Author: Craig Calcaterra

Didi Gregorious

Didi Gregorius is probably pretty grateful for the A-Rod circus

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Anthony McCarron of the Daily News makes a pretty good point: Didi Gregorius has to be pretty darn pleased A-Rod is sucking up all of the media oxygen:

Had A-Rod not returned from suspension this spring, Gregorius might have been the biggest story of Yankee camp, and more than a handful of fans might have been eyeing his every move on the first day of full-squad workouts. He is, after all, the man who seems set to be Derek Jeter’s replacement at shortstop.

I’m sure once the games start Gregorius will be getting a lot more media heat, but for now this has to be a nice way for him to ease into things.

Everyone worried that A-Rod would be a “distraction.” Well, he has been. And in this case that’s a good thing.

We need Kafka to cover Yankees spring training

Kafka
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Read this John Harper article from Yankees spring training and marvel at how the absurdity of his premise does not dawn on him mid-paragraph. The summary — and this is not me editorializing, this is how it plays out:

1. A-Rod is camp and it is causing some strain.

2. Specifically, Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman are being asked a lot of questions about him.

3. Yesterday both Girardi and Cashman became exasperated at being asked so many questions about him, some of which made absolutely no sense to Girardi and Cashman.

4. This is A-Rod’s fault. Really:

To be fair, Girardi and Cashman took issue with the media, not Rodriguez, but this is what comes with having A-Rod back in pinstripes after he practically declared war on the ballclub as part of his failed strategy to avoid a PED suspension.

Yes, it is A-Rod who forced the media to ask nothing but A-Rod questions yesterday, some of which were absurd and almost all of which were repeated, over and over.

And Harper isn’t alone. Joel Sherman has his own spin on it:

Joe Girardi’s post-workout press conference began with nine questions about A-Rod and then one about a retired player, Derek Jeter. When asked if he were happy to have Rodriguez in camp, Girardi answered broadly by speaking of how pleased he is to see everyone. When it was noted to him that he didn’t really answer the question about A-Rod, Girardi brandished what are his two tells when he is about to be misleading — his voice went higher and he grew angry, in this case, criticizing the meaning of the question.

Brian Cashman answered a series of A-Rod questions and then also grew annoyed when asked if he were happy the disgraced slugger was back, saying soon after, “I don’t really want to talk about Alex anymore.” This from a general manager appreciated by the media for his willingness to handle questions in all variety of Yankees storms.

This is the very definition of trolling. This is no different than the guy in the comments section who makes 15 comments insulting you until you finally respond and then he says “Ooh, sensitive much? Guess I hit a nerve!!” Perhaps he did. But not in the way he thinks. He was just being completely annoying.

Serenity now.

Craig Kimbrel is messing with a changeup

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 8.24.38 AM
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Braves closer Craig Kimbrel throws ungodly heat and has a slider that makes hitters look positively dumb. Your mileage may vary between him and Aroldis Chapman as the most dominant closers in the game, but it’s safe to say that what he has done to the opposition over the past couple of years seems pretty unfair sometimes.

Which makes this seem positively obscene:

Melvin Upton Jr. looked at almost every Kimbrel pitch without swinging, not an uncommon approach when facing Kimbrel on Day 1. Meanwhile, Braves newcomer Jonny Gomes swung at some Kimbrel offerings and missed a few, including one that appeared to be a … changeup? From Kimbrel? The guy with high-90s fastball and devastating slider?

Fredi Gonzalez speculates that Kimbrel is just messing with it and isn’t sure how often he’ll use the changeup in actual games. And Mark Bowman of MLB.com just tweeted that Kimbrel has experimented with changeups in spring training in the past (I don’t remember this, but I don’t really pay attention to spring training experiments either). But boy howdy, if Kimbrel does use a changeup and if it’s even halfway decent, he should be prosecuted for war crimes.

Report: Josh Hamilton could get a suspension of “at least 25 games”

Josh Hamilton
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Fox’s Jon Morosi reports that Major League Baseball is weighing what to do with Josh Hamilton in light of his relapse and that it is considering a suspension of “at least 25 games but less than a full season.”

That said, Rob Manfred is not close to a decision, Morosi reports, and that he and the league is mindful of the complexities of Hamilton’s addiction and wants to be “compassionate.” Specifically:

Manfred and other league officials have a favorable view of Hamilton’s efforts to remain sober, including compliance with MLB-mandated drug tests (three each week) for nearly nine years. He made five All-Star teams during that time, all while speaking honestly to baseball fans and the greater public about his struggle with addiction.

With the points I made about Hamilton and punitive action yesterday in mind, this nonetheless seems wise to me. Maybe not the suspension part — we’ll wait and see what that looks like and how it’s crafted before talking too much about that — but at least with the league’s consideration of Hamilton’s circumstances.

There is no rush here — it’s spring training and Hamilton is out of commission following surgery anyway — so there is no need to do anything immediately. Good for Manfred for not handling this like he would some minor leaguer who was busted for smoking some pot.

Wanna hear Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig attempt a comedy routine?

Ruth Gehrig
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source:

I’ve heard Babe Ruth’s voice a few times in various movie clips, radio spots and the like. But outside of his famous luckiest man on the face of the Earth speech — and really, most of have heard Gary Cooper do that more often — I hadn’t heard Lou Gehrig’s voice all that much. I assume more audio of him exists than I know of, but I just haven’t heard it nor, do I suspect, have a lot of folks.

All of which makes this video — well, video clip of audio — that Buster Olney tweeted out this morning pretty cool. It’s Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig bantering following the 1927 season. Give a listen to “Babe and Lou: The Home Run Twins”: