My friend Ben owns a used bookstore in Wooster, Ohio, and when he comes across fun and/or weird baseball-related stuff he shoots it my way. He shot this my way this morning. It’s Tom Seaver, then with the Mets, explaining how Reader’s Digest Condensed books were a key part of his spring training regimen:
Seaver owns a winery in Calistoga, California now. I picture him up in the hills among the vineyards, settled into a nice leather chair in some beautiful mission-style house, lighting a fire in the fireplace and settling into a condensed version of “The Good Earth.”
I also picture Pete Rose or someone derisively calling him “Shakespeare” back in spring training in 1970 or whatever.
The reason I got a bit miffed at the Clayton Kershaw bashing a couple of posts ago is that, to some degree, engaging in that stuff takes away from what was really a fantastic baseball moment. Well, fantastic if you’re not a Dodgers fan anyway. I’d guess that 99 out of 100 times Kershaw strikes out a lefty in that situation and that 99 out of 100 times Matt Adams does something short of hit a homer off a tough lefty in that situation.
But it happened and it was fantastic and improbable. It had nothing to do with character or guts or any of that. At least the lack of them on Kershaw’s part; Adams had to keep a positive outlook to overcome the odds of that particular matchup, one assumes. Mostly it was just unpredictable.
Or was it? From Jenifer Langosch at MLB.com, who sets the scene as Adam Wainwright and Matt Carpenter watched that Adams-Kershaw at bat unfold:
Two singles, both just out of the reach of the Dodgers’ middle infielders, brought Matt Adams to the plate, and after a first-pitch strike, Wainwright turned to his right: “If he throws a curveball for a strike right now,” he told Carpenter, “he’s going to hit it out of the park.”
It was the perfect setup to the latest October magic under the shadow of the Gateway Arch.
Adams can hit a curve ball. And in that situation, he had to assume it was coming. But a lot of people assume a Kershaw curve is coming in that situation and still can’t do anything with it. That Adams did was pretty awesome. That Wainwright predicted it was a different kind of awesome.
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that Brian Wilson has informed the Dodgers that he will exercise his player option for 2015. It’s worth $9.5 million. If his pitching does not improve, Wilson is not, but such is the way of contractual agreements.
Wilson put up a 4.66 ERA and 54/29 K/BB ratio over 48 1/3 innings this season and Don Mattingly seemed pretty afraid of using him in the postseason. If it was a health thing hampering him this year, there’s still a chance for Wilson to profile as solid setup man next season.