Craig Calcaterra

Doug Melvin AP

Doug Melvin is going to get an extension just as soon as he decides how long he wants it to be

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Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin is on the verge of getting a contract extension. The only catch: how long he wants it to be.

Not how long his employer wants it to be, how long Melvin wants it to be. Which is a nice place to be in as an employee, no? Haudricourt talks about the considerations going into Melvin’s decision.

Melvin is 62 and has been the Brewers’ GM since 2003. Despite a poor finish last year and some not-met-expectations in recent seasons, the Brewers extended manager Ron Roenicke recently. That they’re content to keep Melvin on as long as he wants as well shows that owner Mark Attanasio comes from the steady-hand school of management. Which I like, because it implicitly acknowledges that players win games, not managers and execs. At least not directly. And that, if you don’t disagree with the philosophy of your management team, changing them for the sake of changing them is not the best idea.

Jesse Hahn may be in The Best Shape of His Life

Jesse Hahn
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Hard to figure out where to categorize this story about A’s pitcher Jesse Hahn. On the one hand, it’s a story about how a player packed on muscle in the offseason as a means of atoning for some shortcomings the previous year and that’s right up in BSOHL territory.

On the other hand, it’s coming late — rare are the non-winter/spring training BSHOL stories — and it’s even possible that he’s in worse actual shape now that he has given up his previous regimen of cardio work in the interest of bacon and eggs and meat for dinner every night.

Either way, go read Jane Lee’s profile of Hahn’s offseason weight gain and keep it in mind as we count his innings this season.

Max Scherzer give up zero earned runs, gets ripped for it

Max Scherzer
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Max Scherzer pitched against the Mets yesterday. He was very good. He allowed zero earned runs. He struck out eight guys. His offense, however, was virtually helpless against Bartolo Colon and his defense was poor. As a result, an ill-timed walk (which came as a the result of a questionable ball two call) and maybe the only sharply-hit ball of the day by a Mets hitter led to a couple of runs. Scherzer took the loss even though he was effective and, at times, dominant. That happens in baseball.

But Thom Loverro of the Washington Times either does not understand or does not care that, on occasion, the outcome of a game can largely be out of the starting pitcher’s hands. After acknowledging that there was bad defense and that the Nats’ bats were silent, he says:

But the difference maker in a game like this is supposed to be Scherzer. That’s what great pitching does — erases miscues and not allow the big hit when they need it . . . Great pitching is supposed to overcome all. The guy on the mound with the ball still has control of the game . . . Max Scherzer pitched well. And he will likely be in control and dominate on the mound as part of this great Washington Nationals pitching staff.

But on Monday, Bartolo Colon pitched better. That can’t happen.

May as well just give up on the season now. And, perhaps, explore legal remedies against Scherzer for theft as a result of that big contract he signed.

Seriously, though, I know that many of you will say that Thom Loverro is not worth paying attention to. That it’s not even worth anyone’s time. Maybe not, in and of itself. But as a new season dawns, I feel it is necessary to note that, while any given column may be dumb, it and others like it are what form the basis of sports discourse. Loverro and many of his columny counterparts double as talk radio hosts. This kind of dumbness feeds that chatter. That chatter, eventually, starts to seep into even the less-dumb columns and takes from the local sporting scene (e.g. references in stories and interviews to “some people are saying  . . .” etc.) It’s not a perfect echo chamber of course, but it is an echo chamber. Eventually, a non-trivial number of fans buy this garbage. Which makes even talking about sports with people in bars and at work a monstrous pain.

A big reason I criticize stuff like this is because I simply won’t surrender to the notion that sports are so unimportant that there’s no harm in sports journalism being bad. Bull. We’ve all seen great sports journalism. We know how edifying and enjoyable it can be. We know how, at times, it can even enhance our enjoyment of the game itself by its very existence. Not everything has to read like Roger Angell, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t at least aim higher.

But I also criticize such things because I hate that so much conversation about sports is dumb and that, as noted above, so many of the conversations we have about sports become monstrous pains. I’d love to sit down in a bar in Washington and have someone say “Scherzer pitched well, but the defense stunk and stuff happens, ya know?” Then move on to other, less-dumb things. We should all want that.

Every other part of media is subject to media criticism, often by dedicated media critics, which everyone accepts. Sports journalism should not be singularly immune. And for that reason, I will continue to point out and critique stuff like this when I see it.

Metal detectors at ballparks (which don’t really enhance security) cause delays

Metal Detector
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Some ballparks put up metal detectors last year, but this year is the first year of Major League Baseball’s new rule requiring all parks to have them. And, on Opening Day, a predictable side effect:

The new procedure created confusion and long lines at the gates for hundreds of fans who were trying to get inside the venue in time to watch Masahiro Tanaka throw out the first pitch for the Yankees.

Unsurprisingly, many fans were not happy with the delays the metal detectors caused.

“Not good. It’s just out of control,” said Joe Marinaio, of Staten Island, N.Y., as he stood in a long line outside Gate 4. “There’s no organization. It’s just a free for all.”

Though Marinaio, 19, heard about the new security measures via Twitter, he said he didn’t expect to have to wait over an hour just to enter the stadium.

Over time people will get used to this and the lines will be shorter, one assumes. It always seems to happen that way.

But it’s still worth noting that metal detector at the ballpark are nothing more then security theater, with experts saying that they will do nothing to make people safer at ballparks and could, in fact, be counterproductive in this regard. In other news, I am aware of no security dangers inside ballparks — no widespread or systemic incidents of violence, terror or anything else — which made this new rule reasonable and necessary in the first place.

