Craig Calcaterra

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Watch MLB announcers mock the people who pay their salary

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During the Rockies-Dbacks game last night the broadcast cut back from a commercial and, as baseball broadcasts often do, the camera was focused on attractive young women in the stands. That the camera so often does that is a topic for another day, but let us just note that that was happening.

The women were all on their cell phones, taking selfies and such. Which was actually appropriate at the moment as the announcers were reading a T-Mobile promo asking fans to tweet photos of themselves at ballgames. That’s just synergy right there.

But then things got dumb. Watch the video of it here and listen to the broadcasters mock and complain about the women in the stands. And not just their acts. But their upbringing and all of that. Their disdain isn’t even remotely hidden. “Welcome to parenting in 2015!” Jokes about staging interventions. Comments like “I can’t even get MY phone to TAKE pictures,” as if that kind of ignorance is a good thing.

I have a daughter with a cell phone and I ain’t gonna lie: we don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on technology’s highest and best use. But my folks think I’m addicted to my phone and the Internet and their folks thought they listened to too much rock and roll and their folks thought that the bobbysoxers were trouble and their folks thought that flappers would be the death of western civilization. Forty and 50-year-old men have been declaring that the younger generation is foolish since time began and this is no different. It says way more about the older generation than it says about the kids.

But that’s not my beef with this really. My beef is that a mobile company is, perhaps, Major League Baseball’s most visible sponsor. And that you can’t go an inning watching a baseball broadcast without the announcers telling you to text this or that to this or that company for a chance to win something, to download the official app of the whatever it is or, as here, to send your photos in for a chance to do something which, in reality, is to make MLB sponsors happy.

Put differently: people who are glued to their cell phones are paying an increasingly large part of these announcers’ salary. And the fact that they bought tickets and churros and everything else means they’re already putting a lot of money in baseball’s coffers.

Maybe don’t mock your customers so much?

Jose Ramirez’ bat flip REALLY pissed off the Twins

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Remember yesterday when we talked a little bit about how the on-field deportment of Latino players has a tendency to raise the ire of the opposition? Yeah, this is the sort of thing we were talking about.

The Indians were demolishing the Twins in the ninth inning of last night’s game. It was 7-1 and a man was on second when Jason Kipnis came to the plate. Paul Molitor decided to put Kipnis on with an intentional walk to bring up Jose Ramirez.

Maybe that’s a good tactical move in a close game. Maybe you do it in a 7-1 game too, but it’s certainly less important to do so. Either way, baseball players in Ramirez’s position ALWAYS talk about how they feel they have something to prove in that situation. They say they’ve been disrespected somehow. I think that’s a lot of macho posturing and I think all of us would rather face Ramirez than Kipnis in any situation, but it’s totally predictable that Ramirez is gonna take that attitude about things. Players have egos.

So what happens? Ramirez hits a three-run homer. And he admires it. And he flips his bat. Written on his face and evident from his actions is the thought, “that’ll teach you to walk anyone to get to ME.” Evident from Paul Molitor’s reaction and the reaction of Twins players in the dugout “kind sir, please do not comport yourself in such an improper fashion.” Or maybe it was slightly different. I don’t read lips too well.

After the game there was a lot of grumbling. And even a threat which should probably lead to an immediate suspension, but that’s just me:

Minnesota plays Cleveland tonight. If Ramirez is in the lineup there is a 100% chance he’s going to get thrown at. If he gets thrown at there’s a pretty good chance that the Indians will throw back and/or rush the field or something else. All over a bat flip which, if you ask Ramirez, was a point of personal pride and if you ask Paul Molitor was a sign of disrespect and a violation of the unwritten rules.

And, of course, most people won’t give Ramirez’s personal respect as much weight as Molitor’s citation of unwritten rules, even if they’re both odd, irrational constructs animating all of this. Why? Because the unwritten rules have tenure.

 

Matt Williams thinks his side of the story matters

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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Yesterday, after the Washington Post published its damning story about how Matt Williams had lost the Nationals clubhouse, someone quite understandably asked Williams for comment.

As CSN Mid-Atlantic.com reports, Williams said “I think if we’re going to talk about it, it’s going to take longer than a conference like this,” and added, “I think you have to have all the facts. I mean all of them. So that being said, I’ll hold my comments for now. Because all of the facts aren’t out there.”

For the entire rich story of the situation, yes, you do have to have all of the facts. And eventually, I presume, we will. We’ll know to what extent Williams’ shortcomings as a manager were met with players who were uncooperative or had bad attitudes and what else, apart from what was reported in the Post yesterday, made the 2015 Washington Nationals all of the wonderful things that they came to be.

But, insofar as it relates to Matt Williams’ status as the manager of the Nats, does it really matter? Here are the possibilities that more facts could potentially reveal:

  • Williams has been a bad clubhouse guy but it was a two-way street and the disputes mentioned in the article were more complex than portrayed;
  • Williams’ players revolted, but they did so for no good reason and are being major jerks now;
  • Williams’ players didn’t truly revolt at all, but some of them and others close to the team are telling reporters that they did;

Which of those scenarios ends with Williams still having a job? I can’t see one. Because any of them reveal seriously bad blood, in the form of either (a) players who have been treated like crap; (b) players who have been treated like crap but gave as good as they got; or (c) players who actually weren’t treated like crap at all but want the world to think they were and are throwing Williams under the bus because they hate him so much.

Indeed, the only scenario in which Williams can plausibly manage this team beyond Sunday afternoon is if the Washington Post were a pure Jason Blair-style fabrication in which no one said anything like what was reported at all. Which, no, did not happen here because the Post’s Barry Svrulga is not some crazy person. He’s an excellent reporter with good sources.

All of which is to say that, even if Williams didn’t deserve to lose the clubhouse and even if those in the clubhouse he lost are overstating the severity of situation, his position as a manager was untenable once yesterday’s story came out.

So, while history may reveal that the players in Washington were far worse than the manager and while Matt Williams may someday be vindicated, he can no longer manage this club. It’s over.