Author: Craig Calcaterra

The Cardinals will, once again, attempt to implement programs to prevent drunk driving


In the wake of the October drunk driving deaths of Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, much attention has been paid to the St. Louis Cardinals’ responses to the tragedy. First in terms of its efforts to honor Taveras’ memory and now in how it addresses the problem of drunk driving.

In the Post-Dispatch, Rick Hummel reports on some of the measures the club is taking, from the implementation of a no-questions-asked transportation program for players who may be impaired to guest speakers regarding the dangers of drunk driving to charitable efforts.

This passage, however, is troubling:

After the drunk driving death of pitcher Josh Hancock in 2007, the Cardinals instituted a program in which there would be transportation available for anyone in trouble.

“It existed for a little bit,” said Mozeliak, “but it really wasn’t being used that much, so it just went away.

“This program we’re trying to come to an agreement with has a little different slant on it, and hopefully, it’s one that players feel will give them an out, if they need one.”

It’s pretty safe to say that, at some point between Hancock’s and Taveras’ deaths, some Cardinals players drove drunk. That they didn’t use the transportation system put in place in 2007 and/or didn’t have one at their disposal at some point after that is regrettable. One hopes they all took cabs, but one knows more about the judgements drunk people tend to make to put too much on that hope.

One also hopes that, whatever spins out of this now is more successful in addressing a deadly problem.

Umpires are being instructed to avoid confrontations with players regarding new pace-of-play rules

Adjusting gloves

When the new pace-of-play rules were released the other day it was revealed that the enforcement of them would be handled with fines, not automatic called balls or strikes. Yesterday Jayson Stark elaborated on how that will all work and how Major League Baseball is instructing umpires to deal with it all, practically speaking.

Specifically, Stark says, “umpires will be instructed not to go out of their way to indicate that a player has committed a violation. Instead, they would be told just to mark down the infraction on their card, much the way they would if there was an equipment violation.” If a player constantly takes too much time or becomes a problem an umpire will be given leeway to deal with it differently. It’s unclear how, exactly, that will be done, but Stark says that the idea will still be to handle the enforcement of the new rules off-the-field, via fines and lectures and the like, while on-field confrontations are to be avoided.

All of which is good because the last thing we want is for anything to encourage umpires to confront players. They do enough of that already over balls and strikes.

Of course, this will likely mean that scenes like this one will never happen again. Which is . . . OK, it’s good that these scenes won’t happen, but man this is kinda fun to watch with a few decades of space between then and now:

Ichiro is happy to be away from Joe Girardi

ichiro suzuki getty

You tend not to hear many bad things said about Joe Girardi. He’s had great success. Even the past couple of seasons, with the Yankees down, he’s gotten more out them than anyone else likely could’ve. He’s generally viewed as a player’s manager but has never butted heads publicly with his bosses. The media likes to rip him some for what they consider to be his computer-driven strategies (all of the lame “binder” talk). But given the nature of the New York baseball media, being ripped by them is a pretty good sign you’re doing OK.

But he does have one detractor. A surprising one, actually. Ichiro:

A smiling Ichiro went through his first official workout with Miami on Tuesday. He is thrilled to be a Marlin, and although Ichiro will not say it, for he is much too polite and professional, he is happy to be away from Joe Girardi as his manager.

That’s from Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, who reports that Ichiro was not happy with how he was used and how often he was used. Ichiro characterizes it all as a learning experience, which, given what else he says, is sort of a polite way to say that he was unhappy with Girardi and had to deal with it.

Which, um, OK. Ichiro is big and famous and should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he is the very definition of a role player these days. A bench bat which wasn’t even all that useful in 2013 and, while better, was still sub-par in 2014. No matter his level of fame, he is being used exactly how a guy with his skills should be used these days. And while that may bruise his ego a bit, it’s pretty misguided to criticize Joe Girardi for any of that.