Craig Calcaterra

jhoulys chacin getty

The Indians sign Jhoulys Chacin, DFA Shaun Marcum

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The Indians announced a bit ago that they have signed Jhoulys Chacin to a minor league deal. They also designated Shaun Marcum for assignment and called up catcher Brett Hayes from Columbus.

Chacin was released by the Rockies late in spring training, after he struggled in four appearances in which he allowed seven runs on 16 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. He missed most of last year with a bum shoulder. In 2013 he posted a 3.47 ERA and a 126/61 K/BB ratio in 197 1/3 innings, so it’s no gamble to see if he can be a useful starter.

After missing almost all of 2014 and spending what little he did pitch in 2014 in the minors, Marcum signed another minor league deal with Cleveland. He has made one appearance for the Indians thus far this year, allowing one run in five innings in mopup work on in a loss to the Tigers on Sunday.

When it comes to Josh Hamilton, Arte Moreno is a craven opportunist, not a “smart businessman”

Arte Moreno
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Over at The Guardian today, Jon Bernhardt takes on one aspect of the Josh Hamilton-Angels drama that has some greater applicability to how fans approach the business of baseball as a whole: worship of the smart business decision.

Bernhardt relays the back and forth between the Angels and Hamilton which we’ve been talking about here. But goes on to note that, even if a lot of people are starting to think that owner Arte Moreno is being unreasonable in his actions, hardly anyone is noting just how free a pass he’s getting for his motives. Which are, quite clearly, to claw back as much of the $83 million the Angels agreed to pay Hamilton in the first place.

The reason so many are willing to give him a free pass on that? Because so many of us tend to equate a smart business decision with virtuous behavior:

This is the business savvy we claim to love in our rich – the weird sociopathy of the Business Decision, where men like Moreno simply must engage in whatever behavior it is that theoretically leads to them swimming in the largest pile of gold coins possible, because money is its own morality . . . The fact of the matter is that many people – a majority, perhaps – will see this as a smart business decision instead of craven opportunism, because in our society there is no clear distinction between the two. Perhaps there never was.

This is a subset of the overall fan view that players should be criticized and, on occasion, excoriated for going for an extra dollar while owners who make magnitudes greater sums off of baseball while not playing an inning of it are hardly ever questioned about it. And it’s not just some reflexive anti-union, pro-management stance, though there is some of that at play. It’s a straight up class warfare argument about stinkin’ rich ballplayers that, amazingly, doesn’t follow through and condemn the amazingly more stinkin’ rich owners. It’s incoherent, frankly, but it’s so, so common.

But really, that’s what’s going on with the Hamilton stuff. People are disapproving of Hamilton’s acts, which are borne of addiction and not malice, yet they will nod at Moreno’s efforts to not pay Hamilton, which are borne out of greed and, maybe, a side of brains.

Why are baseball games nine innings long?

Old baseball team
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A fun historical dive over at Mental Floss, with a heavy assist from baseball historian John Thorn. The question: why baseball games are nine innings long.

No, the answer is not about some previous effort to pick up pace of play in light of players like, um, Eli-David Ortizerson constantly adjusting his batting girdle or whatever the heck went on in the 19th century. It was really about a battle to keep a baseball club exclusive — and back then, they really were “clubs” in the common definition of the term — and a somewhat obsessive desire to have the number of innings match the number of players, even though there is no logical reason why those things should be the same.

A good, fun read. And a reminder that, like a lot of things in this country, baseball began by a bunch of white guys who wanted to keep their little club exclusive and keep out the riffraff.

Yasiel Puig tweaked his hamstring

Yasiel Puig
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The Dodgers won in walkoff fashion last night and Yasiel Puig was the guy who dumped the bucket of ice water on hero of the game Alex Guerrero. Which suggests he was feeling fine afterwards.

Before that, however, he wasn’t as good. Yes, he homered for a second consecutive game and had three hits overall, but Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that Puig developed a tight hamstring during the game and will be examined today.

Puig is 6-for-27 on the young season with a couple of walks, two homers and a double.

 

Madison Bumgarner delivered the Giants World Series banner on a horse

Madison Bumgarner horse
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source: AP

source:

Some people say that, when you succeed, act like you’ve been there before. Other people say when you win, you can do whatever the hell you want because you won, man. I think there is wisdom in both of these seemingly contradictory positions and can’t myself say for sure if, in the event I ever reach the pinnacle of my field, I will act calmly and graciously or if I’ll spike the football and stuff. I get the argument from both sides.

The Giants have three titles in five years and I don’t begrudge them their excitement. I can’t say I expected their World Series MVP to literally appear on a steed or to hear the most on-the-nose rendition of “We Are the Champions” performed since the death of Freddie Mercury, but I don’ begrudge it either.