Craig Calcaterra

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

The Cubs played the song “Smack My B***h Up” for Aroldis Chapman last night


UPDATE: The Cubs have fired the DJ responsible for the playing of that song. They also issued a statement:

“The selection of this track showed a lack of judgment and sensitivity to an important issue. We have terminated our relationship with the employee responsible for making the selection and will be implementing stronger controls to review and approve music before public broadcast during our games.”

11:46 AM: As everyone knows, Aroldis Chapman was suspended for a good chunk of this season pursuant to Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. Last night Chapman pitched for the Cubs and . . .

Yes, the song by The Prodigy. Predictably, that did not go over too terribly well. Today the Cubs are apologizing, saying that the song was “unintentionally” played. Jesse Rogers of ESPN says that the Cubs will have a “strong response” to it this morning. In the meantime they are saying that it was “unfortunate and should not have happened.” Which, um, yes.

Obviously someone thought they were being clever, but there is no way to spin this as anything less than awful taste. Indeed, there’s no imaginable time when that song is appropriate at the ballpark.

No, the Tigers-Red Sox day game on Thursday is not part of a conspiracy theory

Getty Images

The Red Sox are playing a rough schedule this week. They have a game this afternoon in Cleveland to make up for a rainout on Opening Day. Then they fly to Baltimore for one of those annoying two-game series. Then they fly to Detroit for a four-game series beginning on Thursday.

Difficulty: the Thursday game is a day game, following a Wednesday night contest in Baltimore. That means a late night/early morning tomorrow, another late night/early morning Thursday AND a day game. Not ideal, especially for a team which has not done so well on the road.

The baseball schedule can be tough, especially come August, but some in Boston believe this is more than just some bad scheduling luck. At least one columnist, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, suggests that the day game in Detroit on Thursday may have something to do with the Tigers former relationship with Sox’ president Dave Dombrowski:

The Red Sox tried to get the Tigers to push the start time back to late afternoon or evening when the times were set in the offseason. Major League Baseball said the Tigers could start the game whenever they wanted to, and Detroit refused to accommodate the Sox.

The Tigers have some prior history of Thursday afternoon starts. Another part of their history is that Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski was relieved of his duties as Detroit general manager last summer.

Is this some kind of a less-than-fond farewell card from the Tigers? Al Avila, bumped up to GM after serving as Dombrowski’s assistant, said yesterday that he doesn’t set game times. A request to speak with another Tigers executive yesterday went unanswered.

Silverman acknowledges that “maybe this has nothing to do with Dombrowski,” but still calls it a “bush league move.”

“Bush league,” eh? The Tigers have played four Thursday home games this year. Three of them (April 28, June 23 and August 4) have been day games. The only one that wasn’t a day game was June 2, but that came a day after the Tigers played in Anaheim and had to fly across country afterward with no day off in between. The Tigers have two more Thursday home games scheduled after the one this week: September 15 against the Royals and September 29 against the Indians. Both are day games. Thursday day games are the general rule for Detroit. UPDATE: Someone also just pointed out to me that the Lions are playing a home preseason game at adjacent Ford Field on Thursday night too, which would make a night Tigers game a logistical nightmare.

I suppose it would be nice of the Tigers to move their game to accommodate the Red Sox. It’d be nice if the Red Sox didn’t make teams play an 11am game on the third Monday in April each year. It’d be nice if they agreed not to play Mookie Betts and David Ortiz all the time. But stuff like that happens. It’s not “bush league,” and it doesn’t require some elaborate passive aggressive conspiracy theory to explain it.

Video: Russell Martin makes an amazing grab along the dugout railing


I haven’t watched much of the Olympics, but yesterday I caught some men’s gymnastics. Primary takeaway: “Jake Dalton” would be a great name for the rich kid villain in a 1980s teen comedy.

Our protagonist would be bullied by him for a long time and then, near the end, he’d beat Jake Dalton at some competition or another AND take his girl from him. Depending on the genre of the movie, Dalton would either fall face-down in horse crap just before the big freeze frame high-five ending (comedy version) or else he would give our hero a respectful thumbs-up and a “you’re OK, kid” (feel good, coming of age version). I’ve seen both versions and they each have their place.

In other gymnastics moves, Russell Martin made this catch yesterday: