McGwire, A-Rod and the double standards

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You don’t have to search hard in my archives to find effusive praise of Joe Posnanski. I tend to agree with him on most things, he’s the best sports writer going in my view, and someone would have to write an awful lot of gold to even begin to get into the conversation as his rival.

But, as Jay at Fack Youk points out, nobody’s perfect. Jay went back and checked, and it seems that, while Posnanski now writes that judging apologies seems unfair, he was perfectly willing to judge A-Rod’s apology last year, and did so in pretty sharp terms.

Posnanski responds via Twitter that the apologies were two different beasts — McGwire’s was voluntary while A-Rod’s was a forced p.r. exercise — but Jay anticipates this, noting that, McGwire’s wouldn’t have come had he not taken the job as the Cardinals hitting coach and that his was no less an exercise in p.r. in practice, even if it seemed more genuine in substance.

Posnanski obviously has a metric crap-ton more goodwill in the bank than do the Jon Heymans and other double-standard bearers of the world, and when you write as much as Poz does you’re bound to cross your streams once in a while.  But fair is fair, and like a lot of other writers (and Bud Selig)  Posnanski seems to be treating McGwire quite differently than he treated A-Rod.

UPDATEPosnanski responds.  In this I think we see the biggest difference between Pos and others who contradict themselves on occasion.  Pos owns up, explains his thought process and is generally transparent about it all — though I think he’s still being a bit willfully naive on the Selena Roberts stuff; her story may have been legit, but A-Rod’s outrage at her in general was more than justified given their shared history and the book she wrote.

Anyway, would any of you hold your breath for Jon Heyman to explain himself? Or Dan Shaughnessy? I wouldn’t. So, the Roberts thing notwithstanding, good for Joe.

Mookie Betts could play second base in the World Series

Mookie Betts
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The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.

The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.

The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.

Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.