But this is 21st century America where even suggesting that it’s possible to go too far in the name of security is unthinkable. Where, if someone in a position of authority suggested we all dress up in ballet tutus and wear crash helmets 24/7, most people would say “well, security is a good thing, and if doing this saves one life  . . .”

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Masahiro Tanaka
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Blue Jays 6, Yankees 1:Masahiro Tanaka’s lowish velocity and poor results probably have everyone in Gotham clenching their sphincters at the moment because there’s really not a path to the playoffs without their putative ace being healthy and effective. And, in this game, his lack of effectiveness is probably going to make many wonder if he’s healthy. Not that getting shelled by the Blue Jays is going to be an uncommon thing for teams this year. A couple of bombs, a couple of manufactured runs and there’s a six-spot against you. That was plenty for Drew Hutchinson.

Tigers 4, Twins 0: David Price cruised for eight and two-thirds. And, to be honest, totally could’ve finished this shutout off if Brad Ausmus’ Manager3000 software hadn’t beeped upon encountering the “base runner on in the ninth inning” subroutine that mandated the Ausmusbot to bring in the Closer Unit. Didn’t matter, of course. Homers from J.D. Martinez homer and Alex Avila were all the Tigers needed. Oh, and welcome to Detroit Yoenis Cespedes.

Rockies 10, Brewers 0: Getting shut down by Kyle Kendrick while allowing him his damn self to get two hits off of you and having your best player get hurt in the same game is pretty bad. Having the other guys drop a 10-spot on your Opening Day starter in the same game? Even worse. But hey, last year the Brewers started strong and then faded. Maybe they’re gonna do it up different this time.

Red Sox 8, Phillies 0: Cole Hamels wasn’t traded to the Red Sox like so many thought he would be, but that doesn’t mean a deal of some sort wasn’t done. Like, say, Hamels being secretly enlisted as a Red Sox spy. I mean, sure, it’s far-fetched, but it’s way easier to ensure a Red Sox win by serving them up meatballs yourself than it is to play for them and trying to stop the other team from doing the same. Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez each hit two bombs and Clay Buchholz looked like an ace (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9K) even if Curt Schilling doesn’t think he does.

Orioles 6, Rays 2: Trvis Snider had three hits, drove in two and flashed some pretty sweet defense as the O’s beat the Rays. Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty all hit homers.

Mets 3, Nationals 1: All that hand-wringing over Matt Harvey not starting the opener and everyone being stuck with old man Bartolo Colon amounts to the old man allowing one run over six while striking out eight. Four relievers held that lead, but one of them was not Jenrry Mejia, who felt stiffness in his right elbow while warming in the bullpen during the game. He’s supposed to be the closer this year so, yeah, yikes.

Royals 10, White Sox 1: If I remember my 2014 narratives correctly, this is more runs than the Royals scored all last year. Alex Rios had a three-run homer and two other hits. The Royals scored five runs in the seventh. Yordano Ventura gave everyone a scare when he crumpled to the ground in pain, but it turns out it was just a cramp. Jesus, dude, don’t freak us out like that.

Mariners 4, Angels 1: Mike Trout got his in the form of a solo homer in the first, but that’s all anyone got off King Felix, who was otherwise untouchable (7IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 10K). Trout struck out his other three times to the plate so I suppose 2015 is picking up where 2015 left off for all of these dudes.

Reds 5, Pirates 2: With Opening Day, the Reds’ opportunity to sign Johnny Cueto to an extension before he hits free agency basically ended, as he is not going to negotiate during the seasons. And with Opening Day, the Reds are reminded that they don’t have a pitcher anywhere as good as Johnny Cueto, who struck out ten in seven shutout innings. He didn’t get the win because of some unholy combination of Kevin Gregg, the Elias Sports Bureau and society, but he’s still the best pitcher they’ve developed and he’s gonna either get dealt or walk away because, I assume, someone decided that Homer Bailey needed to get paid.

Dodgers 6, Padres 3: Clayton Kershaw wasn’t at his best (if you can call striking out nine guys not being at you best) but Adrian Gonzalez was (3-for-5, HR, 2B 2 R) as was Jimmy Rollins, who hit broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run homer in the eighth. I watched this one with my kids because, as I’ve noted recently, they’re Dodgers fans now. They didn’t get my joke about how Craig Kimbrel has gotten to watch all kinds of great moment in Dodger Stadium in recent years without actually getting to participate in them. But Dodgers fans know what I’m talking about. As do Braves fans. Padres fans who had to endure that never-ending eighth inning without the team’s best reliever coming into the game are starting to grok it some too.

Braves 2, Marlins 1: A rain delay in a domed stadium which included the home team’s new star fall on his face because of the slippery track. The Brave may have lost their closer on Sunday, but their pen was just fine yesterday. It escaped a bases loaded no-out jam in the seventh to preserve a one run lead. Nick Markakis drove in both of the Braves’ runs. Julio Tehrean scattered eight hits.

Astros 2, Indians 0: Dallas Keuchel outdueled Cory Kluber, tossing seven shutout innings. The Astros’ runs scored on an RBI single and a sac fly. Not that Kluber was chopped liver. He had a no-hitter into the sixth. His first hit allowed, however, went to Jose Altuve who then stole second and scored on that George Springer single.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4: Madison Bumgarner picked up where he left off last year, scattering six hits across seven innings, allowing one run and picking up the win. The top three in the Giants’ order — Nori Aoki, Joe Panik and Angel Pagan — combined to go 8 for 14 with four runs scored and two driven in.

Athletics 8, Rangers 0: Sonny Gray took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Ben Zobrist had a two-run homer and a double. It was the first time the A’s had won an Opening Day game since 2005, which seems impossible, but it’s true.