Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Yankees fans in the right field bleachers usually do a “roll call” of the Yankees’ lineup. They chant the Yankees players names, the player gives a hat tip or a wave or something and then they move on.
Last night in the Bronx, however, it was the visiting club’s fans who performed a roll call. One louder than the one performed by the home team. And they unfurled that big Dodgers flag seen above as well:
The Dodgers have not played in Yankee Stadium very much. Must either be a tour group or the children and grandchildren of old Brooklyn people who inherited the Dodgers fandom via osmosis or something.
They went home — or to their hotels — happy. Dodgers beat the Yankees handily.
As we noted yesterday, the Mets fired Triple-A manager Wally Backman. Or maybe he resigned. Everyone is being cagey about it. Today Marc Carig of Newsday has an article about the parting of ways which goes into detail about why the Mets canned him. Short version: Backman went rogue, defying the Mets front office’s directions on player usage, lineup construction and the like.
Carig cites numerous examples of Backman’s “pattern of defiance,” such as refusing to bat Michael Conforto against lefties, despite the fact that the Mets specifically sent him down to Vegas to work on that. Backman likewise hit prospects at the bottom of the order when the Mets wanted them at the top of the order so that they’d get more plate appearances.
Backman is no doubt going to fire back through his media surrogates. When he does so, expect the surrogates to use this incident as a means of taking shots at front offices for taking decisions away from so-called “baseball men” like Backman in order to centralize planning and development efforts, which are often seen as fueled by “new-fangled” or “sabermetric” philosophies. Never mind that the status of the minor leagues and the degree to which organizations exercise control over minor league affiliates has constantly evolved over the years.
And never mind that, refusing to following orders of your superiors tends to get you called something other than a “good baseball man.” At least when certain men in baseball do it anyway.
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Cardinals last night. It was broken up by a Jeremy Hazelbaker home run and, with that, it was pretty clear that his night was going to be over, as Aroldis Chapman was warming in the pen.
But he wasn’t totally warm yet, which led to mound meeting to buy Chapman some time. Are clubs supposed to do that? Not really, it’s a delay tactic. Does it happen all the dang time? Of course it does. And given the situation — if Hendricks had retired Hazelbaker he’d still be out there, no-hitter intact — it’s pretty understandable that Chapman might be given a few extra seconds to warm up and Hendricks a few extra seconds to soak in his moment.
Joe West wasn’t having it, though. He started barking at the Cubs infielders meeting at the mound and then got into it with Joe Maddon, who was soon ejected. If you can read lips, you can tell that the two of them exchanged all manner of filth, flarn and foul:
After the game Maddon didn’t speak much about it, but as Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports, his annoyance at West was palpable.
I’ve lamented that so many rules Major League Baseball has enacted and proposed in recent years takes discretion away from umpires. But then I’m reminded that, in some cases, that’s a pretty good idea. At least as long as Joe West is out there running things.