is that they all stay in Marriotts. This is 100% true with no exceptions. They’re always in Marriotts, mostly because of the points thing and how much travel they have to do. And, with anything people have to spend half of their life doing, they’re prone to become somewhat obsessive about it.

Evidence of that is this article by Joe Lemire, detailing just how crazily into the Marriott Lifestyle sports writers are. It’s an amazing article, with a dozen anecdotes showing you just how far these ink-stained wretches will go to get some Marriott points. Like the one about the sportswriter once booked a second room because the rate was so low on his first room that he wasn’t earning any points. Which, whoa.

Just some slice of life stuff you don’t think much about every day.

The Mariners suspend Steve Clevenger without pay for the rest of the season

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 14:  Steve Clevenger #32 of the Seattle Mariners hits a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Safeco Field on May 14, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Last night the Mariners issued a statement condemning catcher Steve Clevenger‘s comments on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in Charlotte, North Carolina. Today they went further: they just suspended Clevenger for the remainder of the season without pay.

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said in a statement, “As soon as we became aware of the tweets posted by Steve yesterday we began to examine our options in regard to his standing on the team. Today we have informed him that he is suspended for the remainder of the season without pay.”

The Mariners have a right to suspend Clevenger pursuant to the league’s social media policy, adopted in 2012. Pursuant to the policy, players are prohibited from “[d]isplaying or transmitting Content that is derogatory or insensitive to individuals based on race, color, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or religion, including, but not limited to, slurs, jokes, stereotypes or other inappropriate remarks.”

Discipline under the policy can be issued by either the league or the club. In this case the Mariners decided to act before MLB had the chance to. Not that MLB is likely very unhappy about that.

In the meantime, it looks as though Clevenger will have some extra time on his hands.

 

The Division races are boring, but that’s OK

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 7: A drone flies above the scoreboard at  Wrigley Field during the seventh inning of the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game on September 7, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.   (Photo by Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images)
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Yesterday we talked about the possibility of the NL Wild Card race ending up in a three-way tie when the season ends. It probably won’t, but it could, and that’s exciting! Last night ESPN’s Jayson Stark doubled up on that madness and talked about the possibility of a six-way tie in the AL Wild Card. Even more unlikely, but again, excitement!

The obvious reason we’re focusing on these implausible scenarios? There’s nothing else to really get excited about when it comes to this year’s pennant races.

As we woke up this morning, here are your division leaders with the number of games by which they lead:

  • AL EAST: Red Sox: 5.5
  • AL CENTRL: Indians: 7
  • AL WEST: Rangers: 9
  • NL EAST: Nationals: 8.5
  • NL CENTRAL Cubs: 17
  • NL WEST: Dodgers: 6

The AL East had been entertaining until recently, but the Sox’ recent winning streak put an end to that drama. The NL West had some potential to be a race if the Giants had decided to wake up but they’ve decided to stay asleep until September ends, it seems. The Cubs, of course, have already clinched. All of these races are over and most of them have been over for some time. Which kind of stinks. Playoff drama is good and playoff drama between good teams is even better, and all we have now is drama between the 4th through 7th or 8th teams in each league.

But it’s also the case that division races are often sort of anti-climatic. As Jay Jaffe at Sports Illustrated noted a week ago, in the three-division era, this year’s average spread between first and second place is a bit large, but (a) it’s buoyed in large part by the Cubs’ large lead; and (b) isn’t THAT much larger than many years in the past.

I’ll go further and note that, back when we only had two divisions and no Wild Card, close division races weren’t terribly common either. Indeed, during the four division era — 1969 through 1993, taking out 1981 because the playoff qualifying rules were messed up by the strike — the average division-winning margin was 6.37 games. Sure, we remember the 1993 NL West race between the Braves and Giants and the 1987 AL East race between the Tigers and Blue Jays because they were great. But they were also exceptions, not the rule. Don’t even get me started about the pre-divsional era, when a lot of pennant races were effectively over before September even began thanks to dynasties and the lack of free agency and many teams simply mailing it in for years at a time.

So, no, we’re not going to get a ton of drama in the last week of the season as far as division races are concerned. But we should be thankful for the Wild Card being around to give us something.