Author: Craig Calcaterra

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The Orioles announce their ALDS roster: welcome to the playoffs Ubaldo Jimenez

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Buck Showalter released his ALDS roster today. Surprise: Ubaldo Jimenez is on it, pretty much certainly as a long reliever. He took the place, one presumes, of either Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland, leaving the O’s with only two lefties in the pen. Which can work, I suppose, given that the Tigers’ big threats, especially off the bench, are right-handed.

Catchers
Caleb Joseph, Nick Hundley

Infielders
Steve Pearce, Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Kelly Johnson, Jimmy Paredes

Outfielders
Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Alejandro De Aza, David Lough, Delmon Young

Starting Pitchers
Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris

Relief Pitchers
Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, Andrew Miller, Tommy Hunter, Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach, Ubaldo Jimenez

Tim Hudson questions whether the Nationals have the balls to stick with the Giants

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All that really matters is the baseball, but when you have to wait a couple of days for a game, the talk tends to come to the fore. And this talk from Tim Hudson will probably get the attention of the Washington Nationals. From the Post:

“Obviously they have a talented group over there, there’s no question,” Hudson told The Post’s Barry Svrluga. “They have some great pitching. But come playoff time, talent can take you a long ways, but what do you have between your legs? That’s going to take you real far. And I think we’ve got a group in here that really has some of that.”

Hudson’s implication: The Nationals don’t. Or at least they haven’t shown it yet.

To the extent he’s equating what they “have between their legs” with playoff experience, fair enough. The Giants still have loads of guys who were in the 2010 and 2012 World Series. To the extent he’s talking about basic fortitude and manliness and all of that blah, blah, blah, I do hope he explains how that’s measured in non-subjective fashion. Because no one has ever explained that one to me.

Miguel Cabrera eschews his playoff share, saying “I just want the ring”

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This is interesting. It seems that Miguel Cabrera has said no to receiving a playoff share from the Tigers because he’s fixated on a ring, and nothing else.

According to Paul White of USA Today, Cabrera was sitting at his locker Wednesday Max Scherzer was collecting signatures for purposes of allocating playoff shares (apparently there is some paperwork required). Cabrera declined, saying  “I’m not signing anything . . . I just want the ring.” Scherzer, shrugged and walked away saying, “OK, more for us.”

I hope someone follows up on that because it’s possible that folks are focusing on the element of it that sounds inspirational and motivational. Maybe there’s more to it. Maybe not. I dunno. But it’s certainly unusual.

But if there isn’t more to it, that’s pretty cool. Even if Cabrera’s $289 million contract makes this something less than an extreme sacrifice.

A nice older woman apparently got lost in the Giants dugout last night

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Saw this during the second inning of last night’s game but it happened so fast I wasn’t sure what I saw. Thankfully Deadspin captured it. It seems a woman somehow managed to make her way into the Giants dugout during the game last night and asked a police officer for directions:

source:

Deadspin has video of it.

For what it’s worth, I was once lucky enough to get sweet club seats right behind home plate at PNC Park. When I was there, I noticed how easy it was to go from the club restaurant area behind the plate into the concourse area that leads to the clubhouses. My guess would be that number 25 here was on her way from dinner to her nice seats, took a wrong turn and just ended up coming up the tunnel.

 

Deep thoughts about champagne celebrations after a Wild Card win

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On the one hand, if you’re happy and you know it, pop your corks. On the other hand, why are we still doing this, especially for early rounds of the playoffs?

source: Getty Images

To be clear: I’m not animated by some curmudgeonly “act like you’ve been there before” impulse. Yes, a few years ago I thought that maybe there were too many champagne celebrations in baseball, what with the clinch, the wild card, the division series, the LCS and the World Series. But I’ve mellowed on it over time and I now realize that it’s not my party, so I really don’t have a place to cry, even if I want to. These guys have worked all year, and if they want to party, let them party.

But I do look at these celebrations and feel like the whole enterprise has become something of a contrived show.

The question I have is who drives this. Is the default that the champagne celebration will occur, or is it something someone plans special per the team’s wishes? Is there a rule that the TV cameras have to be allowed access or, if the team chose, could they celebrate in private? Given that the champagne, the goggles, the T-shirts and probably even the plastic draped over the lockers is sponsored and institutionalized these days, is doing this or not doing this an act of paperwork and coordination with league partners and stakeholders, or is there still an element of spontaneous exuberance here?

I guess where I come back to is here: the first champagne celebration was almost certainly an off the cuff thing in which everyone was whooping it up and improvising, either because they smuggled the bubbly in to the clubhouse or because the team’s owner supplied it. Certainly the act of pouring it on each others’ heads and spraying it at each other was spontaneous. Now it clearly isn’t, even if the guys have fun doing it.

I look at Hunter Pence in this picture here, and I’m well aware of the fact that he’s one wonderfully strange dude. I feel like, if they said the champagne was going to end tomorrow, he’d come up with something more fun and crazy. And I tell myself: THAT’S something I really want to see. And I ask myself: is he allowed to?

UPDATE: Someone I know familiar with how all of this works tells me that it’s not as orchestrated and sponsored as I fear/complain about. There is no official champagne — clubs can use what they want — and there are no “official goggles” even if some are made available to the clubs. It’s not one of these deals where, like, Nike is going to send a corporate rep in if someone is wearing Oakleys or whatever. The coolers are provided by Budweiser, but Bud’s name is all over baseball already.

The more you know.