Comment of the day: an important note about smokeless tobacco

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You’ll recall in the linked article about smokeless tobacco earlier today that the reason Stephen Strasburg is quitting the stuff is because of Tony Gwynn’s recent cancer diagnosis.  Gwynn, it is noted, has blamed his years of smokeless tobacco use for the current state of his health.

Following that post, I received an email from a pathologist who says something worth bearing in mind:

I am ambivalent about what MLB and the players do about chewing tobacco, though I admit it probably be nice if they all just quit.  And I am happy that Strasburg quit, for whatever reason.

But in the linked article, and in every article I have seen that mentioned Gwynn and his cancer, there is mention that Gwynn believes strongly that his cancer was caused by tobacco use.  I would think a good reporter might mention, tactfully, that current evidence does not show such a link with the cancer I think Gwynn has (carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma).  Tobacco has been linked to a certain benign parotid tumor, but not the one I think he originally had (I say “I think” because they never actually say, but I deduce it from the reports).  Anyway, it may not be important, but I just am always irked by untruths is news reports (and here, note that I am not referring to you), however trivial.  Tobacco has risk enough – there is no need it be exaggerated.

Good point.  One of the things that bugs me about steroids stuff is the hysteria that surrounds it.  I don’t care if Strasburg is quitting tobacco because his neighbor’s dog told him too — quitting is good regardless — but policy decisions should be based on the facts, not on hysteria, sympathy or misinformation.

Dave Martinez: “I don’t know what else to do”

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One night after losing to the Cubs on a two-out, two-strike, down-three, pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam to the Cubs, the Washington Nationals were in a barn-burner against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Nats were down 1-0, then up 4-2, then down 6-4 following a big Cardinals rally in the eighth, capped by a big Matt Carpenter home run, before somehow getting up off the mat and tying things back up at 6 in the top of the ninth inning. The bullpen has been bad, but even shaky relievers are successful more often than we imagine them to be. Having lost two of the previous three due to bullpen hiccups, there was no special reason to think that they’d lose late once again.

Koda Glover took the mound and attempted to close things out. He got ahead of Paul DeJong 1-0 and then promptly threw three balls. Not wanting to put the winning run on first base to lead off the inning, Glover threw a fastball right over the plate and then watched DeJong deposit it over the left field fence and into the bullpen to give the Nats their second walkoff loss in around 24 hours:

After Sunday’s game Nats players and coaches all gave the usual “gotta forget this one and move on to the next game” quotes. After last night’s loss, however, rookie manager Dave Martinez said this: “I don’t know what else to do.”

That answer came in response to the cratering of Sammy Solis in that ugly eighth inning, but it might as well apply to any of the Nats relievers or, for that matter, the Nationals as a team. It’s a lost, floundering group, seven games back in the National League East and six back in the Wild Card race with a mob of teams in front of them. They have lost 21 one-run games and there is absolutely no one down in that pen that Dave Martinez can count on at the moment.

Closer Sean Doolittle has been on the disabled list for weeks and weeks. Kelvin Herrera is on the disabled list with shoulder problems. Ryan Madson, who gave up David Bote‘s grand slam on Sunday, said afterward that he is hurt and could very well hit the disabled list soon. GM Mike Rizzo shipped Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley out of town for allegedly being malcontents. That leaves Glover, Solis, Matt Grace, Greg Holland, Wander Suero and, I guess, thoughts and prayers for Martinez to turn to.

In his place I wouldn’t know what else to do either.