Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Short version today for reasons. Let’s just say I’m depressed over Yu Darvish leaving with shoulder problems three starts into his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Or that Big Game James Shield’s awful White Sox debut has left me speechless. Or that I have been shocked into silence by the Braves finally winning a game in San Diego for the first time since Obama’s first term. It was presaged, obviously, by Snoop Dogg’s terrible ceremonial first pitch, for which there are almost no words.
Maybe after some coffee and reflection later I’ll be able to put all of this into context and go on, somehow. The scores:
Cubs 8, Phillies 1
Blue Jays 7, Tigers 2
Braves 4, Padres 2
Rays 6, Diamondbacks 3
Yankees 12, Angels 6
Orioles 4, Royals 0
Mets 6, Pirates 5
Cardinals 12, Reds 7
Astros 3, Rangers 1
Nationals 11, White Sox 4
Brewers 4, Athletics 0
Twins 7, Marlins 5
Mariners 5, Indians 0
Rockies 1, Dodgers 0
Giants 2, Red Sox 1
This is a pretty amusing article from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. He talked to some players and managers and they were big fans of the Manny Machado–Yordano Ventura dustup last night.
Anthony Rizzo, referring to this and the Jose Bautista–Rougned Odor fracas, said “the two fights this year have been pretty healthy, in my opinion.” Joe Maddon “loved it.”
The column delves into the complexities of these things. Ego. Defense. Competitive energy and emotion. In most of these cases people just get carried away. Disapprobation of an act on the diamond tends to have a direct relationship to how much it seemed premeditated. Yordano Ventura is pretty clearly considered the villain here because of his pitch. Machado’s motivation, though everyone knows he’ll get suspended and agrees he should, was far more relatable and understandable. A reaction.
Whether it’s “healthy,” like Rizzo said is a matter of debate, I guess. We’ve been pretty lucky that in our two high-profile brawls this year no one was hurt. That certainly changes the calculus. If things went differently and, say, Machado broke his hand or Ventura’s jaw or vice-versa, there would be a much more robust conversation about the ethics of fighting today, I presume.
In the meantime, these fights are like any others you see: entertaining to the extent you don’t think too hard about their troubling aspects and only truly troubling to the extent damage is done.
The Cubs are the best team in baseball this year. But, yeah, their get-out-the-vote operation is definitely impressive too. Five Cubs players currently lead their positions in All-Star balloting according to the latest round of results released by Major League Baseball.
Anthony Rizzo — the overall vote leader — Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Dexter Fowler would all be starters if the game were held tomorrow. Four of those guys are decent picks on the merits if you’re a half-season-stats voter. Russell is . . . suspect. He’s ninth in OPS and seventh in WAR among NL shortstops. Aledmys Diaz, the OPS leader, and Corey Seager, co-WAR leader, are not anyplace in the top five. The other co-WAR leader, Zack Cozart, is fifth in the voting. I wonder if NL voters know what a shortstop is.
Oh well, that’s democracy for you: