Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Doc Gooden says he’ll never speak to Darryl Strawberry again

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In the minds of most baseball fans of a certain age, Doc Gooden and Daryl Strawberry are joined at the hip. They each won a World Series ring with the Mets, each were part of the mid-late 90s Yankee dynasty at the end of their careers and, unfortunately, each had a good deal of their promise as baseball players destroyed by substance abuse.

Moreover, they have always been portrayed as — or assumed to be — friends. And at times they have been friendly. But Doc Gooden says that’s no more. Here are some of Gooden’s comments from Kevin Kernan’s story in the New York Post from the other day:

“I’m tired of him taking shots at me . . . I don’t understand why he constantly tries to take shots at me when I was there to support him. It’s not worth it to reach out to him anymore. What’s the point?”

Gooden is referring specifically to comments Strawberry made about Gooden last summer when, after Gooden did not show up to a public appearance both were scheduled for, Strawberry publicly speculated that Gooden was doing drugs again and suggested that Gooden’s life was in danger. Gooden refuted that and continues to.

No matter what was or was not going on with Gooden, he certainly did not appreciate the public speculation from Strawberry. Speculation that, from Strawberry’s point of view may have been well-intended, though Gooden tells Kernan that he believes jealousy and self-promotion on Strawberry’s part may have been involved.

It’s a sad situation all around. Those guys were super important to a lot of baseball fans at a certain point in time. They also taught a lot of baseball fans a lesson about human frailty and the risk of making a hero out of an athlete. The public saga continues. For better or for worse.

Does pitching faster lead to better results?

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There’s an idea out there that a pitcher who works faster pitches better. He gets more strikes called and his defense doesn’t go to sleep on him. The idea is that guys who plod along, in contrast, struggle to get borderline calls and generally labor. Work fast, throw strikes, baby.

But is it true? Or is this a situation in which we really just remember good fast workers like Greg Maddux who would’ve been threading the needle anyway and slow, plodding guys who struggle? Alternatively — or in addition? — is it just that we find fast work from a pitcher more aesthetically pleasing than slow work and thus assume that faster pitching means more effective pitching?

Those are some complicated questions, but Ben Lindbergh is a smart guy and yesterday he tackled them over at The Ringer. The results, as is often the case when the questions are complicated, are less than clear cut, but as with most things baseball-related, the journey is interesting even if things turn out a bit muddled.

Oh, and Ben works fast too, so there’s that.

Eighth inning rally powers Team USA over Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic

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The U.S. team was down 2-1 to Venezuela heading into the eighth inning in San Diego last night. Then Adam Jones and Eric Hosmer took over and helped power the hometown squad to victory.

The United States was down 2-0 heading into the seventh, unable to get any work done against Felix Hernandez. They scratched one run on the board via a sac fly in that frame, but the real damage came in the eighth. That’s when Adam Jones hit a solo shot to tie things at two. Then Christian Yelich singled and Eric Hosmer took Hector Rondon deep to make it 4-2. That’s where things would end up when it was all said and done.

Pool F play continues tonight as Venezuela takes on the Dominican Republic. Tomorrow the U.S. will face Puerto Rico.