We see a story much like this every September, but they never stop making us smile.
Guilder Rodriguez got the start for the Rangers in their game against the Astros last night. He went 2 for 3 with an RBI. No biggie, right? Well, it was for him, as those two hits were his first-ever big league hits. And given that Rodriguez spent 13 years and 1095 games in the minor leagues before getting them. He was called up when rosters expanded. He had played in five games before last night, all but one of which were pinch hitting appearances.
Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas has his story. It’s pretty heartwarming. No matter what happens to him for the rest of his life, he can say he was a major leaguer.
Major League Baseball has mandated metal detectors at all ballparks next season. Many have already put them up. As Neil deMause notes over at Vice today, however, they are utterly pointless. There is no evidence whatsoever that metal detectors actually reduce incidents of terrorism/violence/mischief/etc., and some reason to believe that putting them in will actually inspire would-be wrongdoers to get more creative with respect to the havoc they would wreak.
Harvard security expert Bruce Schneier agrees, calling the new MLB directive “security theater” . . . “This is very much a C.Y.A. type of thing,” he says. “‘If something happens, we’re going to be blamed’ . . .This kind of crap is what the terrorists winning looks like.”
No question that this is all just a facade to keep someone from suing should something happen one day or to look like they’re being proactive. Or, possibly, Major League Baseball has cornered the market on plastic flasks and is poised to rake in the dough from people who like having a snort of hooch at a ballgame.
Not that I know anyone like that.
Ken Davidoff is normally a pretty reliably good columnist. Especially for a New York columnist. But one has to wonder what the heck is going on with his latest outing, in which he lambastes Derek Jeter as a hypocrite.
Why is he a hypocrite? Because he appeared at a memorabilia event for Steiner Sports yesterday, apparently. Which, fine, Steiner Sports sort of icky in some ways, but it’s not like a ballplayer doing such things is unusual. Jeter has been doing that kind of thing for years. And even if you don’t like Steiner Sports, a lot of fans love that stuff. It certainly doesn’t warrant the comp to “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his inept, arrogant team of public-relation gurus,” that Davidoff makes.
It makes me wonder if the Post editors told him “hey, do a Jeter hit piece. It will stand out!” Because I’ve been reading Davidoff for years, and never have I seen him miss the forest for such a tiny, unremarkable little sapling like this.
Actually, he made it over the course of the year, but he crossed over the 180 innings pitched line last night, and that caused his $10 million option to kick in.
It’s a player option, so he can choose to walk away from it if he’d like. Though, honestly, I think he’d be kind of dumb to do that. He has really come on as of late, but overall he had a pretty “meh” year, notching 13 wins despite a 4.03 ERA and a posting his lowest K/9 rate of his career. It was his third straight year with an ERA+ under 90. At this point he’s an innings eater. And there is value in having an innings eater around. Just not multi-year value or possibly even value greater than $10 million.
Haren likes the west coast. He should exercise his option and stick with the Dodgers.
Adam Wainwright shut out the Cubs for seven innings last night and notched his 20th win of the year. He joins Clayton Kershaw in that club. If it wasn’t for Kershaw, Wainwright would probably be picking up a Cy Young award too. Going 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA for a division winning team will do that for you most years.
It seems like Wainwright has had a lot of those years. As Bob Nightengale noted this morning, he is one of the greatest pitchers to never win a Cy Young award. In an era where 20-game winners are a lot more rare than they used to be, Wainwright has won 19 or 20 games in four of his last five seasons. That’s made all the more special given that those seasons wrap around a year lost to Tommy John surgery. No, wins aren’t everything. But when you get enough of them, consistently over time, it does tell you something.
Maybe even more than people who tend to like wins as a stat will even give Wainwright credit for:
I’m sure Ringolsby meant that as praise, but really, that’s a slight to Wainwright when you look at all of the other stats those two have. He’s more like the Dave Stieb of his era. Or Mike Mussina. Like those guys, he may end up as a guy who is widely considered a top ace during his career, only to become somewhat under-appreciated after he retires due to the lack of hardware.
Actually, Wainwright is better than Stieb and probably Mussina too. And his World Series rings and heroics will make up for the lack of hardware. But I do feel like people are going to forget how good Wainwright is when they assess his career after the fact.