T.J. Simers pays to go to a Dodgers game, just like a fan

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I’ve had my issues with T.J. Simers in the past, but sometimes his curmudgeon act — though it may not be an act — is pretty damn funny. Like today’s column in which he eschewed the press pass and bought tickets to go see the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game the other night.  The point, I think, was to try to understand what it was all of the Dodgers fans who aren’t going to games this year are missing. Or, rather, what’s keeping them away.

I gotta say, he makes a pretty good case for the stay-aways. It’s pricey and the product the Dodgers are putting on the field isn’t exactly thrilling.  But the real reason to read the story is that there are a couple of howlingly funny lines. Like this:

I know this, the guy who owns this team must be really doing well — raking in all this money. The Dodgers announce a crowd of 30,000-plus almost every night.

And this:

I just can’t get over it — $70 to watch a baseball game! Throw in concessions, parking and kids — and why would anyone ever have kids if they intend to keep going to baseball games?

Or is it just me that finds that funny?

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.