Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

The Mets pushed Wally Backman out because of his “pattern of defiance”


As we noted yesterday, the Mets fired Triple-A manager Wally Backman. Or maybe he resigned. Everyone is being cagey about it. Today Marc Carig of Newsday has an article about the parting of ways which goes into detail about why the Mets canned him. Short version: Backman went rogue, defying the Mets front office’s directions on player usage, lineup construction and the like.

Carig cites numerous examples of Backman’s “pattern of defiance,” such as refusing to bat Michael Conforto against lefties, despite the fact that the Mets specifically sent him down to Vegas to work on that. Backman likewise hit prospects at the bottom of the order when the Mets wanted them at the top of the order so that they’d get more plate appearances.

Backman is no doubt going to fire back through his media surrogates. When he does so, expect the surrogates to use this incident as a means of taking shots at front offices for taking decisions away from so-called “baseball men” like Backman in order to centralize planning and development efforts, which are often seen as fueled by “new-fangled” or “sabermetric” philosophies. Never mind that the status of the minor leagues and the degree to which organizations exercise control over minor league affiliates has constantly evolved over the years.

And never mind that, refusing to following orders of your superiors tends to get you called something other than a “good baseball man.” At least when certain men in baseball do it anyway.

Joe Maddon got pissed at Joe West last night

CSN Chicago

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Cardinals last night. It was broken up by a Jeremy Hazelbaker home run and, with that, it was pretty clear that his night was going to be over, as Aroldis Chapman was warming in the pen.

But he wasn’t totally warm yet, which led to mound meeting to buy Chapman some time. Are clubs supposed to do that? Not really, it’s a delay tactic. Does it happen all the dang time? Of course it does. And given the situation — if Hendricks had retired Hazelbaker he’d still be out there, no-hitter intact — it’s pretty understandable that Chapman might be given a few extra seconds to warm up and Hendricks a few extra seconds to soak in his moment.

Joe West wasn’t having it, though. He started barking at the Cubs infielders meeting at the mound and then got into it with Joe Maddon, who was soon ejected. If you can read lips, you can tell that the two of them exchanged all manner of filth, flarn and foul:

After the game Maddon didn’t speak much about it, but as Patrick Mooney of reports, his annoyance at West was palpable.

I’ve lamented that so many rules Major League Baseball has enacted and proposed in recent years takes discretion away from umpires. But then I’m reminded that, in some cases, that’s a pretty good idea. At least as long as Joe West is out there running things.

The White Sox scored a run in every inning last night


Last month Bill wrote a post noting just how rare it was for a team to score a run in every inning of the game. He was inspired to do so by the Brewers accomplishing the feat against the Braves. Welp, it happened again last night.

The White Sox put 11 runs on the Indians. It wasn’t even the most runs scored by a winning team last night, but they spread their scoring out nicely:

  • 1st Jose Abreu grounded out to shortstop scoring Adam Eaton;
  • 2nd Omar Narvaez hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Avisail García;
  • 3rd Abreu doubled to left, scoring Tim Anderson;
  • 4th García homered;
  • 4th Anderson singled to left, Narvaez scored;
  • 5th Narvaez struck out swinging but reached on a passed ball and Abreu scored;
  • 6th Eaton homered;
  • 7th Tyler Saladino doubled in García;
  • 7th Eaton hit an infield single, scoring Saladino;
  • 8th Todd Frazier homered

There was no ninth inning scoring because the Sox were the home team, of course. I’m not sure if that counts in the “scored in every inning” records, but I’m gonna say it does because it was cool. If it does, it was the 17th time that has ever happened in a big league game, which is a lot rarer than you’d think. As Bill noted last month, it’s happened fewer times than perfect games have been thrown.